I used to write. I used to write a lot. I wrote about everything that happened to me, the daily minutiae, the ups and downs and highs and lows. Hundreds of people tuned in when I posted online to hear about my sex life, my love life, my boozy escapades and narrow escapes, my darkness and light. And then one day I stopped. I got happy and distracted. I became enmeshed in a loving relationship and kept my stories safe and secret. I got caught up in caring for someone and making a home. I put writing aside. I stopped sharing the ups and downs. I held my cards close to my chest and even, over time, grew to distaste the idea of writing about my life. I became grossed out at all the TMI-ness of it all. The very thought of writing something personal provoked a Pavlovian gagging in my throat.
I haven’t written for a long time.
And here I am, about to share Too Much Information again. Struggling with my loathing of posting intimate details I try to remember how healthy I used to find this process, and how readily people identified with my words. I wonder why? I question everything and yet, in an effort to get out of my own head and move on in life I feel compelled to write and post it. If this is the best I can do before I can get down to writing better things, then so be it.
I am happy to be posting this even as my throat constricts and my stomach churns.
I don’t care what the experts say. It’s not about the details. In hindsight none of the details matter. The “where will we live”, the “when will we have kids”, the “will we get married” questions. None of them are important if you’re lucky enough to find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. None of it matters, and yet, so often in the midst of trying to move forward in life, those kinds of questions take over. The desire to reach the destination completely overrides the journey. The journey, inevitably, loses it’s lustre. In the last couple of years I’ve spent so much time worrying about my future that I forgot to tend to my present. I lived in dreams and let weeds grow in the garden of my reality.In the shattering aftermath of the relationship I thought would last a lifetime I am left with a slew of regrets.
While it’s true that I have a warehouse-sized treasure chest full of beautiful jewels and cherished memories, it’s the ugly, stomach-churning regrets that keep surfacing. I look back at the things I wish I had done better and, even though I know I did the best I could with the tools I had at my disposal, I’m painfully aware that the breakup itself has given me a brand new set of tools, and that now I have nowhere to use them. It hurts. I ache to be able to work on this with the person who left me, but he is gone and keeps himself busy building thick walls that seem, from the shadows of their towering height, frighteningly impenetrable.
I think about his family and how much I love them. How badly I want to watch his nephews grow and the Thanksgivings I will miss. I think about the family I wanted to build with him, the kids I wanted to have, the fantasy of it all. I feel the loss of a dream and I mourn imaginary people. Am I crazy?
Break ups. Heartbreak. Loss.
My own personal earthquake in a world already trembling.
From the ruins of it all I contemplate my future while trying to learn from my past. Resentful, angry, hurt and ashamed I force myself to feel positive, hopeful, loving, excited. Sometimes I succeed. I throw myself into exercise. I swing Russian kettle bells and roar and sweat. I work hard. I show up. I distract myself. I enroll in writing classes, writers groups and retreats. I go to therapy and try to accept that “his decision was about him”, not about me. I try to believe the words I hear “he was unable to embrace the things about you that need healing because he has not healed himself”. I try to send love out to him, I try to let go. I cling to the cliff of hope, refusing to let go and fall into the ocean below, an ocean that represents the certainty of life without him. But I know I must. I must let go. The ocean will catch me and I know how to swim. I just have to remember how.
And I have to forgive myself for the way it all played out after he spoke those six knife-like words that changed my own life and ended ours.
“I think I’m wasting your time.”
I wonder what my life right now would look like if I’d behaved with grace and love in the face of that pain and sorrow. I’ll never know.
I didn’t cry. I didn’t scream. I didn’t say anything kind, adult or loving. I didn’t beg, at least not then. I didn’t do or say anything I can be proud of. In the white-hot heat of my pain I chose anger. I strode into the next room, picked up his newly acquired copy of “The Four Hour Body” and shredded it. Literally shredded it.
“It’ll take you more than four fucking hours to learn how to be a man,” I said.
It was not my greatest moment, and not one, surely, that made my lover question his decision.
No one can accuse me of not expressing myself honestly. No one can accuse me of not wearing my heart on my sleeve. Now, knowing that I have an inner Hulk, would anyone dare?
And here I am. Disbelieving, stunned, reeling, depleted. Trying to find a new identity that isn’t enmeshed in “us”.
I am me. Weird, wonderful, scarred, loving, faithful, honest me.
I’m not perfect.
I fuck up.
But I’m human and I try so hard to get it right.
And one day I will.