I have now been here, in my little home away from home, for five full weeks. Did I ever mention that I had never lived on my own before? I went straight from my parents house(s) to college life with roommates, to living with a partner and then to raising a family and building my own home space, a whirlwind of activity and constant human interaction for 53 years. I had never actually lived alone. I have to say, I rather like it. Living alone here has certainly simplified life for me. The fact that all my meals are prepared for me here, and served up pretty as you please in a lovely dining room, dishes swooped away to be cleaned and put away by someone else, doesn’t hurt, and honestly… it is a bit like a lovely and healthy vacation. For the first few weeks, I even spent a good part of the afternoon and early evening in the outdoor pool. It was my favorite time of day. Unfortunately there is this wicked hurricane named Matthew that has swooped in on us and the lovely blue skies and sunshine are temporarily obliterated by pounding rain, violent winds, and intermittent power outages, but hey, it was great while it lasted. We are safe, and that is what is important. I know the sunshine will return, hopefully tomorrow. At this point I am preparing myself emotionally for the trip back home, which will happen exactly one week from today.
For five weeks I have spent part of my time in classrooms learning about the science behind how the body works, from exercise to digestion, to how the mind handles stress and triggers, and I have learned how to eat mindfully and manage my anxiety more effectively. I have had individual therapy as well as group support time. I have exercised until I thought I would lose my lunch. I have done aerobics while sitting in a chair (it sounds easy but I assure you it is not). I have pushed myself to my limits in circuit training. I have pounded huge heavy ropes against a gym floor until I was heaving for air. I am up to 12 pound weights, with discernible biceps and triceps. I have mastered yoga… haha, just kidding, but I am getting better. I have taken Zumba classes, and have learned how to do a proper squat, who knew? My already fairly toned and athletic legs are ridiculous… you would think I am a runner, but I am anything but. That being said, I bet if I tried I could run pretty far at this point without being winded. I actually ran the 800 or so steps from the dining room back to my apartment after lunch because… hello… hurricane Matthew!!! I have lost weight and gained muscle. I eat three square meals every single day on a schedule and I no longer eat snacks. I no longer need or crave them. I have eliminated 75% of my medication with the ultimate goal of being rid of all of it before my next birthday. I have done all of this in a safe little bubble approximately 2300 miles from home. Now I need to figure out how to duplicate this safe little bubble back home. Of course I won’t be able to. But what I will be able to do, is take my new healthy habits back with me and incorporate them into my “real life.” Because I actually love my real life. I love my family. I love my home. I love my life. I love me. I love me enough to realize I can be healthy and happy outside the bubble.
Last weekend I was scheduled to return home. Instead I decided to extend my stay two additional weeks. Blue Eyes flew out to spend the weekend with me. We enjoyed a wonderful, romantic, and mostly healthy getaway about three hours from here. More on that in a future post. Blue Eyes flew home last Sunday and I returned to my little apartment, alone. I realized during my time with Blue Eyes that I love him dearly, and I regularly compromise my own wants and needs for him. I do this with most people. I learned how to caretake from about age seven. It is what I do. It is part of who I am. The problem is, it is not always good for ME.
As I sat down with my individual therapist this past Thursday morning I explained to him how I had had every intention of keeping my sleeping, eating, and exercise schedule in tact while with my husband. I failed. Instead of getting up at my scheduled time, I lay in bed with Blue Eyes and let him sleep. Instead of eating breakfast when I should have, I waited for him and ate late. I pushed all my meals off. I waited until I was “starving” and fought with myself not to overeat. These are old destructive habits. I have learned to manage these habits while in my bubble. As soon as I was with Blue Eyes out of the bubble, I struggled. My therapist asked me why I think I do this. Why didn’t I let my husband sleep and get up and go to breakfast at my scheduled time. I told him I thought Blue Eyes really needed his sleep and that he would be lonely if I didn’t stay with him. That he would feel obligated to get up with me. I obviously gave more importance to Blue Eyes’ need for sleep than any of my own needs. I realized as I was saying it how pathetic I sounded. Dr. K just looked at me and let me talk my way through it. Me not putting myself first, me not being able to distinguish self care from the thought of being “selfish” has been a running topic of conversation in our sessions here. For those of you who have read my blog, you may remember that my husband lied profusely about me to the other woman. He told her all kinds of things about me. For example that I was not loving, not nurturing, that I ignored him… that he didn’t even know if I loved him anymore. None of these things were true, but I think in his fucked up mind, he believed them… and now, deep inside me, there is this little hole where I think if I am not the perfect wife, if I am not there for him, if I don’t put his needs first, maybe I am that selfish woman he described. I realize this is still part of the broken Kat. When I found out about Blue Eyes’ secret life, I felt like I had been split in two. The strange thing though, is the part of me that is the care taker, the nurturer, the “good wife,” was actually the broken part. The new person that emerged is the stronger piece of me. The part of me that knows I need to take care of me first, is the part that needs to be cultivated, but that damn nurturing person… she’s stronger than I thought. She wants to hold on. She wants me to put other people’s needs before my own. She still lives in the lies Blue Eyes told. She still lives inside a very insecure place.
I will never feel grateful for what I have gone through since discovery, but I can say that I am a different person. I am a more enlightened person. The revelation that has transpired since being betrayed is that I have a lot of work to do on me. The strongest me I can be is the one who never forgets that being kind and loving to myself, is the best thing I can do for everyone around me.
What I do feel incredibly grateful for is the time I have spent here… in this little corner of the world, and for the people I have met here, for the friendships I have made and for all the lessons I have learned about myself.
Laughter, for me, has been a crucial part of my healing and growth process over the past five weeks. If you have 20 minutes or so, the below video is one we viewed in a stress management class my first week here. I hope you laugh out loud. I did. ❤