There will be moments, forever etched into my soul.
Mind shifting moments.
Moments that remind me, seasons change. It does get better. I am better. I have grown. I have moved forward.
I am no longer controlled by another. By abusive words. By choices. By lies, betrayal, finances, addiction.
THIS was one of those moments.
I must write the words.
So they don’t become stuck.
Words explode as part of my growth. My graduation.
My. Next. Chapter.
or. rather. the last page. of the last chapter of a very different book.
I was having coffee at one of my favorite restaurants. A place where I’ve celebrated Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Saturday morning breakfast conversations with my boys. One of our city’s most hidden of hidden gems. On this day, I was celebrating friendship, catching up with an old friend.
Sipping coffee, I looked up. He entered the restaurant. With a woman. For a moment, I froze. The old feelings of distress attempted to make their ugly shivers known.
No! NOT THIS TIME. I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. I told my own soul. I recognized the familiar words that he had written only a few days before.
I’m not the same person, Christelle. God has changed me. I spoke in chapel. The Holy Spirit was all over it. You are the love of my life, the only woman who has ever loved me. Will you go on a date with me? Can we celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary? I’m not that person any more. I only hang out with my male friends. Go to work. Coach. Go home. There are no other women in my life…
I recognized all the words. All the feelings. All the sentiments. I had heard them in various forms before. During several sets of women. Each time, growing more and more devastated.
Lies. if we allow them. will crush our heart, soul, mind. Lies, when we make them about us, will keep us stuck. And when we stay silent, we become the keeper of another’s lies. Another’s dysfunction. Another’s betrayal. In fact, we become their greatest asset: their enabler. And in turn, we become. Co-dependent.
For 8 years, his affairs controlled me. Destroyed me. Kept me bound to unworthiness. Not being enough. I reacted to pain with harsh words for him and to them. Affairs with my own friends, acquaintances, others. So. Many. Others. Text messages. Pornography. Emails. Phone calls. Dates. Gifts. Time. And for 8 years, I deconstructed, much like the seed that must deconstruct before it blooms.
On this day. At this moment. I knew. Everything had changed.
Not him. He was exactly the same. I had changed. I HAVE changed. I stood. I walked over to the table where he sat. I looked him in the eyes. So many words, flashed through my mind. 21 years of marriage. Hospital visits. Births of children. Miscarriages. Holidays. Celebrations. 3 Moves across the country. All those moments shimmering through my eyes. But on this day. And at this moment. I had my power back. Hello, I said. I could tell he was baffled. Perhaps shocked. Perhaps … One can only guess or assume… I looked at her. Hi, my name is Christelle. What is your name? She answered.
I looked back at him.
Steady. I had risen. I know who I am. I am a powerful woman. Created to make powerful choices. My choices effect both me, my sphere, and potentially my community and world. I am created by the most powerful force in the world. Created in His image, I am love. I walk in love. I turned and looked at her. Then him.
It was nice meeting you. Have a wonderful afternoon. And I walked away.
The truth is, it no longer matters that we are still married. On paper. Only. We are both allowed to have friends. I left him well over a year ago. Our marriage destroyed long before that. The lies no longer matter. They no longer shatter my soul. I recognize the stories. They’ve been told for more than 20 years. What’s different is ME. My deconstruction is complete. I’ve been growing through the dirt, the mire…
Now. It’s merely logistics. of a marriage that once was. an old chapter. A book. Now complete. because Today. I’m writing the first page. of a new chapter. of a new book. And the title is:
She began, again.