What It’s Like to Be Me: All Falls Apart Pt 4, Fading Hope

For a few agonizing months, I was torn between the hope of reconciliation and the awareness such hopes would never be realized. There were signs along the way. I ignored them all. Yet the closer we came to the day she said things were over, the more obvious and unavoidable those signs became. 

My mental state also complicated things. After a decade of emotional abuse, my eyes were slowly opening to the manipulations and maltreatment I had experienced. However, I didn’t really feel free yet. I was committed to being married because I felt compelled to honor my wedding vows, despite all of the hell I endured. Growing up, I was taught that divorce was giving up, and you should never give up. Instead, at the expense of my mental health, I dug in and hoped for the best even while hope was fading.

This is a short song, lyrically speaking. Yet it captures my uneasy feeling, that self doubt common among victims of narcissistic abuse. “I feel like I'm just too dumb to get away from myself. I feel like I'm losing touch with everyone else.” No, I wasn’t dumb, just conditioned to think I was.
Staind: “Outside” 
Aaron Lewis sings with such conviction, you can feel the pain in his voice. The agony in this song stands as an avatar of how I felt for so long, knowing all my efforts were squandered. “All the times that I've cried, all that's wasted, it's all inside.” There was also an overwhelming loneliness. When Bekah left, I lost more than my wife. I also lost my support network. All of my friends were her friends. So I lived with the lyrics “All alone I can’t mend” more than I ever want to revive.
Family of the Year: “No Good At Nothing”  
I’ve been a wallflower most of my life. Seems I’m good at it. When this song opens with the line “I feel at home on the sidelines,” I know exactly what the songwriter means. There’s some resignation here, the sort only available through an honest assessment of failures. First admitting “my magic markers just weren't magic enough,” then “Can't do nothing for a lemon who's begged for a squeeze.” These metaphors spoke to my soul better than any pastor or therapist ever could.
Tedashii and Natalie Lauren: “Love Never Leaves”  
No matter how bad the situation, no matter how difficult the relationship became, I refused to quit. I couldn’t leave because I believed love would stay. Always. There was no drug abuse in our home. No domestic violence. And (as far as I know) no infidelity. Just conflict. I didn’t believe there was a good reason for divorce. The chorus of this song explained my perspective. “I know love don’t do the same way it used to, Strangers in the same bed, I know you’re questioning about life I know this, It’s all on your face. And lately, lately, we’ve been so distant, Baby I wish things could be different, Don’t stop searching for what were missing, So don’t walk away. ‘Cause love never leaves.” Ultimately, my conviction wasn’t enough. Two people must believe this to keep a marriage together.
Mr. J. Medeiros and Tara Ellis: “Holding On”  
“Dark days cold nights, This is what we’re going through.” These words have haunted me ever since I first heard this song. I have shared it in social media a few times since its release in 2009, and I leaned hard into this song about relational perseverance after Bekah and I separated. It begs a partner to hold on and promises it will be all right. Yet it fully embraces the frailty of human emotion. “From your brow to your chin your confession is that we are lonely, If we could only escape through the memories that take precious moments like these from a youthful heart.” If I needed any last shred of hope, I found it in this song.

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