Sometimes I forget the reason I started blogging. Some days I forget about that moment, a little over three years ago (!), when I sat down, logged onto Blogspot and created The Happy Hausfrau. My goal wasn't to become popular, it wasn't to seek revenge. My goal was simple:
I wanted other women going through a very particular kind of hell, the shitstorm of having your husband leave you, to know they weren't alone.
I wanted to tell my story, because I still remembered what it was like, those first few weeks and months after he left. How utterly alone I felt. I knew what it was like to sit down at the end of a long day, weary and sad and feeling the weight of the world and all of its unknowns settling down on my broken shoulders.
I knew what it was like to trudge, in a zombie-ish fashion, throughout the day wearing all sorts of masks:
The "Strong Lady" mask
The "Tough Chick" mask
The "Super Mom" mask
The "EVERYTHING IS FINE!" mask
And I remember, oh-so-clearly, what I saw in the mirror when I took off those masks. I saw a woman who had been crushed. A woman who was surrounded by people all the live long day but had never felt so isolated. A woman who so desperately needed to know that she was going to be okay. That her kids were going to be okay. That everything was most certainly going to be okay.
I wrote a post called "What To Do When Your Husband Leaves You". And then a follow up to that post. As of today, the original one has had almost 100,000 views. With dozens more coming every day. Sometimes I look at the little application that tells me what search terms people have used to find this blog of mine. Sometimes they're amusing: "fat naked housefraw" "what does a pound of fat look like" and my personal all time favorite, "hairy hausfrau".
The ones that are always there, though, are the not so funny ones. "What do I do when husband leaves" "my daughter's husband left her with two little ones" "husband leaves after 25 years". And the one I read this morning that touched me so much:
"Husband leaving, need hope and strength"
I wanted to reach out to the woman who typed that one. I want to find out who she is, I want to sit down with her and hold out a box of tissues for her while she tells me her story. I want to hold her close and comfort her and tell her that everything is going to be okay.
I'm not a liar. I don't like to give false hope. I think the harsh reality of this life is, sometimes it sucks. Things happen that we aren't prepared for. Things happen that scare the crap out of us, threaten to ruin us. Things happen that leave us feeling depleted. Defeated.
The other reality of this life, the one that isn't so harsh? It's that life goes on. These things happen and they hurt and they almost kill us. But we get up, we assess the damage. Some of us look around, furtively, to make sure nobody saw us fall. And then we do something that amazes us.
We carry on. We get out of bed, sometimes we shower. We make lunches and balance checkbooks and answer emails. Some of us go to work, some of us stay home. We visit therapists and college admission offices and food shelves. We go on field trips with our kids, we take walks by ourselves just to hear the sound of our feet making contact with the road.
We go to church or synagogue or mosque or Macy's. We gather our friends around us, we find out which ones are in it for the long haul and which ones we need to set free. We comfort our babies. We get dogs.
We do what we need to do. What our kids need us to do. What the world expects us to do.
And then, one day...something miraculous happens. Yes, we shower, but something even better than that. One day we wake up and we realize that the hurt doesn't hurt so bad anymore. We look at our kids and realize that they are growing up and doing the things normal kids do. We realize that over the past few months, we've been the ones helping our friends out, instead of the other way around.
We realize that we are indeed okay.
Look at me, ladies. Look at this hot mess I am. I lost everything that was mine just a few short years ago: my husband. My house. My comfortable, predictable life.
My life now? It's not all wine and roses, people. I don't have a 401k or even a savings account. I don't own, I rent. I drive a used car that has a fair amount of duct tape holding one of the side mirrors together. I gain and lose the same 25 pounds every year. I have one kid who grapples with mental demons every day, one kid who has a slight anger management problem, one kid who will deal with daddy issues the rest of her life and a kid who is wrestling with puberty. I've dated a bunch but have yet to fall in love, and I'm beginning to think that it's my destiny to be the eccentric single lady for the rest of my days. I have a vibrator somewhere but due to panic over the kids finding it I have hidden it so well that the freaks on "Storage Wars" will unearth it before I do.
I work 3 part time jobs, pieced together like a patchwork quilt in order to make ends meet. Hell, I don't even have a guaranteed job for next fall. I'm worried about this summer and about the rest of my life.
But...I'm here. I'm alive. I'm relatively happy. I shower at least 4 times a week. I have made so many good friends, and hung onto so many of the old ones that I can't venture out my front door without running into one of them. A couple of weeks ago, I stood up in front of 500-plus people and read out loud. Read a story I wrote about a stupid pasta bowl that made me cry.
I have made huge progress since that day my husband left me. Am I success story? I don't know about that. But I do know I am an "okay story". And I want those ladies, those sweet and sad and lost ladies out there, to know that they will be okay stories too. They already are.
I don't ever ask you guys to share anything I've written. I loathe the thought of pimping out my blog, of begging for comments or likes or whatever. But I want you to do something for me, and more importantly, for the women who are just now asking for hope and strength:
Share this. And add YOUR story to it. Comment here with your own advice. Tell me, and our new sisters, what gave YOU hope and strength when you needed it the most. Here's your chance to chime in and describe how you felt then, and how you feel NOW. Tell us about the day YOU knew you were going to be okay.
I'm still tweaking my never-ending manuscript that will hopefully become a book. One thing that has been stumping me is the epilogue, the "happily ever after" ending.
I think a chapter written by ALL of us would be kind of kick ass. Don't you?
A chapter called, tentatively, "Okay Ever After: Stories of Hope and Strength".
Get to typin', girls. We all want to hear your story.