Today I had, quite possibly, the most honest discussion with my husband in months.
It's been three weeks of distance that I have embraced, a 3 day drive, 2700 miles of land between the reality that I left behind, the proof in my children of the time and acknowledgement I have devoted/spent/wasted and the shininess of all the opportunity that is possible.
That is probable.
That will be.
We talk every day, but it's so easy to talk without saying anything after 14 years of long-distance love. The "I love yous", "I miss yous"....met with a generic, "you too." Talking about the daily activities, any changes in routine. Filling the prerequisite amount of time with the expected, cordial chatter that you would have with a stranger on a bus, and no more intimate.
Today it must have been the gin.
That was a joke. But I really am drinking gin. ;) And listening to 90s music. The music where I was still me. The music of the era in which I still had all the mysteries of my life before me. Where I had no one to answer to, explain myself, or pretend to be. I had no idea who I was then. I still had to figure it out.
I watched a show on Lifetime last night, where a woman interviews celebrities and asks them very poignant questions about their lives. Of course, some of them are still posturing. But in some of them, you see the real person inside. And they say things that touch something in your core. Like talking about how you learn to mask your true self over years of marriage, parenthood and life. How it sucks everything you loved about yourself, and your partner loved about you, and changes you in to a stereotypical, nagging image of your mother.
It's amazing how one event sets off a chain reaction of change. Like a path of dominoes that can't be stopped from falling.
My event was a year and five days ago. I resisted the urge on the anniversary date to blog...not wanting to give it anymore of myself. It's taken enough out of me.
But I realize, it's given me more than I've lost....something I wasn't capable of seeing until recently.
Maybe it took the worst parts out of me. It left a shell that was free to be filled with what I choose. I realize now that I am free...the way I was free the first time I could ride my bike without training wheels....the way I was free the first time a boy told me he loved me....the way I was the day of my high school graduation, rebelliously smoking a stogie while running down the halls.
I have every justification to excise my husband from my heart. I've considered over the past year all my options, in a way that my apathy towards someone who has been the center of my life for 14 years is remarkable. It takes a second to fall in love, and even less time to fall out of it.
But I am free from expectation. Free from judgement...because, really...who the fuck cares? I am free from the fear of always worrying that the other shoe will drop, because it has not only dropped, it beamed me in the head and gave me a major head wound. I don't worry anymore. You can't will life to not happen, in all of it's chaotic messiness. No one is protected. Some things you can anticipate...steel yourself for. Death of your elders. Growing children.
But nothing prepares you for a loss in your marital bed. The only person who stood in front of an audience and verbally pledged to love you and foresake all others, no matter what. Their death would be easier to take, because there would be no way that it had to do with you. There would be no choices to make. The choices are the hardest part in all this. And the forgiveness. Such a complex idea.
As I said, it's been a year. As Joan Didion called it, "A year of magical thinking." As I spent the better part of 10 months buried in bed, wearing the same pajamas for 4 days without a shower, no will to even raise my arms high enough to wash my hair, part of my soul irrationally believed that it would all go away and prove to have been a bad nightmare. Your head knows it's irreversable, but something somewhere in you refuses to believe it completely. So you are trapped between the world that was and the world that is. At first, you don't want to tell anyone...being alone with horrible news means that it's not acknowledged. But then you tell the first person, and the second. And you tell your story with remarkable detail, and almost no feeling, because in your head, it's not your story...its someone else's tragedy. And you know you are ignoring it. So you tell it, and re-tell it. Over and over and over again. People avoid you because they don't know what to say. How to comfort you. How to reassure you that you aren't in some stage of dying. They spit the venom about the offender that you wish you could expell from your body, and then you find yourself defending them, because if your loved ones hate your husband, then you have no chance of fixing it. Even if you don't know that you want to.
And then you stop trying to figure it out because you haven't eaten, you haven't slept. You believe that you are insane because you don't know any way to resolve all of these unknown and conflicting emotions. And so, in most of your time, you ignore everything and when you do talk to people, you pretend. For them, of course. It's the right thing to do. You sit and listen to cute stories and daily events, willing yourself to feel a real, tangible emotion...other than disbelief. And you lay. You lay in the soft comfort of your bed, clutching the stuffed dog you've had since you were old enough to remember. Maybe none of this happened. Maybe you are still 5 or 6. Maybe your mom will come in and turn on the light and wake you up, singing songs and saying "Rise and shine!"
Only, your mom never comes.
Morning never truly comes for months.
And then, one day you get up. You take a shower and realize you need three razors to shave all the hair that's accumulated on your legs in the months you've hibernated. And you're ravenous. You eat enough in one month to gain back the 40 pounds you've lost. And you make a decision to do something.
I decided to move across the country. No rules apply to you, because you don't give a fuck what anyone thinks anymore. No one can touch you. No one can hurt you. You ignore the criticisms and judgement. Because you don't care.
You drive across the country, listening to your Ipod, and as I call it, the soundtrack of my life. And in your mind, you are the fearless heroine in some book or movie, making your big move. This is where the change comes in the plot of your life. It's very romantic, in a literary sense. You know it's your moment.
And then you rejoin the human race. You start a new job, having something productive to feel good about. You rebuild your nest. You fill it with everything you always wished to have, because if you make it right this time, then you have a chance to have things turn out in the end. You find the time alone peaceful, instead of lonely. There is no boredom, because haven't you been alone for the past year? Haven't you been alone for half of your marriage? You are comfortable with yourself, and are able to decrease all the haze of anti-anxiety medication because there is no one to give you anxiety.
And then you make peace with it. And you decide whether or not to forgive.
So this is where I ended up today. And I decided to forgive. But the stipulations are that I will never again pretend to be something other than my true self. I will not compromise that. I will not lose this girl again. If I am wanted, than I have to be wanted for all of me. I will not lie. There is no one to hide from anymore. No expectation of youth. No one to impress.
Because you don't give a fuck. You're happy.