Pep Talk

I’m feeling anxious today.

But before I get to that, I have to share with you a few pictures from my spring break this year. It was the inaugural trip with a dear friend of mine (even though I lived with her for the better part of year after my divorce, we have never had the opportunity to travel together).

Since she has had a HARD couple of years and has an elementary-aged daughter that keeps her busy, I gave her the choice of locations. After giving up on the Everglades for being too far, we settled on the Okefenokee Swamp. Which, as it turns out, is absolutely stunning, especially before the heat has settled in.

It was an amazing trip. The best part was simply the time with my friend to decompress and catch up with no external pressures.

The swamp was amazing, but I think my favorite times were evening nibbles out on the dock outside of our cabin (Seriously, this cabin was amazing. Hit me up if you need a place to stay near Valdosta, Georgia and I’ll put you in touch).

On one of those meandering conversations, my friend mentioned that my ex-husband’s picture appeared on her “suggested friends” list on Facebook. It wasn’t his profile, rather he was pictured with a woman that Facebook decided my friend might know.

Let me explain why this is unsettling. At the time of the divorce, I had no social media and neither, as far as I know, did my ex-husband (or, if he did, it was under some other identity). I have never befriended anybody from his life on social media and in almost ten years, I have never had that world intrude on mine.

However, since there apparently must be some connection between my ex’s current female companion (which was NOT the other wife, according to my friend) and my close friend, there are now fewer than seven degrees of separation between us.

Ugh.

I don’t like the feeling of that. And, perhaps most unsettling, it’s made me tempted to look him up for the first time in over nine years. I won’t give into the urge, but I really, really, really don’t like that I’m feeling it. (And as an aside, I feel for the other woman; I hope she’s okay.)

But that’s still not the root of the anxiety.

In a few hours, I’m heading into town to go to a beer festival.

Sounds fun, right?

Well, it should be. But I’m also anxious that I’m going to run into him.

The last time I spoke with him was almost ten years ago. The last time I saw him was just under six. At a festival. In town. Here’s my post about the experience and here’s my reaction once the shock had faded.

My reaction surprised me. Scratch that. The sheer intensity of my reaction scared me.

And so with him more on mind than I’d like and heading into a similar situation, I’m afraid that I may see him again. Actually, I’m afraid of my reaction if I see him again.

I like to think I’ve moved on. That he doesn’t impact me anymore. And for the most part, that’s true. But if I see him, I may just find out otherwise – that there is still trauma in my body waiting to be released.

So I’m anxious.

And giving myself a pep talk –

“It’s okay if you see him. It does not change anything. Even if he is in town, he is not in your life. You have no connections with him anymore; he cannot hurt you. Those reactions you’re having are not due to him in the present, they are simply aftershocks from the earthquake so long ago. You are stronger now then you were then. Wiser. And you know that this will fade. Keep breathing. You got this.”

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12 Responses

  1. Strong says:

    Very interested to read your next post with what happened. I think I will have somewhat of the same situation in my future too. Could you please send the link to the story of what happened six years ago when you ran into him that you referenced in today’s post?

    • stilllearning2b says:

      It should be linked in today’s post.

      • Strong says:

        Got it! Thank-you. I think I missed it (actually both links) because your post got me so rattled even thinking about the idea of a chance meeting with my ex. I particularly identified with this sentence on your previous entry: “Seeing him felt more like facing an attacker than a lover.“ Succinctly and accurately worded. And so very true.

        • stilllearning2b says:

          Scary, isn’t it? And it’s so difficult to articulate it to those that haven’t been there. After the festival (with no ex sightings!!), I told my now-husband about how anxious I was about the potential run-in. He seemed genuinely perplexed. He couldn’t seem to understand how genuine happiness with where I am does not offer complete protection from the anxiety/repulsion/trauma potentially associated with seeing my ex. Ugh. I really do want my ex to be okay. I just want him to be okay from a very, very great distance. Mars would be perfect:)

          • Strong says:

            You’re a better woman than I am. I don’t want or care if my ex is OK. I will carry the scars and trauma of PTSD from his abandonment, deception, and emotional abuse for the rest of my life. The best I can do right now is to wish him the life that he deserves. Karma will handle the rest.

            Thanks for writing these very relatable and thought-provoking posts. I know some days you probably have to reach way back to re-live what it was like for you then vs the radically different (and wonderful) life that you have now.

            • stilllearning2b says:

              Took me a loooong time and a lot of work to get to that point. And I think the main reason I want him to be okay is so that he doesn’t hurt anybody else. That being said, I wouldn’t mind if karma paid a visit now and then🤣. Maybe a little accident with some honey and fire ants…

  2. Judith K Venable says:

    I’m enjoying your journey to “back to normal.”. I’m not sure what your ex husband was like, but no matter what type he was, he formed a lot of the new you. Our trials come to make us stronger and better. Your best is ahead of you and yourey growing from your past experiences. Best!

    • stilllearning2b says:

      Thank you! And the ex was always amazing to my face while abusive behind my back…which it what makes a potential sighting so challenging.

  3. I love your pep talk. It’s so important that we speak kindly and encouragingly to ourselves. I wonder if you might even want to add something like, “It’s okay to feel anxious, after all this time. It’s natural, after such a traumatic experience. You can take care of yourself, surround yourself with people who love you, and do whatever else you need to make yourself feel safe.” I don’t know about you, but I often need something like that, or I can start down the road of, “oh, it shouldn’t be a big deal after all this time…” even though my body KNOWS it really is a big deal still.

    Wishing you well, and hopefully a great even without a glimpse of your ex!

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