It’s no surprise that infidelity and divorce leaves you angry and bitter. This is normal. This is natural. And when I look back at that difficult time, I like to reminisce about some of the bitter, angry things I did to get through the day. They strike me as funny today.
I know we are supposed to take care of ourselves, but it’s also great when you can look back at the things you did to get rid of some of the toxic feelings and laugh.
For me, I took abject delight in an incident that happened at my youngest son’s preschool. Since my ex and his girlfriend got a toe hold before I did, most people thought the girlfriend was my son’s mother. This sent me into paroxysm like nothing else. During the school year I sat in the back while she and my ex and her children sat in the front like the perfect family. She brought roses for each child’s mother at graduation, a large cake and gifts for the kids. You would have thought the Pope was there singing “You are my sunshine” for all the fuss they made.
Slinking out the back, avoiding my own children because I could tell my presence embarrassed them, I did my best to hide behind the floral arrangement that my ex brought for the pre-school teacher that signified to me the death of my marriage. That’s when I heard the girlfriend calling my name.
“Run!” I whispered to my companion who happened to be a 28-year-old hottie and more than a few years younger… cougar fodder for the other mothers. He told me to stand strong and face her. He held my hand when I turned around.
“This is for you because you are one of the mothers,” she said, handing me a white rose. I really wanted to bitch-slap her with the flower and ask her who she is kidding, but my youngest son was standing there with happy eyes that mommy was getting a flower. I wanted to ask her to stop picking up said son and asking people if he looks like her, but I swallowed my bitterness. It was awkward and stupid and I wanted to scream.
The best part was the following day which was my custodial day and I got to take my son to the pre-school after party at the bouncy house. The mothers that I had avoided for a year all sat around like hens in the barn yard – pecking away at each other about whose child was better, brighter, prettier and more athletic.
No one talked to me except one mother who looked at me and stated that I was so lucky to have such a wonderful stepmother for my children. That she is amazing and I should count my lucky stars. She went on to say that she is such a good friend to all of them.
I smiled in my own catty way and said, “I used to feel that way. She was my good friend until she started sleeping with my husband in my home while taking a paycheck from me when I was pregnant with my son. It made for a really awkward baby shower, you know?”
Dead silence would have been deafening. I don’t know what story my ex and his girlfriend spun, but it clearly wasn’t what these women experienced. I know it was totally rude, mean, bitter, angry and bitchy for me to drop a bomb like that at a children’s party, but I did it and like a bird flying out of your mouth, there was no taking it back. So I sat there smugly, smiling a little because every dog has his day and that day was mine.
I never saw those women again. At least I don’t remember them if I meet them, but I’m for darn sure that they remember me. Did I air dirty laundry – like it was flapping in the winds of a tornado. I sure did. Do I regret it? Nah, not so much. What was a pivotal moment for me of speaking up and no longer shuddering in silence, was probably just a few days of gossip for others over “Did you hear what she said?”.
Learning to laugh at ourselves even in moments that we might not do today is a big part of Bouncing with Style. No one is perfect. Sometimes we say things we regret. Sometimes we say things we don’t. Have some fun with the bitterness and anger. And don’t judge yourself too harshly for the things you do!
It’s all part of Bouncing with Style because sometimes we Bounce.. .sometimes we ricochet off the wall out of control! Laugh. It’s okay.