I realized today that I am more comfortable when life is chaotic. I also realized that, with a few exceptions, I’ve never really known anything but chaos. My childhood was chaotic because of my parents’ relationship. My 20’s were chaotic because of my abusive marriage. My 30’s were chaotic because I was just beginning to do the things that most people do in their teens and 20’s. It was also chaotic because if it wasn’t, I would find a way to cause chaos. I didn’t know how to have a healthy romantic relationship because my models were my parents, other relatives with screwed up relationships, and my own marriage and what was I going to do with that? When I was in a relationship I would usually end up sabotaging it. And it wasn’t because I wanted to, it was just what I did. I hurt some really nice guys and I regret that. I did some really stupid things, as well. I got involved with men that wanted to control me and I let them which I still find to be strange because I am a strong-willed person. I didn’t want to be my mother…a stay at home housewife and mother that had almost no outside interests, that had better have dinner on the table by the time my dad was home, was cheated on, knew it, and stayed, and was depressed but did nothing about it. As she got older, she began to change, became more outspoken and independent, and stood up to my dad. And, as a result, their marriage and relationship actually improved. But I didn’t want to be in my late 50’s and just learning how to be in a relationship. I dated one man right after my separation and it was very organic, not forced, not rushed into and I had a momentary glimpse into a real, healthy relationship. But, as with most of my choices, there was an impediment. He’d just gotten out of the Air Force and wanted to feel free so he worked the renaissance fairs all across the country. He asked me to go with him but was so bound to my family that I just couldn’t do it. We’d see each other every few months and we’d write and call…we still had an amazing connection and I didn’t do anything to sabotage it because I didn’t have to…the circumstances sabotaged it. Eventually, we realized that it was never going to work because he couldn’t stay in one place and I could only stay in one place. When I met Rick, my husband, there were a few things that stood in our way…he was going through a vicious divorce that was sucking the life out of him, we lived about 45 minutes away from each other, his kids hated me because their mother told them that I was the reason the marriage broke up even though I didn’t know Rick until the divorce was in its second year because she was more interested in hurting him than actually divorcing him, and all of that and more made him a bit gun shy when it came to a relationship. But he sent me letters and cards and flowers because deep down, he wanted a relationship. When things were settling down, I started acting out…conjuring up the chaos because now the relationship was becoming viable. I would push his buttons, do things that pissed him off, etc… One night, I had really pushed those buttons and then started an argument…for no reason other than things were so good and I didn’t know how to deal with that. I kept pushing and I got right up in his face and pushed some more. He looked me in the eye and said, “I am not going to hit you to make you feel better about what you did”. It was like a punch to the gut. So much became clear that night. He saw so deeply into my chaotic mind and latched onto the main reason that I had been a raging sabotaging bitch spreading chaos wherever I went…I didn’t know how to be loved or how to return that love because love and chaos were so entwined. And Paul, my first husband, had helped to slip something else into the mix…abuse and pain. I am a very intelligent, empathic person that has always looked deep within herself but I was completely blind to all of this. How many other people are out there doing the exact same thing and will never have someone call them on their bullshit so they just go through life sabotaging everything that feels too safe and comfortable? Yes, I’m sure there are hundreds of self-help books out there that in some way touch on this subject but if these are like me, they don’t even know that they need the book. Or, better yet, therapy. Who is going to make them understand this? I was very fortunate to have someone that made me see it and I am so glad because I honestly cannot see my life without Rick in it. We’ve been married for a little over 23 years. We seldom argue, as long as we don’t talk about politics. We make each other a better person. Outwardly, we have very little in common. He’s 12 years older than me and when I was in first grade, he was in Vietnam. When I was 12, he was starting his business. When I started college, he was starting a family. We basically are from two different generations. I’m liberal, he’s conservative. He doesn’t like the same music as I do. I’m Catholic and a little witchy while he’s more agnostic. We do like similar types of TV shows and movies. I read, he doesn’t. I have hobbies, he gardens. I could go on for another page about our differences but what it boils down to is that we genuinely like each other as well as love each other. I enjoy our conversations and time together. We do have one thing in common and that’s animals…we both love animals. My mother told me…after he and I married and I moved all of my critters into the house with us and he was totally fine with it…that I had married a good man and that I was so fortunate to have found someone that loved animals as much I did. Our current critter count is 6 cats and 3 dogs, all of which are inside-outside pets…we have an acre of land with a fence so the dogs are always in the yard when their out and the cats don’t tend to wander either. And, of course, I have my strays and ferals that I care for at work and at home. And he doesn’t give me any grief over the money that I spend to feed them. Anyway, back to chaos. I still have issues with it but it’s also has a positive side…my job is chaotic and I deal with it all very calmly because chaos is part of who I am. I’ve made friends with it and we peacefully coexist…most days.
Donna Heilman on But You Have Such a Pretty… Maggie on But You Have Such a Pretty… lssattitudeofgratitu… on We Will Be the Rainbows lssattitudeofgratitu… on A Different Way of Looking at… Maggie on A Different Way of Looking at…