In the last four months, my life has changed dramatically. After our separation, I stepped off of a cliff, not knowing where I would land. Here are some things that I have learned so far.
1. I loved someone and tried my hardest and it wasn’t enough. I spent years blaming myself and trying to fix it in my brain and in counseling. I read books about how to fix the damage I imagined was irreparable from my childhood.
2. I still love him and want the very best for him, and we will be friends and parent our children together. I can’t imagine a life without him in it.
3. I am not a bad person and anyone who tries to make me feel like I am can go fuck themselves.
4. I am a good parent. This is really hard, and it isn’t perfect. But these boys are strong and we love them fiercely and they will be okay.
5. (I hope they will be okay.)
6. I don’t think I will ever be able to get married again.
7. It has been over a decade since I lived in an apartment complex. It is reassuring to discover that apartment managers still have raspy voices and cry at unexpected moments and wear Minnie Mouse shirts that proclaim, “I WANT IT ALL.”
8. I do not have enough time to file divorce paperwork.
9. I have no back-up plan.
10. There are people I thought loved me unconditionally who have dropped me like I do not exist, who have erased me from their lives. It made me sad, then angry. They are choosing to cut ties, and I am floating away.
11. My father can be kind.
12. My brief foray into online dating was fun/depressing. A lot of men take photographs of themselves taking photographs of their abdomens in bathroom mirrors.
13. I still wake up alone and look at my new curtains and wonder how I got here.
14. I am capable of losing weight without trying.
15. There are people who have lifted me up and changed me with their love and kindness. I am so grateful it is overwhelming.
16. Although it is not a comfortable place, I am learning to rely on others.
17. I thought this was a mutual decision, but then I didn’t know. I am the one who said the words. I am the one who left. I think we have both told ourselves stories about what happened, and maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
18. There are waves of intense fear and joy, and they almost always surprise me.
19. I liked to plan and control things. I thought I was good at this. I have had to admit that I was very wrong. I am 34 years old, and I don’t know anything for certain.
20.There is freedom in admitting this.