“You Were Really Bitter Last Summer”

Erin Elam

Why yes.  Yes, I was.  And guess what?  Whenever I talk about it a lot, I’m still bitter.  I can still work up those same feelings of righteous indignation.  I rarely do but they’re still buried in there somewhere.

Quite frankly, I don’t care who knows it.  What’s wrong with being bitter occasionally?  What’s wrong with being angry occasionally?  What’s wrong with being desperately hurt occasionally?  What’s wrong with being sad occasionally?  What’s wrong with making mistakes?  What’s wrong with making poor choices?

Nothing because it proves you’re alive.

You see, I was raised in a household where feelings weren’t okay unless they were “appropriate”.  By appropriate, I mean completely non-threatening and socially acceptable.  My mother’s favorite sayings are “make him/her a son of a bitch by comparison” and “this too shall pass”.  Now, in certain circumstances, both of those are appropriate.

But not when you feel betrayed.  Not when you’re so angry you feel like you’re going to erupt like Mount Vesuvius.  Not when you’re so hurt that you literally are in shock.  Not when the person who said “I love you” over and over and over again turns out to be a liar, a cheater, a con man, and, a classic Narcopath.  And most definitely not when you’re beloved looks at you and tells you he married you for your inheritance.

It doesn’t matter whether or not I should feel bitter.  It doesn’t matter whether or not I have the right to feel bitter.  It doesn’t matter whether or not anyone else approves or disapproves.  It doesn’t matter whether or not expressing my feelings causes others to feel uncomfortable.

The only thing that matters is that I take care of myself and my feelings.  I’m a human being.  I have feelings.  Because I am who I am, my feelings are sometimes very intense.  I make mistakes.  I lash out when I’m in pain.

And because I’m a human being, all of that is normal, natural and ultimately okay.

It’s normal to act out when we’re hurting.  It’s normal to make poor decisions.  It’s normal to make mistakes.  I won’t apologize for any of it.

But let’s not overlook the one calculated, pre-meditated decision I made a little over a year ago because it’s the most important one.  I decided I would not be silent.  I decided I would not be polite.  I decided that I would not go away.  I decided that I would not “make him a son of a bitch by comparison”.

Well, he’s already a son of a bitch and I didn’t have anything to do with that.  He was a son of a bitch long before I met him.

I’d do it all again.  Every moment of it.  Because I know that my story has helped others.  The emails and phone calls are so worth it.  I know that my story isn’t unusual.  And I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that owning & understanding our feelings is the only way through any pain we encounter in life.

The only way.

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