Monday, February 14, 2011

A letter to my predecessor

Dear Brandy,

I highly doubt you would ever expect to hear the things that I'm about to tell you, but I feel compelled to put it out there anyway. It's something I've thought about for awhile now; particularly the last year as I've watched my marriage grow & change in a million and one ways.

Being the 2nd wife, I started out with a huge vendetta against you. I don't know you personally, but I've had a front-row seat to witness the damage you did. For the first couple of years of our marriage, I compared myself to you quite a bit. It was important to me to be the superior wife in every way. Despite Justin's insistence that I didn't need to compete with you, I set myself benchmarks for success and I was relentless until I surpassed them. During that time, I often wondered what I would say or do if we were to ever meet. In my head, I would be cool & aloof. I wouldn't have to utter a word; you would see me and immediately feel ashamed & envious. I don't know why it was important for me to make another person feel bad about themselves, but for some reason it was my primary objective. When we finally did cross paths, all I could do was laugh & make you feel uncomfortable. We didn't speak to one another but you saw me & it was obvious you knew I was the new wife. It was nothing like I had pictured in my mind. The moment came and went in an instant and was terribly anti-climactic.

Coming up on our 4th year of marriage, I don't feel like the 2nd wife anymore. I'm no longer the next Mrs. Sams, I am simply the Mrs. Sams. The time before Justin & I met seems so distant that details from the past are fading from our memories. And that sick need to feel like the superior wife is long gone. The relationship you had with Justin and the relationship I have with him are so completely different that there is no way to compare the two. That was your time and this is mine.

Justin & I have carved out a very comfortable groove together. In finding this niche, I've lost all ability to hate or dislike you. Looking back, I see my anger was born out of frustration. I was frustrated that anyone could hurt a man like Justin and I was angry that our relationship was immediately full of challenges due in large part to the awful things you did. You seemingly wanted to destroy him and it's no question that I would despise anyone who could do that to someone I care about. But looking at it from my current perspective, I should be nothing but grateful. Each of the struggles we've faced while navigating through the debris you left behind has directly contributed to where we are now.

Aside from my daughter, you have given me the greatest gift I have ever received. Were it not for you, he wouldn't be the man he is today. He grew and changed in so many ways as a result of the divorce. After we picked out all the shrapnel, we healed. The scars are there to serve as a reminder of the lessons we learned so we don't repeat those mistakes, but otherwise the wounds have stopped hurting.

Honestly & earnestly, I thank you.

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