Ok, this is going to be a personal one. It’s just that kind of day.
As you may remember, in August 2015, just two weeks before our first anniversary, my husband suddenly and without any warning left me. No fights. No issues. No reasons.
Every single day since then I have been trying to recover and get my life back. And to a large degree, I have accomplished that. After my amazing parents let me crash at their place while in recovery mode (read: drinking like a fish and holding dance parties with my dogs at 3 a.m.), and then a year in Wisconsin, I was able to set off on an amazing adventure.
It’s an adventure I dreamed up, bit by bit, and it has been falling into place swimmingly. Two weeks ago I started a brand new spankin’ job with- get this- BENEFITS! It’s like I’m a real adult now! Job, RV and truck, pets, route planned… what more could a girl ask for?
Well I’ll tell you what I didn’t ask for: the aforementioned ex-husband is currently 6 days into thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Part of me is all, “hey, that’s awesome. That was a huge goal of his and I hope he’ll make it safely to the finish line” and another part of me is just pissed. All rational thoughts aside, who said he could invade southern California while I was still here?
Calming down, I remember that I’m leaving the area in just a few short weeks, and oh, that’s right, my route takes me across the PCT multiples times. While it’s not surprising that my ex-husband and I shared interests like travel and the Pacific North West (can a region be an interest?), it’s really not fun to consider how he’s literally hiking closer and closer every day.
I’ve worked hard to put the devastation he caused in my life behind me, and move on. And I still intend to do just that. So I’m writing it down and putting it on the internet for all 8 of you to read. It is my promise from me, to you:
I will NOT read his PCT blog. Say it with me! I WILL NOT read his PCT blog. One more time for the people in the back row! I WILL NOT READ HIS PCT BLOG. Any time I am tempted, I’ll find a distraction. I’ll walk my dogs, cook a meal, call a friend, or paint my toe nails. Whatever it takes to NOT look at his blog.
The good news is, I’m taking this promise more seriously than he took our wedding vows.
The bad news is, it’s not going to be easy.
He was, and probably always will be, the one true love I had in this lifetime. I sometimes crave him the way I imagine drug addicts want one more hit. I can see and feel the pain he has caused, but it’s not enough to make the old, happy memories go away. Our love was better than anything I’ve ever known on this earth.
So, I have this response, when people ask if I regret any of my tattoos. I say, “no, because 19 (or 22, or 25) year old Mandi wanted that tattoo, and that person is still a part of me. I have no right to separate myself from her.”
Do I regret loving and marrying him? Will I let myself forget the incredible happiness that we shared? I have no right to separate myself from who I was then. But now years later, stronger and living a wonderful life I have built for myself, I will not let bad habits or curiosity cause me senseless pain. If the internet had been around back in the day, Moses would have added an 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Stalk.
Final thoughts: stalking in real life (like, in person) is serious and dangerous. So, also don’t do that. But that’s not at all the stalking I’m referring to in this post. Internet stalking is only dangerous to the person doing it, because in this case, knowledge is not power. It’s painful. So I’m saying ‘no’ to it, the way my parents probably wish I had said ‘no’ to drugs. And I’m counting on you, dear readers, to help me stay accountable. Any helpful suggestions or distractions are welcome.