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In five weeks, I’ll celebrate the passing of another year.

I’ll be thirty-four. 

This year, my birthday is also an anniversary of sorts, and it has me struggling.

In five weeks, Jeremy will be able to say he has been clean for a full year. 

In five weeks, it will have been a year since we separated.

A year. 

And I’m not over it, yet.  I’m nowhere near over it, and some naive part of me  thought that I would be. 

Nearly a year later, I’m only just starting to come to terms with everything that happened. 

Leading up to this point, my focus has been on trying to survive and rebuild and adjust.  I’ve been so intent on moving forward that I haven’t  allowed myself to look back.

People ask me all the time how I am, and I tell them, truthfully, that I am well.  I’m happy and I’m at peace.  I no longer live in fear and I have so much hope for the future. 

I feel strong and confident and alive.  I am more myself now than I have ever been in my life.

But I struggle, too.  Life is good in so many ways, but it is also hard.

I’m happy.  And I’m sad. 

On my birthday, I’ll celebrate.  And grieve. 

The passing of a year.

The Corner Table

She chooses a quiet table in the corner and there we sit, chatting easily about the minutiae of our daily lives.

The evening wears on and I can tell she has something to say by the way she pushes the food around on her plate.  Her eyes trained on her fork, she quietly speaks.

“I didn’t think you were ever coming back.”

She raises her head, and her eyes meet mine.

I can only whisper my reply, “Neither did I.”

“I thought for sure he’d kill you somewhere out there and I’d see it on the news and we’d never find your body.  I was so scared.”

For a moment, I’m struck speechless by the pain in her eyes.  I am not the only one he’s hurt.


He planned a trip to the coast for my birthday.  October 2nd and 3rd.  We’d gone to the same place on our first vacation together, exactly 12 years before.

I was afraid to go, but completely terrified of what he would do if I refused.  His behavior  had escalated to the point that I was secretly planning to leave, but I wasn’t ready yet.  I needed just a little bit more time.

I insisted upon driving the entire time, because I didn’t want to let him behind the wheel of the car.  We went to dinner to celebrate my birthday and he suggested that I have a glass of wine.  I realized my mistake as he asked for the keys, afterward.  Of course he should drive… I had been drinking.

Five miles in the dark, on treacherous, winding roads.  As the headlights swept around the curves, I caught foggy glimpses of the waves crashing far below us to the left; to the right, a solid wall of rock that seemed to stretch up into infinite darkness.

He was agitated.  Fidgeting.  There was something important he needed to say.  He was talking too fast, jumbling his words.  One hand on the wheel, leaning toward me, looking over at me instead of at the road ahead.  Speeding through one curve, slowing for another.  

Only five  miles.  Only five short miles. 

I sat completely still in the passenger seat, hands folded neatly in my lap, eyes straight ahead.  I spoke to him quietly, calmly.  Stalled him.  No matter what he did, regardless of what he said, I was determined to show no fear.


My hands are shaking, but I finally speak.

“I was scared, too.  He said he was ready to give me ‘The Answer to Everything,’ and I just knew that the moment he told me, he would drive us right off the cliff, straight into the ocean.  I thought I was going to die… that he was going to kill me.  But then… he didn’t.”

We sit in silence for a moment.  I smile.  She smiles.  I reach for my drink.

I’m eating enchiladas at a quiet, corner table with my friend.

I am alive.  I am loved.

And the truth has set me free.



Originally I decided I wouldn’t write specifics about my current situation in this space, in an effort to avoid airing my family’s “dirty laundry” to the masses.  Please understand that I don’t hate him, I don’t wish him any harm, and I’m not trying to make him look like a monster.  He is getting help for his behavior, and I hope he’s able to conquer those demons.

But this is my story.  My life.  This was my reality.  I won’t be silent.


Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary, and I’m terribly sad.

I miss the man I married. 

He was my best friend.  The kind of man who loved me not in spite of my quirks and faults, but because of them.

We were so deliriously happy, for so many years.

He slipped away, somehow.  In the passage of time, he lost himself.

For nearly 13 years, I loved him with an intensity that overwhelms me, even now. 

And still he demanded more…. more than I could give without snapping myself in two.

I thought we could make it through anything.

What a damn shame.


I’ve been feeling a little angsty lately, which I realize is understandable given the current circumstances of my life.

But I don’t want to spend any amount of time feeling anxious and morose.  What’s the use in that?

So I went out for dinner and drinks with my girl Kelly, who helped me kick that shit to the curb, where it belongs.

Here’s the thing. 

I spent nearly 3 years of my life being told what I was and wasn’t allowed to do – and I hated it.

Now I’ve got all this freedom, right?  I’m alone a lot of the time, but I’m never lonely.  I get to make my own choices and be my own damn self, which makes me incredibly happy. 

So where’s the angst coming from? 

Along with all the amazing and helpful support I get, a whole lot of advice gets thrown my way from people who presume to know what’s best for me, for us. 

Their intentions are good, their hearts are in the right place…  Or so I assume.

At first, I would just smile and nod and thank them for their concern.  Tell them, as I tell pretty much anyone who asks, that I’m taking things day by day and that in general, things are good. 

It is what it is, things are what they are, from one moment to the next. 

It’s interesting, though, how pushy people can get when you don’t take their advice.  How downright catty people can get when they think you’re doing it all wrong.

I’m getting a little tired of it, to be honest.  I’ve had enough of being pushed, of being told what to do.

I admit that I’ve never been through anything like this, that there are times when I haven’t a clue what step to take next, when I worry that I haven’t handled things thus far the way I should have.

—–  Just FYI: I don’t want anyone to think I don’t appreciate the support they’ve given me.  If you’re here reading, this probably doesn’t apply to you at all.  Unless you’re an asshole, in which case, take note: you stink, and nobody likes you.  Sorry.  —–

So all this doubt built up:  Am I doing the right thing?  Should I be doing things differently?  Are my kids going  to end up all fucked up in the head?  Am I, in fact, a bitch for standing my ground?

But no… really, no. 

I have to do this my way, even if it’s unconventional.  With guidance, with support, with advice that I can pick and choose from when the time comes to act, however long that may take.

But, ultimately, my way.   


Also has to be said: Fuck ’em if they think I’m doing it wrong… at least I’m doing something.  Alternately I could lay in bed all day, unwashed, letting the kids eat spoiled food out of the garbage.  Maybe they’d understand that course of action a little more.  You think??


Originally I decided I wouldn’t write specifics about my current situation in this space, in an effort to avoid airing my family’s “dirty laundry” to the masses.  Please understand that I don’t hate him, I don’t wish him any harm, and I’m not trying to make him look like a monster.  He is getting help for his behavior, and I hope he’s able to conquer those demons.

But this is my story.  My life.  This was my reality.  I won’t be silent.


Being married to someone with extreme paranoia was hard, especially because, in an effort at self-preservation, I couldn’t help but become paranoid myself.

I wonder, sometimes, how long it will take me to stop looking over my shoulder.

He was always creeping up on me.  On particularly bad days, he would sneak into the house so that he could catch me doing… whatever it was he thought I did when he wasn’t there watching me.

When I would be startled by his figure in the doorway or by him suddenly touching me when I thought no one was around, he would tell me that only someone who was doing something they shouldn’t be doing would be so jumpy.  

So I learned to have nerves of steel, and never react.  When will I startle again?  Ever? 

I walked barefoot into my dark kitchen two weeks ago and stepped on a snake that had somehow wandered in from outside… and didn’t utter a sound, not even a gasp.  I just removed my foot, caught the snake, and tossed it outside.  That’s not normal, is it?

Anything I did – or didn’t do – might be suspicious in his eyes.  I never knew, from one moment to the next, how he might react if I looked too nice, ran too many errands, fell asleep in the girls’ room, spent too much time with any particular person, or didn’t get enough done during the day.  The things that set him off were constantly changing, and completely unpredictable.

There was always the possibility of him lurking in the shadows, peeking through windows, checking the history on my computer, driving past the park or the store or my friend’s house to make sure I was where I said I would be, doing things he didn’t consider suspicious.

He would just materialize.  And only someone with something to hide would have a problem with that.

So I learned to be aware, always, never trusting that I wasn’t being watched.  How long will it take for me to stop feeling his eyes on me, wherever I go?

It got to the point that I wouldn’t talk on the phone in my car, because I didn’t know if he had it bugged.  I kept my head down and avoided talking to people in public unless I had to, in case he was having me followed. 

It didn’t matter what innocuous things I might have talked about, because he was convinced that I spoke -and wrote- in code. 

He went through my emails, chats, notebooks, journals, tweets, blog posts – all with a fine tooth comb, trying to find hidden meanings, demanding to know what I meant by one thing or another.  

So I learned to watch my words, always.  Will I ever be able to speak freely again?

Yes, I will

I am. 

Right now.