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2009 . . . Year of Change and Victory

Life Lessons from Tool Academy

Rating: 2 votes, 4.50 average.
So I have to confess that I am a reality television junkie. I love to watch it when I have time to just sit around. That isn't often, but this weekend I got my "fix" for the month! And of course, I can't just watch it without psychoanalyzing others. It just wouldn't be fun. I know this is a savings forum, but it also seems like a family and I have seen other blogs about random things. So here are my thoughts on Tool Academy, from MTV.

The premise of this show is that women in bad relationships bring their loser boyfriends to the show to decide whether they can change. They go through a series of challenges and therapy sessions, and each week a guy is eliminated, thereby deemed to be a "Tool" and incapable of change. Once each "Tool" is eliminated, the corresponding woman must choose whether she will stay with her man or leave him.

The first episode went by with me missing the characters because I listened to each one thinking, "Wow. I could have had Carlos on this show." After all, he has been gone five months tomorrow and nothing in my life other than finances has changed. My life, my schedule, my chores, my daily living, my responsibilities, etc. are all the same. Some minor differences are that I do laundry more, I watch my own choices of television shows, and I no longer feel inferior.

The second episode, I really started to look at the characters and think, "Wow. Really?" Do men really think and say things like this? Are there any good guys out there? Let's be honest, these are not prime pickings...they are on reality television after all. I get that. But as I listen to more friends getting divorced and see more relationships breaking up for cheating and know that Carlos and I stopped loving one another 9 years ago and lasted longer than these couples who were madly in love supposedly, it does make me a bit jaded.

Carlos and I married for all the wrong reasons. These individuals on this show are heading down the same path. Each woman left with her man when he was eliminated. Really? You have the two men who were eliminated first out of ten I think...you have the bottom 20 percent of men. Do you really leave and trust he will change? Or do you really feel that low about yourself? And of course these questions got me thinking...

I left Carlos in 1999 because we had a VERY abusive relationship that resulted in hospitalization and me feeling that I was going to die. I was participating in activities that could have ended my life, I was not being true to myself, I was living a lie. I married him to have security, but I ended up in a high-security prison. I was miserable. I left, but was so bound by him and scared of life without him. He treated me horribly but I felt he was the best I would ever get. He was mean and degrading and turned me into the type of person I hated. I hated myself and everything I was when I was with him. Yet without him, well, let's just say we were separated for three years and I was empty. I really was. I tried to fill it with God and with friendship and it just didn't work. Some hold he had over me. I was the girl who took the bottom 20% and walked away giving myself little respect. And for the next 7 years, I paid for it. I paid for it by now bringing a little girl into this world whose father does not know her, does not want anything to do with her (despite not allowing my to tie my tubes six years ago, five years ago, four years ago, three years ago...you get the point), and who will never know her. I thought, these woman are heading for heartache. The relationship or one of their self-esteem's was so bad that they had to come on television and embarrass themselves. And so I became sad.

I am sad that we as women love and respect ourselves so little that we find a guy who pays the smallest amount of attention to ourselves and we are willing to sell our souls to stay with him. So few of us love ourselves enough to wait for "The One" to find us. So few of us are willing to trust that we are worthy of that man who will put us first, who will love us as we are, who will see our true beauty, who will allow our inner beauty to increase, who will bring out the best in us, who will treat us like the queens we are. That breaks my heart.

Why is this on my mind lately? I am surrounded by individuals in bad, sinful, or distasteful relationships. I am surrounded by women who don't believe they are worthy of marriage the way it was designed to be. I am surrounded by women whose marriages are failing. I have very few friends who are happily married. And very few of those who claim to be have marriage I envy or would want for myself. I have one friend who inspires me because her first marriage was not so hot either and when I hear her talk about her husband and her life now, I truly hear happiness. I hear hope. When I hear her talk, I feel like her "prince" waited for her and found her. I have another friend who I have always envied, for the commitment her and her husband have to each other. They live the life. They surf, they own a kite shop as well as a bed and breakfast. They just had their first child together and the pictures and blogs from them are amazing and filled with joy and hope. I have another friend who was in a bad first marriage and then found her dream man and now lives the life others dream of...million dollar home, beautiful children, amazing career, etc. And I have two other friends who are living great lives, leading great careers and who are in love with their husbands and their husbands with them. They have positions I hope to achieve within my company. I think I just described five of the hundreds of people I know and come into contact with daily and am acquaintances and friends with who make me feel like it would be worth getting married and trying to have a family.

Then I have to remind myself. The people who do not have what I want...whose relationships are bad, whose relationships just aren't what I consider to be "real" marriages, who I just don't think about because I get mixed signals...they are not like me. They have different personalities, different goals, different aspirations. They live different lives, treat people differently, and look at the world differently.

So, what did I learn from Tool Academy tonight?
----I need to stop judging my world through others' eyes.
----I need to take my Nana's and Dad's advice to heart.
----I need to just enjoy my girls, do right by myself, and do like many of you who I have met on here who have told me wonderful stories of love (and my friends who "found" the great second husbands) and just sit back and let him come to me.

Carlos signed the paper so the lawyer can talk to him and I think that brings me closer to realizing that I am soon going to be single. Really. Not a joke. Not a dream. I am really getting divorced and I am really going to be alone. I thought this would hurt more. Amazingly, I feel like Jesus' love is getting me through this and for the first time in my life, I truly know what my relationship with God is all about and it has nothing to do with what others have taught me but with what I have learned on my own from the past five months of digging in, pressing forward, and just wanting to know Him more and know what He has planned for me.

This was rather long...but what is a blog if not the mindless rantings of those of us who can't sleep because we analyze everything?!

I actually feel tired now so I think I will head off for my 8 hours!

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  1. Janice Terrell's Avatar
    But Shell - you won't be alone
  2. crankymae's Avatar

    Try to not analyze so deeply. Truly, come to a decision of what "you" can live with and, right or wrong, move on. Sometimes there is no answer or reason. I know I'm telling you to do one of the hardest things to do but too much analysis can make you ill.

    I'm coming up on 45 years with hubby. Are we where I thought we would be when we started? No. Marriages change. But you have experienced the one thing I would have left him for in a New York minute. Hang in there, girl. Life "does" have something better to offer you.

    Hope I didn't sound preachy-just the pain in your post hurt my heart.
  3. ShellVera777's Avatar
    Thanks guys! I guess I thought I was doing better than I am! Tomorrow is his birthday and I am not sure...do I say happy birthday...do I let it go by? I keep thinking I am getting over it only to find that he has a hold on me I can't understand! That is all the more reason why I am not dating for a least a year or ever AFTER the divorce is final!
  4. kylieb266's Avatar
    I've been there and done that ShellV and it's not a pleasant experience. I was never abused physically, but emotionally and financially was definitely. I lost my sense of self, of who I was and I too have fallen into the trap of falling for any guy who shows me some attention. Not anymore. I am a stronger woman because of it and I value myself and my daughter enough to make the right decision next time round with a man, if indeed I ever find him.