It Isn’t About How It Looks

My ex’s family was always concerned with how things looked.  Superficiality was a staple in that family.  What will the neighbors think?  We need to show a happy family at all times no matter what is really happening underneath the glossy varnish.

It was tiring and I wasn’t that type of person.  I wear my emotions on my face.  You can read me like a book, so I’m no good at varnishing the truth.  It shows.  I can’t hide it.  There’s little poker face here.  It’s how I’m built.  So needless to say, I never really fit in.

Sure I could put on a pretend happy face, but after my ex left, his family tried to gloss over it all.  But the stickiness of truth was still there, like the thorns on a rose.  And they hated that they couldn’t just smooth it all over with an abundance of lies.

I stayed mostly quiet out of respect for my kids.  I put on a brave face and attended functions alone.  It was hard to do, but I did it.  I stayed strong with my own integrity, but allowed them to act as they wanted (which was sometimes nice and at other times, hurtful).  I stayed me – authentically Janie.  And I didn’t ask for permission, nor did I ask for a pardon.  And they hated that about me.

Now years later, we have zero relationship and I’m ok with it.  I don’t talk badly about them to my kids, but the kids have seen the absurdity of the superficiality and dislike it.  For that, I’m grateful that they have learned authenticity.  While they balance a relationship with his family, they have seen behind the curtain and the lies and have a hard time with it.  But for the most part, together, they are able to navigate the storms that come up.

I bit my tongue for years thanks to a wise friend who’s also divorced.  Instead of pointing out the lies and superficiality, I allowed the kids to witness it and then process it.  Luckily they live with me so it’s not like they are bombarded by that family and thus have been able to witness instead of being involved so much and blinded because they’re in the thick of the situation.

Maybe there’s a time and a place to pretend things are ok.  We did it after he broke up with me for months before we told the kids.  I really tried my best to be ok and to not let the kids know until it was time.  I wasn’t very good (according to my kids years later) because they felt like something was up, but couldn’t put their finger on what it was exactly.  I’ve been told by them that they wished we hadn’t played it that way, but I was trying to keep the peace and protect my kids at the time.  And yes, I was suffering a broken heart, but still having to act normal with their dad who had declared he didn’t want to do this anymore because it wasn’t fun.

Not my circus anymore.  Not my monkeys, thank goodness.  I’ve left the carnival grounds and haven’t looked back.  I like being free to be me.  It took me a long time to get to this peaceful thinking, but I’m here.  And it feels fine!

Just another part of letting go that feels amazing!

 

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8 Responses to It Isn’t About How It Looks

  1. Paula Light says:

    My ex had parents like that, super cold, super fake people. They were generous with gifts but not their hearts. My parents were so opposite, always pouring out their emotions until you had to run away screaming. Can’t people be moderate?! Lol

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  2. TJ Fox says:

    The idea of “image” is one I’m working my butt off to dis-ingrain (probably not a word, but it still applies) in myself and in my kids because it is something that was so tightly woven into my upbringing, it has taken me years to see how much it impacts my choices. I have to constantly remind myself and my kids that, for the most part, not a single person you are putting that “image” on for gives a single crap. And even if they did, do they really matter enough to force yourself to pretend to be something other than yourself? I’d much rather be me than spend my life worrying about what some random “they” might think of me. It is still hard to walk that walk, but I’m taking the steps and helping my kids do the same.

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  3. Create Space says:

    It makes my heart smile to hear you say ” I like being free to be me.” Enjoy your freedom and use it to the max! Go for it! Marie xx

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  4. Isn’t it wonderful that when we grow older we finally learn to let go of toxic people. It’s not just that “life is too short” for all that–it is getting shorter by the day. Fill you days with joyful people who can build you up whenever possible. That’s been my motto lately.

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