The Insight in a Fresh Start
By Deborah Blackwell
A long time ago I ran away from my life when I could not take one more second of my then-husband’s gambling addiction. His years of personal turmoil resulted in an abusive marriage and insane home life that left our family in a shredded heap.
It was ugly. I needed safety, sanity and peace for myself, and my children. I needed a fresh start.
When I reconnected with my high school best male friend—who eventually became my new husband—I moved to his state with my children, and set up our new life. But I also left people who mattered to me. All the people I was close to – friends who were like family, neighbors who were friends, and everyone in my personal orbit from my handyman and car repair guy, to hair stylist, even milkman.
It was hard. And despite the temporary brain-fog brought on by the trauma and drama of my former marriage, I never forgot one of them. But they seemed to quickly forget me.
It’s not uncommon when people are going through intense struggles for those around them to distance themselves. Humans can only take so much before they turn away from strife and turmoil.
When I moved, they were relieved. That was hard to swallow.
In their defense, when people are going through crazy times, they can also change, and sometimes it’s drastic. My temperament, vibe, even personality morphed into an
unrecognizable state. So I don’t blame those who disconnected—they were saving themselves from the mess my life, and I, had become.
But it hurt.
We count on people to be there for us in our time of need. Unless it’s your family or your betrothed, it’s not always “in sickness and health ’til death do us part.” I lost most of my tribe, except for the ones I could count on one hand, and for whom I am eternally grateful.
But one of the best things about being human is that we have opportunities for fresh starts. We can take them over and over—each day in fact, if we want—imagining, wondering, and creating the potential, until we feel like we get it just right.
Other times life opens a magical portal.
My BFF-now-husband and I walked through that portal door a few years later when he was offered his dream job—a fresh start—back in my home state. This time, the view was quite different. The past revealed itself, and while much had not changed, so much had.
I wanted to reconnect with people who mattered to me. I missed them, and wanted to pick up where we left off. Besides, I was better now, no trauma, no drama. I wanted them to know, and see that. So I took a cautious leap. It took courage, hope, and trying to release my expectations. But how could I have no expectations? I wanted a big, happy reunion.
It didn’t happen.
It’s hard when people don’t give you a second chance. You wonder, was I that bad? But that’s not it. They moved on, just like I had, only I didn’t realize it. Life was different.
Sometimes you can’t even baby-step down memory lane, sometimes you have to make a turn.
Eventually, the allure of past friendships faded, and their memories will remain in my heart. But there’s something that can always brighten our hardships—the sweet potential in human fresh starts.