I know it is an idiom. The idea of a broken heart. Your heart doesn’t literally break like some glass ornament that can shatter when it falls from the tree. It is merely an expression indicating great pain. Pain usually associated with the loss of a love.
I know this pain. I know this pain intimately. For me, this pain, while usually referred to in emotional terms, is one I experience on a physical level as well as on an emotional level. It resides in my chest, just to the right of center and it feels like someone wedged a pickax in at that particular point and is now trying to pull my heart right out from my body. It is a physical pain as well as an emotional pain.
What I didn’t know, until this last year, was that sometimes a broken heart occurs for reasons other than lost or unrequited love. A broken heart can occur absent love. A broken heart can occur when a dream that you loved, that you hoped for, that you worked for, dies. Broken hearts might always be about love, but they are not always about lovers.
Most people have one day a year that they dread. For some, it is the day they have to finally own up and pay the taxes. For others, it is the particular day of the holidays when they have to sit next to one of the least favorite outlaws at dinner. Some dread the day they have to put a child on the plane bound for dad’s for the summer. For me, it’s The Company Picnic.
My company is a rather large organization with 19 offices in three cities. We serve over 13,000 clients annually in a personal face-to-face environment. Our clients receive services from us, some of them for over 20 years. We also have affiliates in other communities nationwide. So, essentially, my organization is a large one. But it is dreadfully small on Company Picnic Day. As long as I live, I will never cease to question how I can be in a basketball gymnasium filled with thousands of people and never see a person I know, yet, take that same stadium and fill it with thousands of people from my company on what we dub as Company Hug Day, and I can find The Evil Ex even if I’m not looking (and I always am, just to avoid him). This year, not only was The Evil Ex present and accounted for, but so was his Wife, who apparently has now been hired by the company and working in the same office he is working in. To add insult to injury, his son’s wife, a cute young thing was also there. Now, I have nothing against their happiness, or the fact that apparently there is some real nepotism going on which I don’t understand, because The Evil Ex is not even good at what he supposedly does for a living. Why would the Powers That Be hire anyone associated with him? I don’t get it. (In fact, the company had grounds and could have fired him 12 years ago. I know. I was there. They didn’t. Instead, in a classic case of sexual discrimination, they demoted me (the more experienced and qualified female employee…and I’m not making this up or being bitter…I can prove I’m the more qualified and skilled individual) and promoted him. And why? Because I foolishly made the mistake to fish off the company dock. (I was not informed that this only works out for the men in the equation.) I was also too fearful and intimidated to take on the legal battle. What I take issue with is that it just seems unfair that those who are so inept, succeed over those who are more competent …or seem to. Okay, the job situation ticks me off, but he’s also inept relationally. How is it that he gets a relationship though he’s a jerk and I’m a decent person of good character and I can’t find a match that will last to save my soul??? Yeah, let’s not go there.
He is a creeper. I had a restraining order on him. He has less than the normal minimum days with our daughter. He should have been fired. But that’s not how the world works. They retain the men. And fire or demote the women, essentially ruining their careers…especially if they get pregnant.
I guess I am still bitter about all of that. It doesn’t eat at me…at least 364 days of the year it doesn’t eat at me…but on Company Picnic Day…when I see him representing the most prestigious office in our region (think monied clients and a comfortable corner office to work out of)…the injustice of it all floods my psyche. You see, back in the day, before we decided to fish, before he decided to stalk me and later abuse me, I worked at one of those elite locations, with that elite clientele, with a very comfortable corner office, with windows, all done up in blue. My life was made. Until he entered the scene. And I’m not bitter when I say this, the man is incompetent. He can’t handle his own personal matters, let alone those required for his job. The deal is this: he’s a great liar and pretender. He can present himself to so many as something he really is not. He has a way of lying about things so that, while preposterous, they sound believable. For example, this summer he perjured himself under oath. He told the judge he was still providing insurance for all of his children due to the fact that one’s children are now covered until they are 26. The reality: he has 7 children…not including the one we have together which makes 8. Of his 7 children, 5 of them are adults, and 4 of them are married, over the age of 26, and/or have their own insurance coverage. So, he told the judge he was paying insurance and covering all these people and what it shakes down to is, he’s covering exactly two other children (besides himself and his wife) and not our daughter. I was stunned. I was not able to reply to this statement because I wasn’t given adequate opportunity. He lied. He wins. He puts himself off as this great man of character and of God, but then he doesn’t pay his half of the medical expenses and he’s an asshole when it comes to negotiating the differences regarding our daughter. In fact, there is no negotiation. He just does what he’s going to do and I am left dealing with the fallout. That’s how our marriage was. Can I expect anything different in our divorce?
So, he won in the work arena.
He won in the court arena this summer.
And today, apparently, he’s winning in the Love Arena, because he was there with his wife and daughter-in-law, while I was there, completely, undeniably, and obviously, ALONE.
And by alone, I mean really alone. The last couple of years I told myself it didn’t matter. And, really, it didn’t, because I didn’t have his wife and daughter-in-law in my face at close proximity. (Yes, our last names all end with the same letter so I must attend all the excruciating meetings with them.) But also, I knew I was going home to someone. I knew then, at least, I was in the relational ball park. Last year at this time it appeared I was winning or, at least, staying in, that particular game. This year, it is a totally different story. I’ve been kicked off the island, or my partner couldn’t leave my island fast enough. My inability to maintain a relationship over time is glaringly apparent to me, to the world, to the company and, worst of all, to the Evil Ex and his family who now, apparently, works for our company.
This does not feel good.
I mostly don’t mind being alone, but never having a significant other in my life was simply not what I ever wanted in life. In fact, even more than kids, I wanted that quality relationship with another adult. I gained in the kids arena, but apparently I’m a complete flop in the relationship arena. This just doesn’t always sit well with me. In fact, at times, like today, when I am faced with my failure, it is incredibly painful. I wonder why he gets the happy relationship though he never spoke to me ever, once, in six years, in his passive-aggressive abusive manner of dealing with people. He is disrespectful, unreliable, and irresponsible and all sorts of other things I don’t want to take up space with here. How does he get love and I can’t find a quality partner to save my soul? He’s a taker, an abuser, and people flock to him. I don’t take, I give, I deal honestly and fairly, and men use me up and move on. No one stays. What’s wrong with me?????
So I posted that video and post about being Alone. I’ve made my peace with being alone. I can handle it. I’m content most of the time.
The truth is, I’ve lied. I like being in relationship with a man. I like the companionship. I don’t like being alone…in that way. I especially don’t like the idea that this is the end of the relational line for me (and the sad reality is that age being what it is, and men being what they are, it is the end). Like I said, most of the time, this is not an issue with me. I enjoy my boring, little life. I have wonderful friends. I love my kids. I’ve been blessed with four beautiful, intelligent, dynamic individuals as children, who are so successful, in spite of the fact that they had so many risk factors (divorce, poverty, etc.) working against them. I can’t take credit for that. They chose that. The work I do daily matters, not just to the people I work with, but to the people they, in turn, impact. It’s an amazing job and I am good at it. I’m grateful for that. And if you asked any of my friends they would tell you and they do tell me that I am an amazing person.
at the end of the day…
when the kids have gone home to their families…
the friends are busy with their own lives…
…and I can no longer work
…I am alone.
I don’t exactly want the highlight of my days to be my latest, greatest Facebook status update.
I don’t exactly like the idea of rocking alone on the front porch of the old folks’ home.
Apparently, I’m just not amazing enough.
I hate Company Picnic Day.