I’ve written before about how difficult it is for me to hear my inner voice. For so many years, my focus was outward: other people’s moves, thoughts, needs, wants. From my therapy, I understand that it’s a major problem that develops from long-term exposure to domestic violence.
What I’ve found lately is that the more I listen, the more I realize that my current life is incongruous with what I need in order to be happy. I’m not saying the situation is irreparable, because it isn’t. But several things need to happen, need to change, in order for me to find peace, particularly as a married woman.
At risk of saying too much, I’m going to outline the realizations I’ve had recently, mostly because I want to see how many of them I can make happen in 2013:
- My husband needs to get treatment for depression so that we have a chance at staying together. I realize I can’t make this happen, but I can do my best to support him throughout what may be a difficult process. Unless this treatment is successful, our marriage will not survive. The ups and downs of living with a depressed person, never being able to count on consistency, is too damaging to me. And I want a real sex life, as well. The only way that will happen is if I can trust my husband again, and that will only happen if his personality returns to the loving, genuinely caring man I married, 100 percent of the time.
- I need space and time to myself on a regular basis. One thing I’d like to do is move into a larger home. That means selling our current small apartment, paying off our debt with the (small!) proceeds, and renting a larger one with two bedrooms. I need to be able to go somewhere and be alone to do whatever I need to do. I also need some vacation time on my own.
- For my work, I cannot be in an office situation any longer. For many years, I didn’t — I had work I did from home, and I taught part time at a university. When we moved to NYC, I took full-time employment and have been doing that for nearly 6 years now. It’s not working for me. The stress of having to deal with difficult, sometimes bullying people on a daily basis has taken a toll. I need to find some sort of telecommuting arrangement — I’m working on that — and then later, find a way to work for myself so I can pay the bills.
- For my physical self, I need to do some different forms of exercise so that I focus more on relaxation and centering myself. Group classes don’t work for me, and I can’t do yoga in a class, either. I feel way too vulnerable in these situations, and I’ve accepted that now. So my solution is to continue going to the gym and working on building up my strength and stamina, especially through swimming, and I’ll do yoga on my own at home. I also want to take more long walks by myself.
- Creatively, I’ll continue writing fiction because it’s so much fun — it’s a real release, a way for me to express a lot of my inner turmoil. I also want to start playing the piano again and find more time to knit and sew.
- Socially, I’m a bit at a loss. I crave being alone these days and have to force myself to socialize. I have a women’s dinner once a month that I’ve been going to, so if I can continue going to that, at least it’s something.
Obviously the big question here is my marriage. I love the man I married, but the man I’m married to right now bears almost no resemblance to him. I see flashes of him sometimes, which gives me hope that if he can get good treatment, all will be well. I’m praying every day for that outcome. He has an appointment coming up later this month with a specialist.
Although all of this seems daunting, I feel calm about everything most of the time. There’s no reason to spend my days feeling miserable, now that I know I can actually LIVE, not just exist. So I’m living every day and moving forward to create the life I truly want and need.