I have disappeared. It was not sudden.
Today in the shower it hit me like a boulder. I have spent 20 years of my life trying to be someone I am not.
Eight of those with a boy-man who did not deserve my love, yet I threw it at him as if my life depended on it. I started the journey with him so head-strong, confident (sarcastically so). I ended it not knowing if I was worth being loved. He broke me down to my most insecure parts. Why? I don’t think it was intentional. He was unfaithful, but parts of him cared for me. I stayed through it all. I lost my spine. I convinced myself that my only salvation was for him to love me. I shut off all the pieces of myself that made me true.
I spent a couple of years after that relationship bobbing in a sea of numbness. Uncertainty. Edging towards healing. I did not give myself enough time nor credit.
I spent fifteen more years with a man who loved me dearly. He had a good heart. He was a good father. But I was still an imposter in my own head. I tried (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) to be a good wife, a good step-mother. I don’t regret the children and family I loved then. I do not regret the lessons I learned. I regret least of all the beautiful gift of a daughter we made together. I DO regret that I was still so lost, so far from myself. Towards the end of the relationship, I started to find myself again; oddly, with chronic pain as the catalyst. I had no more room for pretense, for hiding, for glossing over. I became raw, and ran towards my damaged parts to cover and protect them. I broke his heart, unintentionally. He broke mine, unintentionally. I pulled the trigger to end it, because he never would. I made the decision to save us both.
I am now foggy. I still haven’t found my way back to my soul. It is hovering below the surface, protecting itself from – well, from what I don’t know. I am still healing. I am still learning. I am working my way back up. The mountain is sometimes so tall.
I will get there, I think. I will not get there, I fear. I will put one foot in front of the other. Every god damn day.