I’m No Angel

For as long as I can remember, I have had a steadfast black and white view of life.  To me, it is either up or down, in or out, good or bad or right or wrong.  I believe in an eye for an eye.  If I care about you, I will not hesitate to take a bullet for you…but if you’re the one holding the gun, when you pull the trigger…it had better be a kill shot.
My beliefs had been ingrained into my very soul and were unwavering.  My faith had always been unshakable.  My honor and integrity were unquestionable.  My loyalty was unlimited.  My inner strength was unbreakable.
There is one thing that destroys almost all of those and results in complete emotional death.  That is when you discover that you have been betrayed by the one person you trusted above all others.
I never forgive.  All the rhetoric about “freeing yourself” by forgiving those who have destroyed you, is unfathomable to me.  If you forgive somebody, you free them and allow them to continue to do what they did to you or to somebody else.
I never forgive anyone who questions my character.  B*****s’ husband did.  J*** did.  R*** did.  My mama did.  My character is the one thing I have left that is above reproach and I will not allow it to be impugned.
I never forgive a mistake that is fatal.  When somebody knows that what they’re doing is wrong and knows it is unforgivable but keeps on doing it…thatis afatalmistake.
The most remarkable person I have never met is Jesus.  Not everybody believes in him and I have no problem with that but I believe he “died” for everybodys’ sins……..and look at the world.  It’s full of liars, cheaters, murderers, adulterers, and abusers…..and heforgivesthem.  God should be grateful that I wasn’t “his only begotten son.”
I never forget.  If you forget, you are vulnerable to the merry-go-round effect.  You set yourself up to have the same things happen to you….over and over and over but….I also never forget a kindness.
I never allow excuses for mistreatment or betrayal.  There is a difference between a reason and an excuse.
I am sometimes unreasonable to a fault.  I’ve been accused of having to have everything my way.  That is true if it conflicts with my life-long convictions and I will not bend.
I have been called “rigid.”  If something is illegal, I will not do it.  If something is unjust, I will not condone it.  If something requires the abandonment of my morality, I will not capitulate.
I am capable of seething, intense and unyielding hatred and I am not willing to hide it.

I wasn’t a good child.  I tried to be.  I prayed.  I was respectful to my mama and daddy.  I never answered them without the proper “ma’am” or “sir.”  I made good grades in school and I never missed a day.  I saved small animals’ lives.  I appreciated natures’ beauty.  I believed in God.
Sometimes, in my youth ( but never now), I would allow myself to delve into the “what ifs.”  What if I had been raised in a different environment?  What if I had been given a chance?  I’d like to think that there were endless possibilities to what I could have done and who I could have been.  I wasn’t a good child.  A murderer is not a good child.
If my mama and daddy were still alive, they wouldn’t say “she was a good child.”

I was not a good mother and my beloved children paid a price.  I did the best I could under the circumstances but I didn’t have a template.  I was alone with them most of the time.  A good mother wouldn’t have complained about that.
I was the enforcer.  I didn’t control my disappointment or anger.  A good mother would have never lost her patience…under any circumstances.
I was frustrated with having to raise them almost all by myself and I resented interference by people who were not qualified to offer advice…such as R***.
I resented that J*** got to travel, got to stay out as long as he wanted to, and had friends he could “hang out with.”
I resented that it seemed the only time he acted proud of the children was when they were scoring goals in a soccer game.  A good mother wouldn’t have resented any of those things.
B***** called me one day, in tears.  She was watching her husband and his son playing.  She said “mom, the only thing I ever remember dad doing with J***** was yelling at him.”  A good mother would have defended J*** and come up with a “reason.”
I did my share of “yelling.”  I would swat them with my flip-flop.  I would send them to their rooms.  I made them cry.  A good mother would never do that.  I would be mean to them when they didn’t do what I thought they should do.  A good mother would have been grateful that she had four wonderful, smart, healthy children.
I wouldn’t want them to drive very far.  It was a joke for years that “mom wouldn’t let us drive outside a five-mile radius of the house.”  It was true but it wasn’t because I didn’t trust them to be careful.  I didn’t trust everybody else.  A good mother would have kept that fear to herself and it wouldn’t be something that they all remember to this day.
I didn’t want any of them to drink or smoke or have sex when they were in high school.  I wanted them to be like me.  I became painfully aware that noneofthemwantedtobelikeme.  A good mother would have understood that no child wants to imitate a clearly damaged, impatient and unreasonable mother.
I could attempt to counteract my inadequacies with a plethora of “good” things I tried to do, but it doesn’t really matter.  As I said before…one or two foolish acts can kill a thousand other great ones.
Despite my many flaws, my children have become wonderful, talented, gifted, intelligent, and mostly “sane” human beings, but my children will never say “she was a good mother.”

I wasn’t a good wife.  I didn’t play the game.  I didn’t ignore J***s’ and his friends’ drunkenness.  I resented them coming to my house, turning my trash can upside down (dumping the trash all over my floor) and using it like a drum.  I resented J*** not saying anything to them.  I should have ignored it…a good wife would have.
I resented them coming to my house and spilling alcohol all over my floor and furniture, breaking my crystal and not apologizing.  I should have ignored it…a good wife would have.
I know that J*** resented me.  He lusted after hard-drinking, bar-loving, “I don’t care if you’re married,” court-holding, educated queens.  I was not and never would be that kind of woman.  If I had been a good wife, I would have recognized that and tried to change.
A good wife would have figured out a way to get an education, even if it meant dragging all four of her children to class with her.  A good wife would have wanted to do that so her husband wouldn’t be ashamed of her.
I should have endured my drunken mother-in-law.  A good wife would have at least pretended to condone her actions instead of being unmovable, which resulted in her complete alienation from her husbands’ family.
If I had been a good wife, I would have sacrificed my “holier than thou attitude.”
I was never going to tolerate somebody who literally made my skin crawl.  I should have overlooked it…a good wife would have.
I should have ignored the other women and been happy that J*** was with me.  A good wife would have.  I should have enjoyed the gifts and money that he substituted for attention and affection.  A good wife would have.
When J*** was spending almost all of his time after work at a bar, it shouldn’t have made me angry.  I shouldn’t have questioned it.  A good wife wouldn’t have.  A good wife would have been thankful that he came home at all.
J*** told me that I had “really harmed his career.” I should have apologized to him and tried to do better…a good wife would have.  I should have turned a blind eye to the antics and what I considered to be the barbarianism of some of his “friends”…a good wife would have.
A good wife would have raised our children without complaining.  A good wife would have never gotten petulant about being ignored.  A good wife would have appreciated the fact that J*** was an excellent provider.
A good wife would have waited up for him until two o’clock in the morning, just to have a chance to talk to him.  A good wife would have overlooked his drinking and understood that it was part of his life.  A good wife would have even had a drink with him…just for the attention.
A good wife wouldn’t have laid in bed, night after night, smelling beer breath and hoped that her husband didn’t try to touch her.
When J***s’ daddy died, I should have gone to be with him but I didn’t.  His daddy had never give me the time of day until he was on his death-bed and even then, it was all about R***.
J*** didn’t come to be with me when my mama died.  He didn’t even ask me if I wanted him to.  This is not tit for tat.  I just didn’t think he needed me.  After all, he had his beloved mama and if he had to choose between me coming to be with him and being with his mama…..he would have chosen his mama.  A good wife would have understood and accepted that.
I should have forgiven J*** for betraying me.  A good wife would have.  I should have known that (as R*** said) “obviously, J*** wasn’t getting what he needed at home” and tried to change.  A good wife would have.
When J*** gave me Herpes, I should have echoed his sentiments when he said “ifyoucareenough,itdoesn’tmatter.”  A good wife would have accepted getting that disease…because she cared enough.
I should have put aside my beliefs.  A good wife would have.  I guess on top of all my other faults, I’m selfish.  I could only think about myself and my anguish, my sense of worthlessness, the death of my belief in fidelity and my unassuageable grief.
I should have learned to play all the games.   A good wife would have.
Maybe I should have found comfort in somebody elses’ arms, like J*** did.  If I had been happy, it might have been easier to be a good wife.  We could have presented ourselves as that “perfect couple” (who everybody quietly whispered about because they knew we were cheating on each other) but at least I would have been a good wife.
I should have been willing to be the “lady in the lounge, the queen in the kitchen, and the whore in bed” and not cared whose bed it was.  J*** wouldn’t have minded because those three things would have made me a good wife.
A good wife would have done all of those things but I was not going to compromise my values for anybody.  If I had…I would have been just like HIM. 
I would have been no different than all of his attachments, past and present, who have absolutely no moral compass.
I wasn’t a good wife, but J*** has emerged unscathed and is still revered.  His family, his friends and his attachment know the worst possible things about him………..and itdoesn’tmatter.  He is loved.
He would say that “I was never really what he wanted.”  He would never say “she was a good wife.”
I am now sixty-five years old and I have never known how it feels to be loved.  I think my mama said it best when she said “what in this round world have you ever done to make anybody love you?”
How could anybody possibly love me?