I've already been called stupid, blind, delusional and all manner of other descriptives when it comes to my explanation of the car-crash of a mess that I find myself in since the discovery of how my estranged husband had been behaving behind my back. And seeing the contents of this particular form in black and white, well, I can understand how many people can believe that to be the case. In fact one of my trusted friends said exactly that to me just this week - in so many words anyway. She told me, with tears in her eyes that I need to "get real" and "take my head out of the sand". Harsh, but meant with the best of intentions. So I chose to listen.
It's been an eye-opening journey of discovery that has resulted in my conviction that it is up to me, and only me, to find a way through the maze of difficulties I've had to overcome since I discovered the email trail that told me beyond any doubt that my marriage was a sham. The absolute and irrefutable proof that I had pledged my love, commitment and (blind?) faith to someone who was prepared to not only lie and cheat, but who would also abandon me to a pack of money-starved wolves baying for my blood, without even a backwards glance.
So to be told by this trusted friend that I'd hidden my head in the sand for too many months and also advised that I need to "get a grip on reality" was a pretty hard pill to swallow. But then my interpretation of those words is only that. My interpretation. Perhaps it wasn't the intention. And that was the only reason that I listened. And I'm glad that I did.
Because through my friend's emotionless approach (don't get me wrong, she cares deeply for me and is concerned about what's happened, but she was able to approach the task in a non-emotional way that was way beyond my capabilities) I learned that many of the things I wanted to say, in the way I wanted to say them, were in fact highly likely to go against me in a court of law. I learned that this form, this pain-in-the-arse pile of paperwork that demands my total disclosure of the miserable and excruciatingly embarrassing financial situation that I'm in - along with the proof documents that would back up my confessions - could actually be the key to the clean break I'm seeking. That I'd be wise to rise above my emotions, distance myself from the perfectly justified fury I feel, and place the cold hard facts on the table. And all in such a way that a totally dispassionate judge might be able to grasp the whole situation and make a decision in my favour. I still cringe and fight about the idea that a judge might hold the power to give a verdict on what should or shouldn't be given or taken from me, but I'm having to learn that this is the law of our land. Ass or not, it's a constitution whose rules I need to understand so that I can do my best to let them work for me rather than against me.
And yet I'm tired. I'm all washed-up. The fight and the fury has gone. I've been placing every ounce of energy in to building a business so that I can get out of this mess. To re-build my self-esteem and re-create a business that works for me rather than against me. To create and live the life I've always wanted to live. On my own this time, yes, rather than with a life-partner. But still, to find myself in a place of peace where I can breathe, relax, enjoy life and truly relish every moment rather than fearing each letter that arrives in the post. Without dreading every 'out of area' phone call on my landline. Without holding my breath whenever there's the announcement of a new email on my laptop. It's no way to live - but it's been my way of life for over a year now.
So it has taken super-human strength for me to attack this task with the same level of professionalism I employ when I attack my work. Thoroughly. Accurately. With focus and determination. And with a goal to finish it faster than expected. And, together with the patient help and cajoling of my friend, it was all done and dusted by 5pm today. The t's are crossed and the i's are dotted. The only things still missing are the 12-months of bank statements, which are on the way. Job done. My entire marriage explained in black and white via a series of numbers and failures recorded on a ream of photocopy paper. Kinda sad, don't you think?
Did I happen to mention that at the same time, this week has seen the first major project for Top Banana? And did I also happen to mention that my trusted team carried out the project without me being there? No, I didn't think so.
Surely, then, I must have mentioned that this is a week where my sleep has been racked by unusually violent and disturbing nightmares. A week where my natural optimism seems to have taken flight, leaving fear and solitude in it's wake? A time where my eyes appear to have adopted oversized suitcases rather than the habitual bags, where my laughter has become hollow, and every smile brings with it the pricking threat of tears that might engulf me? Hmmm... perhaps not.
Well then that's good. Because I don't want to dwell on that. Because, despite or because of my friend's well intentioned warnings, I've discovered that I do know what I'm doing - and with her help and understanding, she's helped me find a way to explain the facts to a judge so that he or she will also agree that I've approached my challenges in an intelligent and honourable fashion. At least I hope so.
And now's the appropriate time to mention - no, to shout out loud and clear - that the project my team completed this week went down an absolute storm. I am so very proud of what they've achieved. And it was Mary, an original Top Banana and the lead facilitator for this project, who put it all in to perspective. When I asked her what had made it so successful this week, she simply replied
"Because this time I could be me - we could all just be ourselves. And because between us all we could be even more than we ever were before"
This is what I'm learning as well. But you now what? Sometimes it's not easy being me. I'm not always nice. I don't always get it right. I can be annoying. I can be selfish. I can be delusional. Sometimes I'm downright oblivious to what's going on around me. But you know what? The intention is always positive. And I guess that's what I've got to learn about other people as well - yes, perhaps even the sociopaths among us. Well, actually, maybe that one will take a bit more time. But in the meantime, I know I'm doing my best - and if it ain't good enough for some people, well... so be it. But it's good enough for me right now. And I for one think that's a major step forward.