25 September 2016

Not About Love

The song comes on Youtube Music.  The song I used to listen to every single night after it happened.  In the middle of the shift, at 2 or 3 am.  Sometimes 5 am, when I was setting out breakfast, and I'd sing the words and hum the piano that I knew in my heart as deeply as I knew that stupid ache.

I stand as soon as I see her face, sideways, on a pillow.  I go outside.  He is washing dishes, he doesn't hear the song, or know what it means.  I sit on a chair and I sing the words while I know they play through the television's speakers.

Why did I go outside?

Because I am not ready to share this with him.  I can't trust enough to share this with him.  I can't show weakness, can't invite him into my heartbreak that has been my deepest companion for four and a half years.

Because I am possessive, too, and this is mine.

It's 5:10 in the morning.  The early cars already are drawing deep breaths past my door.  I inhale.  There's still so much to do.  And last night's phrases, sick with lack of basis, are still writhing on my floor.

I watch him leaning over the sink, scrubbing at dishes and loading them into the washer.

Is this who I always want to see in my kitchen?  Will I ever sit inside while this song plays?  Will he ever knock on the door and ask if I'm decent, or will he always just barge in with his newest fleeting thought, ready to derail me and conquer my consciousness?

But I know.  I know, because he's told me, because I ALREADY knew, that no one else can be in that kitchen.  Maybe an empty space.  But no one else can know this song.  No one else will deal with me.  Will entertain my vain panic attacks or my selfish temper tantrums.

But I'm not being fair, 'cause I chose to listen to that filthy mouth.  But I'd like to choose right; take all the things that I said that he stole, put them in a sack, swing them over my shoulder, turn on my heel, step out of his sight, try to live in a lovelier light...

But this is not about love.  'Cause I am not in love.  In fact, I can't stop falling out.


I miss that stupid ache.

22 September 2016


The day we started dating, I had already turned him down a couple of weeks prior. But we found ourselves not so romantically at a diner, after I had too much coffee. My hands were shaking, part from the coffee, and part from bad news. He skewered a piece of broccoli on my fork and fed it to me flirtatiously.

It's a stupid story, I realize.

But at the time I saw in him someone who was patient and committed to taking care of me. I was wrong. But that was what it meant to me, that dumb piece of broccoli on a fork.

So we started dating.

For years, whenever we had broccoli with a meal, he'd feed me a piece. A ritual based in bad news. A sweet gesture. I guess.

This morning he tried to wake me up when I accidentally slept in. He brought me steamed vegetables (I think from a microwave pack, which I typically dislike). He put a piece of broccoli on the fork and tried to feed it to me.

I'm glad I refused (thinking in my dream state that it was a piece of raw shrimp), because looking back now, it was another ploy.

Since we've been "separated," he's been doing every trick he knows. Not being nicer. Just doing things. Mowing. Doing the dishes. Still leaving his trash around, but calling me pet names when he answers the phone. Making plans.

He's trying to pull me back in without having to respect the separation. He's trying to make me feel like the bitch so I'll settle down and return to the status quo.

Well. Joke's on him.

The more of the same act I see, the less I want to be around for more of the same. My dominant emotion right now is frustration at the patterns coming out. Not heartbreak over him.

20 September 2016


I find myself getting angrier this week. Not in general, but I have a much shorter fuse than normal with him.

In the past, every time he did something that frustrated me, showed thoughtlessness, showed indifference, I would pull out a stack of pillows and blankets and padding from my heart. I'd line them up between us, padding the situation with understanding, excuses, a sense of independent responsibility, anything that helped distance me from interacting with his apathy directly.

Now, I've set fire to the blankets. The pillows have burned away. Now I'm facing him raw, and his apathy HURTS ME.

It's not fair of me, but I feel like this is a sacred time for me to build up a sacred space and be a little selfish. And if he wants to interrupt my soul searching, he does not deserve to be comfortably the center of my focus. If he wants to stand in my light, he will get what he's fostered all this time - my hurt and my sadness and my anger, unfiltered and uncovered.

I don't want to protect him from me anymore.

16 September 2016

The Importance of Language

I'm realizing today how important the words I use are when relating to my situation.  For example, there is a massive difference in the following two phrases:

"I want to divorce my husband."
"I want to divorce AJ."

The former detaches emotions from the situation and describes an action.  The latter reminds me the weight involved in the process of leaving the person I have come to know painfully well.  It reminds me, pointedly, that he is a person, and a part of my life, that I will be cutting off if I file.

How about:

"I want a divorce."
"I want to leave him."

Wanting a divorce is like wanting an apple.  It's a thing.  Separate from our relationship.  Just a thing you ask someone for and they give it to you, easy peasy.  Maybe that apple has a cost, like half your communal assets, but look at the second statement.  Now that cost is your partner.  Now that price is years of work on a relationship, and all the heartbreak that came with it.

Now, with the second statements, you are questioning - is this really what I want?  Am I throwing something out that still has value?  Is he right, and I'm just too sensitive?  Do I want to be a victim?  Was I ever really a victim?

Or at least, that's what I get out of it.

Now let's take a look at these:

"It hurts so much when you dismiss me."
"You just have a persecution complex."

Or maybe:

"I think you should be talking to somebody about your depression."
"You should talk."

Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to leave someone who is so positive I've caused all his problems, sapped him of his life, and acted totally bonkers for years and years.  Maybe he'd be thrilled to have me out of his field of vision.

Maybe he just needs me around to feel justified and better than.

Maybe I'm playing into his game by questioning if the good times are really not worth salvaging the marriage.  Maybe, by sitting here and thinking, am I nuts, I'm perpetuating that cycle of low self worth.

Maybe what I should REALLY be thinking is,

"How do I do right by me?"

For the first time in my entire life.

15 September 2016

Reclaiming Myself

A week ago my husband and I sat down and decided to officially separate for a month, and then further with weekly check-ins.  We divided custody of the kids.  We alternated weekends.  We both cried.

I think he cried because he thought the situation was out of his control, and he had failed.  I think he cried because he thought this would hurt the kids.

I cried because after ten years of mind games it's hard to feel confident in a decision made for oneself.  After ten years of questioning if you really were imagining things, if you were crazy, if you were stupid or unlikable, it's more difficult than I can say to stand firm and say no, we can't fix this like we are right now.  We might not be able to fix it at all.

Each day since then, the negativity has crept into my mind like a familiar ivy, weaving into my day and covering everything in hazy shade.  Each day I have wondered if I'm being stupid or rash.  If I'm making this more difficult than it needs to be, like so many other decisions I've made in my life.  If I am worth it, and if I could even be happy with him removed.

I've taken into consideration what my mother shared, crying, over the phone, when I told her what was going on, days after it happened.  She said if I gave myself up, if I forfeited my happiness, if I let him break me down over the years, it would destroy my children.

She is not wrong.

Tonight I thought about how different my life would have been if I had been medicated during college, or even high school.  If I'd had ritalin so I wasn't writing twelve full essay assignments in one night.  If I'd had xanax so that when I arrived late to a class, I wouldn't stand just outside the door, crying in frustration and warring with my own mind about just WALKING. IN. The DOOR.

I thought about how my struggles with time management cost me my first college's tuition.  How my struggles with anxiety and panic attacks left me crippled in ways the other normal kids were not.  How hopping from school to school, feeling incapable and just inexplicably defective, could have been completely avoided by investing in myself.

By showing myself the same mindful consideration and compassion that I showed everyone else by default.

Because when I began my first year at college, I left behind a tattered and high strung mother who did not approve of the person I was growing into.  I began with the conviction that I, a straight A student and a sober virgin, was a slut, a fuck up, and an idiot.

I fell quickly and willingly into the arms of a man who was looking, whether he realizes it or not, for a fuck up.  He was looking for a kind, compassionate doormat who believed she was a fuck up.  Someone humble. Timid. Someone with painfully low self esteem who was looking for validation.

My validation came in the form of objectification.  To this day, he still cites the reason we got together as finding me very pretty and cute.  A stray looking for a home.

And if that doesn't sound predatory to you, you need to get your ears checked.

I was introduced as "my girlfriend, LOOK I GOT ONE IT'S TOTALLY REAL." His friends looked at me without making eye contact and argued playfully amongst each other about who got dibs when he fucked it up.  At the time, I felt so very validated.  I also felt alienated and inhuman.

But maybe I wanted that back then, I'm not sure.

I soon became the appendage that trailed behind him everywhere he went.  I ordered food second, and when we were poor, I sometimes didn't order food at all, if he picked steak.  I stayed home while he gamed with his friends, because men aren't to be trusted, and I didn't know anyone who wouldn't rape me.  At least that's what he insisted.  I started wearing shirts with sleeves and high necklines.  Instead of feeling attractive, I grew ashamed of my shape, detaching emotionally from this thing I walk around in and call a body.

We fought.  Believe me.  We fought about every wrong he did out loud.  I missed so many of the silent things at the time, but we fought about every single thing that was in neon.  Several times I broke up with him or kicked him out of my apartment only for him to refuse to leave.  Several times I locked the door just for him to go in the back before I could get to it, or use a spare key I'd forgotten about.  He would NOT LEAVE.  He would NOT go away, and when we cosigned a lease together, he informed me the police would not kick him out of his own home, and I'd be in as much trouble as him if I called the cops.  Simply put, I couldn't get out, and I didn't even realize how big of a deal that was.

He insists to this day that when we started dating, he was an asshole, and he sees that now.  But I still order food second.  I still miss the body I knew and controlled.  Over time I lost every hobby I had to his clutter or his problems.  His stuff took over my space like that same creeping vine, forcing into my belongings and smashing them, losing them, spilling old drinks on them.  His mother still blames me for the mess.

Piece by piece my personality has been pressed on, bent, and broken.  An attempt to mold me into the perfect partner has yielded a vulnerable and angry husk.

Do you wonder - if our relationship had not been so victimizing to me, would I be so vindictive toward him?

Do you wonder.  If our relationship had not been so DAMAGING to me, would I have had the mental  and emotional fortitude to survive the loss without suffering the panic attacks, the hypervigilance, the constant and overwhelming feeling that something big and horrible is about to happen every day, the loss of ability to connect honestly with my friends and peers, do you think I would have come out the other side with only heartbreak instead of consuming dread?

Do you fucking wonder if I had to live the last ten years of my life this way?

Don't you wonder what I'll do now?

I sure as fuck do.