You ARE Worth Fighting For

This has been a strange morning. I stumbled on an email I’d written myself six months before I left my marriage. It was my way of journaling. It showed up in an ‘Unsent’ folder on my iPad email. I knew there was a folder for Drafts I’d not sent yet, but my old iPad didn’t even have an ‘Unsent’ folder. To top it off, my phone rang. It was a friend, returning my call. Only I hadn’t called her. Wouldn’t have, not until I had time to process how unsettled I was about that email. It had sent me back to the edge of that abyss I’d curled my toes around those many years ago. I’d pushed the memory out of sight, but evidently, I haven’t forgotten.

I do believe magical things happen in life, but don’t believe in hoodoo or voodoo. I must have hit the redial button on my phone, scrolled through to select her number and then hit the send button on my landline. That is a lot for a phone I shoved out of the way, as I made room for my coffee cup.

What did the email say that threw me into a tailspin? Too much. People often ask me why, what made me leave a marriage I’d stayed in for forty-seven years? I joke, say it got crowded. His girlfriend didn’t like me that much. After a glass or two of wine I might get crass and tell them that three is a fucking crowd. It sounds like I found out he was having an affair, so I left. Unfortunately, that’s only a tiny part of it. Perhaps the final straw.

Perhaps it is what saved me.

In the email I’d written to myself six months before I left him, nearly four years ago now, I’d given up on ever being wanted or loved. Through decades of being bullied and emotionally battered by a man I loved, I’d given up. Period. Everyone else would get over it and go on, but I didn’t believe my mother would, if she lost me. I couldn’t do that to her, so I kept going.

Before you put me in restraints and check me into a psych ward, please realize that I didn’t give up. Somewhere, somehow, my mind found a reason to be. Found the strength to keep going. Told you this was a strange morning, because I woke to the sound of the surf, smiled, stretched, am having the time of my life. Living my dreams alive and well. What in the hell threw me back there?

So, after another cup of coffee, talking to my friend, who I hope isn’t sending the paddy wagon to my door, I wondered if maybe, just maybe someone might read this who needs to know they aren’t the only one who’s teetered on that edge. Someone afraid to tell anyone the depth of their despair, for fear it would be fuel for their partner to take their children away or have them declared unstable, and incompetent. Someone who needs to know it may be the bottom they need to reach to push themselves away, on their way.

I wasn’t insane the day I wrote that email to myself. I was coldly rational. Not afraid. Strangely relieved. Unstable? Incompetent? No. I was all too competent of completing my journey by choice. That I kept going because I couldn’t hurt my mother is also a tip. I didn’t go on for me, because I believed I was worth it or going on was worth the pain.

Now, these many years later, I can tell you I was worth it. Am glad I found the strength. Something to cling to. You’re worth it, too. Even if you have moments you don’t believe you’re worth the fight. You are.

Toxic partners surround us with negative energy, drain the life out of us, and move on. Damn it, don’t let them win. You don’t need to engage them or fight them, you need to get away, and fight for yourself. My life, and love of that life, and of so many others is evidence it can be done. It also explains why I titled my book, LEAVING YOU…for me. It wasn’t a title bandied around with a slew of others as a catchy one, to catch your attention. Once I scribbled it on a piece of scratch paper, it was done. I stopped considering other possibilities. It’s what I did. Why I left.

If I could take your hand, pull you away from the edge, I would, in a heartbeat. I think that’s what I’m trying to do this morning. Throw a lifeline to someone as close to that abyss as I was that morning in April nearly four years ago.

Use the pain you feel to light a fire, burn that damned bridge, set yourself on the run, as long as you’re running away. You’ll stop for a breath at some point, look around, see the smoke from that damned bridge and know you cannot go back. Ever.

But you can go on.

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2 comments on “You ARE Worth Fighting For

  1. Thanks Alex!! I needed this right now. Toxic people definitely drain the life right out of you, to the point of completely exhaustion. The illusion of hitting rock bottom simply in order to spring back off of it is great! Yes I have hit bottom, but my bounce back is coming. And this time, I’m pouring that energy into me! I am worth fighting for, and it’s about time!

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