And I know that I can survive
I walked through fire to save my life
And I want it, I want my life so bad
And I’m doing everything I can
Then another one bites the dust
It’s hard to lose a chosen one
You did not break me
I’m still fighting for peace
Well I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart
But your blade it might be too sharp
I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard
But I may snap when I move close
But you won’t see me move no more
Cause I’ve got an elastic heart
Kristen sat me down a few nights ago and asked me why I had not been writing. I cried as I said, “Because I don’t want him to know about anything going on in my life.” She understood. But that doesn’t mean she let it go. “You have to get this out. You have to write. You have to document this time in your life – even if you don’t publish it,” she said.
So here it goes…
I still struggle.
Last night I went to my room, crawled into bed, turned off the lights, and prayed. I asked God when he thought my heart would be unbroken – when it would be whole – again. I asked Him how much longer I had to deal with my past. How many more months it would take for me to quit counting how long it had been. How many yesterdays I would need to collect before it truly felt like time had passed.
I was shocked when warm tears fell from my eyes.
Shouldn’t they be cold? Shouldn’t my tears feel chilly, and sad, and somber against my cheeks?
I can go for weeks now. I can go for nearly a month without any sort of melt down and then something happens. Sometimes it’s a TV show or a chapter in my book. Other times it might be something I’ve heard from someone back home. But last night, last night it was seeing that old picture…
I thought I had blocked, and deleted, and boxed up everything. I quit my job – our job. I let him have our friends. I left our town, our state, our side of the country. I’ve done everything I can think of to make this easy for myself… well, for him. I let him have it all. Everything. I threw my hands up and walked away from everything.
But there’s only so much I can erase.
Only so much I can avoid, quit, move away from, block, defriend, unfollow, and box up. Sometimes, I have to deal. Every now and again I have to hear a story, or mention his name, or see a photo…
His face was round. He always worried with his weight but I loved him exactly the way he was. Just one look at him and I felt safe. I was proud of that big man. I was proud to point across a room and say, “The big one – over there – that one is mine.” His stature intimidated people. He was strong, and big, and tough, and sturdy. And there was absolutely nothing he couldn’t do as far as I was concerned.
Maybe I should have told him that more often.
His cheeks were prickly. I preferred them unshaven. It made him look like a man – his baby face camouflaged by stubble. They were full and drawn up with a smile – his natural smile.
Maybe I should have kissed them more.
His eyes bright blue. Blue like the color of all my favorite skies and seas.
Maybe I should have looked at them longer.
And this is why.
Many years ago, when I handed over my heart to that man, I made him a promise. I promised him that if he ever broke it – my heart – I would disappear. “One day, you will wake up and it will be as if I never existed. I will not call. I will not text or email. You will not see me. Pictures will be deleted. You will be blocked from all social media. And I will vanish.”
This blog is the only piece of my life I am unable to block him from seeing.
And for the first time since this blog was created… I found myself caring about what he thought of my posts. “Do I sound happy enough?” “Does it look like I’m going, and seeing, and doing enough?” “Aren’t I so strong, and ballsy, and wise!” I became so overwhelmed with what I thought he was thinking about each piece I just quit writing all together.
Vanishing act complete.
But he’s sneaky. And manipulative. And resourceful. And if he wanted to know what I was doing he could find out by, oh I don’t know, stealing one of my best friend’s phones at a bar.
So, fuck it. And fuck him too.
You have read 162 posts written straight from my heart. Why would I – why should I – start censoring myself now? Why should I start feeding you line after line of bullshit just to keep up appearances – or disappearances, rather? I owe you the truth. I owe myself the truth.
It’s been a little over three months since we have spoken to each other – the longest in 10 years.
And I struggle.
I struggle every. damn. day.
I am constantly wondering, “How do things like this happen?” “How did I end up on the opposite side of the country from a man I was supposed to marry?” “How can things take such a drastic turn… for the worse… the better?” “How can a right decision take so long to settle?” “She’s in my house. I bought those towels. I picked that paint out on those walls. My brother helped lay that floor. Does she know I was the one who asked him to buy a horse ten years ago? Does she know where his favorite place on this planet is? What breakfast meat he prefers and why? His favorite pie? (Hint: It’s a trick question.) Or what about how he pronounces the following word: ‘chapped’? I know him better than he knows himself. Does she?”
Some nights I cry myself to sleep. Sometimes, I sit on the bathroom floor – my head in the toilet – hoping that next week will be the week I keep down every one of my meals. Some mornings I roll over, smiling from a dream, thinking I’ll find him laying in bed beside me… but it’s only a pillow. There are days I have swollen eyes and take extremely long naps.
I still question my decision to leave. I question how stubborn I was. I question every word I said, every text, and every email. And then, I question every word I didn’t say. I question how quickly and easily he moved on. I question his faithfulness. I question my journey.
Maybe the path I have decided to take is the hardest way to heal. Maybe I should have followed his lead – jumped into a new relationship just weeks after ours ended. Maybe then I wouldn’t have had the time to miss the security and the comfort of our ten years. Maybe then I wouldn’t have had the time to mourn our relationship. Maybe then I wouldn’t miss him.
But everyday I am making strides.
Everyday I am working on myself. Everyday I climb out of the hole I let my mind wander down and I think about how independent and free I am. Everyday I remind myself that each decision I have made over these past few months has only helped me to become the better, stronger woman I am today. Everyday I look in the mirror and have never been more proud of the person staring back at me.
I almost do not recognize her – that reflection.
I might feel pain and heart break. I might feel sorrow and doubt. And I might even feel guilt at times… but at least I feel.
I have not put a band-aid over my heart. I have not latched onto another. I have not built walls up around my soul or hardened my spirit. I have allowed myself to go through the motions – to feel each and every one of the feelings.
In the last seven months and 15 days… I have become one of the strongest people I have ever known.
Who knows? Maybe I’ve always been that person. Maybe that strength was always there – lying in wait. Maybe I’ve seen pieces of her before. Like, when I decided enough was enough with my father. Whatever it was – it is – it’s strength like I’ve never felt before. Something bigger than autopilot, or gravity, or the moon’s hold on the sea.
Maybe a strength like that is required for the kind of reset I needed.
Maybe a strength like that is required to get me through nights like last night…
Because I loved that face, and those cheeks, and those blue eyes. I loved how his shirts smelled. I loved knowing every nook and cranny of his body – like, the curves of his finger nails, and the freckles on his back, and the spot below his right eye. I loved every inch of him. But everyday a tiny piece of my heart breaks as I’m reminded that the man I miss – the relationship I long for – never truly existed.