[Theme song for this post: “Broken Bones and Pocket Change” – St. Paul and the Broken Bones]
Young Love has made me old,
Tired, restless, and blue…
I’m not going to lie. This bravery thing isn’t for wimps (and I am speaking as a newly recovering wimp). It hurts and it’s hard and quite frankly, lately, I am struggling. Specifically today. I am not struggling for any particular reason, nothing monumental happened, nothing has changed. It’s just… There. I’d love for someone to swoop in and just erase it all because I hurt in every corner of my soul and today I am having less success being optimistic than I have in the recent past.
The thing is, I don’t want to have to be brave. I want to be happy… And if not happy, I want to bitch, whine, complain, cry, throw a temper tantrum, scream, cry some more, and hope that some form of the free flowing childishness emanating from my body will take away the deep seated ache—the weight that has been pulling me down to floor level so why the hell shouldn’t I lie there and wallow in it for a bit?
I know, rationally, that I am ok. That it’s all ok. Ok. Okay. O.K. But for one, self pitying moment right now, I want to not be ok and just wholly acknowledge my pain. I keep masking it and pushing it aside.
A friend recently commented to me that he doesn’t understand how I keep up with my current schedule of activities but the truth is that I keep over scheduling, binge watching TV, reading whatever I can get my hands on, and even writing here because any time I give myself more than 30 seconds of down time, I start to struggle as the life I once had flashes before my eyes. I am not trying to be over dramatic and it’s not like I haven’t been dealing with with my hurt. This isn’t even an avoidance tactic at this point, it’s survival, because despite the fact that I know I can’t change the past and that I am actively making my life better every damn day… I miss my old life, my old love.
There is not one thing in the past 10 years that I can think about or surround myself with that “Said Person” has not had an effect on, for good or ill. Even just putting cinnamon in my coffee or petting my beloved Hamlet has it’s own stupid memories. I have to wrap myself up in alternate worlds just to have a respite from my memories for a while. I am one of those blessedly cursed with an overactive imagination so every time I don’t have something to think about, I get stuck on a dark and dismal rotation of feelings of utter hopelessness as I set myself adrift in memories of the smile I loved so well and the companionship with the best friend I miss so much. The sheer enormity of this hurt should be enough to erase love. It should be enough for me to be able to officially pull Cupid’s stupid stinkin’ poison arrow from it’s deeply embedded location in my left butt cheek (and let me tell you, that sucker is IN THERE) but apparently it’s not.
It’s not even just the idea of him, moving on with life, coming out largely unscathed; unless he’s dwelling in feelings of his own making. It’s that my entire life is a reminder of the pain and disaster that has become my love life. Not only am I less a best friend and partner, I also am sleeping in a borrowed bed (not that I am ungrateful – thanks, Mom and Dad)… and I had to leave my home, my neighborhood, my city. The life I had so carefully constructed is laying in tatters around me because he decided to take some scissors to the middle of it and I had to do what I could to salvage the rest. I am not even allowed the solace of the one place I had decided to fully embrace as home, for the first time in my life, because someone took my love for granted (still, West Philly Best Philly ftw).
The tiny shred of optimism that I am able to hold onto is that my very worst fear came true, not only did he break my heart, he let me go without any regard for the time we had spent together, without any regard for my feelings; despite all of that, I didn’t die. So, what do you do when your worst fear comes true? Do you create a new one or do you recognize that fear is just a hindrance?
Well, I am not fearless as of yet, but I am working on it. I am working on me.
I keep being told that I will “find the right guy” and be able to move forward. This is a fair assessment. I have already discussed my disbelief in the existence of “the one.” The thing is, I don’t care. I thought I had found the right guy and look where it got me. Broken bones and pocket change (seriously though, THIS SONG!)…
It was always a big deal to me to be introduced as “Liz, my girlfriend/fiance/wife” instead of “my girlfriend/fiance/wife, Liz.” I want to be myself first and the way in which I share my relationship with said person second. This entire bullshit tornado has just reaffirmed the fact that you must always identify as your own human first. You cannot lose yourself in another person.
Ok, so I have to find a way to end on a good note. The one thing I can say is that I believe hurting has made me a better person. I don’t think I was in terrible danger of ending up on the devil’s doorstep to begin with, and I am also no saint, but I find that on days like today I am nicer to everyone around me. I may not be able to help myself feel better, because only time will do that, but I will be damned if the people around me are miserable too if I can help it. I desperately try to be upbeat when discussing my feelings but, more importantly, I try to be more in tune with the difficulties others are facing.
Several people around me are stressed, in pain, or struggling in some way… So I am working in every way I can to encourage them. I’d encourage you to attempt this method of personal healing. Everyone has a struggle, will you add to it or help lighten the load?There’s always the old adage: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”… And always remember, if Brittany Spears can survive 2007, you can survive today.
Recognizing that, and not having shaved my head (well, not ALL of it) I will take this small amount of cold comfort, I will box it neatly and arrange it with the other ones, conveniently displayed where I can sit and look at them in times like this.
So here am, at the end of my nearly 11 hour workday: Dismally sitting, feeling cold, incredibly ugly (seriously, the looks just aren’t on my side today), worthless, and alone… Basking in the pity party freezer section (get it, COLD comfort), until I shake off the icicles of depression and rally for the emotional thaw that is surely around the corner.
Photo: E. Campbell (2017)
Brick Lane, London