Monday, April 1, 2013

Origin Story

This is the story of What Happened. It is not pretty, and it's very personal, but it is my hope that in getting this OUT and having an easy reference point or record of some kind, I can begin to let go. This is also the LAST TIME I wanna talk about it. I'm not avoiding it or repressing What Happened, but dredging up negativity isn't fun for anyone. So I'm putting this out, I'm releasing it into the ether, and this way if anyone wants to know there's an easy reference point. This is letting go of anger, This is What Happened. It's no longer what is happening.

So yeah, this is raw, it's ugly, it specifically mentions the time Jay sucked a dude's dick, and it's petty and childish and awful. I realize that. But tell you what: hold on to a) a secret like that for 12 years and b) have that person SERIOUSLY FUCKING WRONG YOU and you may allow yourself a little venting. I'm sure there's an alternative version of this story somewhere on the West Coast with it's own set of opinions and truths. You're welcome to cross-reference, but this is the last I'm saying about anything.

At some point, I will wish him well. Now is not that point.

I'm willing to be petty and small and air some dirty laundry if it means I can let go of it. In fairness, Jay is welcome to tell his side of the story, and all the awful things I did to him. All the times I yelled at him, or treated him unkindly. Oh, wait there aren't any? Oh, awesome, OK then. Moving on: I went into the the Seminar with a healthy amount of skepticism- after all, the first three pages of Google results identify it as a cult.

My friend Alex and I joked on the way down about all the BDGs (Broken, Damaged Girls) who would be there, crying about their breakups and divorces into a microphone in front of a roomful of strangers. We giggled as I envisioned myself making unsympathetic Danny DeVito "Penguin" noises after each sob story: "Whaaaank, whaaank whaaaank!"

After we got there, though, we could see a large variety of people- not just BDGs, but... just... everyone. And when the first few people spoke, confused boyfriends, adulterous newlyweds, bewildered single parents... it was touching, but later as it grew more intense the real stories started coming out. One girl in her early 20's took the mic and described how she'd watched as her father murdered her brother and mom. How she'd gone to foster school dirty and afraid, and was beaten frequently.

I looked over at Alex and held up two Penguin Hands and we both vehemently shook our heads no, eyes wide with horror at this girl's tragic origin story.

I say origin story in the same sense that every superhero has one- some defining rough moment or moments which forever seals their fate into who they must become. But as Iearned, Who We Become has NOTHING to do with anyone but us. I was convinced I'd gone to the Seminar to get over my Ex. I hated him, I wanted him to suffer as I'd been suffering- I blamed him for everything I'd been through the past year and a half and I wanted to get over my anger and MOVE PAST it. I realized that everything was 100% Jay's fault and I was fine like that. I mean, obviously! Look at me! "I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine," I'd insist, sobbing.

The Landmark Seminar taught us to differentiate between What Happened, like, what ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY HAPPENED versus the story we tell ourselves about what happened. What Happened was that Jay left me when he searched our computer's browser history and realized I'd been researching ways to overdose on perscription antidepressants and sleep medicine without causing a coma. I'd told myself that that meant I didn't deserve to live.
What Happened was that Jay said he didn't love me anymore. I'd told myself that that meant I was unloveable.
What Happened was Jay left me, sobbing and begging him not to go, literally clutching at his ankles and hysterical on the floor wrapped in a pile of electrical cables.
(The only thing he left behind as he vacated our Hollywood apartment.)

I'd been the one living like I never got off the floor. I remember staying on that floor for 4 hours. I couldn't move. I couldn't speak. I couldn't even see- I was experiencing hysterical blindness, and was terrified when I reached for my phone to call him and couldn't see the numbers- I accidentally called my mom, and scared the shit out of her gasping out some kind of desperate choking sound. I had cried myself out to the point of immobility. I don't recall how or where I spent that night.

I don't remember a lot about the next few days, actually. I look back and just remember darkness. I stayed in our apartment through the end of the month, because Jay and I were going to get back together- things were fine. He'd promised. We were just separated, and even though I'd suggested the separation so we could both work on ourselves (he'd been completely uninterested in our marriage for months and spending all his spare time out with other girls, at my exclusion) and I was curious what it might feel like to be wanted again. By someone, anyone, else.

Jay told me he wanted me to work on certain things- I needed to prove that I could completely support myself (as he no longer wanted the responsibility) and I needed to get healthy. No more crying all night and sleeping all day. No more tranquilizers and memory loss from the handfulls of pills I'd have to take before I could get any sleep. He wanted me to live on my own and get into a routine. Very reasonable.
For me, I didn't ask him to work on anything- After all he was flawless in my eyes.

I simply wanted him to miss me and love me the way I thought he used to. I had fallen into a terrible depression since we'd moved, and the 4 months I spent while he was in New York had taken a terrible toll on our relationship. Jay promised me before he left that he would continue to manage our bills and paperwork electronically, as he had done throughout our marriage. I was happy to let him do so- he'd let me down over the past year by avoiding paying bills because he wanted to file for bankruptcy and I didn't. He also told me he would handle getting some sort of compensation from the moving company which robbed us and vandalized our stuff when we moved to LA. A year had passed and he hadn't made any progress- I felt like he wasn't keeping his word to me about getting it done, and that he was failing to stand up for us. So I was happy to let him handle the bills because dammit he needed to do SOMETHING, right?

(I wasn't very big on the concept of "taking care of myself," Like, at all.)

I was convinced he was cheating on me in New York. When he returned, he seemed like a different person- all he wanted to do was party and drink. He picked up some Ecstasy pills from an employer and brought them home in his pocket. MY husband? drugs? This wasn't him! I demanded he return the pills, and he told me he would but then, at that point, he had checked out and was telling me whatever he thought would make me cry the least. He began turning lights off to rooms that I was still in.

He stopped talking to me- and the more he pulled away the tighter I clung- the more fearful and desperate I became, terrified that he'd leave me. I'd sit up all night with him watching while he played XBox games- we were playing together (or so I thought) until I came home from work ready for the final battle in Oblivion when he shrugged me off and casually announced that he'd beaten the game that morning. "Why didn't you wait for me?" "I didn't think you cared." He had forgotten I was even in the room at that point.

I never hurt myself before I met Jay, but I started to fairly on in our relationship. It began when I took him back after he cheated the first time. I HAD to forgive him, he said, or he couldn't handle feeling guilty and he'd leave. Since I couldn't be mad at him, I began to be mad at my body instead. Little wounds I could suffer, little outlets for pain I couldn't express to him, because it couldn't be his fault I was unhappy. In Hollywood, towards the end, I'd bring my "tools" with me to work, and sit in traffic on the way home til the blood ran to my elbows. Because it simply wasn't his fault I was so lonely. He'd bought me those self-help books a while back, hadn't he? See? He cared.

I tried drinking just to keep up with him so we could do something-anything together, but we were going through a bankruptcy and he'd blow $90 at a time on tequila shots. When I was too exhausted to play and had to get up at 5:30AM for my CSI Internship, he'd go out clubbing without me, spending more money we didn't have. Then he started spending time with other girls- some I knew to be homewrecking whores, and others I merely suspected. I was so desperate to just BE with him one night after I'd taken Ambien and Xanax to sleep, when he texted to say he was at the club across the street (with HER) I got out of bed, got dressed and stumbled across Hollywood Boulevard to join them on their date. I ordered a drink. He was not amused.

She spent most of the night laughing at me as I repeated myself, slurring.
Total third wheel.
They let me wander home alone that night I guess.
I woke up alone.

At some point I'd cut myself again.

After that, he stopped telling me where he was or who he was out with. I was only his wife- I didn't really have a right to know. He was going to marriage counseling with me, and we spent pretty much every session arguing over HER. I didn't like that he was out with her and not me while I was at work. He thought he had every right to do so and was sick of my depression. Witnessing the destruction of my Fairy Tale, I became despondant and began wondering how I should kill myself to get his attention, but still allow my mom to have an open-coffin funeral.
(Many overdoses and hangings create disfigurement. Totally tacky.)

My alarm went off at 5:30am. I'd hit snooze and assume some sort or prayer position, knees curled beneath me as I buried my face in my pillow. I'd then make my way to my closet, where I would sit and shake like a frightened animal, dreading the next 16 hours. He never once even reached out to touch me. I don't think we had breakfast together even once. Not that I was eating.

Our therapist suggested to me that we separate, and I pitched the idea to Jay who was ecstatic with the plan. Two months, that's it- then we'll get back together- I promised Jay to fix what was wrong with me and he promised to... well, there wasn't anything wrong with him, right, so... he promised to stay in touch. Somehow, though I had a baaaad feeling about it and told him I'd changed my mind. "Too late," he said, and packed up everything that belonged to him, and separated our phone bills and netflix accounts.

Netflix, Jay? Really???

I became terrified as I watch him pack- he took everything. He knew I had nowhere to live and no way to pay rent, so he took absolutely all of our belongings with him except for our bed, a pile of cables and the cats. He even took the refrigerator with him, and the ice cooler too so he could keep his tequilla cold while on route to HER house, where he would be living for two months. But just two months, really. Honest. My god I was stupid. To clarify: he left me with literally nothing but a bed and some wires, but that wasn't malicious- he knew I would be unable to pay rent with my unpaid internship "salary," so he took our stuff and put it in a storage unit to keep it safe for both of us. He also paid for the storage and gave me a key, which was nice.

But then, see, I thought he was telling the truth about the two months.

At some point I must've gotten up off the floor because I made it to work at my temp job at Newline Cinema and got offered a 4-month deal- steady employment! I enrolled in a free tae-kwon-do class and got myself in a healthy routine. I lived, supporting myself, with an amazing friend who allowed me to cry myself to sleep when I needed and to cry on her shoulder when I needed. My LA friends rallied around me and lovingly stomped out my flames, pieced me back together, took the pill bottle out of my hand and held me as I went to sleep on some nights. Over that period of time I did absolutely everything Jay had asked me to do.

He left me on February 12th- I had no way of knowing he'd filed for divorce on February 14th.

Happy Valentine's Day.

However, he didn't have the balls to tell me I'd been baited and switched until much much later. He came over and talked with me twice. He even killed a spider for me in my bathroom. He stopped by before I left the Hollywood apartment and found me curled up in a corner. (I had no furniture, remember?) He'd only been by to retrieve an HDMI cable he'd left by accident, but when he asked me how I was and I burst into tears because I was so hungry, he softened a little. I'd lost so much weight, I was all ribs and red-rimmed eyes.
"Here," he said, and pulled something out of his wallet.
He then stood over me and joked how he was "making it rain," by sprinkling down some Sharkey's Buy-One-Get-One coupons.

I blinked up at him. "What are these?"
"Bogo," he smiled benevolently.

I thanked him and told him I loved him and I was looking forward to spending time with him again soon. He got his cable and left, knowing we were already divorcing. When the door closed behind him I stared at the coupon and cried, knowing I had no way of buying one in order to get one. Later, I missed him and spent a rare break at work writing, and sent him a list of 100 reasons I loved him. He got the email and showed up my door that night with a lie, telling me he'd "decided to file" when he'd really already done it 2 days after he left me on the kitchen floor.

I emailed his mistress, Heather Ann Grall. (Cute initials, hunh? HAG? I know, adorable, right?) I knew who she was. I'd googled her, and sent her a facebook message along the lines of "Hey, could you please take my husband's dick out of your mouth long enough for him to get through this separation? We're trying to work on things." She immediately blocked me, and Jay called to tell me to "stop threatening his girlfriend." Wowwww. First time he shows evidence of balls and it's defending this dog-faced whore?
I kept asking him "is she prettier than me," and he'd never answer. Once I saw her, and realized to my surprise that the answer was an easy "NO," I wondered why he didn't just say so, But the fact is, she has money and he wants X and DJ equipment.
Also, she is dumb enough to still worship him and convince his fragile ego that he's any kind of a man.
At some point they'll most likely have average-to-below-average children together, and I can't wait till they ask for the classic story of how Mommy and Daddy met:
"Well, Daddy abandoned a really great girl when he found a suicide note, and your mom was a homewrecking whore in the right place at the right time!"

It is my hope that if they ever breed, their children will be born without the faculties for such a line of questioning, because the moment they realize what a fucking bitch-titted tequilla-bloated cowardly waste their father is, and what a weak, frightened homewrecking slut their mom is, they'll most likely be unhappy. Perhaps the money he'll never send me for spousal support can be put towards their therapy, or better yet, sterilization. Don't most bitches get sterilized?

But I digress... One day during our "separation" (when I had no idea he'd already filed) when I had a small meltdown from the stress at my internship, I drove by Jay's office on my way home. I'd called and left a message- I just needed a hug from my husband- it seemed like the only thing in the world that would make me feel better. I even called his mom just to have a sense of him. She told me to "grow up and move on, that he didn't love me anymore."

(She always was a cunt.)

But that sent me into a spiral of anxiety, because I didn't know he'd already filed for divorce and not told me. Having no idea I'd been Inceptioned, I walked into his office and asked his receptionist if Jay Barwick was available. She looked at me like a crazy person when I explained that I was his wife. "Oh," she says.
"I didn't know he was married."
She walks down the hall and emerges with Jay, who storms over to me, grabs me by the upper arm and marches me to the elevator.
"What are you doing here?" he hissed. This is not my husband...
"I- I left you a message- I just wanted a hug- your mom scared me so bad, I-"
"You are NOT ALLOWED to visit me at work!" (News to me.) He forces me out of the elevator and into a bright sunlit outdoor lobby.
It's crowded and I'm crying.
"You need to leave."
"Will you just hug me, please? Like a normal person?" I'm sobbing and tears are starting to come out my nose.
"No- you're embarassing me." He stands with his arms folded.
Like a fool, I tried to hug him and he pushed me away so hard I lost my balance in my work heels. I stumble back and people stare.
I start to cry harder.
"Go or I'll call security," he says.

I... I somehow make it back to my car and sob in a dark parking garage for an hour. What kind of horrible monster must I be if he won't even touch me... This man was my best friend- I've been by his side for 16 years! Over half my life! He promised to love me forever... I must be so worthless... I'm sure I made some melodramatic FB update at that point because when I arrive home, Arica and Aaron are on my doorstep, waiting for me. They held me until I could walk again.

I lost 25 pounds over that period. I got dangerously skinny, and feral about food. Any progress I'd made "for Jay" quickly became undermined when he finally told me he'd filed for divorce without even giving me a chance. I gave up on myself and began living just as a form of survival. My friends were the only thing that kept me going- I was determined to stay in LA until I could finish out my Writer's Internship, and I did. I lasted 8 months out there on my own, and came back to Florida when the show went on hiatus, to work, recover, and EAT.

So I found myself at the Seminar, wondering what was wrong with me, why he didn't love me, how could he do that to me, etc etc WHAAAANK WHAANK WHAAANK. And then came that awful assignment: we had to call "that person" in our lives, (obviously Jay) and appologize. Wait- I'm sorry- what? Appologize? But I don't WANT to appologize- I WANT Jay to get face AIDS and die. I spoke this aloud before the crowd- the Seminar Leader said make the call- she could not help me if I didn't. I struggled with it all day, and finally found what I needed to appologize for. I called and there was no answer. Shocking. I texted, and a few hours later, he called me back.

The conversation went something like this: Me: "I'm here at a Get-Your-Shit-Together Seminar" and we have to make these phone calls, so please bear with me- do you have a minute?" Him: "Um, yeah, I guess." Me: "OK, here goes- I want to appologize to you for blaming you for everything. For everything I've done to myself, tried to do to myself, and been doing to myself throughout our divorce. All you did was say things to me- I'm the one who believed them, acting as if I was unloveable simply because you said you don't love me anymore. All you did was leave after you found my draft suicide note- I'm the one who took that as proof that I wasn't worth a rescue effort. You left me to die, but you didn't kill me- I'm the one who chose to die. I am sorry I blamed you for this, and I feel bad for you because you are a coward and seeing me in that stage of depression obviously scared you. I'm sorry I put you through that. I'm sorry I overburdened you with our paperwork- I should have taken equal share with that. I'm sorry you felt so much pressure. I understand now why you left, and as part of this recovery process, I have to create a possibility for a new relationship with you." Him: "Okayyyy..." Me: "So I'd like to create the possibility that we could somehow be friends again- I... I love you and I want to somehow be OK with you."

(Holy shit THAT came from nowhere!)

Him: (looooong pause) "What am I supposed to say to that?"
Me: "You don't HAVE to say anything- you just had to listen. And you did. So thank you."
Him: "Well I'm out with Heather now, so I have to go. I don't wanna be rude to her." Me: (shattering into a million jagged, poisoned flaming fragments) "Of course not. Go. I love you." Him:

At 10PM at the conclusion of the day's discussions, students swarm the Seminar Leader for questions, suggestions, personal coaching, etc. It appears to me the same scene as when Lepers would crowd Jesus, begging to be healed, touched, something ANYTHING. I became a Leper that night, after somehow managing to walk back into the hall and take my seat, an ashen ghost of a shell. Finally I got my audience with the Leader. "I made the call- I poured my heart out to him and he left me for her. AGAIN."

She looked down at me, all big Texas hair and pristine perfection. "Jaime," she says. "You have got to stop torturing yourself or you will die- do you understand?" My mouth hung open. "You can die from this," she reiterates. "Just let it go. That's all you have to do." She turns to another wounded victim, all Florence Nightengale. I stare, completely hollow and feel the vacant chill of another hollow hand on my arm. A gentle empty squeeze.

"It's OK," another Lady Leper says to me, reassuringly. "My husband cheated on me 6 times and I took him back every time."


"But I'm not LIKE her! It's not LIKE that! I'm not some BDG here because I have no self esteem!" Alex arches an eyebrow at me- we are back in our hotel room trying to do our individual homework.

It's 1 in the morning after two 16-hour days of listening to people pour their hearts out, and somehow Alex is still giving me his full attention."

"How is it not like that?" he asks. "Because I don't have PROOF that Jay cheated on me- and if he did I'd never take him back, I just FELT like he was, ya know, because-"

"Wait wait wait," Alex says, closing his notebook. "That's not true- you told me when we first met that Jay had cheated on you with a dude."

"Well, yes, he did blow a guy when we were first together, but-"

"No, so he cheated on you then- and didn't you tell me he cheated on you with an ex-girlfriend while you were in Ireland?"

"Well, yeah- he told me he went down on her in a school playground. He told me he had to take her tampon out first- why would he even TELL me that Alex?"

"Because he's a douche. Listen- how long were you guys together?"

"14 years. It'll be 15 in June."

Alex holds up his hands. "OK, so 14 years. I'm going to run out of fingers, but he cheated on you twice. At least. Let's think of 14 other shitty things he did to you."

"Um. Okayyy. He spent $900 on a Spiderman costume after I begged him not to spend the money, and never even assembled the pieces. He did the same thing with a $900 Scooby Doo costume- never once booked it, and yet he gave me shit anytime I'd spend money getting my hair cut and colored. Told me it was a waste."

Alex puts down a finger. "Good- what else." "He also never told me I looked good after a haircut- he'd make a face and tell me he hated how it looked when it was blown out straight- OH! And he told me I wasn't sexy... that I was 'cute' but not sexy- and I was 19 and I have believed him ever since and it's fucked up my sexiness!"

Alex puts down another finger. "Keep it coming."

"He left me when I needed him the most- he didn't care that our cat was dying and said we should 'make a decision' when we needed to fucking save him! He pressured me into oral sex before I was ready as a teenager- I didn't want to but he made me feel so bad- he didn't help plan our wedding- he never stood up for me- he forgot my birthday- he doesn't know how to spell my middle name- STILL! He asked people to call him Jay when his name is Jaime and I hated that! He..."

As the list went on and on AND ON AND ON. Alex ran out of fingers, then I ran out of fingers, so I started writing down this fantastic list of things I'd flat out FORGOTTEN. It turns out I had overlooked, ignored, glossed over or pretended around TONS of little betrayals and wrong-doings. I was so desperate for my Fairy Tale I'd been blind.

No WONDER I was so depressed- I thought this amazing man had walked out on me, and instead a selfish coward finally freed me up to live on my own. Jay had convinced me that HE was the attractive, talented one in the relationship, (just ask him!) and as long as I was still bedazzled by the Jay Barwick show, I was fine- but the moment I stopped showering him with adulations, he became disinterested. He needed constant fangirlship, and once I stopped worshipping him, his very conditional affection withered away.

He stopped paying my health insurance. He stopped caring what I thought. If I wasn't going to adore him, I wasn't worth his efforts. Ho-ly fuck. Wow. I was so busy pouring my love and attention into him, and he was happy to reflect it back at me so I FELT love- but I was only feeling what I was putting out. The reason we had so much fun together is because I'm fun! The reason we got along so well is because I'm easy to get along with! Jay was the "real actor" in the family, and never once asked me to improv with him- but even I know the first rule of improv is Yes And. I Yes Anded the shit out of that relationship- oh, and the second rule of improv?
Make Your Partner Look Good. And man, I made him look spectacular- he's amazing! He's wonderful! He'll tell you so himself! I wasn't losing a great husband, I was losing a self-absorbed cheating douchebag. Jay didn't "mutate" and become this horrible person because we moved to LA- when he'd gone to New York, he was free for the first time in his life to make his own decisions, and be who he truly was- not a son, not a friend, not a husband, but a club-douche shot-pounding ass hat.

And that is how he returned to me in LA- in his true form. There I was thinking I'd lost my husband but no, that was who he really was- who he WANTED to be. It makes total sense now... And the girl he's with, his new fangirl, she'll find out soon enough. Preferably after they have fat ugly kids (who take after their mom) and resent their dad for being a cocksucking dick. What is it I heard? You can ride a thousand horses and never be a cowboy, but you suck one cock... Jay never loved me- Jay loved Jay and I loved Jay enough for the both of us for a long long time- but when I really needed help his true colors showed and he bailed.

And Thank God he did- because I survived it. I survived him. I survived starving in LA and I survived enough to get my ass to that Seminar and have the realization that for the first time, I would be OK. Jay leaving frees me up to be ME, and eventually, to be me with someone who gives a shit about someone other than themselves! To find someone who loves ME, not just the way I love them- to find actual love, with others, with another partner, but first and foremost in MYSELF!

...I found myself panting and out of breath, having just exploded all these epiphanies onto Alex and his homework. Grinning, he rose from the table and took me by the hand. "Where are we going?" "Come with me." Alex takes me down the hall into the tiny yellow tiled bathroom of the curry-scented Poulouse Inn in Dania Beach, Florida and flicks on the lights, positioning me in front of the mirror.

"Look at yourself," he says. "Look at how beautiful you are right now- you have color in your cheeks, your eyes are sparkling..."

"Holy fuck they ARE sparkling!"

To say the least- they were radiating. Alex hugs me from behind- I instinctively turn to hug him but he holds his arms fast around my middle. "No- just keep looking. I want you to see how you look." I have no idea how long we stayed in that bathroom, me dazzled for the first time by the sheer love I could reflect AT MYSELF, him marvelling at my discovery.


The next day at the Seminar, the change was noticable- in fact, a few of us had had a Breakthrough. The girl from before, with the horror story about her childhood? She walked in and was hardly recognizable- she'd morphed into this siren of confidence and beauty. That day in the Seminar we talked about Metamorphosis- and I was quick to grab the mic. People could see it before I even stood to speak- I was glowing. "My whole life I've been trying so hard to be a greener caterpillar, a fuzzier caterpillar, a more spinedy caterpillar, and I was never happy. I was constantly trying to be these things to please others- but now I realize- I don't have to be any of those things because I'm a fucking BUTTERFLY. Butterflies don't worry about that stuff. I'm gonna be OK."

The other Siren and I nodded to each other. She knew what I knew. I took my seat as 145 of my new closest friends just watched me be born. And somewhere in that moment, I began to Let Go.

When Jay first served me with Divorce Papers in February of 2011, he hired some K-mart attorney who spelled both of our names wrong and requested for me to pay for all of Jay's attorney fees. The papers also stipulated that any of my belongings should be returned to Jay, and that I could pay him spousal support if he asked. I'm giving my ex the benefit of the doubt and assuming this was simply an oversight and he had not taken the time to look at the papers. What did he want- my 1999 Celica? Half of each cat? No, this was the man who left me working 2 unpaid internships, so, virtually jobless and homeless. This was the man who refused to harbor our cats for me for a night, and had no issue with me sleeping in my car.

Because the divorce was entirely his choice, he told me he'd be responsible for the costs of the legal fees, since I could not afford a lawyer. I ignored the first round of papers, and eventually he got it straightened out and to his credit, kept his word about paying the expenses. I assured him I would in no way contribute to the destruction of our marriage, and refused to spend so much as a stamp on his cowardice. He very generously stole stamps from his employer and sent them to me. At one point, even his own divorce attorney realized what a douche Jay is and fired him.

He blames me for this somehow, but the truth is someone has to be a complete tool before a lawyer will quit taking their money. Or she grew a conscience. Either way, by then the final papers were drawn up and he filed them, not requesting any money from me and paying my California appearance fee on my behalf, since I was forced to move home. The final papers arrived today.

He hadn't even looked at them before he mailed them- there are three papers in there from a divorce that isn't even ours, but I assume when you're stuffing envelopes drunk or high, these things happen. My favorite clause in the paperwork is the one "holding him harmless and unimdemnifiable for the extreme hardships lack of support will cause the Respondant." That's me. There's also a clause in there acknowledging that he realizes how depressed I was, and that if I commit suicide my family cannot sue him.

Again, such a classic romantic.

Before I signed, I singled those paragraphs out and gave him a choice: He could either spend the extra lawyer-money and have the paragraph altered, or he could write me a hand-written letter stating that he was fully responsible for his choices and sorry for the harm he has already caused me and for the harm his choices cause me in the future.

No fucking way would I consider him "harmless," legally or otherwise.

I got the letter, worded verbatim to my request. Ah, well. I keep forgetting Creativity was only a quality I'd projected on him- not one he actually had. But the point is, I got the letter, and I felt like a lion that day.

So I signed my married name for the last time, Jaime Kathryn Barwick, to the papers.
He signed his new douchey DJ name to the papers.
A judge signed his name as well.
And just like that: 16 years undone.

I have MY name back- I am Jaime Jessup again. I kept my promises, I kept my marriage vows, and I was a fucking awesome wife. I WAS. I'm still a promise-keeper. And I'm still fucking awesome. But now I'm MINE.

We cling so desperately to what we're comfortable with. I was absolutely willing to overlook some pretty awful stuff so I could have my Fairy Tale. But the funny thing about Fairy Tales is this: they typically come in large volumes- huge collections of Fairy Tales, one right after the other. And if you're brave enough to turn the page, there's a whole new story waiting for you. You just have to keep reading to find out what happens next. I stopped taking antidepressants and antianxiety medicine shortly after that Seminar, in the spring of 2012. It's been a year. When you have total clarity about the world you're operating within, there's really not that much to be anxious about.

I'm still battling insomnia. That's a tough one. I have a hard time most nights, but it's better to be off sleep meds and firing on all cylinders. I thought I'd lost the love of my life, but instead I just lost the love of THAT life. If he really wants to be who he turned out to be, we could never have truly made each other happy. I blame myself for not being fun all the time. I was needy and codependant, and I didn't have confidence in myself. I should've taken the reins more, done more, been proactive instead of waiting for someone to save me. I wish I'd done his laundry more. I wish I'd done my own paperwork. I wish I'd taken responsibility for my own happiness, instead of blaming him for failing at the impossible task of being my Everything. I'm sorry I let Depression swallow my light. When I stopped shining, he left.

BUT: I've learned more in the last three years than in 33 years combined. I've had more laughs, more truths, more discoveries and more actual personal victories than I ever could've had living for someone else. I'm writing more, I'm healthier than I've been in years- ironically, in spite of this and BECAUSE of this, I am the exact independant, self-reliant, confident woman he always wanted. And he's no one I'd even want to be friends with. In the last 2 years I've been taken on a trip around the Mediterranean, fed dinner at the top of Four Seasons, danced on stilts for Millionaires, been spoiled rotten with some very beautiful men, (and a couple beautiful ladies,) finished writing my novel and had more fun as a fucking Phoenix than I ever could've imagined.

He did kill me. Rather, I did wind up losing that life. And I couldn't be more grateful. The world, his world, that world, ended, and something better began. From now on, my life is what I make it. I have my Origin Story, and I'm only just begining to discover my powers.

Watch me shine now.