I’ve been feeling out of sorts for the past few weeks. I’ve been reading other blogs, which have intrigued me, educated me, and delighted me. Yet I hadn’t been tending to my own. For the sake of unapologetic transparency, I’ve been quite down on myself about this.
During this time, a lot has happened, not the least of which is being without a computer on which to even write my blog. I have horrid penmanship, an affliction I’ve had since college that only got worse when I went to grad school. When you can’t read some of your own writing, it’s a bit of a problem. By the time I was a college senior, I composed as I typed, especially if it was anything for public consumption. Needless to say, I do not handwrite my blog posts.
Two weeks ago I bought a new laptop. Composition equipment? Check. But that’s the small, superficial stuff of it.
Two weeks ago I also completed what felt like a monumental task. I packed up the past three-plus years of my life into moving boxes. I paid for cordial men to move all of these boxes to a storage unit almost 60 miles away. Living the American Dream of working hard to earn enough money to buy my own house? Check.
Turning that pit of a place into a home after thousands of dollars and countless hours spent retiling, repainting, and redecorating with the sweat equity of parents, fiancé, future in-laws and paid contractors? Check. Creating a home to house the dreams for my life, with enough space for our children to be born, dogs to roam, friends to stay and room to work on professional projects and culinary delights? Check.
The late and great John Lennon said that life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. And so it came to be that life fell spectacularly apart one September afternoon last year when I told my husband that I wanted a divorce, although the downward spiral started spinning a year prior to this. Divorce? Definitely not something I wanted to “check,” but it was necessary for my spiritual survival.
Losing my canine babies in addition to not birthing any human ones? Also something I did not want to “check,” but that happened, too. As did being incredibly humbled after earning six figures a year to earning minimum wage for five months until I found full-time work that would pay me enough to realistically support myself after I had exhausted my personal savings.
And turning over what has felt like every personal document of my life—except, maybe, for my gynecological records—to the bank to explain my financial hardship in order to sell my home. Goddess knows the universe has a sense of humor. If I doubted it, my realtor calling me before 8 a.m. on my first non-wedding anniversary date sealed the deal. The bank would accept my short sale—if I agreed to pay them an additional ten grand that I didn’t have.
After a diabolical game of “chicken,” the bank relented and I was able to short sell the house without having to pay them the additional money. And as of this week, after five offers and one buyer’s financial fall-through, I have released my home, the last physical evidence of my previous life. I signed the multiple documents less than 72 hours ago.
I’m now starting week three of what I’ve referred to as my “Nomadic Adventures” since I moved out of the house. It’s through the kindness of my closest friends that I’ve had places to stay. And I’m grateful. But the adventures part? Not even close. It’s far from glamorous. I have two more weeks until I move into my apartment.
It’s only through writing these words that I’m fully beginning to understand the significance of the immense changes that have occurred over the past 20 months. It’s no wonder that I’ve told my closest supports, sometimes with a sigh, sometimes through my tears, that it feels like I’ve been running a marathon and that I’m at mile 25.5. And oh, Goddess, it’s so damn hard right now, even though it seems like it shouldn’t be after everything else.
I’m exhausted. I’ve been strong. But now I give myself permission to be real and not have to be so damn strong. I feel about as naked and spent and empty as I ever have in my 40-something life, even if I know that that emptiness is making space for the positive wonders that I believe my future holds.
After I let this latest round of sadness sweep over and through me, I realized something. Just this very act today, just writing this, just putting it out there—without worrying about any particular outcome and regardless of who reads it or doesn’t—just helped me make it to mile 25.75. That, my friends, is a miracle.
Life never leaves any of us unscathed, as pain is one of the prices of living a full life, or any life at all, for that matter. Like anything else, it’s not necessarily what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you. We all go through hell and back at some point in our lives.
Thank you for serving as my witness in this memorial. And know, especially this weekend, that you don’t necessarily need to have enlisted in the armed services to have made some pretty big sacrifices for freedom or for justice or for your beliefs. We are all heroes in our own way. And that’s worth honoring.