How did your marriage end?

 

Which one?

I’m the eternal optimist. I tried 3 times to get it right. All I got right was that happiness is more important than success, prestige, or money.

The first time I married because my very first boyfriend waited for me while I ran off to become a missionary nun—stop laughing, read my memoir LOVE The Beat Goes On . Yes, I felt guilty. When I returned a year later, I married him—I do remember a fight in the parking lot where I threw my engagement ring across the pavement. That was probably a big clue that I chose to ignore.

Six months later, we were having one of our frequent arguments. He tried to smother me with a pillow. I was 20 years old. I left with my suitcase the next day. Divorced at 21.

My second brilliant choice was a man 15 years older than me, suave, handsome, a traveler, sophisticated…and a gambler, and a control freak. Yes. I didn’t throw that diamond ring anywhere—he stole it and pawned it presumably because he needed the money to gamble. I left him several times, but he kept finding me. He got me fired from a job, evicted from an apartment, actually broke into my apartment telling the landlord I was a drug addict and not answering my phone! I’ve never even smoked a joint although my friends tell me I don’t know what I’m missing.

I left him in the middle of the night, with a suitcase, and my Old English Sheepdog. I definitely loved the dog more than the man. He’d threatened to kill the dog if I left him.I had to leave the city and the province to hide from him. My mother called me one day a few years later and said I better divorce the guy. He’d just been arrested for bank fraud and probably forged my name somewhere along the way.

The third one lasted a long time. He’s the father of my children and we are still friends. But one night at the end of a very unhappy relationship where we kept trying to make it work, I fell in love. I packed a suitcase and got on an airplane and moved to a new country. I’d like to say I lived happily ever after. But that’s not the way life is. That journey called life/living/ is filled with ups and downs. Some of us get lucky and find Mr. Right and others only ever find Mr. Right Now.

And then, when you think that part of your life might be passing you by, someone comes into your life, a totally inappropriate relationship, not from a different city, or a different province, or a different country but a totally different continent and reminds you that life is short. We have to take our happiness where we can find it.

The moral of my story is I still believe in LOVE.

What are the top five best decisions you ever made?

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  1. To leave my verbally abusive husband in 2002.
  2. To move to Mexico, find my soul and learn “I am enough.
  3. To start publishing in 2009: the musings of my heart. And the wacky creative stories that allow me to entertain thousands of people. Amazon.com: Lynda Filler: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle
  4. To put myself out there this year with my personal story of healing when I was given 6 months to live in 2008 LOVE The Beat Goes On.
  5. To answer an ad on a dating website placed by a 17 year old girl for her father. And making the decision to continue to love him even though he lives in a hospital and is considered terminal.

How did you start over after you had lost everything? How did you get your life together? Q

 

I’ve done it twice.

The first time I left an abusive husband. I’d attempted to leave twice before but he always found me and forced me to come back. He would come to my place of work, cause trouble, and get me fired. Or he would get the landlord to let him into my apartment saying I was a drug addict and he was worried I’d over dosed because I wasn’t answering the phone. Of course, the landlord would want me out. I felt helpless and scared.11377228_10152976883964150_596180098820635031_n

One day I packed my suitcase and placed my Old English sheepdog with a man I’d met in the dog park—my ex had threatened to kill my dog! Then I took a bus to another city and lived with a family I knew in their basement for two weeks. I had $200 in my bank account, bad memories, and bruises. It took him a month to find me but by then I was settled had found a great job and had rescued my sheepdog. There was no way I was going back and he knew it.

The second time was different because I was happily married with two young boys and a husband. I hadn’t lost everything but it felt like everything—my home and my business. Economic downturns can be challenging for anyone. Again I packed up my family, made a decision about our future and moved across the country to start all over again.

It was a challenge to be sure. But here’s what works for me:

  1. I never look back.
  2. I always believe in myself.
  3. I never let depression overtake me.
  4. I always know I will land on my feet and find success again.
  5. I listen to my cheerleaders: My mother used to tell me how proud she was of me. And now it’s my sister who’s taken over that role.

I put one foot in front of the other and keep on going!

 

Read more about Lynda’s life/challenges and she will share her simple but powerful mindset ideas.

Welcome #RWISA Author Jeff Haws

 

DIM LIGHT BREAKS

by Jeff Haws

Jolting upright, I squeeze the Jack Daniels bottle between my thighs just before it tips over to the floor. I look down and see the black label staring at me; the little bit of whiskey that’s left is tilting toward the lip, ready to fill my shoes if my legs can’t hold onto it. I briefly wonder if this is why they give these bottles flat sides, for better drunken, convulsive thigh catches. It’s saved me on more than one occasion from having shoes full of whiskey. Well, that and my ability to leave the bottle mostly empty.

I grab the top of the bottle and pull it back up, then try to raise my head; the room rotates quickly, lights blur and walls smudge while my head bounces on a neck that refuses to carry the weight. Enough of these nights will teach you the chair is always your better bet than the bed. I’d have already puked into my own lap if I’d been in bed, but keeping your feet on the floor helps ground you against the worst of the drunken spinning head. When I know I’m spending the night with Jack, I’ll always stay downstairs in the recliner with my feet firmly planted on the linoleum.

My head bobs left and settles on my shoulder; in front of me, the window reveals a purple sky with a sliver of dim light peeking over the ground, between the neighbors’ houses across the street. What does that make it? 6:30, maybe? I can’t remember if I ever fell asleep. I’m not confident I’ll ever fall asleep again.

The people across the street, though—I’m sure they’re asleep. Spencer and Mary are in bed right now, dead to the world. Her head’s probably resting on his fucking shoulder. He snores a little bit, but she’s used to it by now. Probably even comforts her, just being reminded he’s there. I fucking hate those people. I really do. Their whole lives are based around creating these perfect little characters so the rest of us feel even shittier about our own lives. But you can’t even get mad at them, or you look like the jackass who’s jealous and screwed up in the head. Not the people who pretend they’re something they’re not. No, it’s the guy who minds his own business and is genuine about who he is who’s the fucked-up one. That’s the way the world works.

I spin the bottle around in my hand, looking at the liquid slosh around in waves. Bubbles cling desperately to the glass walls but can’t hold on, splashing back down into the molasses-colored pool below. I raise the bottle and tilt it toward me; the whiskey burns just a bit as it hits the back of my throat, the sting helping to delay the inevitable throbbing head that’ll come next. I lift the bottle and splash the last few drops into my mouth, shaking it to make sure there’s nothing left, then drape my arm over the side of the chair and let the bottle fall to the floor with a heavy clink.

I have no idea what day it is. Am I supposed to be at work in a couple of hours? When every day’s the same, it’s hard to say. Time is just change, in the end. If the sun didn’t come up and go down, the Earth didn’t rotate, the world never changed, there’d be no way to measure it. Essentially, there’d be no such thing as time. People’s lives can get like that too. When the days start blending together, how do you measure time? And, even more so, what’s the point?

That sun that’s gradually getting closer to showing itself isn’t going to bring anything good with it. The dark is better. You can hide when everybody else is sleeping. You don’t have to look at how your neighbors’ lives reflect your own inadequacies. You don’t have to face yourself. The dark lets you be alone, lets you wallow and embrace whatever misery is there to be embraced. The morning just exposes it all to those smiling faces with white teeth all lined up in a row.

I know they don’t approve of me. I see them at church and they say hi, but you can see it’s forced. There’s no small talk. No more invitations to their lake house. Just hollow greetings if they can’t avoid me. When Adrian would show up with fresh cuts and bruises on her arms, I know they suspected something. I think she purposefully tried to make them just a little visible. A small cry for help, maybe. She’s been gone awhile, though.

Now, God wouldn’t approve of what I’ve become. This withering mass that passes the hours of insomnia with liquor straight from the bottle. He can smell the whiskey on my breath just like the neighbors can. I don’t even know why I go to church anymore when I can remember it’s Sunday. He can see my heart’s not there, that I wish I could have a handle of some devil’s water with me when I’m kneeling in front of a pew. It’s not that I don’t have faith that there’s someone in control; it’s that whoever that someone is has delivered me into this reality, this life. Whatever this is. Becoming an atheist almost seems redundant. When your belief is this tainted, is it even worth the bother of leaving behind?

I figure I’ve been strapped to this chair long enough, so maybe I’ll wander upstairs. I have blackout curtains in the bedroom; I can shut the world out up there. Pretend I’m somewhere else, somewhere better. Somewhere new. There’s no way I’m stepping foot outside today.

Standing up, I get a feel for just how much I really drank; my legs nearly buckle, and I fall back toward the chair. My hand catches on the chair’s arm and stabilizes me while I try to forget about the merry-go-round in my head. Ten seconds pass, then twenty. Finally, I lift my hand off the chair arm and pause to see if I can stand up. My legs wobble but hold; slowly, I bring my hand further up from the chair and straighten from my hunch. My arms are spread to my sides like I’m on a balance beam, trying to keep my center of gravity above my feet. I take one careful step forward, then another, deliberate, slow, momentum building as I reach the banister for the stairs and grab ahold hard.

Each step is becoming a little easier, now getting help from my left hand, pulling my body up the stairs one foot at a time, finally reaching the hall. I’ll need an aspirin or four before I lie down. If I’m lucky, I’ll sleep. If not, I’ll stare at the ceiling in the dark for awhile.

I open the door to the room and step through; the bed is just a few steps in front of me. I walk quietly to it and stop, bending carefully over the mattress. I pull back the quilt a little bit and bend further, kissing her forehead gently. She’s only six, and she deserves me to be better than this. It’s kind of amazing we’ve made it this far; she believes her mom is someplace better, and I do nothing to dissuade her from that. Hell, I hope she’s right. But if so, I can’t join her there now. There’s more for me to do. If there is a god, this is the one lifeline he’s thrown me, and I’m clutching to it with everything I have. She’ll get me to the other side of this. She’ll be the light breaking through the dark. It’s dim now, but it’ll shine brighter if I can rise with it.

I pull the quilt back up under her chin and fold it back across her shoulder. Then I back out the way I came and shut the door behind me, careful not to let the latch click. My bedroom’s down the hall, and more darkness still awaits.

 

 

 

 

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