For some reason this week, I've done a lot of reflecting on my life - actually now that I think about it, it's been going on for several weeks. I've determined that most of the reflection is driven not by who I am today, but instead by the guilt of who I was once and how that impacted the people I love the most.
See - several years ago - I don't even remember when to be honest - I got divorced from the first husband. Which in turn, started my life anew. A process of redefining who I was. And in that process, I met new people, went new places, and dressed differently. And in that process, I became a selfish ass. My new world was all about ME. I gave no regard to my family, those who had been my friends forever OR my kids (that's the toughest one to swallow). If I didn't like what someone in my family or what some of friends said - I just stopped talking to them. The end. I'm done with you. You don't understand and all you want to do is criticize. I'm out.
I would tell people I would meet them somewhere or visit them, and then make excuses NOT to be there because I just frankly did not want to go or to see them. I didn't give a shit if it hurt them, because the world revolved around me and my new found freedom - which was all about having fun and being irresponsible. And God how I had fun. The most fun I think I've ever had in my entire life.
And my kids were very young - and the prodigal son started behaving VERY badly. And I couldn't deal with it - because it was too real - and I wasn't ready to admit that I was a total fuck up - so I sent the kids to live with their father. And not a single person that I thought loved me ever told me to wake the fuck up. NONE. They either stood back silently and watched me self-destruct or they just encouraged me to be strong and keep moving forward. There were days I would find myself crying and wishing my paternal grandmother was still alive - because I knew if she was, she would be at my house taking control and not allowing the shit that was going on to continue. And I knew I would resent her for it - but at the same I knew I needed someone else to take control. But alas, I was on my own and not a single person ever bothered to point out to me how badly I was screwing up.
One day I woke up - it was kind of a slow wake up call - but it started when I met my now husband. And then when I found out I was pregnant with the blonde - I REALLY woke up. All of a sudden it occurred to me that my new-found fun lifestyle and selfishness and disregard for everyone else and their feelings was a horrible way to live my life. I often think that blonde is my maternal grandmother's spirit - sent to me to save me from my self. And I started the very long and very painful journey to repairing relationships and sisterhoods that I had destroyed along the way. Taking a good long look at the people that were in my present day life - assessing their value to my life and oddly enough - ousting about 98% of them. They added no value. They weren't true friends. They weren't even good people. They were selfish and harmful. I don't begrudge them today - but I also don't embrace them or care to be around them. Some will attempt to "friend" me on Facebook. I ignore their requests. They are poison to my life and who I am today and I refuse to accept them and their bullshit back into my life.
But lately, the past keeps reappearing more than I had ever imagined. Mainly through conversations with those that I love and hold dear and with whom I've established strong relationships. And at the end of the conversations - I find myself with that feeling - that one that is like I got hit in the stomach - the one that enrages me and I find myself ranting and raving and carrying on while my poor husband has to sit there and listen to me for hours until I finally talk myself down from the ledge. I know I recently made a friend mad with my rants - because he got up and left my house. I don't care. The people he has now befriended and is enamored by are people from my past and they are NOT good people. And I'm sorry if he didn't like hearing MY (and my husband's) versions of the story - the cold, hard truth about his new "friend" and his lack of integrity or moral dignity.
Because I'm kind-hearted and because I'm no longer a selfish ass - many times I find myself accepting people from the past back into my life - giving them benefit of the doubt - not holding grudges. And I'll be damned if 99% of the time - it ends up the same way - some shit just never changes. Case in point: I allow my ex husband to hang out with us at our house because I think it's just easier on the kids. But every time we end up at odds over something - whether it's spoken right then or not - by the time he leaves - I'm pissed all over again - just like I was every single day of my married-to-him life. Same with my now-husband's "brother" - he's a adulteress pig and always will be. We finally had to come clean with the in-laws and tell them that the "brother" is just not welcome in our home. Period. The end. We tried. But he is just not anyone we want in our home or to associate with.
Right before the prodigal son left for college, we had a conversation that lasted into the wee hours of the morning. And in that conversation - he finally verbalized to me what I believe he was acting out and didn't know how to verbalize so many years ago before I sent him to live with his dad. And it went like this: You LIED. You said you would be home or that you were at work - and you were not and you never came home - you just shifted us from one babysitter to another - but worst of all - YOU LIED.
And I broke down - and all I could say in response was - You are correct. I lied. I was a selfish irresponsible ass and didn't give a shit who I was hurting in the process. I am sorry that you were impacted by that and it's a guilt I will live with the rest of my life.
And then he opened his mouth and I was so fearful of what would come out - because I was fearful it would be more truth that would sting my heart, but what I heard was - "But then you changed and you turned out to be the BEST DAMNED mom anyone could ever want. You have been here every single day of my life - and you have done everything you have said you would do. You've kept every promise. You've been there for me every step of the way and there are days when you saved my life and didn't even know it."
And THAT is why I'm NOT reflecting on who I am today - because I'm proud and happy with who I am today. But boy it sure does cause me to reflect on my past - when I was selfish and irresponsible and not giving a shit about anyone else's feelings. And that reflection sure does make it easier to remember to not begrudge those that fostered my path of destruction - but instead to just choose not to allow them in my life again. And that's also why I tell it like it is - and tell people if they're screwing up their lives or playing with fire. It may not do a lick of good - but at least when they wake up - they'll remember that I was the one that warned them. I'm sure my kids despise when I tell them the brutal truth - and that they'll regret certain decisions or actions - I really don't care. At least they'll know I loved them enough to be honest with them.