Today’s featured photo is one of several great selfies Bill and I took on our trip. I have a hard time looking that happy in photos without him in them. We seem to light up when we’re together… not unlike fireworks.
I’m not really a super Katy Perry fan, but this song seems appropriate for today’s post…
Hmmm… I like Katy’s music. Maybe it’s time I listened to more of it.
Yesterday, I spent a good portion of the day working on my travel blog. I still have a long way to go. Preserving memories is something I do for us, even though most people don’t seem too interested. I’ll be honest. I don’t read a lot of blogs myself. Why should I expect anyone to read mine?
It’s funny, because people will eagerly read message boards and social media posts, but they don’t often want to read a blog. However, I have an itch to write, so I do. Sometimes, I like going back and remembering what inspired my posts. So, even though the posts I spent most of yesterday writing have less than ten hits collectively, I’ll probably spend today writing a couple more of them. And I’ll keep doing that until I’ve covered the whole trip. Then, I’ll write other posts about related subjects, and I’ll write reviews for TripAdvisor or Cruise Critic or both… I really am a writer, even if others don’t think so.
I wrote something else yesterday. Just before Bill and I went on our big journey, I went back to the Recovery from Mormonism board. I had taken a couple of months off, because I was kind of pissed off at a couple of regular posters and needed a break. I don’t think that many people missed me, and I was wondering if maybe it was time to move on from that particular spot on the web. Yesterday, I realized that I still do have some things to add to the RfM community, although maybe I won’t be doing it as often as I used to.
Someone posted a thread titled “Sometimes bad decisions turn out to be good.” The thread was about how the original poster had made a poor decision when he married his first wife. But as bad as the initial decision was, and as much pain as the OP went through because of it, in the long run, the bad decision turned out to be a good one.
I couldn’t help but reflect on my husband’s history with his ex wife, and our subsequent love tale. I added a very lengthy response of my own to that thread. I actually hesitated before I wrote it, because I sense that maybe some people on that board don’t believe me… or they think I’m obnoxious or insufferable or whatever. In fairness, our story is pretty incredible. I’ve reread and done some minor editing of what I wrote, and I feel like our story sounds kind of like a made for television movie script. It’s almost contrived. But, I swear, it’s the truth.
It’s almost like Bill and I were destined to be together… but then I realize how easily we could have missed each other in this existence. If one or two things from our personal histories had been different, I might be a 51 year old virgin slogging away in a cubicle, and he might be single, or married to someone not as bad as Ex, but not as compatible with him as I am.
I’m not going to post here what I wrote there, because you can easily find the story in the blog, or you can simply click the link and read the whole thread. But I am going to ruminate on it a little and maybe add some more context to the story.
As lengthy and crazy as my post on RfM was yesterday, I really only scratched the surface of our story. I briefly mentioned that Bill was abused by his ex wife in all possible ways, but I didn’t come out and say that he was a victim of domestic violence. I’m sure Ex would deny that she abused him, too… but she did. And it wasn’t just emotional, financial, and mental abuse. She left actual physical scars in private places on his body, as she lied to other people about him. She told my husband’s parents and stepmother that he was an abuser who hates women, when really, the opposite is true. She is an abuser who, apparently, hates men.
Thankfully, Bill didn’t literally burn down any houses, as Martina McBride alludes to in her song, “Independence Day”. But, when Ex demanded a divorce that she didn’t actually want and he agreed, he did sort of figuratively “burn down the house.” That was the moment when the bad decision he’d made in 1990 started turning into a good decision.
In that thread, I shared a video of Bill and me on our Regent cruise. It was the first day, and we were sharing a bottle of champagne. This is the same video I mentioned in yesterday’s post about Bill not liking the sound of his own voice.
I think videos and photos are a good way of documenting things, and the above video offers people a means of seeing us in a way that my words can’t describe. Years ago, when I first discovered RfM, I tried to share our story, and a lot of people didn’t believe me. I got a lot of scorn and derision, with people openly doubting I was being honest. They figured Bill had to be more at fault for the failure of his first marriage than he was, because so often, it seems like men are the more guilty parties when a relationship fails. A lot of people thought I must be looking at my husband with rose tinted glasses, or just flat out lying.
It didn’t help that I’m his second wife, and a lot of people look at second wives with suspicion, and automatically assume they’re homewreckers. Conventional wisdom tells us that men are typically selfish jerks, and subsequent wives and girlfriends are scheming shrews. Just look at any good fairy tale, or popular movies like The First Wives Club. It took several years before people started to believe me. I think the fact that some people knew me on Facebook really helped. Like I wrote above, seeing photos and videos of people lends credibility. Also, I’ve been hanging out on RfM for over 20 years, and my story hasn’t changed.
I’ve also since learned that when relationships fall apart, no one is ever 100 percent at fault. Even Ex, as abusive as she was, isn’t entirely to blame for their disastrous union. The truth is, Bill made a bad decision that put him in that situation in the first place. He made that choice with the best of intentions, as he does almost every time he makes decisions. Still, he mainly married his ex wife because he had a poor self-image, and because he felt sorry for her, and her son. He believed her lies, and surrendered his critical thinking skills. That’s on him.
Bill is kind, considerate, empathic, and nice to a fault. His father was a very nice person who had a tendency to let people walk all over him. His mom is also a very kind person who made some unfortunate choices that had profound effects on Bill. All of that led to a perfect storm that made him especially vulnerable when Ex showed up in Germany with her toddler aged son in tow. He was ripe for the picking, and she knew it. She took full advantage, and he passively went along for the ride. That part is his fault, not hers. He paid a steep price for that decision, but he takes full responsibility for it. At least he eventually recouped the substantial loss with interest!
As easy as it could be to make Ex the villain, I also realize that what Bill did was wrong. No one wants to be married out of pity. Ex, like most everyone else, wanted to be loved. She lacked the maturity, commitment, and generosity of spirit that true love requires. In my view, unconditional love is a myth. Even parents and children sometimes fall out of love with each other. Everyone has a red line, where a person can go too far and the relationship is ruined. She didn’t want to allow Bill to have a red line. She demanded that he prove to her that she could do no wrong. It wasn’t a realistic thing to ask of him. She wanted a perfect machine, not an imperfect man.
I think Ex expected unconditional love, and she continually tested Bill to get him to show her how unconditionally he loved her. She also didn’t reciprocate. It was a plan that was bound to fail, because all things have a breaking point.
And, to be honest, Bill didn’t really love Ex… at least not in the same way he loves me. I know it sounds arrogant for me to write that, but it’s the truth. Their marriage wasn’t based on true regard or chemistry. It was based on pity, dishonesty, and anxiety over the prospect of being alone. They didn’t marry because they were best friends who loved being together. They married because he wanted a family, and he felt sorry for her and her son. She wanted a husband with a good job, and she was willing to have more babies to secure her spot in his future.
Bill and I got married because we genuinely love being with each other. There are undeniable sparks between us. We don’t need any fireworks on July 4th. They are in our eyes whenever we’re together. The one thing that both of us did right in our lives is marry each other. We just fit. As I struggle to wear fashionable clothes these days, I realize how rare it is to have a perfect fit like ours… 😉 We are very fortunate. And as much as I despise Ex, I realize that without her, and that terrible decision my husband made in 1990, we couldn’t have this. Somehow, we built a beautiful mansion out of what was originally a smoldering hill of crap.
I have made mistakes in my life, and I do have some regrets. I wish I had a less irritating, shocking, and outspoken personality, for instance. I wish I were more appealing to the masses and had an easier time making friends. However, if I were that way, I probably wouldn’t be the right woman for Bill. I may be “obnoxious as hell”, as my mom once put it. But there is no doubt in my mind that I am the right person for Bill.
It also isn’t lost on me that my own self-perception of how most people see me may also be somewhat wrong. My mom sent me a card and a letter for my birthday. In her letter, she wrote something that genuinely touched my heart and was the greatest birthday gift I ever could have received from her.
For most of my life, I was under the impression that my mom found me super annoying. My parents and my sisters used to criticize me a lot, for everything from my appearance to the way I laugh. I got a lot of shit from people about my laugh, which you can hear for yourself in the above video. My dad actually hated it, and told me so. He said I sounded like a witch cackling. My sisters used to tell me it sounded “fake”, when– sorry– that is honestly the laugh God gave me. I really can’t help it!
Well… in her recent letter to me, which was accompanied by a funny birthday card referencing dogs’ common obsessions with their own feces, my mom wrote this…
“I wouldn’t just send anybody this card! I started reading it and started laughing, remembering Rhonda and Ginger (two beloved dogs we had when I was a teenager) and knowing a dog lover would enjoy it– also remembering how you laugh at things– I miss that laugh!!!”
My mom has changed a lot since my dad passed away almost 9 years (to the day– he passed on July 9) ago. She’s no longer under so much stress, so she is much happier and kinder. I know she misses me. She might be one of the few. 😉 I’ll have to give her a ring today.
Well, I supposed I’ve prattled on long enough. Time to practice guitar, walk Noyzi, and write more about our trip. I hope this post made some sense… and, as for Ex, I reiterate the wisdom in this song, which I recorded some months ago…