I used to call them triggers and they inevitably caused me tremendous suffering. Triggers were everywhere, literal memories of “the phone call” or buried feelings of being emotionally abandoned by my husband, or conjured visions derived from the fallout of Blue Eyes’ sex addicted behavior. Now, the triggers have slowly morphed into memories that no longer carry trauma responses. I don’t feel the pain. My heart doesn’t seize up, I don’t feel like I need to run, I don’t look for a place to hide.
A couple weeks ago Blue Eyes was entertaining his friend, Smiley, at our beach house. I told him to take my car because it is the more comfortable (and by far cleaner) ride. We still have the old Volvo SUV (my old car) that I offered up to Blue Eyes all those summers ago on his last trip with the other woman. The car she drove up to Seattle. That car is now considered “the dog car.” It’s messy and furry and stinky. I don’t drive it often. Why would I? I have a beautiful clean car of my own, but again, I like to share and be kind and didn’t want Smiley to have to spend hours in the dog car. I needed to run some errands while they were away, so I jumped in the dog car and about half way out to the farm to pick up our veggies my mind was consumed with the vision of the other woman driving this car. Sitting in the very seat I was sitting in while my husband worked on his laptop in the passenger seat. It’s strange how the mind works. I was not in that frame of mind at all. I was listening to music on a beautiful Monday morning, no traffic and BAM. There it was, that memory. Not a trigger anymore though, just a memory. I wasn’t overwhelmed with pain or grief. It was just sitting there, in my head, not really doing any damage. That’s how far I’ve come. There’s no more pulling over to the side of the road. No more tears of agony. But the memories are there. Memories of things, people, places, times, that I don’t really want in there… so maybe since they aren’t causing me pain anymore, eventually they’ll fade away to nothing? I’m hoping for that.
I’m currently sitting in a beautiful hotel room in Los Angeles while Blue Eyes is at a business meeting. I’m so behind on blogs, reading them, finishing posts that have been sitting in the queue for weeks, I’m taking this little bit of time away from working to do what I love, blog. I’ve recently been acquainted with a new wife of sex addict blogger and she wrote a post that spoke to me. Hindsight wrote this post about “I’ll never be who I knew was me again.” She writes about her husband being on a business trip and how she used to love when he went away because she could eat brownies and watch bad TV. I was the same. When my husband was away, everything fell into place. The kids and I ate when we wanted without waiting and waiting for Blue Eyes to grace us with his presence. When the kids were off doing homework or in bed, I would watch whatever I wanted on TV, no judgment. I also remember feeling so unencumbered, and getting so much done around the house. The best was when my entire family was gone and I would thoroughly clean the boys’ bedrooms, and the pantry, clean out the kitchen cabinets, catch up on all the laundry meanwhile blasting whatever music I liked throughout the house, TV’s all set to whatever tennis match was on… it’s not that I didn’t love my family to pieces, Blue Eyes obviously included, but it was MY TIME. I knew they were coming home. I knew my little family was happy and healthy and that them being off doing what they needed to do was important to them, and me having this alone time, was important to me. What none of us knew though was that Blue Eyes had a secret life. He was lying to us. He wasn’t always working and he was almost never alone. He filled the void with someone else. None of the rest of us ever attempted to replace him. I loved my alone time and made great use of it. He, on the other hand, was feeding the demon. The thought of it still leaves me reeling in disbelief. I don’t have the pain anymore, but I do have the memories. The trauma has all but disappeared, and maybe the memories will too.
Today we embark on new memories. We leave this evening on a red-eye from LAX to Papeete, Tahiti. We’ll be in Tahiti for two weeks celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. That means 35 years we have been together as a couple. Five summers ago I honestly could not have imagined this day would arrive. A day on which Blue Eyes has more than five years of sobriety and recovery and we both have five+ years of healing together, and separately. I can honestly say things are very good. We’re in the process of moving into our new offices… an endeavor I have been managing for over a year. We are also building Blue Eyes a meditation/tea house in our back garden. I can’t wait to see the progress when we return home in August. In the meantime, I am dreaming of palm trees, and sunshine, and staring at turquoise waters from our overwater bungalow in Bora Bora.
For now, Nana (see you later in Tahitian). Next posts will surely include lots of pictures of tropical paradise, and food, because hey, I live for the stuff.