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Today I changed my life forever.  No going back, it’s a done deal.  I am now tattooed.

It’s something I’ve been considering and kicking around for a very, very long time and I finally did it.  I now have a medium-small butterfly on the inside of my wrist in white ink, yay!

I drew the butterfly myself and chose white ink on purpose because the tattoo is for me and nobody else (according to the tattoo artist I had her put it on “upside down”, lol!) – I can see it, and I don’t care if you can see it or not.  I’m a pale and pasty critter thanks to my genetics and I did my research – my goal with choosing the white ink is for it to be a very subtle change in my skin tone once it’s done healing so that it’s barely noticeable unless you’re looking for it.

For me this butterfly tattoo is a reminder of how I’ve become braver and stronger and that there are still more amazing things for me to become in the future.  It’s a symbol that I am finally recognizing myself as who God created me to be – and that person is beautiful.  That I don’t have to stay locked up in the box of what other people have insisted I should be over all these years.  It is a statement to myself and to the world that I am not a doormat any longer.

My husband is not happy about my decision.  At All.  In his mind I’m already got 50 tattoos because “one tattoo leads to another and nobody stops at just one”.  He won’t believe me when I say I’m not planning to get more tattoos and become the next Tattooed Lady Circus Side Show Act.  Then he says “I don’t want a tattooed wife” and I know he’s specifically meaning he doesn’t want to be married to someone who looks like an Old Lady from a motorcycle gang but tattooed is tattooed whether it’s one tattoo or head to toe… I almost hate to break it to him but mister, ya got yourself a tattooed wife as of about 6:30 this evening!  (I know, he’s still in shock.)

He also believes that I’ve willfully sinned against the Bible because there’s a verse in the Old Testament that says not to get tattoos.  That verse happens to be right next to a verse that says “Don’t round the corners of your beard” and nobody gives a second thought about not obeying that verse anymore.  When I brought this up to him his reasoning was that the whole beard thing was not a permanent change to one’s body while tattoos are so therefore the beard verse didn’t need to be obeyed while the tattoo verse did.  Seriously?  What gives him the authority to pick and chose which verses of the Bible should be obeyed and which ones have become superfluous?  That whole announcement from him is mind-blowing to me and makes me wonder what his faith is actually based on.  My decision to go ahead and get the tattoo is based on verses in the New Testament telling us (summarized) that thanks to Jesus’ death on the cross we now live under grace, not the law.  And that if we try to obtain righteousness, or right standing with God, by following even one rule of the law that we must fulfill the entire law to become righteous that way – and it is clearly spelled out that it is not possible for any human being to keep the entire law.  Whereas if we accept the grace of God we can be saved by believing in Jesus and the rest of the world will know if we are truly disciples of Christ or not by our love for God and one another.

And there it is, the plain and simple Gospel.  Obviously different from what my husband  believes.  Our belief incompatibilities once again brought to the surface, this time because of a small, simple, nearly invisible tattoo.

Sooo… it’s been just over a month since I told my husband we should think about Divorce as an option and just under a month since he told me I was acting just like my mother.

At the end of the I’m-acting-like-my-mother conversation we have agreed that, at least for a while, we will not talk about the church I left that he still attends and it has actually been a (mostly) pleasant month between us.   I have found another church, signed up to join one of their small groups and taken free veggies from their Bountiful Harvest Table.  He is trying extra hard to be loving and kind, thoughtful and sweet and I can see his efforts and I am proud of him for it.  I do actually like him as a person, believe it or not.  On my end I am trying extra hard to be receptive to his changes.

However, I don’t think that I am succeeding very well.  I’m so tired and worn.  I feel broken and damaged and in need of a larger personal bubble for healing.  On top of that I have reached a point where I don’t want to have sex ever again in my whole entire life.  Most likely this feeling will change over time and right now it’s honestly not his fault, he’s been trying so hard to be a good husband, especially over the last month.  He’s being affectionate outside the bedroom by reaching out and grabbing my hand – every single time I walk  by – and he’s wanting to snuggle  – every night – and he’s giving me lots of hugs – nearly every time either he or I walks into or out of a room – and I’m overwhelmed.  It’s too much.  He’s being so terribly sweet and these are all things I wanted very much 10 years ago but my desire for them now has pretty much shriveled up and died.

My prayers of the last 2o years, begging and pleading God to let me enjoy sex have never been answered positively and I’ve stopped praying for that particular request.  At the moment, I’m not praying for much at all except for God to Save Me.

I just turned 41 last month.  Staying with my husband who is trying so hard to be a good man seems like the right thing to do, the “Christian” thing to do, the Good Wife thing to do.  If I go through with my earlier thoughts of divorcing him I WILL be like my mother – in some regards.  I will be the one to blame for dissolving a 20+ year marriage and I won’t be able to give any reason other than I simply don’t want to be married any more and can’t stomach the thought of possibly having another 20 years like the first 20.

Something’s got to give.  I need God to do a miracle in my heart in order for me to stay.  I need God to do a miracle in my courage in order for me to go.

Our youngest daughter turns 18 in early January.  We had planned an extravagant (for us) 18th birthday party for our oldest daughter last year and are attempting to do something similar for our youngest daughter’s 18th this coming year.  In large part because of our youngest daughter I am going to put all my “What do I do” questions aside for now and once we get through the holidays and her birthday party I will reevaluate.  I’ll see where he’s at and where I’m at and go from there.  It’s about three months from now and a lot can happen in that amount of time.

I’m neither suicidal or homicidal but wishful thinking says that just maybe God will take one of us home during that time and I won’t have to confront this situation.  Nah, I can already tell that’s not going to happen.  God’s going to make me walk through this because it will make me stronger and He’s all about Growing Up, maturing, if you will.  Darn it anyway…

So moving forward I plan on:  Focusing on the moment, being present in the moment and planning no further ahead than the next three months; Responding appropriately to my husband and family while focusing on being with them in each moment; Planning a kick-ass birthday party; Surviving Thanksgiving and Christmas (with relatives who are all being super-nice to me right now because my husband has told them what’s going on – seriously, it took them 20 years AND the threat of divorce to be this nice to me?  That’s not really helping their cause much…) and last but not least, taking care of as much debt as possible because whether I go or stay next year having less debt will be a very good thing.  Less debt is always a good thing.

Just another day in paradise, and another, and another…  let’s see if I can get three months of days in paradise, eh?