“My husband left me.”
I blurted it out to the teenage cashier. I was in the check-out lane at the grocery store. Last week, I did the same thing to the poor lady at the car rental desk. That same week I said it twice to the vet tech giving my dog an annual exam. And to my neighbor. And hair dresser. Oh, and the guy mowing my lawn.
“My husband left me.”
It came up in this awkward squeak, with absolutely not context whatsoever. I never knew when it was coming, or when my brain and mouth would let it fly. It was a blurt.
Typically we don’t enjoy any awkward situations that we cause in public. We avert our eyes, blush, and try to escape the situation. But when I blurted my blurt to the cashier, the car rental lady, the vet tech, the others, and made them awkward, I found myself eagerly anticipated their next move. Their response. Their reaction. I eagerly awaited the label. I didn’t feel shame. I didn’t want pity. I wanted acceptance. I blurted it to hear it myself, to hear it and remind myself it was true.
It wasn’t the pity that I wanted. It was the self-identification.
It’s hard to contain something that shapes you, affects you, and makes you who you are. The life-altering realizations, the life-altering situations and life-altering decisions that we are all faced with in our lives. And some of those realizations, situations and decisions proudly define us. They are our battle scars that show we survived.
I am newly at this stage of self-identification and acknowledgement. And mine is so small in comparison to others. And so privileged. But it is mine. I lived a life of emotional abuse and physical threats from a man that was supposed to love and respect me. I survived an unstable, narcissistic man that emotionally abused and threatened me, that tore me down and threw me out. I survived him and am doing well, considering. I want to proudly tell everyone I meet “Yeah I survived that asshat. I survived. I am not broken. I am pretty bruised up, but I am also pretty angry.”
A blurt that means so much to me, and is so awkward for the poor person I tell it to.
I have certain experiences in my life that are traumatic to me, and they have been things that I never said out loud to people. I didn’t want those experiences to define me. But they do, in a way. I finally accepted that. Those things will always be part of my story. And my story has made me who I am today. And today I am also (a little) older and more accepting and gentle on myself.
So when I feel a blurt coming on, I let it happen. The responses are always pretty good and authentic. Sometimes they blurt right back and we connect. Sometimes they are cold and don’t give me much to work with… but I think it’s because they just need more blurt in their lives. We are all human, right? Maybe having a filter in between our minds and our mouths isn’t always such a good thing. Lately I have been a big supporter of blurtting.