Monthly Archives: December 2015

Ripping off the band-aid

tattooThis year was the first time in all the years that I’ve been back that I spent Christmas entirely alone. It wasn’t something that I had been looking forward to; indeed, I was downright dreading it, but now that it’s over I realize it was not such a bad thing. In fact, it was probably for the best that I was on my own for Christmas, because it gave me time — a lot of it — to think about my current lot in life and what to do with it in the immediate future.

When someone asked me earlier today how my year had been, my immediate response had been: “Horrifying.” In many ways, it was like getting my latest tattoo: the pain was excruciating throughout all 15 hours, but at some point I let the pain wash over me and just waited for it to be over. So now, especially when I think about everything that has transpired this year, particularly in the last eight and a half months, I realize that my response should have been: “Numbing.”

This was the year I lost the love of my life, the year I learned the price of loving someone too much, and the year I learned to never give so much of myself away again. This was the year that I truly understood what it means to do what makes you happy, because it takes real unhappiness to make you appreciate what makes you happy, and to make you reach out and take that happiness for your own. This was the year that I watched myself morph into something so heinous, so unrecognizable, that there were times when I wanted to give up and walk away just so I could salvage the last of my self-worth.

But no more. If there is one thing these last 10 days have made me realize, it’s that I have to be better than this. I have to be better than someone who allows herself to be put aside time and time again. I will not put myself through these 10 days again, not for another two weeks, not even for another day. I will not enter yet another new year with the curse of the last eight months hanging over my head, and I will not allow the selfish and childish whims of a 47-year-old stalker woman 4,744 miles away to control my life any longer.

As a friend told me, some months ago during the height of my emotional turmoil, “You can either slowly wean it off, or rip off the band-aid. It may seem easier to wean it off, but you’ll be prolonging the inevitable pain. You may not know what will happen once you rip off the band-aid, but whatever does come after that, it’s not this. This pain will be over.”

So come the new year, I will lose something that has been a part of my life, my being, my very soul, for the last two years. But from the ashes of that loss, I will also — hopefully — gain something else that has eluded me for so many years: peace.

No choice, so choose

If it’s a broken part replace it
If it’s a broken arm then brace it
If it’s a broken heart then face it
Jason Mraz, Details in the Fabric –

no choice

Sometimes we think we don’t have a choice in certain matters. Our cell phones start freezing up every now and then, but we think that means we have to get new ones because repairing seems impossible or just never occured to us. We want the black Manolo Blahnik Mary-Janes but they’re not in our size so we give up the search, not thinking to look at Jimmy Choo or Christian Louboutin. We want something so badly that at the slightest hint that we might not get it we think that means we should just give up on it immediately, our judgment so clouded by disappointment that we fail to look at other ways around the situation that might get us what we want.

But sometimes we do have a choice. It may not give us what we want, ever or anytime soon, but it strengthens our resolve and renews our resilience, and even if it doesn’t apply to any current situation, it prepares us for the next time around. It’s whether we’re willing to go through the harsh lesson of being disappointed and humiliated time and time again or ready to throw in the towel in the face of too many obstacles and a seemingly dead end that makes all the difference in the world.

I used to think that I had no choice but to see this through, to just hold on until the very last second, because one day, by some great miracle, something would change and the tide would turn in my favor. But now I know that I do have a choice, after all. I can either stick it out and see it through until the very end, or I can cut my losses and grit my teeth through the pain, and hope that with every morning I wake up alone once more, the pain will lessen.

You’ve given me no choice.

Strayed too far

31

Hello, 31. We could not possibly be further from where we were at 30 if we tried, could we? If there’s one thing this birthday has taught me, it’s how much can change in just the span of one year.

Last year, I turned 30 feeling, as I almost never do (which should have been a red flag in itself), on top of the world: I had the man whom I had always looked at as the love of my life by my side, a solid circle of friends who had been such a large part of my support system, and what was probably the closest I would ever get to a feeling of peace. And today, I turn 31, having hit rock bottom this year, and have only just begun to try and drag myself back up, but not without the help of a very small handful of people who have made it more bearable. I imagine the feeling is not unlike that of plummeting 100,000 feet through the air to crash-land in a mire.

How did it come to this? How did I allow my life to spiral so far out of my control that it feels as though I have achieved absolutely nothing at this age? How did I allow so many aspects of my life to take such a backseat that I now have nothing but a career to show for it? Every year I make a note of how I am not where I thought I would be at my age, but that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. However, this year, I am not where I thought I would be at 31, but I definitely wish I were somewhere, anywhere, but here.

If anyone had told me two birthdays ago what my life would be like this very day, I would have snorted hard enough to draw blood. And yet, looking at everything I’ve gained, lost, learned and become in these last 730 days, I wouldn’t have it any other way.