The connection we have to it all, such as the memories, such as our feelings, such as the end result which is emotion and such as our ability to recount the times is all we have. Years will pass and our memories become part of our possessions, as if to have them folded neatly and kept away like a tiny little keepsake. And I agree, yet bitter sweet at times, these are the memories of a time that will never come again. These are the moments from whence we came.
It’s good to look back. It’s good to feel the moments of nostalgia and resurrect an old memory that fills the heart. However, and I acknowledge this for myself, some memories are beautiful and yet, they sting. Some memories bring back the remnants of old times and some memories bring back a connection to our prior life from whence we came.
All it takes is a trigger. Perhaps this comes from a word that connects a thought process. Or this could come from the smell in the air, like spring for example, and how the first aroma of the spring air brings back old times. Or in my case, this brings back an ending moment which eventually becomes my new beginning. Somehow, suddenly, I thought about the feeling of the sun on my face, June 1st, 2006.
Next, I recall a vision of myself or a memory from my mind’s eye. I stood in my small apartment in my tiny kitchen. I was in front of a refrigerator, which was mainly empty, which I knew about, yet I found myself looking anyway. More than once in fact; and for what reason, I have no idea –
I was alone and by myself for the first time. There was no one for me to lean on or talk to. I was riddled with ideas of shame and regret. I was living in the life behind me and regretting my decisions, which I knew the time would come and eventually, I would regret my choices.
I was resentful and sad. I was scared too. I mean, what value did I have? How would people see me? Was I a failure? And was this all my fault?
Well, the truth is I made mistakes. A lot of them.
I go back to that memory of me, standing in front of an empty yellow fridge. I am leaning down, standing on a yellowish linoleum floor, with outdated dark wood cabinetry. I returned to the fridge several times.
It’s not like something would magically appear. And perhaps I wasn’t even hungry. Maybe I just wanted something to change the mood. Maybe I thought something would magically appear and I could think to myself, “Okay, I’ll have this” and that would change everything.
I will offer this as my testimony of shared custody and of somewhat co-parenting – if we can call this co-parenting, or I can offer this as a testimony for those who used the words shared or joint custody. I can offer that the arguments or the need to be right or have the final word can (and will) often end in a disruptive fashion. Fights like this can disjoin us from enjoying simple moments; such as playing a game of red-light, green-light, 1,2,3.
I can say that the film of contempt on our tongues can and will often take away from the enjoyment of the moment. I can attest that times, such as the limited days when children are young enough to sing, “The wheels on the bus go round and round,” can be misused with the selfish ideas of winning an argument.
We can lose to the momentum of having the last word. And I get it; this is a two way street. So is love. So is anger. So is parenting and co-parenting and not all two way streets are open roads or mutually beneficial. However, in my testimony here, you will find that I openly admit that in my efforts to be validated, I mistook some of the most important moments and fought the wrong fight and argued the wrong arguments.
In fairness, I am not sure how I would do this differently if I had the chance to rewind the clock. In fairness, I am not sure if the problem was my pride or my inability to submit or surrender in situations where I knew I was wronged.
Perhaps this was my view or version and at the time, I was unable to accept what I believed was unacceptable.
Rather than decipher between the right and wrongs or delve into the discovery of fault on either side – I would rather testify this: There are moments where I was misled by frustration. I was misled by resentment. I was misled by my misguided ideas because in all honesty, I was angry.
I could not control anything. I was angry because of the version I had of myself and my story. I was angry that I submitted to ideas of a life with a person whom I married and settled with; and though I admit to this, my admission is not an insult.
However, more to the point, I admit that my goals and my life’s dreams of who I wanted to be were placed on a shelf and deemed as unrealistic. So, therefore, I traded in for something that seemed plausible.
The challenge that arises when we settle is when we realize that our aspirations have taken second place. We see that our priorities have been pushed to a lower scale. Our needs failed to be met and thus, we grow resentful. Or should I say it this way; I grew resentful that I had failed to prioritize my wants and needs.
I was angry that I submitted to situations that were not a match for me. I was upset about the times when I did not speak up or speak out. When something unacceptable happened, my failure to appropriately call this out led me to an eventual downfall where my responses were inappropriate. In fairness, as enraged as I believed I was – this was on me. I was mad at myself. Not anyone else. However, that does not mean no one else had to pay for this. No, in my testimony here, you will see that I have chosen to recount my mistakes and show them with a hopeful voice. I recount this here with hopes that this can be used as a learning device.
I will say this here: If we accept unacceptable ideas or treatment and say nothing about this, people can assume that their methods are acceptable – and they might say, “This is just how I am and maybe they’ll add, “We’ve always been like this.” If we have accepted things before, people might wonder why (all of a sudden) has what they say or do become unacceptable.
I admit this here; the exact natures of my wrongs. I admit to the damages of pride. I admit to the damaging memories of anger and what anger does. I admit that arguments can often fuel more arguments and that due to my inability to settle my own disputes and resentments, this led to a chain of results that were unfortunate and sad.
Therefore, as a parent and as a person who was in a situation to co-parent, the fights which were unavoidable at times and though not all situations are alike – I will report, here and now, that the outcomes of this can damage the most valuable moments.
This can create a larger gap and further the divide between parents and children and thus, years can pass. Sides will be chosen. Or more importantly, children will grow and never know who you truly are or how you truly feel. I say this because their version of you and their perception will be based on swayed inaccuracies and lost to faulty perceptions of who we are.
I submit that not everyone will play fairly. I submit that there are mean people and angry people and people who claim to care about the benefit of their child; yet, if they truly cared then they would stop using their child as a pawn or a piece to move in angry strategies.
I am not blaming. I am not accusing. Instead, I am submitting to the exact nature of my mistakes for the simple purpose that should I ever have to face the questions, I would rather answer them honestly.
I would rather absorb the responsibility of my behaviors than blame someone else. I would rather regard them here, like this, and openly for you to see because I know that divorce is real. I know that co-parenting is often a farce and that oftentimes, relationships can be uneven or imbalanced.
(So is fairness.)
Not everything is fair and in truth, both sides will hurt in a separation. Both will have to give in to some degree. And this is not law, by the way. This is not applicable to everyone.
There are some couples who separate, interact and parent better than when they were married. I think that’s great.
However, this is not for them. This is for the dad or the mom or the parent in whichever definition they give themselves. This is for the person who is faced with co-parenting on an uneven scale. This is for the person who finds themselves resentful or angry about impertinent facts that we believe are so important.
And later, perhaps years later, we go back to look for memories of happier times and find that our sadness has intercepted good memories because instead of being happy, we were too focused on being right.
I am here to testify that our inventory and our resentments can in fact disturb our future plans of happiness. Going forward, I offer my story to submit to anyone who is new to this journey.
Mind your decisions. Mind the way you speak. Mind what you do and mind how you plan your time.
I say this because rather than remembering a time when loneliness consumed me – and rather than thinking of the symbolism behind a memory of me, frustrated as ever, and looking into a mainly empty refrigerator – I’d rather be thinking of the more successful memories with my child.
I’d rather have seen a better youth for my child and rather than place blame, I accept my responsibility. To amend my past and to amend the moments that cannot be corrected, I offer this as a report to those who are about to enter into the separation agreement which leads them to divorce.
Parental alienation is wrong. Unless when to do so is to protect or absolutely ensure the safety of the child. Any other form of parental slander or alienation is wrong.
Mind what you say.
No one at any age should have to choose who to love or who to love more, as if this is the final piece in a winning move. Automatically, I have seen people defend their position and say, “Not me.”
I’ve seen people point blame in the other direction and for them, maybe this works.
However and for the record, I am not accusing this to be accurate in my situation. However, I have learned that pointing fingers to others instead of accepting the truth or acknowledging mistakes is cowardly. And, I admit it.
There were times when I was a coward.
But not anymore.
The kind of brave that I want to be is to be able to call myself out and acknowledge the facts about my life, honestly and openly; therefore, no one can rule me with fear.
The kind of brave I want to be is to be the person who will tell on myself before anyone can ever hold my mistakes above my head.
If I can offer anything, please let me offer this-
Find help if you need to.
Use your resources (not your children).
Make for a better life and remember that divorce (although difficult) does not mean the end. This only means that one chapter has closed so that another can begin.
I hope this helps.
I wish that what I’ve reported here was told to me when I was fresh on the scene.
But I’ve learned since then.
I hope others will too.