I know that meh is the prize at the end of the rainbow for us chumps, but what if you’re not the kind of person who is ever going to be meh about anything?
My ex dumped me in 2013, went off with Schmoopie, destroyed my and our children’s lives, and even though it’s 9 years later—I’m not going to be meh about it, ever.
I have rebuilt my life and my children ditto, but the ramifications will be there forever. The person I loved more than anyone else in the world betrayed me and, on top of everyone else’s expectations that I should be over it by now, I am not. I will always be angry about it and I am perfectly OK with that.
I am still angry about how my first grade teacher, oh, this would be about 1971 or so, was unfair to me. So I think meh is a big ask.
Am I misunderstanding something?
Dear No Meh,
I think we might be having a Mehsunderstanding. Meh doesn’t mean you’re cool with injustice. Or friends with your exes, or some treacly Instagram forgiveness. It doesn’t mean you never wobble, nor does it rule out anger, which is a natural and valid reaction to abuse. Meh is just acceptance.
This happened. It sucked. And I refuse to give it centrality. I have a better life to invest in.
(Says the woman who has a blog devoted to leaving cheaters 15 years after she left one.)
what if you’re not the kind of person who is ever going to be meh about anything?
Then I think it’s really difficult going through life being you. Because “anything” has as much weight as betrayal.
You’re still allowed to be mad it happened (whatever it is — being abandoned for a Schmoopie or a slight from your first grade teacher), but does it consume you?
Early days, post D-Day, it’s: OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG! You’re a raw nerve. This shit consumes your thoughts 24/7.
Eventually, with a lot of mental discipline and no contact, it’s: OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG sandwich OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG! And then… shower, job, small children… Your life comes back into focus, because hypervigilance and blinding rage are not sustainable. So, whether you want to or not, you move forward. And in time, the OMG OMG OMG doesn’t swamp your boat.
I have rebuilt my life and my children ditto,
Excellent. Well done. That’s what we’re about here. You aren’t in a corner somewhere plotting revenge, sticking pins into an effigy of your ex are you? You Trust That He Sucks? Then consider yourself meh.
but the ramifications will be there forever.
Yes, of course they will. I never got any more children because I wasted the last years of my fertility on a fuckwit. And don’t even talk to me about what I spent in court costs over a decade.
This shit has ramifications. You go on with life and make the best of it. It doesn’t mean that the Bad Things weren’t bad, it means that YOU are stronger than a couple of fuckwits.
In 1994, I went to Cyprus with a Greek Cypriot friend. We stayed with her family in Nicosia. Beautiful country. The day we went to meet Louisa’s grandmother, the woman shook my hand and very passionately told me something I couldn’t understand. Louisa translated: “My grandmother wants you to know that this isn’t her house. She welcomes you to her home, but her real home is on the other side of Nicosia, being occupied by the Turks.”
I was there for the 20th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
She’d been living in that house about 18 years at that point. It was full of grandchildren, delicious food, and a well-tended garden. Yet, there wasn’t a day in her life that this rebuilt home felt like true home, because there, in the same city, a few blocks away across a demilitarized zone, was the home she left behind. With all her things, her wedding photos, baby pictures, family heirlooms. And someone else was living in that house, and probably threw her old life out. Just took her house. The house her parents built her. And made her a refugee in her own country.
Did she forget? No? Did she forgive? No. Were the ramifications of this injustice there forever? Yes.
She didn’t pretend it was okay. In fact, this trauma was how she introduced herself.
But I remember that afternoon. And her happiness with being with her granddaughter, and the sweet coffee she made us, and other grandkids at the house, and toddlers crawling over the sofas. The 18 years of children’s photos on the walls. The warm conversation I couldn’t understand a word of. The sense of celebration, the packed lunch she made us, so we could go sight-see.
She still had joy. She had a new home and her family survived. It didn’t make the Turkish invasion okay. But she was stronger than those motherfuckers.
This is meh. It did not break her. She radically accepted. If she hadn’t, there would probably have been a dead lady at the militarized zone trying to take her old life back.
You can co-exist with trauma. It can fade. It can flare up. But the point is go forward and rebuild. Plant a garden for your grandchildren.
You might be more meh than you think.