Jesse has Willow and Sally -- I'm not sure if I'll see them again :( I couldn't take them with me that morning - and it was a very hard choice to make. All that came with me was a single suitcase - walking down to the local coffeeshop at 7:30 in the morning, call a friend, and get out.
There was never any physical abuse - but there was control and a very unhealthy emotional relationshhip. That relationship only became more controlling and unhealthy after I began to put my foot down. I realized I didn't love Jesse anymore - I was just being dutiful and concerned for his welfare. He insisted life was 'not worth living' without me - and was willing to live in a loveless marriage while 'moving mountains' to make me happy. Purchased things and calculated gestures are not the key to my happiness -- and that was something I knew deeply. As I continued to reject those ideas and try to assert my rediscovered self-confidence, self-worth and ambition -- Jesse began to sink deeper and deeper into scary depression... including suicide threats, bursts of anger, and constant circular arguing. My true self was not someone he wanted to understand - she was someone who should be checked for a neurological problem, or 'a whole new person' who wanted no committments, complete independence and was unwilling to work out anything. I couldn't see myself loving him again after all of the years of controlling and road-blocks put up in the things that made me who I am. He couldn't grasp that - it seemed to break something inside him. He said it was love that he could not be a person without me - could not do anything with himself but be depressed, if he didn't have me 'forever and ever.' I saw that as possession - not love. Love is when two people have a synergy and cooperation between each other that enhances the whole - that attracts them together with a force strong enough that, even when they are apart for long periods of time, they can't stop thinking about each other - in all ways, not just physically.
So - I will be divorced, sometime soon. Last thing I heard from Jesse was 'I'll try to take care of the girls - they were crying for you. Know this Rhe - if anything happens to me, it is unintentional. I forgive you for everything and will love you forever.' That was a hard thing to hear - but I can't be there with him. I can't take responsibility for his existence -- that is his own self-worth. I understand his shock, sadness and despair as well -- but can't bring myself to think there was true love there, just .. comfort, safety and possession of something (me) that would lead to the future he had envisioned. This all sounds so cynical on my part, doesn't it? But I can't truly believe that -- I took an entire month to work this all out -- continuing to stay, through the depressions and the packing of the house... up until the night his sister flew in from Minnesota.
Earlier that day, he had been kicking things and arguing with me - 'why can't we make this work - we made a vow to each other and to God.' He was giving me eyes of 'if looks could kill.' He was saying he would emulate all the things I had come to appreciate about, yes, another man - a man who wanted me to be happy in myself and my identity, not in things and elaborate financial and career-track plans that demanded MY presence for HIS continuing to be HIMSELF. So - yes, Jesse had a right to be jealous as well. However, I had not done a single thing but talk to this other man - and we had been working together as a synergistic team for the past two years, on a variety of complex and technical projects. He said if what I needed to be happy was going off on my own - wherever I needed to be - he would simply be happy to know I existed, and was being true to myself. Jesse's 'emulation' of this other man, however, was in the far 'he is the devil' extreme. He began to drink, said he would begin to smoke - would begin to be violent with me if that is what I wanted in this other man. No - that is what JESSE sees in this man, because.. Jesse wanted to keep me, no matter what. So he took a one-sided view of a person and stretched it out to the extreme. Jesse even told me that this other man would kill me if I ever decided to come to him instead of Jesse.. and bury me in the woods, and no one would ever know. That scared me badly. That Jesse had come to that conclusion - and was trying to emulate this personality while thinking that this man would do such a thing. Draw your own conclusions. It was time to get out.
When Jesse's sister returned with him from the Nashville airport - she was supposed to be our mediator. She had flown down to help us talk things out, and was going to drive to Minnesota with us. However, she avoided the subject upon arrival - and when she did touch on it, it was to downplay any wrongdoing on Jesse's part. Minnesota would make it all better -- I just had to work harder on it. Jesse was nothing like he had been earlier in the day - he was joking and laughing with her, talking about old times. Then she went out of the room to put her bag down - and he gave me the 'see - you're the one with the problem' eyes. We went to bed. Early that morning I woke from a terrible dream that the sister had brought a bag into our house that was supposed to help - but it was full of rags and intestines. I woke up scared out of my mind. I packed a bag while they were still asleep, and left her a sealed letter. Taking only a few things (my sketchbook, ID, a favourite blanket to put around my shoulders in the cold etc.) I walked down to the coffeeshop where the early-morning frost. Luckily the lady there let me call out - and I waited for about an hour for my friend to arrive.
I've been staying out here at work, trying to put everything straight - and keeping busy. This man and I are going to visit my parents, and talk about all of this, and about the future. I am filing for divorce from Jesse. I don't want to be with him, and definitely not have his children anymore. That used to be a carrot he would dangle in front of me - I want a child - but I want a child with someone I respect and love.
So, it is a tangled mess - and I took a month to decide just how bad the water had turned, before I jumped out... the jumping out would have been easier, if we hadn't been here in Tennessee 'alone' - without our families for support and mediation. Maybe I would have been 'gone' weeks ago, in that case. My stepfather and mother were already telling me to get out of that situation when I first called them about it a month ago. Jesse's family still didn't know we were having problems this bad, until just a few nights ago when I affirmed I was NOT going to be in their family anymore. They warned me that if anyone wants to consider marrying a divorcee that I should worry they won't be faithful... so, I'm not worried about Jesse's family anymore either - as that is an awful stance to take. I wish them all the best -- I hope he can make something of his life, even though he says he can't now. :o( All I wanted, that entire month, was some self-awareness from him and to see his true soul - not just the 'I want you to fulfill me' side he had been showing me. When I saw his true soul - it was scary..
I understand disappointment from some of you - but I know where I was. No one can tell me now that staying with Jesse any longer than what I did would have changed anything. It might have gotten even worse in Minneapolis - because he was not going to trust me around other men - already he had become 'where are you going? when are you coming back?' every time I left the house, and checking up on what I was writing in my sketchbooks to see what I was keeping away from him.
Until later - we have a trip to Minnesota to plan here, and I will be honoured to have Mark meet my parents. Every time I look into his eyes, I know we see each other for who we really are - and that very fact is important to both of us - to be who we are, and not put up appearances for anyone else. We may see a few of you in Minneapolis, good luck pending -- Chris, I'll give you a call! :o) I feel much happier, confident, safer and able to direct my own destiny here - the caged bird feeling is entirely gone, as well as many of the 'I should be ashamed because I'm not what he wants me to be' sort of feelings.
I will still miss Sallymander and Willowpede -- I do every day.. I don't think Jesse will ever hurt them physically. I can't confront him face to face, for a while - he knows how to pull on my emotions and make me cower in his presence. Maybe I can get my girls back after a while - but maybe they can teach Jesse something.. I can't justify leaving them (still see their little noses at the back door, sensing something wrong with the situation, but I can't let them come with) but I could not justify staying a minute longer, either, in many more ways.
UPDATE: My stepfather called from Minnesota, indicating he had seen the blue truck (the vehicle Jesse took to Minnesota) parked at Jesse's family's house - so he has arrived safe, at least.