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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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I Used To Think...



There was a time I used to think the worst thing that could happen that day was that I wouldn't have time to go to Marshalls and troll the dish aisle. 

Things would end up in my cart that I didn't need. But they were pretty. Pretty was real important.


I used to look forward to weekends. Eating out and doing a bit of shopping and maybe hitting the mall. 

Then the eating out somehow became the worst part of the weekend. I hated the mall. The credit cards became like handcuffs that were beginning to cut into my skin. 


I use to think not being part of a couple would be the end of the world. 

I would be lonely. 

What on earth would I do on weekends? I wouldn't have anyone to hold me at night.

I used to think that love was what fed me and kept me breathing. Without it I might shrivel up and die. 

I use to need a man in my life. 


I wonder sometimes when the whole thing flip-flopped. When being part of a couple became the most painful thing in my life. When being a wife became a yoke around my neck and it was tightening all the time. 


There are many things worse than being alone. One is sitting in a restaurant across from the person you were so over-the-moon in love with. And you can't think of a thing to say. Not a darned thing. 

I use to sit outside and stare at my beautiful gardens and try to remember when I began to hate weekends. 


I didn't want to leave my flowers. But I wanted to leave my life. I wanted to get in a car and drive so fast the dust kicked up behind me in a cloud that obscured the past.


The Marshalls' dishes collected dust. I had far too many dishes for two people to use. I began to see how ridiculous it all was. The high you get when you buy something pretty becomes the low you feel at the thought of packing them all up. 

So many pretty things that twinkled in the aisle and caught your eye are just baggage you have to figure out what to do with. 


I don't get lonely on weekends. I don't get depressed because I'm not part of a couple. I don't feel deprived because I can rarely afford to go out to eat. 

All I feel is relieved that the walking on eggshells is finally over.

And I can just sit and do nothing and be content with that. I love silence now. It is the sweetest of sounds. It brings a sense of peace I never had before. 

I guess I was running from the truth. From myself. From all the misconceptions I had clung to. 


Sometimes the very thing you think will shut you down is what will bring you back. Sometimes you don't even realize you are sinking until a hand reaches down and you look back behind you and see what a distance you have fallen. 

What you used to believe was the worst that could happen, has happened. 

And oddly enough it set you free. 








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69 comments:

  1. I am so relieved and happy for you, Brenda.. When I started reading your blog, those many years ago, I didn't hear the content in your writings.
    You've come a long way "babe". We all have a long "row to hoe" and sometimes it's not easy.
    May this new home you've made be a place of contentment, peace and fulfillment for your years to come.
    Hugs,
    Charlotte

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A house is four walls. A home is contentment within them.

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    2. Brenda, you always express yourself so well. I love your saying at the end.

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  2. You've gone through so much, Brenda, and I'm happy for you that you feel freedom now! You know we're here for you.
    Blessings,
    Shelia ;)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you've all been here for me. I'm not so different from thousands of other women. We all have our trials. And our own way of dealing with them. Mine is to write them down so that I don't forget the lessons I learned.

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    2. By writing them down, we have all benefitted from your honesty and words. You have written down the thoughts and feelings for many of us who can't. I am so appreciative of your gut level honesty.
      Mary

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  3. You have written my life. I can relate to everything you have said. Alone now and loving it. Many years of married life was good; then came the bad times, Infidelity, drinking, verbal abuse. I have been on my own since 1980. My 2 daughters and myself lived by ourselves until they both went to college. Fortunately I had a good job and could support us. We use to call ourselves the 3 musketeers. We took care of each other and still do today. I thank God everyday for those girls. They helped me survive. I wish you the very best in your life to come.

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    1. I'm so glad you have a good relationship with your daughters. That's what I miss. It was what I came here for. But there are things we don't understand that we must endure. And I'll know that reason someday.

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  4. Wow. Powerful post, Brenda. It is good to sort out what really matters from what really doesn't. Some people never manage that.

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    1. I clung to that marriage for too long. I was afraid. Afraid I didn't have what it takes. Afraid that he was right and I couldn't do it. Sometimes fear is what eventually lights a fire underneath us.

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  5. Good for you girl. Happiness really is being content with what you have. Enjoy those flowers, your cozy home, and your dogs. When my mother in law passed away, the father in law just could not be alone. He wouldn't let me do for him. He went out to eat every meal, and drove around aimlessly when my husband wasn't entertaining him. In a month he was getting married again. I told my husband we would see what marry in haste and regret in leisure was like. And boy did we. Those two people had 10 years of misery. The two of them lived in the same house like strangers. He watched tv in the evenings wrapped in a quilt in a cold basement. When he was dying she sat in the kitchen telling everyone how unhappy she was, that we were all in her house. Sad.

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    1. Married in a month? Well, I shouldn't be surprised. I've found that men just cannot live alone. It doesn't really matter as long as someone else is there. Even if they die miserable because that person was not the right one. They never seem to understand that being alone is okay.

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  6. When my husband walked out, after 33 years, and left Laura and I on our own, I didn't know what I'd do. Never working outside of the house, I had no way to support us, no place to live and no car.I was also scared he would get Laura, as he was the one that could support her. One of my older daughters helped Laura and I. We lived with her for 2 years until we finally moved into an apartment. I did all I needed to so I could claim my disability. We receive disability and child support. We have food stamps and we now live in a wonderful first floor apartment that has a patio. For me, it is the first time since I was 19 that I didn't live in fear of doing something wrong, something that displeased him and then need to bear the consequences. It was the first time one of my daughters could just be a child and know that it was ok. Laura is lucky that way, She is the one daughter that doesn't live in fear of the man who was suppose to love her the most. She still has anxiety issues, but she is doing good. She has a wonderful doctor who helps her and her sisters are there for her. She has a wonderful school, has friends, something that her sisters didn't dare have, and she knows that she can talk to me about anything. Is being by myself worth everything I endured all those years? Yes it is. And the one thing that my older daughters have that I didn't is bravery. They have seen what a man can do, even if he says "I love you". They don't put up with the degrading talk, the affairs. They let it be known that they will not put up with it. They also will, and have been, a single mom so that they can live fear free. Letting our daughters know that they have a voice is something I have always stressed. Knowing that you matter, that you are important, you are beautiful inside and out, these are important to hear and believe. These are lessons that I am just learning. Thanks, Brenda, for always telling us how it is! I'm so glad you have your new apartment. It is amazing how you take plain and put your touch on it to make it one-of-a-kind.
    Hugs,
    Deb

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    1. When that happened to you, I imagine your fear of going out into the world was much like mine. You didn't feel you had value, that you could be a person of your own right. But you did, and I did, and I imagine your ex is much like mine. Married right away. And making the same mistakes all over again.

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    2. He did get married right away. Unknown to me, he and my closest friend had been seeing each other for almost 2 years! What really hurt was finding out how many people I called friends knew about it and never told me. Yes, it was hard, but I am now the person I should have been all those long years ago. I'm calm, at peace and enjoy life so very much. I was told that I should thank him for leaving, as it was truly the best thing he ever did for me!
      Have a good weekend!
      Deb

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    3. I find it so odd that time and again I hear it is the best friend. I don't understand how you could do that to any friend, much less your best friend. A very shallow person, a best friend like that.

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  7. Powerful stories, ladies. I once heard a speaker say that the thing that is worse than being single is WISHING you were single. I would have to agree with that. I am so much happier and so are my kids. In fact, my kids often sing the theme from Reba's sitcom..."A single mom who works two jobs, who loves her kids and never stops..." and tell me that they're proud of me. Who could want more?

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  8. You took the words right out of my mouth. When the movie, Eat Pray Love came out (I was still married), I took two girlfriends to it and all I did was cry through that whole movie...the entire time I wished I was HER.
    I have to be careful with taking time off from work...too much idle time on my hands sends me into a depression and this whole disease called menopause just exaserbates everything. All I can say is that my house is a peaceful house and me and the weiner dog, Rosie are doing just fine.

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  9. I can really relate to this post. I was in a bad marriage for 15 years. I have no desire to find another man. When someone gets divorced and wants to get married again, I think, 'Well, their marriage wasn't that bad if they want another one'. Mine was that bad. Unfortunately, I'm still dependent on my ex for support for myself and my grown up daughter who is mentally ill. He is horrible to deal with and doesn't know how to deal with our daughter in a kind, compassionate manner. If my daughter wasn't ill, I would have become more independent but as it is, I need to care for her .

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You're doing what you have to. And that's what moms do. I have no desire to ever date or have a relationship again. Just not in the cards.

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  10. After reading your post, I have tears in my eyes. So very happy for you! Beautifully written, Brenda. Your writing is always so eloquent and heartfelt.

    As for me, I've always felt that I've been to hell and back many times. And these horrible situations always turned out to be 'blessings in disguise'. For that is when I've had the most opportunity for personal growth and true happiness.

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    1. It's one thing to realize there were mistakes along the way. Quite another if you don't learn something from them.

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  11. Brenda, I have always said, it's better to be alone and a bit lonely as to be miserable with someone . When the love dies, I do not know if it can ever be revived. Buying may have been a disguise for misery. You have friends to love and who love you. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

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    1. Buying is a way to fill the emptiness. But it's a short high.

      Delete
  12. Brenda, you write so beautifully! I have spent so much of my life 'looking for love' trying to be what someone else wanted instead of being me! I am truly happy and content now. I love being my own best friend and living my life simply! Instead of filling my life with 'things' I now fill my life with simple pleasures; reading, family and pursuing some new paths in life.

    Linda

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    1. When we realize that things are not going to make us happy, we have to start looking at life in a whole new way. And things can't make you happy. Just like another person can't make you happy.

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  13. It is as if I am hearing my story! Life can be very hard...
    Each day as I walk my little Bella, I keep telling myself that life, like our walk, is just putting one foot in front of the other...over and over....

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    1. You're so right! A life's journey begins with a single step.

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  14. Why do we think we need so much stuff? Is it the thrill of the hunt? It sure isn't the paying for it all! Then having to have a bigger place to put it. How about the folks who have so much it's in a storage unit they have to pay for? What good is it?
    My hubbie and I went south this winter for a few months and lived in our fifth wheel. It was so much easier to care for. When we got back everyone commented how we must be so happy to get home to our house. Home? I think of home as wherever we are together and happy. Whether it be in a big house (which I don't want) or the RV (which I could live in happily) As long as you are content and not stressed, that's where you should be. Home is truly where the heart is.
    I'm so glad for you Brenda that you have found yours!

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    1. When we simplify how we live, as in living in your fifth wheel for the winter months, you realize that you don't need 3/4 of what you own.

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  15. Makes you wonder why it takes so long for some of us to figure life out. I often wonder after being single for 16 years between marriages exactly why I did remarry? I had a house, a terrific job, traveled when I wanted. I'm enjoying seeing my daughter's perception of life unfold, especially about the concept of marriage. I am so thankful you have been so honest on your blog, I know you have helped other women who have struggled for a long time. As for men who can't be alone, I have a nephew, on his 6th wife now and talking about leaving her! Kid scattered all over the globe, too. They don't even realize what they are doing to their children. Great subject, Brenda.

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    1. I don't know why it took me so long to figure things out either. It was right there in front of me. I just didn't have the confidence to believe in it.

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  16. I am so glad that you have found your happiness. xx

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    1. Happiness is a state of mind. A choice, I suppose. By looking at the glass as half full versus half empty.

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  17. I hope you have peace and contentment for the rest of your life. Just as we spend too much time & effort acquiring pretty shiny things we do not need, we often fill our lives with people that really do not add much to our lives. I feel fortunate that I have a few very good friends and one very good man in my life. He was a surprise that I was not looking for but am constantly thrilled to find beside me. Brenda, your life seems full and good right now. You have some good friends (Judy comes to mind) and the pupsters. You have such a quick, creative mind and you surround yourself with beauty every day. I consider you quite the rich woman.

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    1. I do have a rich life. It may not be everything I thought I'd have. But that's okay. Few people get everything they want. I have learned to live without some of the people I thought would always be in my life. Just because you gave birth to them does not mean they will love you. That's a hard pill to swallow, but once swallowed, you find a way to move forward.

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  18. Just beautiful Brenda..I am happy that you are finally feeling at home.."A house is four walls. A home is contentment within them"..Teresa is right..you are a rice woman in so many ways..

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    1. Make that "rich"..unless you could use some "rice"..lol

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    2. Rich or rice? I'd take rice. When people have money, I think they forget about the free things life has to offer. Like birds in nature. I'll take rice.

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  19. The worst kind of lonely is lonely in a marriage.

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  20. Beautiful post Brenda! I am so happy that you have found contentment, I could feel it the moment you started living in your new home. My father was a cruel, mean abusive man, he loved to pit his children against one another, he enjoyed it so. Back in the 50's woman were totally dependent on their man, and stayed home and took care of the children. I watched my dad "control" my Mom with money, and I learned at an early age that no man would ever control me financially. I succeeded in that goal, but I learned that love meant pain, that vulnerability encouraged betrayal. I trusted no man, no one really. Trust is a big issues for me, I have found if you leave yourself open, man or woman, will hurt you. Now in this stage of my life I am focusing on letting go of this old pain, be who I am, and go with it. Richness isn't determined by money...it's a spirit that is free to be!

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  21. Been there done that with the eggshells! :)

    BRENDA ! Not sure why the delay but I JUST saw the July Country Sampler issue at the local grocery store today with your 4-5 page spread / just wonderful! :)

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  22. Beautiful post. You are so right, Brenda. The thing we are most afraid of becomes the one thing that can set us free.

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  23. The trials are what make us who we are. Good for you for finding strength and staying positive!! Spread your wings and enjoy being free!

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  24. So beautifully written! You have a way with words. I love the quote at the end. It's something that we should all remember. We all get used to relying on someone or something and think that it will never change, but it's nice to know that if it does, we can find strength and courage to press on and it isn't the end of the world! So glad that you're at peace with your choices now.

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  25. I came by earlier today but the phone rang before I got to comment. Just wanted to say....beautifully written! I do love the way you write. Have a great weekend!

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  26. This is a beautiful, wise post, Brenda...you have a contentment that people and things can't give you...it's in your spirit.

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  27. Amen...been there. Men! Never can tell about them. I would have bet my life mine would never look at another woman..much less take her. Were all the love notes for 15 years all fake? Was always being there mean he didnt really want to be there? After 6 years.. I wonder what he thinks as he sits in a prison cell....In 5 months I will have run out of money. I honestly dont know what will happen to me. If I could work I would. I hate him for doing this to me. The man I loved so much. We never argued...he never got mad. Then when you throw meth, manufacturing and selling into the perfect marriage you get a girlfriend in the mix. She sat in prison too for several years. Oh Brenda I dont know how I feel anymore about being alove. I do like it but miss having someone too. I do LOVE SILENCE..the sound is silence gets me thru days like today when my body is hurting.... I couldnt be a wife to any man while in pain but alson note sure I could ever trust one again. I choose alone and silence. I know this has lots of mistakes but I cant fix them on my Kindle. Thanks for sharing. Love you.

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  28. What you have discovered, my sweet friend is that the most important thing is loving yourself. xo Laura

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  29. You are such an amazing writer!!! I too had a horrible marriage. I'm thankfull for all of us who have finally found the peace we so deserve.

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  30. this came at the most 'perfect' time in my life as I am going thru something so similar....sitting here with tears in my eyes just reading it thank you!! (sorry if I sent this twice!!)

    Angela from NJ

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  31. A wonderful post! It struck a responsive chord with so many of us! The transition to alone-ness is so painful, but the peace and freedom that follows is priceless. I am reminded of the quote, "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you think, and smarter than you know." Hugs.

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  32. These are the kind of posts that kept me glued to my computer over a year ago and compelled me to read your entire blog in two weeks.

    Brenda, I've said it before and I will say it again...write a book.

    xxx

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  33. I am so happy for you that you have created this beautiful life and with it you give us all a beautiful gift of knowledge, creativity and happiness. I was also in a miserable marriage that was a yoke around my neck. I realized I did not want to be married nor conform to any society idea of what I should be doing, Now I also stay home happily and enjoy my books friends, garden and no cost activities. Its a joy I never knew I was entitled to in life. I find the beauty in every day and am happier then I ever thought possible. You and I are proof that women are strong independent beings that do not need to be tied to a marriage to feel valued. I so admire you . Your words are so true. The diners out, the material possessions do not bring happiness, they were a band aid on a unhappy life. I do not miss any of it. I am proud to be independent and living on my own for almost 30 years. Standing tall on my own two feet thank you very much. What is more precious then being in the garden with our pets and doing what we choose every day of our lives! Marriage does not compare and cannot bring that happiness. Thank you for being honest.

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  34. An example of writing at its best! WOW!

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  35. You have a gift for getting 'public' about your 'personal' that connects you to your readers, whether they can relate to your experiences and thoughts, (or not). This is the power of effective, creative and 'organic', (as I like to call it), writing: raw and whole and good for you, no matter the 'cost'.

    Have a wonderful week ahead, my friend.

    Poppy

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  36. It is "I USED to think..." You caught yourself a couple of times but said "I USE" on several occasions. It is "I USED....with the "D" at the end.

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    1. Really? This wonderful post and all you could do was criticize? I'm so sorry for you. You missed one of the points.

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  37. You have such a wonderful way of expressing yourself Have you considered writing? Just a thought.

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  38. Hi Brenda...I grew up in a home with an abusive father who did nothing but yell and put bruises on my mom almost every day...he beat me once with a 2x4 the day his mother died...he was so upset he came home and took it out on me and my sister because we were fighting over a swing...whos tuen it was...I was 10 years old at this time but remember it very clearly...I could not go to school for over 3 weeks because of the puss filled welts on my butt...I could NOT even sit down...so you see me growing up in this envirement taught me 100% who I would NEVER pick for my husband...I was 21 when I finally met the man I knew I could trust and would be good to me and for 41 years he has been just that...its wierd how the road I walked brought me my wonderful husband who today I still could NOT lovemore than I do...I was lucky I guess...I told my Mom the other day..she will be 88 in Sept this year that I was thankful to her for showing me what kind of man to pick for my husband...just the opposite of the man she picked...she did divorce him before he died in 1992 then met a wonderful man who treated her like the queen she was...God works wonders in our lives...it was then I finally got to see her be happy...I wish your daughters would come around so they could see you Brenda be happy too...hopefully one day they will wake up and see the light and come back to you,,,I am praying for that for you,,.Carol

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I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time. I appreciate each and every one of you!

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