Like a sucker-punch to the gut, it was a completely unexpected blow from an unexpected source that I had no idea had these perceptions about me. About my little family. About us.
It is no secret to anyone in our family and social circle that the hubs and I have had a bit of a rough ride through our life together. Blows keep on coming so frequently that I’m never able to fully recover from the brunt of the last blow before I have to absorb the impact of the next blow that I never even saw coming. Health issues, family issues, financial issues, jobs, schedules (sometimes lack of said job schedules), children, housing, vehicles, investments gone south, school, and all the things that are the ups and downs of any relationship seem to always be exaggerated for us. What I mean to say is, where to most couples these things come to them as up and downs, Life looks a us and determines we need to get the Diagonal-Zig-Zag-Upside-Down-Twirly-Whirl Special. Nothing we haven’t come out on the other side of, but definitely things that have never really allowed us the feeling that we could get too comfortable for too long. Like a gypsy that never really plants roots, I find myself bracing myself so much for the next potential impact so I can be prepared, that I don’t allow myself to get too comfortable in any calm moment because I know the next shake-up is bound to come soon. Unfortunately for us, Life always seems to get us when we’re not looking…
You’d think we’d have shit figured out by now. Just about everyone around us seems to: stable careers, purchasing homes, frequent vacations, little league and dance classes for the kids, summer camps, all whilst I have a panic attack before I log into our bank account every morning.
It’s hard not to question a higher power sometimes. My husband and I have led good lives. Clean lives. We always give our best to people and never hesitate to extend a hand any time anyone asks for it, regardless of whether or not they were deserving of it. We have opened our home countless times to people who’ve fallen on hard times. I have gone shopping in my own closets and pantry to take from what little we may have to help another person that has none. I have always made room for everyone that has come to our table to make sure that if I could offer nothing else, I could at least give them a hot meal. And I have a bleeding heart for stray kitties. We are hardly saints but I honestly can’t think of a single thing that either of us have done in this lifetime to merit so many drastic shake-ups.
I have a lot of really tough nights. As a couple, we have a lot of really tough nights. Sleepless nights. Nights where after the kids have gone to bed and we can be free to peel the mask away , we talk to each other. We vent to each other. Sometimes we yell at each other. More and more frequently we seem to cry with the other.
I’m already feeling pretty damn low on the regular. Trust when I say I don’t need help on getting me lower. And then a person comes along and in trying to make a joke, goes a little too far below the belt to reveal their thoughts on our situation. Their real thoughts. We laughed it off of course , changed the topic and continued with the conversation, but in my mind, I made a mental check on that person. I see you now. I see you.
I suppose what got me about the comment is that it stems in my truth and in all my insecurities. That someone else had taken the time to think about and analyze MY situation to judge it made me feel exposed. I didn’t like it.
Hubby and I know we’ve made mistakes. We both regularly question our lives, past decisions, what we can do going forward, the choices we make as parents and how those choices affect our children, the inability to give our children the same experiences that our peers can readily afford. Are we depriving them of a childhood worth remembering? These of course are normal questions that everyone asks about themselves as we all try our best to do the best we can with what we’re given. And I swear to the mighty gods I am fucking doing my best. But in my mind these are for us to question about ourselves. Not for someone on the outside to do so and to define us.
And low-key, they were trying to define us. And if I can be honest, for a moment they succeeded. They got us at our lowest, stomped us, and kicked sand in our eyes. In that moment, all Hubby and I did was give each other that look that only 16 years of hardships together develops. The kind where you have an entire conversation with one look and 3 1/2 seconds. The kind where no further conversation was needed.
It was a quiet ride back home. We both knew what the other was thinking because we were both feeling the exact same way. Defeated.
It sucks when people only see your defeats.
Defeat does not define me. It does not define us.
We’ve been through a ride us two, but we know that we are so much more than what our failures amount to. And as a full believer in Karma, I am sure we will eventually get our dues as long as we continue to work hard and do our part. The universe helps those that help themselves. And once that day comes and we are reaping all that we have sowed, there will be no need to boast or flaunt or look down on those that looked down on us and judged us. We will simply give each other another one of those looks that you can only get with 16 years of hardships together. This time we will have a completely different conversation with that one look and 3 1/2 seconds.
The kind where absolutely no further conversation will be needed.