27 Jun Thanks For Being An A$$hole Hester: How My Worst Day Saved My Life
There is a scene in the movie Music Of The Heart where Meryl Streep (ugh – isn’t she in everything???) is in the backseat of a limo, getting her dress hem fixed by her mom played by Cloris Leachman. It's a true story of a woman who went thru a nasty divorce and basically had hit the lowest of lows, and now was in a limo on her way to Carnegie Hall for something far beyond her wildest dreams realized. She turns to give thanks to her mom for all her support, and the feisty Cloris brushes her gratitude aside and said that she really should be thanking her ex husband. Meryl is aghast! “HIM?!” And the wise Cloris says, “Of course, for if it hadn’t been for him being an asshole to you, you wouldn’t be here!”
For purposes of this, all names of the Not-At-All-Innocent shall be changed. This is my story of how my worst day saved my life. Let me explain.
I’ve always been the adventurous one, for sure. Crazy ass adventures and wild stories of happen-stance, the results of cliffs I’ve jumped off of have been as normal for me as a day’s commute to most. However, there was a time...a very dark time where I checked out of my zest for living.
For all the wrong reasons, I found myself in a horrible relationship. Oh sure, there were moments of brightness, but for the most part it was very unhealthy for everyone. I even sought out counseling to walk me through it and attempt to make things better. I wasn’t myself though, so as you can suspect, when we aren’t ourselves – things NEVER work out.
My then teenage son was making a big huge life change for us all; a move to the other coast to live with his father, to get settled in for higher education pursuits as a resident vs non-resident. Hardest sword I have EVER had to fall on I’ll tell you! What a parent won’t do for their child!
And then it happened...THAT day. Just five days before my only child was moving far away.
I went to the room my partner had slept in that night to get some of my clothes after he'd left for work, and I noticed that the telephone (remember those days with a house phone, lol?) was turned towards the bed, and the previously empty ashtray was now a bouquet of empty cigarette butts confessing a long evening on the phone with someone. Who?
Yes – I did. I hit Star 69 and a woman answered “Hey Sexy!” Well I don’t even have to share what kind of expletives fired off after I regained my composure from the shock of it all. That was IT! I was done. And in one fell swoop, my only child was moving away, I lost a relationship and my home. My whole then existence. My identity. GONE!
It’s also what saved me.
It wasn’t easy. Oh, Fuck No! I was literally a lump of flesh moving somehow from one spot to another. Going thru the motions. It took a whole lot of fucking work to find me again. It took my brother Doug being a rock for me, my parents for their faith, my ex-husband for helping me get our son settled in, friends, and random strangers that were delivered to me to point me again to me.
There was the random guy who tried to hit on me in the parking garage at my work, reminding me – there will be love again. There was the gal who I met at the Sprint store who told me the same thing happened to her, and invited me to lunch – I still call her a friend. There were random coincidence after another, random sparks of reminders of ME that came along. Reminding me to LIVE DAMN IT!
And slowly I found me again and I started jumping off cliffs again. New job, new opportunities, new moves, new relationships, new adventures. One step after another. Just keep going. I couldn’t have done it alone though. Such a big jump, my biggest jump...finding me again from the depths of despair...took others to help me along the way. I'm forever thankful.
Fast forward a couple of years to when I first moved to Canada. I was on a very important business trip in Calgary, along with my dad whom I had brought because visiting Alberta was always a dream of his. We were walking around, seeing the sights when he asked me if I ever thanked “Hester.” (Hester is the name of the lead character in The Scarlet Letter, an old classic I was made to read in school about an adulterer...guess who? Right – Hester!) And like Meryl Streep, I was aghast! HIM?! And my very wise Dad who has never stolen anything in his life, stole a line from that movie, “Of course, for if it weren’t for him being an asshole to you, you wouldn’t be here!”
And he’s right. So thank you Hester. Thank you for being an asshole. You really did save my life! My really 'Me', really rebeliciously wonderful life!