Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Storms of Life

I recently received some comments on this blog from an ex-boyfriend/fiancee that were extremely malicious.  It took half a second of research to connect him with the fake name he used to make the comments, which is stupid.  If you're going to make those types of personal attacks, have the balls to be up front about it.

I met this guy online back in late 2001, I think.  We had an instant connection and our online conversations became long phone calls that were always something I looked forward to.  After a few months, he informed me he would be traveling from Japan (he was an air traffic controller in the Navy at the time) to California for a vacation, and we made plans for me to take the month of October 2002 off of work to spend that time with him.  I drove from Salt Lake City to LAX and picked him up from his flight - our first in-person encounter.  It was awesome to meet him in person.  We a couple days visiting some close friends and then went to Joshua Tree National Park to go camping.  It was there that he proposed to me in a very thoughtful and creative way.  I said yes.  Even at that moment, I felt like I was saying yes too soon, and that he proposed too soon, but my personality is such that I am driven to please others.  And he was a really great guy.  We went to Palm Springs, where he grew up, to visit more of his close friends, and he introduced me to his family.  We made our way to Phoenix where he met my family.

My parents are notorious for pointing out the obvious (obvious to everyone except for me, of course) (and it's completely obnoxious), and privately, they expressed their concern about such a quick engagement and not knowing this guy as well as I supposed.  Another part of my personality is that when I am told directly what I should do, I dig in my heels and/or run in the opposite direction of the counsel being given.  (So dumb, I know.)

We hiked the Grand Canyon with my parents, which was a lot of fun, and during this time, the feeling of discomfort about the engagement began to grow within me.  We also camped in Sedona (in a campground we weren't supposed to be at...got a rude awakening from the groundskeepers telling us to get lost!) and did some mountain biking through the beautiful red rock and desert.  He had a pretty nice crash and burn on his bike.  I remember how much fun that day was.  We went to a resort and got day passes for their spa and used that time to soak, steam, and clean up at our leisure.  It was lovely.

When we made our way back to California, we stopped to do some camping and hiking at a mountain near Palm Springs.  I can't remember the name, but it was a really cool place.  I loved how outdoorsy this guy was, and at the time, I was working at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions in Utah, so we truly had a lot in common.  On top of that, we had a strong physical attraction to one another, so it was very difficult for me to find clarity in my thoughts and feelings, let alone express them.

By the time we were back in LA, I had let him know that I wasn't so sure about marriage.  He was heartbroken, and I was too.  I've always yearned for true love and make connections naturally, so it was hard for me to say no.

We continued to talk and correspond after that, but things were definitely different, and the infatuation, for me, was tapering dramatically.

During our trip, he deposited some money into my checking account to use for the trip.  When I broke things off, he felt like I owed some of that money back to him.  I honestly didn't agree.  I had used my car for the entire trip and had taken a whole month off of work.  When I wanted to cut the trip short, so I could get back to my job (my funds were running short), he said to use that money to stay on top of bills, so we could continue the trip as planned.  The communication seemed very clear to me, and I didn't have a dishonest fiber in me about the whole situation.

Well, I got married in 2003 to someone else.  Shortly after getting married, I received a couple emails from this guy, though he used the email joesmith@yahoo or hotmail, and the messages were malicious and threatening.  My husband contacted his CO in the Navy and had a pretty strong chat with him to tell this guy to knock it off and let it go.  It seemed to work.

I remarried in 2007, and in 2008, my husband now, Patrick, got a motorcycle.  I posted on this blog about that day and included pictures, including a nice picture or two of him on the motorcycle driving off from the dealership.  I got an anonymous comment on that blog post that was very unkind toward me and toward my husband.  I remember part of it said that "anonymous" hoped my hubby would get in a crash and die, since he wasn't wearing a helmet.  I couldn't believe what I was reading, but I knew the only person in my life that was malicious toward me enough to make such a comment was this guy that I had been engaged to.  Of course, there was no way to prove it, but I knew.

There haven't been any other comments until just recently.

After spending a few weeks thinking about this more than I cared to, I realized I have gone through the 5 Stages of Loss and Grief.  His comments were really hurtful after all.

1. Denial

Who would say such unkind things about me?  This must be some random prankster.  If it isn't, who is this person with the name I didn't recognize?  This can't be real.

2. Anger

Seriously?!  This guy is still hung up on me, can't get over a relationship that didn't work out, and wants to hang onto this for over 10 years?!  He needs to get his ass kicked!  (Anger isn't natural for me, so this went quickly, though I revisited this stage again between 4 and 5.)

3. Bargaining

My bargaining was with myself...okay, maybe there's some truth to what he said.  I am a lot heavier now than I was when we spent that month together years ago.  Maybe I am fat and nasty and need to get to a gym.  I should do something about that.  What do I need to do to not let this affect my self esteem?

4. Depression

Good hell.  Maybe I really am fat and nasty.  I'm an ugly person.  How can Patrick even be attracted to me?  Lifestyle change and having a baby are no excuse.  I'm lazy and horrible.  How sad that this guy still feels so bitter that he looks me up, finds me, and tells me how disgusting I am.  I have wasted years that I could have been counting calories and spending hours at the gym.  Patrick isn't going to want me anymore.  I'm too fat for him.  What will he say or do when I visit him in a couple weeks?  (He's been in Utah getting his shop ready to move to Phoenix, and we haven't seen each other since December.) What am I going to do?

5. Acceptance

You know what, I have gained weight.  You know what else?  I've lost 6 lbs in the last month.  I am a fantastic mother and wife.  I am a hard worker.  I am beautiful, inside and out.  I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who knows me and loves me.  That alone makes me beautiful and remarkable beyond measure of any man on this earth.  This guy that made those comments must have some issues in his life.  He was and is hurt, and I am sorry for any hurt I caused.  He has a wife and 2 kids now, and it's sad that he isn't able to release the pain and replace it with the joy of his family.  The comments are his.  He owns them.  They are not a reflection of me, just of him.  I can let that go.  I can forgive him.  And I can love me.  I feel good about my decisions with the things that I can control - the things I CAN DO.

So, thank you psychology degree.  I was able to navigate this one without a psychologist.  A supportive husband (who is much less patient and slower to forgive than I) and my testimony of my divine nature got me through this one.  Not to mention my beautiful daughter who keeps my perspective intact.

The Storm has passed and the sun is shining brighter than ever.