When I’ve seen men (and women) fight in the ring after years of dedication and discipline, working and striving to perfect their craft I always look at them when the fight is over and they have won, sometimes, rarely , they are aglow with happiness but mostly they just look relieved.
Relieved they are still standing, relieved that although they are battered they know that they are fundamentally capable of living to fight another day. Relieved they haven’t killed their opponent.
I started this blog as a way of dealing with the emotional trauma of my husband’s midlife crisis. I had thought he had a crush on another woman and an ideal of another life. He wanted some Time to think about things, evaluate, take stock. As it broke my heart I had to let him go. When he came back 2 days later I thought wow that was quick, then I found out that he had been with her for the past two days. Been in a ‘romantic relationship’ which until the lost weekend had been chaste (hmm) one that had started 2 weeks before Christmas. I had discovered texts New Year’s Eve. Which had ramped up the romanticism – star crossed lovers. My biggest fear that he was cheating on me was real. He had been. and even when he first came back he still wasn’t really back.
The hits kept coming. Body blow after body blow. I got punch drunk with the effects of being in a ring with someone who knew things that I had no idea about. Who thought things that weren’t actually true. Who had been manipulated and played by one hell of a manipulative player. ( be under no illusion, the blame in this is his I’m not making excuses for him just painting the picture)
But I fought back. Every trick and move everything I had ever learnt to stop this madness. To wake him up. The man who stood in front of me with the blank expression. The man who was able to inflict such pain to the woman he claimed to love. I was on the ropes as the punches kept coming and then on the floor and someone was starting to count.
I wonder if boxers have the same moment. The moment when you realise you have lost everything. The moment you realise that the fight is over, everything you have worked for, everything you have wanted and tried for is on the countdown to oblivion and you’re about to be the loser. Then the realisation that even when you have lost everything you still have yourself and that is enough. That is everything. So I came out fighting.
I used moves that no one had ever taught me, I was myself. I was fierce and I was strong. I was prouder of myself than I have ever been. If I was going to go down you would have to knock me out. Pull the punch to wipe me out. Or… fall in love with me again. See me. Hear me. Let me tell you all the truths that you wouldn’t hear and let me tell you that the love I have for you can release you if you want it. I can Let me go. Or I can love you forever. We can get past this.
And he’s on the ropes now and the truths keep coming. Body blows, face slaps that wake him up.
And we stand looking at each other as the fog clears. As he sees me. And I watch as the miracle of love happens before my eyes. The man I met 24 and a half years ago: the man I fell in love with when I saw him across a bar. Who made me laugh the first time we spoke. Who proposed 6 weeks later. Who I have born 2 sons to and lived a lifetime loving Came back to me.
I could tell you all sorts of things of how I feel but fundamentally as we stand in the ring with the judge holding both our hands up in the air to indicate a draw. I am just relieved.
It could be said the there are no winners, no losers, no triumph no victory and yet we have both lost and we have both won. We are bloodied and bruised and somehow we are love. We are in love with one another.
He is mine and I am his and no one and nothing can defeat a love like ours.
I’ll hang my gloves up.