Anonymiss in DC

{March 17, 2015}   I’m aliiiiiiiive!

I was just having a conversation with a friend the other day about the supposedly profound question of whether authorial intent matters in literature. I said it’s a question that misses the point of literature. If I write something, it means something to me; I get something out of putting my thoughts on paper (or, in this case, online.) I’m not trying to achieve some societal mission by doing this. I’m quite frankly being selfish and writing because it’s semi therapeutic for me. If something I say happens to resonate with you– makes you realize something about yourself, makes you see the world in a way you hadn’t before, whatever– well…then that’s valuable, isn’t it? Even if what you get out of it isn’t what I was trying to convey to you.

I suppose that though I’m mostly being selfish in my writing, I do hope in some distant corner of my brain that you, “dear reader”, will somehow benefit, if even a little bit, from investing the time in reading my words.  If just one person reads this entry and feels better about their own life or choices, or feels like “Hey, I’m not alone in this experience”, then it will have been worth it for me to have bared my soul on the world wide web.

So the story is this: I did it. Remember my semi cryptic posts about my long long relationship and feeling unfulfilled, and not understanding what was wrong with me? I finally faced the reality that I was not happy and didn’t want to spend the rest of my life that way. And so, here I am, newly single, and.. *gulp* 32 years old.

It’s now been a year since I made this life transition, so I feel like it’s time for a progress report. How am I feeling? How has the last year of my life been?

It’s been hard. Really hard, actually. My therapist actually asked me, half jokingly, “So, was it as hard as you thought it would be?” I think she thought I would tell her that it wasn’t, and I actually paused to think about it for a minute before answering because I didn’t want to answer affirmatively out of spite. But the answer is, in fact, “Yes.” It was every bit as traumatizing and scary and lonely as I expected, as a matter of fact.

I don’t know what it feels like to get divorced or to lose a spouse, but I have lost a loved one before. And this was a lot like that. Except, at least when, say, my grandmother died, I had some peace of mind knowing that we understood and loved one another. She knew she was dying, I knew she was dying, and we did the best we could with the time we had left.

This wasn’t like that. For the rest of my life, I have to live with the knowledge that I ended a relationship suddenly and unexpectedly and really, really hurt someone I loved. Even if to me, it felt like it had been a long time coming (and I felt a sudden departure was the only way I could go through with it without chickening out), he somehow hadn’t seen it. And I hurt him, very badly.  The news devastated him.  And that kills me. It makes me really, really sad to know that I failed– however much I tried to talk to him, to power through and make it work– to make him understand how unhappy I was, and how alone and unaccepted I felt. No matter how much I want to think that he was in denial, that he was blind not to have seen it, it simply kills me to think how he felt. Like I just walked away and said it was over. Like I wasn’t willing to “fight for us”, as he put it.  (I told him I didn’t have anything left to give– I was too hurt and sad, and frankly, carrying around too much baggage.)  He said I left him with nothing. I was his best friend, the person he relied on for everything– and I just left him with nothing.

The worst part was when he told me that I was making the biggest mistake of my life, and that someday I would see that. I know those words were a parting blow, that they were intended to wound, and that they were motivated by fear and anger. But they’ve stayed with me. In my darkest moments, when I feel alone and uncertain, I am terrified that they are true.

But then… what else could I have done? I spent years of my life– quite literally years– being unhappy and scared. Even if, just say for the sake of argument, I made the biggest mistake of my life in leaving this man who loved me (even if it was not in a way that made me feel “whole”), I am not sure that I could have gone on like that and have stayed sane. Quite seriously, I had to know that I was bigger than my fear of being alone.

And good news: I guess that I am, because I’m still here. So there’s that, at the very least. And that’s worth something.

I’m not sure exactly that there was a moment at which I decided I couldn’t go through with marrying him. Maybe in the end, it was about what we’d be like as parents. If dog parenting was in any way indicative of how we’d be, I knew it would be a disaster.  Forget being a team; I was “bad cop mom”; he was “Kodak moment dad.” I don’t want that role with a child. And me aside- I had to think about those kids. Having parents who can’t stand each other on a regular or semi-regular basis does a number on children.  And I could never, ever forgive myself if I had kids who followed in my footsteps and got married because they were too afraid to start over.

So, yeah. Here we are. I’ve started over and it’s scary. I was never a single, 20-something, living-large city girl. And now I never will be. But I can’t change that now.  All I can do is try to make the best I can of where I’m at. So I’m taking it one day at a time.

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