In my current life, the life I’ve lead for 20 years now, Desperado is all about Antonio Banderas. I could watch that movie 100 more times before I die and not get bored with it.

In my previous life, desperado meant something else.

I had a vivid and coherent dream last night. It was real and familiar and brutal.

I dreamed about my second husband and, in my dream, I recalled exactly how it felt to be rejected by him and to have affection withheld. Uncertainty ruled. The dream ended in a good way. In my dream I relived a moment before we were married. He changed the rules of the game from, I want to spend the rest of my life with you to I’m thinking about trying to get back with my ex-wife. 

In my dream, I smiled, picked up my purse and said “We’re done. I’m never doing this with you again”.

Watching the look on his face, even in my dream, made everything in me feel strong. He said I misunderstood and that he needed me. I told him that he was sad and crazy and controlling and I left.

In real life, less than a year after that conversation took place, I married him.

I’ve made a lot of bad choices.

That marriage only lasted two years. We were together(ish) about two years before we married. By the time we got married, I was twisted up and dependent.

About a year into the marriage, I started finding my way back to myself. My methods were not the best methods, or the smartest methods, but like I said, I make bad choices.

The outcome was what it needed to be, though. I needed to get out of the relationship. My former husband was not pleased that I was changing. He conspired with a doctor friend of his to get me on lithium.

I almost did. I almost believed that I was not only crazy, but a danger to myself. I believed these things.

Except for the small part of my brain that didn’t. The part that said, fuck this, Michelle. It’s time to go. 

We lived in Ohio on the side of a hill that overlooked an outdoor concert venue. Some nights, it was like the artist was playing in our front yard.

The night I told my second husband that I didn’t love him and that I was filing for divorce, the Eagles were playing. It was their Hell Freezes Over tour.

The night was warm and we had our windows open. I sat at our dining room table and told him it was over. The Eagles started playing. There’s Gonna Be A Heartache Tonight wafted through our windows. I wish I was kidding.

The Eagles provided a live soundtrack to the end of my second marriage. I remember very clearly, my ex telling me “This song reminds me of you. This is about you”.

It was Desperado. 

He was wrong. He was implying that I was desperate. I wasn’t desperate, I was done. Desperation was one of the foundations of our relationship and it had died months earlier.

That part of my life has been over for a long time. I did not enjoy reliving those feelings last night. They felt wrong and off and they were disturbing. It made me recall how I felt that everything was just a little ‘off’ every moment that I spent with my second husband.

I liked how ‘dream me’ handled the situation. I like to think that I’ve evolved enough that not only would I handle the situation just as well now, but in less time. This feels true to me.

Okay, here is just one little story about the second husband. This story is not the catalyst that ended the marriage…but it definitely chipped a big hole in it.

My 31 birthday was approaching. He usually got me something nice, but uninspired. I’m not all about gifts anyway, so I didn’t care. (that much) Anyway, he was excited about my upcoming birthday because he had planned something ‘very special’.

Well…’very special’ sounded promising. Then he told me what it was. He said “I’m making an appointment for  you with a cosmetic surgeon so you can get your breasts enlarged. I also want you to dye your hair blonde”.

He was so goddamn pissed that I didn’t appreciate the generosity of his gift. He was so goddamn pissed that I said NO to both.

I saw a picture once of the girl he married a few months after we divorced. She was definitely his type.


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  • Desperado IS kind of about your relationship because it’s about a guy who can’t stop chasing tons of women and can’t really let love in. What a tool. So glad it didn’t take you long to get out!!

  • This guy was a manipulative jackass. He tried to get you on lithium and then pretty much admitted that he didn’t like who you were and wanted you change your outward appearance. Should have sent him ads for penis enlargement.

  • I think that you dreamed it that way last night because it is what you wish you would have done then. I have one bad marriage under my belt and the way I handled it has always bothered me. I wish I could go back and stand up for myself, the me I am now would have squished him like a bug. The girl I was then curled up into a ball and let him kick me all over the place. Good for you!

  • So, I’m really big on dreams and what they mean. It appears that you have come a long way since then and have healed considerably. Maybe your dream was a way of showing you that you’re not that at all that person anymore, and that maybe you have even let go of what he did to you and who he is – that it’s not eating at you anymore. Maybe the dream was a sort of closure for you?
    On another note, I have to be honest, he sounds like a giant douche nugget. I have never heard of someone gifting someone a change in their identity! WTH??? I hope you use him as a muse in your writing. You can’t make that crap up!
    Love your blog, BTW. I just found you recently and your posts make me smile. And pee a little.

    • Hahha…sorry about the peeing! kind of.

      He was a giant douche nugget..

      When I had the dream, it just took so long to shake it off..I really felt all those old feelings and it was horrible. I remembered that I felt like that ALL THE TIME back then. It makes me shudder to think about it.

  • I hate dreams like that, but I admire you for finding your strength and getting the hell outta there. It takes titanic gumption. I know.

    And I love that you had a soundtrack to such a huge life moment!

    boobs and dye job…..what a douche.

  • The surgery offer is gag-worthy, but it’s the gaslighting that’s making me shiver. I’ve only had that done to me in a moderate way and even then it was one of the most disturbing experiences of my life. Boobs and hair may be parts of you, too, but your sense of self? Man, that shit is sacred.

    • I didn’t realize WHAT had happened to me until I started researching the whole narcissism thing. And yes, I I was gaslighted a LOT in that marriage. He wasn’t a loud, though. He was calm and thoughtful and controlled. He rarely lost his temper..but he chipped away at me a lot.

  • One thing stands out for me: your ex-husband tried to get you on lithium. I’ve known people who were on lithium, and it helped. When they were off it they made bad decisions.

    This does not mean that everyone who makes bad decisions needs to be drugged. I wish you’d been happy all along, I wish that your ex-husband had appreciated you as you are, or that you’d found your current spouse sooner, but it also seems like what you went through taught you to recognize your own bad decisions, and how to better take control of your life. I know lithium screws some people up, badly, and I’m afraid you would have been one of those people.

    Even though I’m naturally a glass-half-full kind of guy I’m trying to keep a realistic perspective, but I agree with Jessica above that the dream you had was a healing one. After all you do like how the “dream-you” handled things. And it did have a happy ending.

    I’m glad you found a way to check out of Hotel California.

  • What a fucking dickcanoe. Glad that you got away from him.

    And what a cathartic dream! The only thing that could *possibly* have made it better would be a velociraptor Eagles cover band doing an acapella version of ‘There’s Gonna Be A Heartache Tonight’.
    And then the band members eating him as you left.

  • BTW, that was meant to be the tune of Shave and a Haircut. 🙂 I actually dated a guy once who offered to buy me a boob job. I politely declined and suggested perhaps he should spend the money on himself.

  • Oh, so many reasons why dream-you was right. And real-you. “Improvements” ??? (I’m almost speechless)

    And, a house where you can hear the Eagles, LIVE..??? *swoons*

  • I hope that your dream means that you won’t have to dream that again because you changed the script and dealt with it.

    I am glad that you took a third chance with Randy.

    And now I am gonna find that movie with Antonio Banderas…..

  • Wow, the musician in me is extremely envious that you got to experience ‘Hell Freezes Over’ live but I’m sitting here still digesting the ‘present’ on top of all the other stuff. I have an overwhelming sense of pride in you for having left someone who is obviously a prize twot, (understatement). He sounds remarkably similar to my ex, obviously just as narcissistic, controlling and very much in need of a slap round the head, with a plank of wood or similar. I wish I’d left him a lot sooner and met someone who loved me for who I am and was actually good for me.
    So glad you found Randy…and now I need a drink.

      • Yep, I hear that, still working on that myself. That kind of mental torture takes time to recover from. That’s the joy of narc. abuse, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
        Your post triggered me yesterday, but that’s okay, been fighting a few demons this week and it made me write a blog so now I feel a whole lot better!

  • I like to think that Joe Walsh’s guitar playing gave you courage, because he was one of my heroes when I was growing up.
    You should have told your second husband to use that money to buy himself a soul (and maybe a brain) as he obviously desperately needed them.

  • Just discovered you a few weeks ago and thought I’d let you know I’ve been enjoying your writing…loved this post too…especially the descriptions of the Eagles songs…

  • I’m so glad you didn’t become a Victim of Love by agreeing to take those drugs! I am gladder still that you now have the Peaceful Easy Feeling that comes with a partner who offers love and respect.

  • Lithium?? For real? And who the hell was this “Doctor???” Holy crap, that’s some messed up stuff! I would say that leaving him must have been easier than leaving a house with a bird’s eye view of live music… Glad you got out when you did.

    • you and me was terrible. My ex joined AA for a drinking problem. He was actually easier to deal with when he drank and this doctor was in his group. They became fast friends and both decided they knew what was best for me. It was really uncomfortable.

  • Wow Michelle. I read this on my phone last night before going to sleep and it has really stuck with me. Now that I’m at my computer I can leave the comment I wanted to last night.

    I’m from Sagamore Hills, Ohio, so I know exactly which outdoor arena you’re talking about, which made this all the more vivid for me. Your ex sounds like a major douchebag, so good on you for kicking his sorry ass out the door. And I’ve gotta say, the universe gave you a pretty sweet soundtrack to do it by. I’ve always loved Desperado. But you didn’t sound desperate to me. You sounded in charge. Pretty incredible that they played Heartache Tonight while you 86ed the dude, and I really hope they followed it up with Already Gone, because he deserves to eat his lunch all by himself.

  • What the actual fuck?? You should’ve said, “I wonder if we can get a discount if we get your dick enlarged?” Seems like a missed opportunity to me. My mother in law tends to pull stunts like this – usually around the table at holiday family dinners – and I bit my tongue when she said I should get a tummy tuck. I actually should have said we can go together and she can get an ass lift. For the love of fuck.

  • I admire you for ditching that gaslighter after just two years. It took me eight with mine, and in the end he left me for one of the other women he was seeing (yeah, “one of”. No, I don’t know how many.). I like the dream image of you stomping out.

  • Holy WOW. I cannot even believe that; except that I dated a nightmare similar to him. What was once all nicey-nice and drinking in my “natural” good looks & playing with my hair (to the tune of “I love your curly hair… it’s so NATURAL”) did a switcharoo to “Why don’t you keep your hair like THIS? It’s better than that stupid PERM you were wearing!”

    Not sure how your ex didn’t get how offering to turn you into a Barbie doll wasn’t meant to be seen as “generosity”… Some men. 😛

  • The PTSD sneaks up on you when you least expect it. When you haven’t thought about any of that shit in a long time. When you thought holidays were joyous again. When you thought you were totally over it. When you thought you would never feel that way again….

  • What a jackass. One of my (male) friends and I have a running joke about the scene in Vertigo where Jimmy Stewart is making Kim Novack over into the image of his dead lover – he basically tells her to dye her hair a very specific shade of blonde because, “it couldn’t POSSIBLY matter to you.” That shit is nuts. So glad your life is good now and you got to change the narrative in your dream!

  • Guy sounds like a real gem. I’m glad you found the strength to get the heck out of there.
    I am currently writing an ‘ex piece’ too. I was so on the fence about it because I don’t really like the feelings it brought forth but this gave me a shot of bravery.
    Thanks, friend!

  • I think you’ve come a long way, baby! Your subconscious certainly recognizes this – I loved the way you changed real life in your dream and came out on top! I can’t believe the dude was trying to gaslight you! BTW, The Loser used to shop for my Christmas present on Christmas Eve – in 24-hour drugstores. You can imagine the types of gifts I got. For my birthday, he usually got “better” presents – stuff like vacuums (which I didn’t ask for) and rowing machines (“To help you get that baby weight off, finally!”)

By Michelle


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