This past week I finally earned a designation that I have worked so hard towards. Obtaining this designation was an obligation I had to fulfill when I accepted my current job, and it feels like a huge weight has been lifted.
When I accepted the job, things were on the rocks with my ex but we were still trying to make it work. I accepted knowing that working on us would take an enormous amount of work to live apart while our house sold and he found a new job. Moving home was something we had both talked about for years and it finally found like we had the opportunity to make it happen. I was all in, ready to sacrifice and do whatever it took to make it work. I diligently prepared to write the exam the next month before we had to move. Then COVID hit, we went into quarantine and I postponed it until all this “nonsense”, as I called it, blew over. No idea something like a pandemic was even really a thing and not believing the world would actually shut down. At the same time I found out more of the truth of what had happened with him and his co-worker. I started to become reluctant of asking him to move with me. I begged and pleaded for him to just walk away from his job and move, knowing that I couldn’t be hours away while he still worked right beside her. I hoped that we would figure it out along the way. He slowly began to sabotage us, my new job and our life. I felt at that time that moving was the best option for me and my children. Confused, angry and heartbroken, I moved.
Once I had relocated, I knew that I had about 6 months to complete this designation. All I had left was one 8 hour exam, I knew I could do it. I would just have to work harder so the changes that had happened in my life would not hold me back. It was a challenge navigating through COVID and the dates of the exam changed a few times. Finally, last fall I picked a date to get it over with. I told my ex about the date during a conversation and I watched the sabotage begin. For the next few weeks there was threats and stalking along with constant texts, emails and phone calls. It was exhausting and my head was not in a place where I could effectively retain the information I needed to pass this exam. In addition to this, my oldest daughter fell sick and the stress was so fucking heavy. I went to write the exam, and I failed. I felt that I was not prepared, I was tired and couldn’t remember anything that I had studied.
There had been so many times in my life where he had tried to sabotage my education and me bettering myself, but I always pulled through. This time, I wasn’t so lucky. I was devastated, ashamed and worried of what would happen if I failed the second attempt. Would I keep my job? Would I be fired? I knew my company would try to work with me, but I am not one who wants special treatment.
On the drive home from the exam, I pulled over in tears. I was so mad. Mad at myself for allowing him to distract me and treat me as he did, and mad at him for years of feeling like he was trying to sabotage me. He called me not long after, and I lashed out hard at him. I have never yelled and screamed at him like I did that day. I remember telling him to leave me the fuck alone, and I didn’t want him in my life. I sat there wishing that I didn’t have to communicate with him ever again, but kids makes that nearly impossible. I think he sent a couple of apology texts after that but it was the first taste of silence I had ever had and I loved it. Over the next few days I regrouped, and came out with a determination that he was not going to ruin this for me.
I began to work and study, making a plan to still have this completed before the end of the year. The second wave of COVID hit again, and again we went into lock down and were working from home. My daughter was still sick and I knew that my head was not where it needed to be. The training coordinator called to set up a time for the exam, and I was nervous about going anywhere. It was put off again, and they extended my deadline until the end of June, depending on COVID. So there I am June 29th finally feeling ready to write this exam.
In the days leading up to this exam, it was uncanny. I know at one time I told him I was extended, but I never gave a date of when I would be writing this exam or how long the extension was. It is possible that one of the kids spoke of it during a conversation with their dad, but it felt again like sabotage. Once again he began showing up in random places, the emails and texts seemed to come out of nowhere with force and urgency. I needed to do this and that, and this was all my fault and that was my fault. However, this time I was stronger. I was able to navigate through it and not allow him to stress me out. Since the exam date, the emails and texts have completely stopped again. It really makes me wonder his motive to the last emails. Was it for what he said it was? Or was it to stress me out and try to sabotage this exam, knowing that my job would become somewhat uncertain after that time? A year later, why can he just not leave me alone? Will I ever be able to live in peace?
Either way, I know that I am stronger now. With one day to spare I passed the exam and I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this obligation is not hanging over my head. I am thankful for those around me who were there for me to lean on and not let the stress get to me. This feels like a stepping stone, one I needed to get through to prove to myself just how capable I am. He will not be an anchor to my sail anymore.