We all ask who are when when we are no longer their wife. This is my story of heartache, betrayal and my ongoing journey to wellness. Your identity cannot be your marriage. This is why.
About two years ago I took over 20 years of handwritten journals to my vacation home in the UK. I’ve been documenting my days on pen and paper since I was a little girl. It’s my therapy.
Three, yes three days later when I came upon the last five or so years of my adult life, I said to myself, “What in the ACTUAL f*ck!” Who am I? And I mean WHO am I? Who is this woman vomiting on these pages, she’s pathetic! Self love anyone? I had none at the time, but inching towards it, at least in my heart I thought I was.
At this time in my life the ink was still not dry on my long drawn out, incredibly horrifying divorce. I was in the middle of opening up an excruciatingly enormous business project with my father. Barely sleeping. Barely eating. Avoiding friends with the excuse of being so busy.
“Just get out of bed Alison.” If I could get out of bed, make it to the shower, then into my car and make it to my office, I knew I would be busy enough to get through ANOTHER day. And when I got there, I buried myself in 12-16-hour workdays. “One day at a time Alison, Dad needs you, the kids need you, just get through the day.” Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Putting on “that face” we do as women, so no one asks questions, having to conduct media interviews, smile for the cameras and bury the internal hell I was living in….I was on repeat for months. I was telling everyone around me that I was fine, the classic “everything happens for a reason” BS.
But in truth at my core I was still suffering the loss of my marriage and family that I fought so hard to save. Though the kids were adults and out of the house, their sense of loss was real, and they still needed their Mom. They knew our marriage wasn’t perfect, we never hid that. But they finally had a Dad and he had said “vows” to them on September 22 in front of friends and family. They wanted answers. Why did we divorce? Why is he doing this? But I had no answers to a mind-blowing situation. They hurt, I hurt. The intensity of it all just wouldn’t seem to go away.
You see he had made a lethal choice. He turned to another woman, and that woman was my best friend. He gave up on us. They made a choice, it’s that simple. I couldn’t stop visualizing their conversation on what this would do to the children he raised and called him “step-daddy.” To my parents who loved him as intensely as they did their own. Frankly, did they even have that conversation?
I couldn’t wrap my brain around how they had zero regard that he was ripping all of our hearts out; all while our small town watched it unfold. Then I would allow the phone calls of him sobbing with bullshit apologies, asking for help to repair his relationship with our daughter. It was the true definition of “gaslighting” before that was even a term.
And here I still was stuck still in MISGUIDED humiliation and trying to process it almost 2 years later. I finally realized it as I re-lived my marriage through those journals while sitting on my couch in Edinburgh, a trip I took to be alone. God I had such a long way to go.
Watching the woman who I loved and trusted with every fiber of my being living the life I had built; I was still angry. I was angry at him for being so weak, I was angry at her for infiltrating my marriage when we were at our most vulnerable. I was angry she sat on my couch while I physically shook with anxiety because I couldn’t find my husband. She cried with me, held me, all the while he was in her home just down the road. I now understand why for over a year she was telling me to leave him. She wanted my life.
I was stuck on STUPID at the time. The signs were right in front of me, I just refused to acknowledge them. Less than 10 weeks after he had packed a bag, he told me he was “renting a room from her.” 6 or so months after that he finally admitted it, “we’re together. ” Within months she was gloating on social media so tactfully making sure his knee was in a photo. Or the “flashbacks” of trips together during a time I was told I was “insane.”
I had to tell all of our shocked friends to stop sending me screen shots of her “thinbluelinefamily,” “airopsfamily” wearing glitter ball caps with the Thin Blue Line logo. The true definition of a bottom feeder. Social media can be the devil. For the love of God I just couldn’t get away from it, even 6k miles away.
But there I was, living a VERY intentional committed relationship to myself in Scotland at the time…. sitting in my flat reading that entry on Page 192 of my 2017 journal. I put it down, stared out my window and told myself ‘it’s time.’ Time to finally pull out a blank canvas and start painting what I, Alison, wanted for my life. Yet, I was still reliving.
I can’t truly describe it adequately. I said to myself on repeat, “I can’t be this woman to anyone, ever again.” I’d been everything to my husband, to everyone, except myself and that needed to change. Reading those pages about all the missed holidays, the stress of his job, all the training….”the light at the end of the tunnel” he would say. “Don’t leave me Alison, I promise it will get better, we are so close to all of our goals!” In the meantime, I’m hiding my anxiety, I’m hiding my stress behind a bottle of wine, anti-depressants and a treadmill, I’m shouldering it all keeping our marriage together and to not upset him.
“This is what I signed up for,” I would tell myself as I cried myself to sleep almost nightly lying next to him. I knew this law enforcement life, all too well. We’ve been through so much, I said vows, you cannot leave him. Again…him before me. His goals are my goals. Let’s get our son healthy, finish AirOps training. We have worked YEARS for this. I will give myself this though, when I’m in, I’m IN. I will never lose that.
Every journal entry from the last 3 years of my marriage reminded me that the only person I failed was myself. I LOST Alison. I was his “Wifey,” a mother, sister, Tia and friend to anyone who needed me. I was accessible, all the time, to everyone but myself.
But when I’m finished with this first post of Chasing Alison and I hit that “publish” button, know this…. I am so grateful, yes, GRATEFUL to be sitting where I am today. To be able to sit on this computer sharing parts of my past and not feel that hellacious pain, but to embrace the triggers when they pop up, and yes, they still do.
So, protect your peace, cleanse your space of toxicity. That is not selfish, that is self-love. If you believe repressing emotions is a strength, I’m here to tell you it’s not. I have done it my entire life. Let it hurt, then let it heal.
“THAT Black Gown” -2017Kevin Fiscus Photography
Ms. Insecurity and Ms. Intuition were side by side, working in tandem the first few months of 2017, the year we separated. I told them daily to “shut the fuck up!” But still, their whispers in my ear proceeded. So unbeknownst to my then husband, I hired a personal trainer, then proceeded to get into the best shape of my life. I wanted to be absolute perfection for him, I wanted him to want me again. We were going to a black-tie gala, my cousins Lou and J would be sitting with us, and we desperately needed this night together. At the time I hadn’t received a compliment for probably 6 months, and he was usually overflowing with them. Throw in his incredible disappointment with my body, I had recently removed my breast implants. So here I was, Ms. Insecurity was winning this battle, and I was not use to that. I just KNEW this night would be what we needed.
I remember the exact moment when I finally put the dress on, walked into our living room with my head held so proudly high. As he sat on the couch, looking insanely handsome in the blue and black tuxedo we had just bought, he looked up from his phone and said in a flat voice, “You look nice. Is BC on her way?”
This is also the moment I should have left him. Instead I walked to my vanity, sat down and with shaking hands reapplied my mascara that he had just ruined.
The 3 of us went to the Gala together. Her on one arm, me on the other.
This gown is now my cape.
I am not sure I will share more stories like this, maybe if they serve a purpose to a lesson. But the trash has been taken out both figuratively and literally from my home. I’m excited, nervous and a bit anxious to share how and what I did right, but more importantly what I did wrong, and of course what still needs be done. Have I still spoken to him? I indeed have. Why? I honestly do not know. What I do know is I did not allow him to make me his mistress after making me his wife. Growth right?
But again, there is no time line on healing from trauma no matter what anyone tells you! Its your process! I’m constantly chasing myself and I’m bringing you with me.
This is why Chasing Alison was born. I realized that the true journey in life is for YOURSELF, not your partner, friends or even your family. You can and must be everything to yourself first and always. Only then can you decide how to delegate all of the love you have to give to others.
I am so excited to share with you current lifestyle choices including health and fitness, friendships and relationships, along with physical and mental health. Nothing is off limits. And there is no better way to live than to live in self-love and constant discovery.