I love music. I love how I can escape into it. I love how it expresses what I am thinking at times when I am tired of my own thoughts or can’t put them into words. I love that I am able to listen to music and fall into the words and drift away. I often will play a song and meditate on it, thinking about what it means for me. There are some songs that really speak to me in many ways and this month I am going to explore those thoughts in this Music & Musings series.
The first song we will kick off with will be “Say Something”. There are two versions of this song that I like, one by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera and a cover by WorshipMob. I’m going to talk about both of them because they each hit me a little differently based upon the perspective they are sung from.
In the Great Big World & Christina Aguilera version, I got lost in the pain of the song. The first time I heard the song was when they sung it on The Voice and I remember just sitting there crying as they sang because it was such a sad song. The pain in their voices as they sang that they were about to give up on this person they love so much… It took me back to my divorce and how there were times when I just wanted my ex to say something so badly. After 10 years of marriage, people saying over and over how it would work out and I shouldn’t give up, feeling like I was empty and lost within this world I couldn’t control when at home… it was just over. No words. No warning. Just my house having two less people in it overnight while I wondered what had happened and watched my world crumble around me (or so it felt in that moment).
I remember in those first months after he abandoned our family just wanting him to call and wondering if he was alive or dead. I remember as time went on that feeling subsided and anger took over and I started wanting him to just say something about why he left and what I did wrong (typical victim thinking). I wanted him to say something and tell me that it was all a bad dream and it was going to be okay and he would work through his issues and be there for my daughter, even if not for me. That was always what hurt me most, him leaving my daughter who he’d wanted so badly and spent all those years telling me I had to have despite the miscarriages and my age. She was finally here and he’d spent six months staying home and being her primary caretaker while I worked and suddenly he was just gone and nothing was ever said. So when I hear this song, I hear the pain. I remember hearing it that night on The Voice and feeling the pain escape my eyes through tears and thinking of how painful it was to give up on us as a couple and finally say it was time to admit God wasn’t going to fix this. After a decade nothing had changed and he made the choice to walk away, so I had to accept that. Which leads into the WorshipMob cover of the song…
In this cover, they start with what you heard above from the original version, but then go into an extended mix where they add to it. In this version, you hear someone crying out to God, “Say something; I’m giving up on You”. And when I went through my divorce, this was how I felt many nights toward God. I remember just crying out to God and asking Him, “WHY?!”
What most people don’t realize is that my ex-husband and I had separated for almost 3 years from 99 to 02. We were in San Diego and after many hospital visits, crocodile tears, letters manipulating my emotions, and sleepless nights, I went into work one day and my boss called me into his office and told me I needed to get out of Dodge. It was time to stop lying to everyone and saying I was hurting myself at the beach playing ball when they had seen me play during lunch breaks (we had a basketball court at work and I often played with the guys during lunch) and KNEW that I was not being invited to play at Dog Beach with the guys! He said he knew something was going on at home and he wasn’t going to make me tell him but that he was going to tell me that I needed to not show up on Monday morning because I needed to be on my way home. It was the hardest conversation I had ever had with someone. I packed up my house that night, told my ex-husband when he got home that I was going to drop him off at the boat Monday and leave for CT, spent the weekend getting rid of furniture and other things he wouldn’t need in the barracks, and watched my life that I had thought was going to be so great fade away in just a weekend. And I did leave. I dropped him off at the boat Monday morning at 6:00 and left San Diego in the rear-view mirror. I cried all the way from San Diego to Las Vegas, where I met my father at the airport and drove home to CT in a daze. For the next three years we visited one another and got into awful fights each time he came home and went through one of the hardest pregnancies of my life and made a decision that we were done. Then 9/11 happened and something just hit us both and we decided that we wanted to give it one more try. And we did.
And he beat me one last time after coming here to CT and the lady who put the breathing tubes in me that night was also friend from my church and it devastated me that someone knew my secret who had such access to me. She was a friend and that hurt so badly to look at her and know I had been so cold that each time she asked me questions, I had lied. So when I was released, while he sat in jail, I went and got help from a family friend in Congress at the time and from another friend who was over a course locally and I got a restraining order and I fought the Navy and the state with the help of these friends and ensured my ex had to get help by taking a domestic violence offenders class and had a stipulation on the restraining order that he wasn’t allowed to drink around me, as he almost never hurt me sober (said mean things, but never hurt me physically). For the next seven years of our marriage, he didn’t put his hands on me in a hurtful way again until right before he left. So I am quite sure that when he told me in 2010 that he left because he didn’t want to hurt his baby’s mom, he wasn’t lying to me. I finally had his child and that is a huge deal in the Mexican culture so I understand that hitting me that last time was a new level of pain for him to process. And that’s our story… it never got the ending I had wanted for 10 years… never became the turn around I had hoped for.
So knowing that now about me, and hearing the lyrics to the WorshipMob cover, you can probably understand how I had come to a point so many times after the divorce, and over the past almost 10 years since he left, where I was like, “Say something God! I’m giving up on you.” I was so upset with Him for not giving me my love story and for so many years feeling like he had promised me Joel 2:25 and thinking it meant that He was going to restore my marriage. (After all this time, I realize now that when He gave my prayer partners Alona, John, Aaron, and I that Word, it meant He was going to restore me, not the marriage, which I never should have entered into and I knew it. I was 21 and young and we were both driven by lust. We looked great together and had a lot of fun, but we never moved beyond that place even until the day we parted.) I was angry with God at many times. So when I hear the Word the young man gives in the Cover of the song, I hear God telling me, “I am here… I never gave up on you…I’ve gone to the ends of the Earth to give you my love, but you put everything else before me.” It is painful to admit that I did that for so many years. And I’d be lying if I said I don’t still do it at times.
This Cover version of it and the depth of love you hear in the second part of the song when they are singing as if they were God singing to us … WOW. I feel it. It resonates with me. It hits me hard. And it tells me that all of the pain I felt in those years, all that I went through in that time, it wasn’t for nothing. It has a purpose and there is a way that He will use it to bring glory to His name. It’s been a long time since I have talked about the domestic violence on here because it is something I haven’t been advocating against as much in recent years as I had done in my past because I have been dealing with the effects of it and haven’t want to speak out while healing through some of the PTSD. But even though I wanted to do a different song and wasn’t planning on saying all that I said here, this is where I went with this. So let me go ahead and have a moment here to say the following:
Perhaps someone out there is reading this and knows this pain. Maybe you are divorced and know the pain of what it feels like to finally say you can’t do it anymore or someone saying that to you, or maybe you are experiencing domestic violence and you are asking God where He is… whichever you are, know that you aren’t alone. One of my biggest pet peeves is how people think divorce is an easy decision. I definitely don’t think it was easy for my ex to make a decision to just walk away from his entire life and the child he’d wanted so badly for so many years. Nor was it easy for me to finally file for divorce after he’d been gone and I realized there wasn’t going to be any “us” anymore. It was not an easy process and it came with a lot of tears up until January 4, 2012, when I finally made the decision to walk away. And maybe that is why tonight I did go this route, because 6 years ago tomorrow I made the decision to finally pick up the pieces of my broken heart and move forward with my life, accepting that he would never be back and I would never be part of that success story of the couple who endured hell and back and made it still.
I also hate when people say that women and men who stay in abusive relationships are weak. I am anything but weak. When I read back my journals over the last two weeks and I saw the pain over those years of marriage, I hurt. I truly hurt all over again these last two weeks as if I were again being dragged across the floor and punched and kicked. I could feel every beating as if it were happening again despite having long ago ripped up the police pictures and reports. I could also feel the strength that it took within me to endure each moment and believe in someone beyond what they showed to me but instead to see potential and hope for the best because I had made a vow and I was going to stick to it until he broke it. And I did just that. I stuck to it until and beyond the day he broke it and left our family.
Don’t be like me if you are in that situation, please. It is not good. I am almost 10 years past my divorce and I still can’t trust someone to fall in love with me for who I am. I still don’t believe that someone can look at me and think of me for the person I am versus what I can do for them. And I still can’t be with a drunk friend and not fear for what could happen. I have been in counseling for more than a year working through some serious PTSD issues so that maybe, just maybe one day I can be ready to receive love from someone and not fear that they will turn into someone else once I commit to them. I fear that more than anything because my ex was the perfect and most romantic boyfriend while we were dating. He always went out of his way to ensure I knew how he felt about me. I smiled a lot and was completely head over heels in love with him for the short time (and that could have been the problem) that we dated. But he changed on our wedding night and then the honeymoon. He was a totally different man once I took his last name. And I still fear that to this day which is why I haven’t really dated since the divorce except for two very short relationships that I ran from as quickly as they started. You don’t want to be like that if you can stop it before getting to that point where closing your eyes brings nightmares and you can’t imagine sleeping next to someone and them knowing what you go through at night.
If you are in a relationship where you aren’t being honored and treated well, where you are being hurt physically, emotionally, mentally, or verbally, please get help. Please call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) and talk with a counselor who can direct you to a shelter and other forms of help. There is nothing more freeing in the world, even with all the pain that our pasts bring once you are out and trying to move forward, than knowing that you can go to bed at night without waking up in the morning afraid of what the day will bring. While I miss being a part of a couple for sure, and definitely miss doing life with someone and having moments of complete bliss and a nuclear family, I would not trade the ability to wake up not fearing for whether today I will piss someone off to the point that I may not live to see my children again. Please get help if you are part of this type of relationship and ensure that whatever type of help you get addresses the PTSD symptoms that come with being a victim of domestic violence. And if you stay in it, still try to get help so you can understand what allows you to take the abuse over and over and over. You are worth so much more than being a punching bag or trash can for someone’s foul speech and negative comments.
Say Something brings up a lot of emotions and there are many times I have wanted to give up on God and just do life on my own terms, but with all I have been through, I see the truth of His Word when He says He will never leave me or forsake me. He has been there all along. Even during the heartbreak and definitely through this healing period when I have had to address all the painful scars, sometime reopening wounds that ooze with rivers of memories that I wanted removed. I always hoped that I would just wake up one day and be completely healed…like my heart would be miraculously put together again and I would not think about anything from the past. But reality is that I have to do the work and as I have been doing it, the healing has come much more slowly than I want it to. But it is coming. And when I have my moments when I cry out to God, “Say something…”, He always does. And He doesn’t give me a chance to give up on Him because I see His handiwork in my current relationships with friends and my inner circle. I see His hands slowly putting my heart back together so I can one day receive love from someone and not be afraid to commit to them. It will take time and I am aware of that … but the fact that I am even willing to think it is light years ahead of where I was living before. And for that, I am thankful that each time I have cried out, “Say something, I’m giving up on you”, He responded and said, “I am waiting here now; will you open your heart? I’ve been here all along.”
Until next time,