Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Life is weird.

Sometimes there's no better way to say it than the direct is weird.  I am occasionally struck dumb by the way things can turn on a dime, how times in my life that feel like an eternity suddenly flash by in the blink of an eye.  I look at the last five weeks and change since the breakup, and I can plot out the bullet points of the grief process.  I had my dalliance with each stage, even if out of order. 

I remember two weeks ago hitting rock bottom.  I was depressed, lethargic, wallowing in the sorrow of my loss.  I couldn't see beyond my own sadness.  It felt like it would never end, and I wondered if I would feel like myself again anytime soon.  It felt so dramatic, so devastating, and it affected every aspect of my life.  I felt disillusioned by many of my friendships, fed up with work, and really low about myself.  I looked in the mirror and saw someone who deserved the crappy hand she'd been dealt.  I felt fiercely unattractive, unworthy, and I wanted to just blend in and be forgotten.

That seems like ages ago to me.  I remember I spoke with the ex during that week, my rock bottom, and I contacted him expressly to go on a diatribe about how I didn't know if I could do this another two weeks.  I told him how awful I felt all the time, how I was just going through the motions and barely getting by.  He empathized and seemed to be feeling something along the same lines, and we skimmed the pathetic surface of our storm ridden waters, wondering what the hell we were even doing.

The most important thing I remember is pointing out to him, somewhat wistfully, that maybe this was the bottom we needed to hit before things would start to turn around.  Maybe we had to really plumb the depths of our misery before we could start to climb out.  I also remember not believing my own words as anything more than wishful thinking.  As if speaking the words might change the course of the fates and break the curse of our unhappiness.  I felt resigned to the unhappiness.

But it turns out I may have been right.  That week was awful.  I faked it well enough with most people, I don't think I came off as the tragic wreck I felt like to most.  But it took all the energy I had to try.  Then came the weekend and the MS Walk.  My first social event in awhile.  It rained the whole time.  It was chilly.  It was awesome.  I finally felt a little spark of something. 

Last week was a week of rounding the corner day by day.  It felt good, but not in a drastic way.  Just a quiet sense of okay seeping in, a lessening of the panic, a soothing of the heart.  And then came another weekend.  And I was social, and I had fun, and I had a really insanely awkward meetup event turn into me with one socially awkward individual, but I survived, and I stayed solo after he left.  I laughed, I moved in time to the music of a concert, I flirted with a waiter harmlessly, I sang along to music in my car.  I felt a little bit more like me.  And on sunday I had dinner with a friend, and afterwards we sat outside in a park, and I watched lightning streak across the sky for hours.  We literally sat out in this park for 2+ hours, talking and watching the electricity crease the sky.  Constant flashes in different corners, lighting up the night as darkness fell. 

Thunderstorms are my thing.  They always have been.  I find peace in them, and a certain kind of joy.  Sitting outside on that warm night, couched in good conversation, a mellow breeze, the background chatter and laughter of others in the was a perfect moment for me.  One I would have captured in a bottle like the lightning in the sky if I could have.  I felt happy.  I felt right.  I felt like me. 

I drove home in the rain, smiling to myself.  I sang louder to the music, I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel in time to the beat.  It was exhilarating.  Truly.

This week.  Oh, this week, how I love you.  Starting sunday, I've had the three best days I've had consecutively in MONTHS.  I feel like each day I'm a little happier.  Monday I met a new neighbor at the bus stop.  I was glad to be a resource for the Midwest transplant, having been one myself six years prior.  I felt a little thump of satisfaction when the neighbor introduced himself to me before we parted ways....I'm so used to being the one to break that stranger barrier and introduce myself.  It was a welcome change to have someone turn it around on me. 

I felt damn good on Monday.  I was wearing a new pair of shoes I bought on Friday, and within 5 minutes of being in the office I'd gotten two compliments on them, and I got more as the day went on, as well as a compliment on my outfit.  I walked with confidence on Monday.  A little spring rejoined my step.  In the evening I received an unexpected gift of kindness and generosity from a loved one.  It took a giant weight off of my shoulders with regards to other stressors in my life, and the best part was that it came unsolicited, out of the pure goodness of someone's heart.

Today, I took extra care in my appearance again.  I cared again. It paid off again.  More compliments on different shoes.  Compliments on my outfit, my general appearance, my figure (in a non sexual harassment way, LOL).  More spring in my step.  More confidence in my pocket.  More wit on hand for conversation with friends.  I got to catch up with an old friend over lunch.  I talked with other friends briefly at other points during the day and evening. 

All day long I was smiling.  Laughing.  Cracking jokes.  I came home and put music on and actually danced around my apartment, with my animals looking at me like I was a nutter.  I felt like one, and I felt damn good about it.  I was actually overflowing with good feelings.  In the course of two weeks, everything felt different.  Brighter.  More hopeful.  I feel GOOD.  Amazingly good.  Curiously good.  Dance around my living room, sing at my animals, smiling like an idiot all by myself good. 

I may still have a conversation looming with the ex this weekend, but in so many ways I feel like a thousand pounds of weight have been lifted from my shoulders.  For once I'm not carrying the weight of his stress, and the relationship stress, and buried at the very bottom, the last to be acknowledged or dealt with, my own stress.  I've let go of so much. 

I feel like it is a secret, like I shouldn't say it too loud.  That by speaking it, it means I don't care anymore, or that I'm claiming to have moved on, or that I'm done with the past.  It doesn't mean any of those things, at least not exactly.  The secret is that I like it.  This is liberating.  Being responsible only for my own emotions.  Carrying only my own baggage.  Being accountable only to myself.  I don't have to explain anything to anyone.  I can go where I please, do what I want, say what I want and I am the only one who gets a vote.

So often in the past I've sold myself dangerously short.  I put myself third behind the other person and the relationship.  I get used to taking care of the other person's needs and frustrations and having mine forgotten and sidestepped, and I voluntarily encourage it.  I let my own needs wither and shrink away from lack of attention.  I become everything to everyone, the best caretaker in the world, because it's what I do. 

It's hard to resist the temptation to designate what I'm feeling as selfish.  It seems selfish.  To feel such exuberance over being the one in charge of my own life, the only one with a say.  To revel in not being responsible for sharing the emotional burdens of another.  To feel free because I'm finally standing on my own.  But it's not selfish.  It's exactly what I need.  For the first time in my adult life, I'm taking care of me.  I'm doing it on my own without falling back on the crutch of a new relationship. 

I am so crazy proud of myself.  I have no idea what this means for this weekend, or next week, or the next month.  All I know is that it feels good to feel good.  I am going to be hard pressed to let this go for anyone right now.  Sure, someday I want to find a healthy way to indulge that need to take care of someone, to help shoulder their burdens, and to have them shoulder mine.  But for right now, in this exact space and time, it is all about me.  I am going to walk for awhile with only my own weight to carry.  I feel lighter every hour of every day. 


  1. This absolutely made me smile, Jaime! Sounds like you're getting your groove back, and I hope those feelings of self-assurance and strength will stay with you. It may feel selfish at times, but it's so important to maintain that contentment through the ups and downs and remember to put yourself first.

  2. @Dawn: I do think I am getting my groove back, and I know that it's going to feel really good to have this chapter closed one way or another on sunday. Like you said, I need to remember to put myself first, and if that's not something anyone else can handle, their loss.