Identity - Guard That Sucka With Everything!

I had to leave.

Reasons began to pile up. Reasons that I had ignored for years suddenly refused to reside in the background in the neat box I had put away.  They demanded to be acknowledged and analyzed whether I was ready or not by appearing in front of me daily.  They were ready to be heard and boy were they loud!  When it's time, girl it's time.

So I left.

I met this beautiful soul in 1995 as a bright eyed 19 year old and we walked through campus grounds to class singing Tupac's "So much pressure in the air, can you get away?" with nothing but love and our future in front of us.  Our future included college degrees, a marriage, two of the most beautiful brown eyed sons and in 2010 a separation that eventually led to divorce.

I realize now after an in depth autopsy of all that was, that I had to leave, leave Lexington specifically because I had lost my identity there.

He and I merged into one person and I allowed it.

His football teammates started referring to me by his name back in 95 and so it began.

You don't willingly put yourself on the back burner when you become a wife and a mother.  It creeps up on you slowly and without your consent.  When you are finally in the know, you just decide to go with it because what else are you going to do, right?  Typing that last sentence and even reading it back makes me laugh now because I have 101 things you can do NOT  to get lost in the shuffle and lose your identity but I have them NOW.  When you're deep in it, you have nothing.  Everyone is happy in your household except YOU.

It started with that whole "head of household" thing. Yes, in quotation marks because that's how much I can't stand it. Suddenly when it came time to buy houses, cars and anything else that involved paperwork, his name was needed first.  They'd add mine but it always felt like an afterthought.  "I work too and contribute to this household too!", I wanted to yell out each and every time.  Then there were the bold telemarketers who called the house and asked for his decision making input in whatever they were selling. Excuse me, I make all the decisions in this house and he truly could care less what you're peddling.  They didn't believe me.  Years of this takes a toll I tell you.  You feel invisible and inferior.  A damn second class citizen in your own home.

I may have mentioned my frustration on occasion and it was funny to him. I was overreacting.  Easy for him to say when he was treated like the Prince of Zamunda and I only the rose petal thrower!

Back to why I left Lexington.  I knew I needed to bloom again because I was wilting in every way imaginable.  I wanted to be available to my children and my household but I also wanted to work while the kids were in school.  Why this is such a foreign concept to companies I will never understand.  I could give you my all but only between 7:30 and 2:00, I didn't even need a lunch break.  NO one was feeling me and were stuck on that 9-5 thing.  I decided to work in the schools as a Sub so I could be on the same schedule as my kids.  When I tell you it felt like I had to fight for that  $7/hr, believe me. College educated, degree in hand and a top ten High School graduate fighting for $7/hr just so I could be available to my kids at all times.  Welcome to motherhood in the land of the free girlfriend.

My ex husband was well known in Lexington. From the schools to the banks to the grocery store, they knew him.  The Mayor wished him a Happy Birthday on Facebook.  I would go to places and apply for jobs and when they found out I was married to him, they would say out loud or treat me like "Why do you want to work, you have a Husband."

I ignored it for so long but then I got mad Gina!  I was a person too. I had a brain and a college degree.  The only thing he had that I didn't was a penis.

I went with the flow for years but that loud gnawing refused to be silenced in 2010.

This was not life.

Now don't write me letters and tell me how ungrateful I am to this man for marrying me and just being a husband and here I am complaining about it.  I know what I speak of and I see it play out with other people.

I've seen these Hollywood and Atlanta Exes on my TV.  Their husbands are giants in their fields and no one understands why they left them because you know, if you have millions of dollars and a husband, you're set for life, right?  Ha!  I have seen these wives ecstatic to reclaim their identity and have fans love them for THEM and not their husbands.  They have people who reach out to them on social media and ask them for advice and seek them out for THEIR minds, not the people they were once married to.  It seems silly to most people but I get it! 

Yes Shamicka Lawrence, ex wife of Martin Lawrence and cast member of Hollywood Exes can post cooking videos on social media with light in her eyes and not get a dime from it simply because she loves it! Folks look at that and think, "you left having a maid and a cook for this?" and laugh but girl I get it!

Here's to us, the women who lost their identities in the shuffle but have since reclaimed them and vow to never ever lose them again!

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