Stroke of Midnight

3, 2, 1, Happy New Year! Except I am already asleep, and dead to the world. This is the first time in my life where I have been asleep at midnight when the old year passes and we seamlessly slip into the new. This year, asleep is where I want to be. Asleep and oblivious.

Rewind to Thanksgiving, a little less than two months ago. I have just learned that throughout the duration of our marriage, my husband of over four years has been hiding a pornography addiction from me. He’s also been hiding that he’s had cyber sex with maybe ten women since we’ve been married. I know, it doesn’t sound like a big deal. But this shook me to my core. A million questions float through my mind constantly, like waves crashing on the shore. They never stop, the intervals just change. What else was he hiding? Why didn’t he tell me? Did he have feelings for any of them? Why did he do this? Am I going to stay in this marriage where my husband doesn’t love me, or am I going to leave? I thought back to all of the time that we had shared together, and how much of myself I invested in the marriage. As much as he would disagree, I put myself aside in order to focus on him a lot. “Wives submit to your husbands.” the church says. He liked to remind me of this, too. I guess to him this meant “sacrifice every dream and desire you have ever had so that you can follow along behind me like a puppy dog and be there to cheer me on.” While I will always be his number one fan and cheerleader, somehow, I didn’t think this was what God had in mind when he told wives to submit.

He had lots of dreams, goals, and ambitions. He knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life- knew what he wanted to be, where he wanted to go, and who he wanted to be. For that, and that alone, I was jealous of him. I spent so much time focusing on him that I didn’t think a lot about what I wanted to do, or who I was. I put so much of myself into our marriage that I lost myself. A question that began to make its way to the forefront of my mind was “What about me?” I slowly, with the speed of molasses, began to realize that I could truly put myself at center stage. Now, I am a selfish, only child by nature so I will always put myself first. This putting myself first meant putting my own soul, spirit, and mentality first. It meant discovering what my own try happiness meant to me, and depending on no one else for it. I could finally find out what I wanted in life, and discover who I wanted to be. The best, truest version of myself.

As I began to ponder my life without a husband, I realized that being married had been, until that point, the only goal I hoped to achieve for my life. All I ever wanted to be was married. I aspired to marriage, and didn’t bother to think much past that. I thought back to when I wanted to be a singer; wanted to eat, sleep, and breathe music. School didn’t work out, however. It proved to be too much for my anxiety to handle. Then I remembered how I had wanted to be a professional makeup artist since I was 15 and had my first MAC makeover. Or maybe I would swallow my anxiety long enough to get a degree and then go into marketing. The fact of the matter was that the possibilities were endless, and I was excited. I actually couldn’t fathom the endlessness of these possibilities, never allowed it to fully consume me. There were so many options that I just couldn’t think about them all.

On the other hand, we’d been married for over four years- almost five. We were building a life together and had shared so much with each other. Of course we were close, I mean, how could you not be? He had just started talking about buying our first house which excited me beyond reason. Then, he started talking about having kids which excited me even more. We talked at length sometimes about how we wanted our life to be, the life we were building together. One cat, one dog, one house, two kids. He would teach them Bible and I would teach them music. My Mom would babysit and spoil them and have fun with them, just like she did with me when I was a kid. His parents would see them a few weekends out of the year and teach them about nerdy things. It was a perfect plan, so how could he hide something like this from me the whole time? Wasn’t his conscience tearing him apart? More importantly, could I really throw all of that away for something as benign as cyber sex? I mean, it wasn’t physical sex with another woman, but to me it was still cheating just the same. The betrayal was the same. The hurt and pain, I guarantee you, were exactly the same. I cried almost every day. I felt like I was mourning a loss, and I was. The loss of a life partner, a best friend, a mate, the life that could have been, and it hurt. I would go to work every day like nothing was wrong and just think, “shouldn’t there be some sort of bereavement time for something like this?” I felt like I needed time to myself to just grieve, but I knew I couldn’t do that. So, solider on, I did.

All of these thoughts and questions, amongst others, kept me awake all night. They distracted me during the day and kept me from focusing on anything else. I drank. A lot. Often. I drank because it was like a miracle elixir that shut all of the thoughts and questions off. It was the “Off” button for me, and I needed it. Everything was so overwhelming that I didn’t think I could handle it. It crushed me whenever I let it fully crash over me like an enormous, 100 foot wave during high tide. It engulfed and swallowed me and dragged me down to the depths of my mind and left me drowning in sadness. So, I have said all of this to say that on this particular New Year’s Eve, when I am all alone in my apartment and my friends, family, and husband are elsewhere, I am blissfully asleep.

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