I Will

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.

Quiet

QuietQuiet.  It is a new experience, here in this small little house.  Quiet.  No singing, no chatter, no laughter or complaints or “mom!” from across the hall.  Just quiet.

These last three weeks are the longest we’ve ever been apart.  Coming up on 11 years, and I’ve been present for almost every single day.  And now, quiet.

Divorce is hard.  It’s messy, draining, humbling, shameful, liberating, and upending all at once.  We’ve done the hard work; striving for amicability.  Dividing pennies, possessions, and plans.  Laying out a road map for where we are hoping to get in the future, though we now have so much less clarity on how to get there.

Dismantling a life is difficult enough; but how do you share a being?  Parse out the moments you cling to while calendaring your time together and apart?  Watching the days spread into weeks, into months.  Knowing you should be savoring the uniqueness of space, but unable to fill the empty shadow with anything but the memory of a shimmering sound.

It’s consistently baffling.  I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.

The quiet.