So this blog post begins in media res -- in the middle of things.~~GH
Then I told him some things. I told him that I wanted him to know no matter how deceitful he had been, that I had felt protected and largely safe during most of our marriage. That this experience had not caused me to feel bitter or close my heart. That I was still able to allow myself to be tender and vulnerable and open and trusting. And he cried and said “That is your resilience.”
The word resilience stuck in my head, so I decided to look it up. Turns out it's not what I thought it meant. It isn't some magical quality I possess or can lay claim to as a character strength. It's a coping mechanism, a dynamic process of behavioral adaptation. I read through Wikipedia's page on resilience and at times wondered how in the hell I ever developed it considering the dearth of outside support I had as a child. I thought about it for a couple of minutes and came up with this idea:
I am able to continue through hardships because I really do believe I am loved. Dearly and deeply and fully and in a special way. I believe I am precious – to somebody. I am not even sure who. I don't want to think too long or too hard about it either. But in my darkest hours – well, maybe not the darkest ones but the dark ones – I know I am loved and cherished. In my darkest ones, I despair and feel abandoned and alone. But in just the awful hours, I still believe I am loved and not alone. And if I'm not alone, I can do anything.
Even though my parents did the horrific things they did to us, they sold me on the idea they loved me. I truly believed them. I felt loved. I felt angry and betrayed and confused and conflicted and wondered at times what the fuck love meant if it hurt so badly, but I still believed I was loved. And that was enough. And that was how I got through nineteen years (or however long it was) of living a total sham of a marriage: I believed I was loved.
Do not misunderstand me. Surviving is not thriving. Believing you are loved when you are not loved is like being on a ventilator. It will keep you alive but you can't really go anywhere. But you can get through the crisis until such time as you can move on and breathe on your own. I suspect that may be why religion was created. But that's another musing for a different day.
Know that I love you. I really do. I have such love for my brothers and sisters, every one of them. Call it resilience if you want to. I don't care. To me, it's Love.