Every time I successfully do something I used to rely on Mr. N/A to do, I feel completely empowered.
Today I hung some great faux wood window blinds in my kids’ bathrooms. I measured, drilled, screwed, and installed the scary things. They look terrific, and now my daughter doesn’t have to drape her robe over her window anymore for privacy. And, since I found them at Target, my wallet didn’t suffer, either.
Yesterday was my son’s First Communion. While I no longer practice the Catholic faith, Mr. N/A wants the kids to finish their Catholic education. I’ve got no problem with that. We had two pews reserved for our family, and I sat in the second row with my former sister-in-law and one of my daughters.
During the social part of the service, when the priest encourages everyone to greet those around them, my ex waited until I had kissed and hugged everyone within reach, and then he stuck out his hand, and said, “Peace be with you,” with an evil smirk on his face. Instead of replying with a “fuck you,” I rolled my eyes and shook his extended hand. I felt a little bit sick.
We’re still awaiting the judge’s ruling in our court case. At least, I am. Maybe he already knows something.
While I spoke with his kind aunt and uncle, I ignored his parents – two people I had come to love as my own parents for some 17 years. I spent months and hundreds of dollars creating a family scrapbook for my former father-in-law’s 60th birthday. I invited my former mother-in-law to participate in all three of my children’s births, and I had shared many intimate stories with her. I loved them.
But they have not been kind.
In the time following our divorce, I wanted so much to keep their affections which they had withdrawn so quickly and nastily. Any opportunity I had to see them was a chance to give a hug or a smile or to try to talk about the children’s latest accomplishments, just like old times.
But I’m done now. Fake Lisa is finished.
I did not look at them. I did not acknowledge their presence in any way. Had they spoken to me, I would not have been rude, but I wasn’t about to plead for their love and acceptance as I had in the past. I felt a twinge when I was saying goodbye to the aunt, and I caught my former mother-in-law in my peripheral vision waiting expectantly for her turn. Instead, I left, and I felt empowered and exhilarated.
I was taught to love and forgive and rise above my enemies. Somewhere along the line, I twisted that into some crazy idea that I had to make them like me. I had to be the “good” one. I had to make them see how wonderful I was to love them even if they didn’t love me.
William Shakespeare wrote:
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Power is not found in winning court cases and finding favor with a judge. I’ve had the tools to find my own power all along – I just had no idea what it looked like or felt like.
Power feels clear and clean. It feels positive and hopeful. It feels like Truth – my Truth. And no one – no one – can take that from me.