A Look Back — Part 1

It’s my 3 year blogaversary, folks. Three years since I made the move back to Saudi. Three years since I was hastily divorced via text message (I didn’t tell you guys about that, but it really happened). Three years since my main mission in life was undoing that divorce and winning back my husband (obviously, I should have let it be, but I digress). Three years since it was all too much to handle on my own and a friend suggested starting a blog to sort out all the things in my head.

You may find a lot of things here that you’ve not seen before, even if you’re a long time reader. Most of the excerpts I’ve included, especially those with earlier dates, are private entries. They’re still too raw and painful to open for the public in their entirety.

As a celebration of three years of progress and with the hope that it will help me to realize how far I’ve come, and to look forward to making even more progress in the years to come, here’s a look back at some of the things I’ve written. Saying this was hard is a massive understatement. But here it is.

June 21, 2011 (First post)
So here I am, back in the Magic Kingdom.  I’ve lived here before, but this trip back is much different.  The first time I came here I was a newly married, starry-eyed, young American girl who thought that this place would be the magic solution to having the perfect family.  Now, after living in the USA for the past 2 1/2 years I have returned.  This time I’m a slightly jaded, more realistic, still young woman who is trying to accept the reality of my failing marriage.

June 25, 2011
I’ve only been here 2 weeks, but loneliness has officially kicked in.  So, I’m going to do what my friends and family would encourage me to do.  I’m going to suck it up, stop crying immediately after I finish writing this post, and know that everything happens for a reason and that it’ll all turn out ok in the end.  I’m going to find myself a job, a hobby, a friend, a good book, or anything else to pass my time.  I’m going to count down the days until vacation when I can see them all again.

June 29, 2011
My husband will be arriving in 3 days.  I’m not really ready for him to come here.  I’m not ready for my “everything is great” front to be busted wide open.  I’m not ready to deal with the reality of my situation.  I’m not ready for the inevitable fights, for the separation between us, for living in different houses, for answering questions.  None of it.

July 13th, 2011
Everyone who I have asked for advice tells me the same things…”you have to move on”, “you have to let go”, “you have to separate yourself” etc.  My parents have both told me to take the time to figure out who I am without a relationship.  Get to know myself.  Learn how to be independent.  I think it is all very reasonable and rational advice.  The problem I’m having is finding out HOW to go about doing those things, especially when I’d rather not.  I’m going to need someone to pry this marriage out of my cold, dead grip one of these days.

July 25th, 2011
I know I will be ok someday, but today is not that day.  Maybe tomorrow.  Because today I still have worrying to do.  I still have hurting to do.  I still have regrets to go over in my mind.  I still have hopes to keep up.  I still have tears that need a place to fall.  Maybe tomorrow.

August 2nd, 2011
I miss him. I have to get through the missing him phase eventually, so better sooner than later.  But it hurts, people.  It hurts at night when I’m alone.  It hurts in the morning when I’m still alone, and there is no one to make coffee for.  It hurts in the evening when there’s no one to talk about the events of the day or the news with.  It literally hurts.  But I have to feel the hurt.  I just keep telling myself that it’s a necessary part of the process and once I’m through this, no matter how long it takes, I will be one step closer to being a whole and healthy person again.

August 11th, 2011
But then it happens.  Just when I’m getting a little comfortable with my plans for my future singledom, Worry knocks on my door.  He insists on visiting when he’s not welcome.  He won’t leave when I ask him to.  He knows nothing of wearing out his welcome.  He usually brings his friend “What If” and together, they are an unstoppable pair.  What if I get lonely?  What if I stay lonely?  What if all of these things I’m planning to do to fill my time are just distractions?  What if I break down?  What if I can’t take it here anymore and I want to go home?  What If is happy that he’s done his job, so he takes a seat and Worry starts to try to break me down.  He tells me that no matter how happy I make myself, The Mr. will still be unhappy with me.  He tells me that The Mr. will never want me back, despite all of the improvements I’m making.  He tells me that no one is happy alone.  He tells me that finding a husband here is going to be nearly impossible.  He tells me that even if I do find someone else someday, it may mean losing my daughter.  He laughs at my attempts for happiness.  He’s a bastard, I swear.

August 17th, 2011
I made an oath to myself and to God that I would not have any male friendships until I was emotionally healthy enough not to fall in love with the first guy who is nice to me.  It’s a problem I have.  I have only recently realized it, but it’s been a problem for a long time.  I realize now that it’s probably what happened between The Mr. and I.  I was alone, he was there and he was nice to me, he spent all of his time with me and I was in love immediately.  I think that it resulted in a very unbalanced relationship where I was desperately in love with him, to the point that I put myself and my wishes and my hopes and dreams last, and pleasing him first.  He grew to love me over the years, but only after I exhausted myself trying to make myself into something that I hoped he wouldn’t leave.

August 19th, 2011
I’ve spent the past 3 nights sobbing myself to sleep.  Although it hardly qualifies as sleep.  Let’s call it pharmaceutically induced coma, with bits of panic and nightmares injected here and there.

September 5th, 2011
I want so badly to continue the process of healing, of moving on, of letting go, of making a new life for myself, but there are so many things that are preventing me from doing so.  I can only move as far as the debris of my circumstance will allow me.  A friend told me yesterday to take the reins to my life here, to take some initiative to moving things along.  I’m trying to do that.  I’ve got the reins in my hands, but my horse is tied to the fence.  I’m want my own space, but I have to wait on The Mr. to do it.  I want to have a social life, but I have to be careful about who knows about my situation.  Even though he’s done with me, I still have to depend on him financially.  I still need his approval and permission to do anything.  It is maddening.

September 17th, 2011
All I want is for The Mr. to come home, hold me tight and tell me that everything is going to be ok.  That he can’t imagine his life without me, and that for better or worse, ’til death do us part, he will always be with me.  I’m so scared of my unknown future and I just need that little bit of assurance that I’ll always have him to lean on.  But that’s not going to happen and I don’t know how to let go.

September 19th, 2011
I have to trust that we can and will make this work and that there is such a thing as an amicable divorce and that I will be the exception to the rule.  While it’s no secret that I still fiercely love him and that I’d take him back at the drop of a hat, I can feel myself releasing my grip bit by bit.  It’s not an obvious feeling.  I don’t wake up in the morning and love him or want him less.  It comes in the tiniest feelings of “I’m ok” when I realize I haven’t talked to him in 2 or 3 days, and that I’m still alive.  Or when I realize that I’m not obsessing over his personal life, not worrying about what he’s up to on the weekends or in the evenings.  When I don’t feel the need to call him on an international call to tell him my plans for the weekend and make sure it’s ok.  When I can go to bed at night and not cry about my situation, but instead can picture the place of my own that I will someday have and what color I’ll paint the kitchen to match the new plates I bought.  I’m not picking fights, I’m not easily upset and I’m letting go ever so slowly.  I find myself focusing on building a strong friendship instead of the loss of the marriage.

October 5th, 2011
I’m learning each day through my experience that sometimes things really do have to fall apart for other things to come together.  And they surely do fall apart pretty frequently, but that only means that better things are to come.  I’m in the fire, but soon that fire will cool and I will rise from its ashes as a better and more capable person.  My mother always told me that life is not supposed to be easy, because then what do you learn.  Wise words.

Octover 13th, 2011

So there I was, sitting on the couch after talking to him on the phone, tears welling up in my eyes, when everything GF, DC and everyone else has been telling me from the start, along with my own advice to The Struggler, finally hit me. FINALLY!  I was my own Person.  I broke it down tough-love style.

Get it together
It’s over
You’re no longer his priority
He doesn’t owe you anything
He doesn’t want to be with you
This is not the end of the world
Don’t let this break you
You are more than your marriage
Suck it up
You’re stronger than you think
You’re going to be ok
Stop crying

November 23, 2011
Like tiny slivers of cracks on a once shattered vase, the destruction of my marriage will always be a visible part of who I am to those who are closest to me, but those cracks will only highlight the beauty of my love, loss and healing and to remind me of what I’ve come through.

December 8th, 2011
Today I overcame an almost single girl’s biggest nightmare: putting something together with 1297 parts and a picture for guidance. I was horrified when I opened the box to find all of the parts, which were not labeled, and directions without words.  My first thought was I need The Mr.  My second thought was the hell I do!  I put that sucker together.  I did it all by myself and I only broke one of my mother in law’s glass vases in the process.  I was so proud.

January 19th, 2012

When I don’t think about my problems, when I don’t identify with them, they are not really problems anymore.  There are two ways of looking at my life.  There are the facts and then there is the way that I choose to react to the facts.

My marriage is going through a very trying time, my relationship with my husband is far from normal, the possibility and even probability of divorce exists, I’m living in a foreign country away from family and friends, I am parenting alone, I do not have my own home, and getting around and doing much of anything in KSA is very difficult without a man.  These are facts, but they can only have as much power over me as I allow them to.

February 9th, 2012
You know that scene in Eat, Pray Love where Liz is on the rooftop of the ashram and she’s imagining a dance with her ex husband, and she’s trying to let go, to move on, to forgive herself?  He tells her that he misses her and he still loves her.  She tells him “so miss me, so love me”.  I’m her husband in that scene.  I get what she’s saying.  I can still love him, I can still miss him, but it doesn’t have to hold me back.  It doesn’t have to define me.  I don’t have to let it take me over.  Those feelings can just be there.  They can exist, but they can only have as much power over me as I give them.  Does this make sense to anyone besides me?

February 14th, 2012
Maybe it’s because most people going thru the end of a marriage have to deal with their soon to be ex spouse on a more regular basis.  So I just fall apart on the rare occasions that I not only see him, but stay in the same house with him.  If you’re going thru a divorce and you see your soon to be ex when he’s picking up your kids and things get awkward…you can easily cut your interaction short.  You can close the door to your house, or drive away in your car and no one will know that you start bawling  your eyes out or that you decide to eat half a log of cookie dough out of the fridge.  When you miss your soon to be ex like crazy and he shows up to live with you for 2 weeks and have to just deal with the awkwardness and still somehow NOT present yourself like a crazy person…how the hell do you do that?  Seriously.

February 26th, 2012
If I’m being honest this isn’t all bad.  I’ve become comfortable with myself, with not having anyone to be concerned with other than my daughter.  It’s convenient.  It’s peaceful.  I have time to think clearly and reflect and less things to worry about.  There’s no one to argue with, no one to wait on, and no one to tell me that I’m not absolutely fabulous.

March 12th, 2012
I’ve experienced many versions of love more than once.  Some of them were real, some of them turned out to be nothing more than fleeting feelings based on wishful thinking or lustful desires.  Some of them have faded but a few still stubbornly linger.  But I sit here at 29 wondering if I really know what love is like at all.  I know there is so much in life that I have yet to experience.  So much more living to do.  Many lessons to learn.  There has to also be more love to experience and to give.  I’m just a little sketchy on how it’s supposed to be and when to know if I’m ready for it again.  I WANT it.  I NEED it.  But for now, I’m terrified of it.

March 21st, 2012
Finally, I realize that I matter.  I am smart.  I am beautiful.  I have a mind.  I have ideas that deserve to be heard.  I am not always wrong.  What I say means something.  I am talented.  I am not a fly to be swatted away.  I am funny.  I am caring.  I deserve to be happy, despite my shortcomings and mistakes.  And I’m going to make that happen for myself each and every day. If there is such a thing as past lives, collective consciousness, collective soul then I have bits of me that have experienced this seemingly unattainable love before.  And my soul will not rest until I find it, experience it, live it and become it.

March 30th, 2012
He says he’s coming back here in a few weeks so we can “work something out”.  There’s been talk of reconciliation, but I do not want any kind of reconciliation at this point.  I have come too far to take a step back into a relationship with a man who doesn’t love me completely, respect me, value me or cherish me.  I want my fresh start, my new life, my someday.

April 6th, 2012
So I’m here.  I have to be.  I’ll suck it up for as long as I have to.  I accept that if I’m here, even if it was due to some crap planning on my part, I must be here for a reason.  I don’t really know how I’ll ever be able to move on with my life, but I want to desperately.  I want to be done.  I want it to be over.  I want to hear the words and sign the papers and breathe.  I want to be free from it all in every sense of the word.

To be continued…

26 thoughts on “A Look Back — Part 1

  1. I just recently started to follow your blog. So I don’t know all your back story. He divorced you over a text? What in the entire…….?!?!?!
    Reading these entries brought tears to my eyes. The way your write is so raw and touching. I ca totally relate to what you are saying. Thank you for allowing us to read this.

  2. Wow,Mandi some how that was beautiful but heartbreaking and mixed with renewal. I don’t even know how not to word it. Except that I could feel the hurt the heartbreak, and the tiny glimps of healing….This blew me away you are a terrific writer you really should consider writing a book. YOU NEED TO LOOK INTO WRITING A BOOK BECAUSE YOUR STYLE IS AWSOME YOU MADE ME FEEL THE VERY EMOYION YOU WERE WRITIG ABOUT! Mandi that is a special gift even if it comes from a place that hurts you could still help hundreds of ladied in a simmiliar situation. I feel u write a love story complete with fairytail begiing to a end that nobody wants but in a magical way! Just many HUGS to you and know your writing skill could really make you money! thanks for sharing the intimate parts of marriage and life in general!!!

  3. Oh Mandi! You’ve really been through a LOT to finally become emotionally mature :) I don’t know what to say but I am just happy for you. This is not a given or granted.
    Diamond is diamond thanks to the high pressure/temperature ;)

  4. Life is hard and I can’t imagine how you get through. life for myself also has been hard living here, but not for the same reasons. You do inspire me to start blogging because I feel that there are so many things to be said and I get tired of explaining my curcumstances to individuals. Keep up the good work dear. May God ease your pain…….

  5. i was wondering if you can explain why are you guys seperated and divorcing in the first place. does he make you pay for your living arrangements, and if he has all the money to make you comfortable of no wants. why he wont buy you and your daughter tickets home to visit. he has before so it looks from all the pics.

    • No, I’m not going to discuss the reasons behind the separation. If there are things I haven’t discussed here it’s because they’re nobody’s business. I know I open up a lot about my feelings and personal thoughts here, but I have to keep some boundaries in place and respect other people who are connected to my situation.

      I have explained that the reason there are no plane tickets this summer is because there is no money for them. The trip home for my daughter and I would cost well over $3000 JUST for travel. We don’t have that amount of money this year. Hopefully with the fund raising, I will be able to go alone.

  6. Hey Mandi, you are a sweetheart, a prolific writer. But… question here, when you do raise the funds, why dont you go home and never to return? Pardon my ignorance, if its not that simple.

  7. i hope everything will change for the better. but you do know we are waiting for the book and you will have to disclose it all..smile. then you will have plenty of money. but i do agree and understand your situation and it is good to raise your daughter in saudi.

  8. Wow, I’m speechless after reading this. You really are a great writer and blogging is defo a good outlet for sharing your thoughts and feelings. But more to the point, you’re a bloody strong woman! I have no idea if I could be as strong as you, dealing with what you dealt with in, so far away from home. Really inspiring to read someone finding strength within themselves and not relying on others Mashallah, may Allah keep you happy and blessed x

    • Of course you can :) I believe that people can be as strong as they need to be. And that most of the time being strong doesn’t really feel like being strong at all. Thank you for reading along, ayesha.

    • Of course you can be :) People are as strong as they need to be. And oftentimes it doesn’t feel like being strong at all. Only when you look back on a time do you realize that you were in fact capable of superhuman strength. Thanks for reading along, ayesha.

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