If there is one thing that I’m decent at it is self care.  I know when I need a mental health day.  The next few weeks may be full of them.  I’ve cleared my schedule to make time for just me, laying on the couch, doing nothing.  I know hard days are coming.

I’m not one who “likes to stay busy.”  I like to lean into the sadness, let myself feel it, so that I can then release it.  If I ignore it and stay busy and try not to acknowledge my pain it just builds and gets worse and ruins far more days than if I just allow it to come and go.

He is in Chicago today.  All I can think of when I think of when he has to go to Chicago is how it all started.  How he made the first jump from “just porn” (and total sexual/intimate/loving neglect) to being physical with other women.  He went into a strip club, asked a topless stripper walking around if he could touch her breasts.  She said sure, he put his hands on them and immediately ejaculated in his pants.  That’s when he knew “something was not right.”  But he chose to do nothing about knowing something was not right.  He chose to actually do worse and worse things, eventually leading to sex with prostitutes.

Then, after coming in his pants standing there with the stripper, he came home to me. Me, whom he couldn’t look at sexually, couldn’t hold close in a warm non-sexual embrace, couldn’t look at during sex, couldn’t think of sexually, couldn’t kiss beyond a peck.  Me, who he always told “he’d try harder” and “he was sorry” and “he was too tired.”  Me, who was wasting my years from 21 to 33 with him, being ignored, never being sexually or kindly noticed.  The waste of my time hurts the worst sometimes.

So there he is now.  And I “trust him.”

Because what the fuck else is there but to trust him?  I can’t worry, I can’t care.  Of course I worry and of course I care.  That’s why I have been crying all day, totally irritable and emotionally unavailable to my beautiful, amazing children, just trying my best to get through it.  Listening to heartaching music on pandora while I sit here and proof other people’s beautiful family images, wondering how many other women have to deal with this kind of ache, how many men give themselves sexually to other women.

Wondering how different my life could have been.  I don’t regret anything truly.  If I could give up this life and erase the past 12 years would I have not stayed with him, not have married him?  No.  I still would have.  I WOULD have.  Because all I have been through is what’s made me into the person I am today.  And I help people.  I give kindness, hope, warmth and support to people who need it.  And I help him.  And in helping everyone else, I rebuild and redefine myself.  I take care of me.

I say I can’t worry, that I don’t care what happens, that whatever is – is.  I don’t want to lose him again and am afraid I will, but I CAN’T worry about it because it just doesn’t matter.  It’s a waste of what precious time here I do have.

I don’t feel bad about my mediocre parenting because it’s real life.  My kids deserve better today.  My husband may have deserved better last night when I blew up at him about the parenting situation with #2.  Everyone I know might deserve better from me sometimes, but this is real LIFE that I’m living and I’m doing my best.  That’s all I can do.  Getting through the hard moments.  Lighting candles, getting a blanket and doing nothing when I need to.