On Sunday I will be in church, as is my current practice, and whilst I have no idea what the service or readings or songs or sermon might contain, my best guess is that I will be struggling to pay attention to all of that. February 22nd is the third anniversary of the day I escaped that other life.
At various times during the time between then and now I have thought of that moment of that day as having left or fled. It is only in this moment that it occurs to me to think of it as a genuine escape. Maybe because the months following that day were still very dangerous.
Of all of that time, it is only during the past year or so that I do not feel in that kind of danger.
Of all of that time, it is only in the past six months that I have more normal...yeah, I know...feelings about dying. Pre-that-other-life, I pretty much knew that my only way out was to die. By who's hands it would be was a toss-up. Now, I kind of want to live. I have shared this before, but whilst I am not fearful of just up and dying, I would be really pissed if I did not have a whole bunch of years in this now new life.
So, anyway, I can remember the exact date of when I was married, but the day of the divorce was somewhere in the middle of August. The date I left is as clear as yesterday. I remember day, date, year and minute backed out of the door and never went back.
I went back to my old city to attend the support group there and I did so because I wanted to be there before Sunday. I have no idea why, but I am willing to venture a few guesses.
One is that I promised to come back for a visit and this week was the first time that health and weather and money for gas cooperated. So, I went and it was nice, well as nice as a support group for depressed and recently abused women can be. And, the truth is that whilst there are more than desired bad experiences to share and talk-through, there is almost always plenty of tenderness, smiles and relief as well.
Second is that one of the subjects that came up was how to move from pain and disability onto one's path of healing. Recovery usually comes after, but those first, tentative, and what seems like dangerous, steps forward is a very vulnerable place, even when shared with great counselors and other women with similar experiences. And, even though I am still a bit of a mess with so damn much healing and recovery to do, I am three years past that significant day and I have moved on. I have had exceptionally wonderful people to fight for my rights when I was unable to do it for myself, I found both employment and volunteer work to fuel my sense of worth and my bank account. Money is the single most important barrier to successfully leaving a horrible past behind and finding the peace, at least moments of peacefulness, that help you catch your breath and begin to make your own decisions.
I keep saying this and writing this over and over again, but the notion that money cannot buy happiness is faulty. Money would buy me freedom from worry about having a place to live or enough to eat, which, in my experience, leads directly to happy feelings and a truly stunning decrease in unhappiness.
The connection from beginning to end may seem tenuous, but the line between the lessening of fear and increasing happiness is essentially invisible, so that means it does not really exist in any relative way. So. There.
I am not swimming in money, and I am struggling to pay my bills this month and next, but I am no longer homeless. I have actual bills for actual housing and the services to support living the life I want. It really does not get better than this.
Thirdly, I wonder if I needed to be in the vicinity of that other life, not so much go back to the scene(s), but to be close enough to make some difference. I think this third reason might be because I recently learned about a treatment for PTSD that involves returning to the actual geography of the trauma. It is called exposure therapy and is part of several aspects of psychotherapy processes. I am not interested in doing anything like that, but it does make sense in regards to other anxieties, like phobias and does not sound as icky as aversion therapies.
Fourthly, maybe some anniversaries are going to be remembered or noticed or honored on some way or another whether you want it or intend it or not.