Tuesday, April 04, 2006

For Melissa

I was a graduate student living in Pittsburgh when my first husband left me. He was an abusive son of a bitch, but I was still too far immersed in the thing to know that yet.

All I knew was that I wanted him back.

My dad came to visit me a couple of days later. I hadn't told him yet. After a few minutes in my apartment, he asked where my husband was, and I just suddenly and completely broke down. I couldn't stop sobbing, but I managed somehow to communicate what had happened.

This breakdown was really embarrassing for me, because 1) my family is not really very demonstrative emotionally, and I think I'd cried in front of my dad like, one other time in my adult life, and 2) I knew my dad didn't like my husband, and I was afraid he was going to judge my decision to marry him in the first place.

At some point, I managed to stop crying long enough to look at my Dad and say, "I know it's bad, but I want him back. I want him back."

This admission prompted another bout of loud sobbing from me.

Dad was quiet for some time. I eventually calmed down and sat with my head hung, looking at his shoes, waiting for him to speak.

Finally, he said "If you want to get him back, I think you should behave as if you are happy. Because that is when a person is the most attractive to others, when they are happy. And if it doesn't work...then maybe you will have learned how to be happy anyway."

Even in my heartbreak-addled state, I was amazed by the sheer brilliance of this advice.

And you know what? It absolutely worked. I pretended to be happy. I laughed with my friends. I smiled at strangers for no reason. Eventually, I forgot that I was pretending. And so when my husband finally came to me, wanting to be taken back, I told him no.

Because I was happy without him.


MonstrousJoe said...

That is good advice for every day livin, sister. .. Nice work, tip top.

yo sisters cube-mate said...

Your father sounds quite wise... I will add that to my collection of quotes on joy/happiness:

Life naturally evolves in the direction of happiness. We must constantly ask ourselves if what we are doing is going to make us, and those around us, happy. Because happiness is the ultimate goal. It is the goal of all other goals.
Deepak Chopra

What's important is how frequently you're happy, not how intensely. Those peaks of happiness - getting swept off your feet, scaling a mountaintop, winning a bundle in Las Vegas - are nice, but happiness comes down to being quietly content mostof the time.
Dr. Joyce Brothers

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
The Dalai Lama

Jess said...

He was an abusive son of a bitch, but I was still too far immersed in the thing to know that yet.

All I knew was that I wanted him back.

That's kind of hot. Like a Julie London song.

I'm like an oven
That's cryin' for heat
He treats me awful
Each time that we meet
It's just unlawful
How that boy can cheat
But I must have that man

Also, I like your dad's advice.

GETkristiLOVE said...

Yea, he was scary.

How about the story when your second husband saw the first one in a restaurant in L.A. and recognized him, just from photos, and went up and introduced himself. Creep city.

Melissa said...

Thank you for this. Ever since I wrote my post I have had a feeling of clarity - like, maybe I've finally come to understand that I have been sad for far too long for someone too far beneath me. My brain can be my own worst enemy, and sometimes my thoughts torture me with all the unasked, and thus, answered, questions I have for him. But today, right now, I don't care. It's a good feeling.

vikkitikkitavi said...

MonstrousJoe - Thanks, baby. I appreciate it.

YSCM - I can't believe you are quoting Dr. Joyce Brothers to me!

Jess - Let him please by him, oh dear god.
It must be him, it must be him,
Or I shall die.
Or I shall die.

Kristi - maybe some day I will be ready to tell the story of 2 ex's meeting. Ugh.

Melissa - I'm glad your blogging experience has made you feel better. You really can't ask for much more than that, huh?