Saturday, December 08, 2007

The girl I used to be.

Last night I did a stupid thing.

I don't know why, but for some reason last night I decided I would look up the property record of the house I used to own with my ex-husband.

Well, I do kind of know why. I was thinking about credit and debt and buying a house and although I had checked my credit a couple of years ago and the debt for the house he and I had bought together was gone, I never really knew what had happened to it. Had he sold it? Had someone paid it off for him? I had no idea.

So I Googled. And I found it.

He sold it, in 2006. To his cousin. For $8000 less than we had paid for it in 1996. And we? Paid almost nothing for it in 1996.

So that was that, right? It's sold, it's gone. Someone else lives there now.

But yet...

I couldn't help but think of all the things I left behind when I left that home. When my dad physically came to where I was and deposited me and my little children in his van and took us away. Because if he hadn't, I would have surely died. Emotionally I was already dead at that point. I couldn't function, I couldn't think, I could barely even breathe.

So I left.

And I left behind my piano. The wedding dress from my first wedding. My curio cabinet. My childhood toybox. And most terrifying? A lot of my writing. A lot.

I had a file cabinet. I used to keep it in the living room, next to the woodstove. I filled it up with my things. Things which were mundane, like bills, but also things that were close to my heart, like my writing.

I did get back a number of my diaries, but not until after my ex-husband had sat down and read them all one night and called me and mocked me for what they said. These were diaries from middle school and high school and not intended to be shared with the world. He said, "You left them in my house, so I have every right to read them!"

But it wasn't his house. It was our house.

Worst of all, we had bought it from my parents, before they moved away. It was the house I grew up in. My childhood home. Nearly every memory I have of my sister is in this house. Nearly every good memory of my childhood is inside that house, or out in that yard, or in the creek out back. When he decided to leave me, to destroy me, to ruin our family and leave my children without a father, he got everything. I got the children, and the debt. He got the house.

We went to court, mind you. I gave up the house by signing a quit-claim deed. I had to get away. I knew, even in my fragile state, that if I didn't go away, far, far away he would continue to make my life hell. I knew, somewhere in my mind, that there was something more, something better, and I was not going to find it if I stayed where I was. I had to go.

Thinking back I should have insisted he sold the house and split the profits with me. It was easily worth three times what we paid for it. But I didn't. And when the judge informed him that he would have to pay certain bills, even though they were in my name, he dutifully said he would. When we went outside he laughed in my face and said he would never pay those bills, he didn't care, and if my credit went to hell, "oh well".

Oh well.

Now his cousin and his cousin's family own that house. His little children play in that yard and in that creek. They go to the same school I went to as a child. Maybe they even play my piano. I don't know.

I lost everything I had, at that time, except my children. Which, it turned out, were the only things that mattered anyway.

I try to imagine who I would be, if I was still there. Who I would have become. If I would even still be alive and able to function.

Maybe I would have overcome it. Maybe I would have lived in that same town and ran into him and his girlfriend that he left me for on Friday nights at Wal-Mart. Maybe I would have met another guy with nothing going on in his heart or head and married him too. Maybe I would have turned it all around somehow and he and I would still be married and raising Boy Child and Girl Child together in a little house, going nowhere.

I don't know.

I only know, I am so grateful that it makes my heart hurt, that I am not that girl I used to be.


Heather said...

Amen to that last statement!

Thea said...

This post rocks.

KiKi said...

OH.MY.GOD. What a very cruel man. I am so glad you got out of that situation and that your kids have nothing in common with him but DNA. Right now you are the bomb because you have gone thru a lot and overcome so much! I really admire you a lot. Beyond the (tons of) laughter, you are a great benefit and source of inspiration to me and lots of others.

SJ said...

Oh sweetheart. I'm sorry that you left everything behind because of that cruel man, but like you said, you kept what was most important.

I'm glad you aren't the girl you used to be either. You have a great family now that loves you :)

Kimberly said...

I'm so grateful too. Because the girl you are now? Inspires me, uplifts me, and delights me.

frannie said...

I completely understand.

Karen and Bill said...

My dear Chick, you have so kindly left a comment or two on my blog, so I wanted to return the favor. There is a reason your writing has such depth -- truly it is born from such pain. There is always blessings to be had and you have come out the better person. Bless you.

Anonymous said...

We all used to be someone else slightly...

I am glad you got out. I am sad you lost the thing that meant so much to you...But your health, your head and your heart is still just as wonderful...And your kids. Oh your kids....What more can you ask for?

So happy you are where you are.


Morgan Leigh said...

I am so happy you are who you are now. I'm sorry about the house, though. I know how you feel, about the childhood home being sold, it hurts a little.

Lisa said...

Sweetheart I am so sorry you had to go through all that. We have alot in common. I have lost many material things, also. We have both lucked out in this future and we can go nowhere but up from here.

Keetha said...

What an affecting post. That part about it being your childhood home got to me. I'm sorry for that loss but it sounds like you have come so far and overcome so much - I think you have a lot to be proud of.

It must still hurt, so this comment is making no sense. Sorry! I'm trying to be helpful, but I got nothing. Except yea you for leaving. Many women would not have had the strength.

Dawn~a~Bon said...

I hate the hell out of your ex-husband, but you are a rock star.

AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

Thank the Lord your father physically put you in that car. And, how wonderful you realize the house, despite the memories and his scuzzy cousin taking just wood and nails. The kids? They are your world.

Alpha Dude 1.5 said...

I think you came out on top.

You got Jason, and the kids, and adoring fans, and....and.... you are awesome!


Stephanie said...

I think you came out on top, too. And while I would never, ever, ever in a million years wish your past on you, it has shaped the person you are and has helped you to appreciate what you have now all the more.

I'm so glad that you have Jason and your sweet kiddos. I'm so glad that you blog and we get to read!

Rachel said...

You left that girl you used to be behind too. And that? Is awesome!

I loved reading this post.

Amy W said...

I am with Rachel, you left behind what was, and now look at you. I know you can't get back your writings and such, but you have so much more now.

Shari said...

You wouldn't be who you are now without that... without all that was...

And you? Are fabulous and a complete rock star. But I understand too. Oh how I understand.

Bedtime Storyteller said...

i know how you feel, and i can tell you - you're so much more than what you left behind. and he can't take any of that away from you.