I haven’t held your hand in eight months and the human skin replenishes every twenty-seven days. You’ve never touched this skin and I don’t think you ever will.
“knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. when we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as an escape”– bell hooks
my roommate refers to me as an introvert, which initially i thought peculiar – i stand up in front of classrooms/studios full of people putting on a dog and pony show for a living, multiple times a day. my undergraduate degree demanded that i be on stage or in some sort of performance situation almost daily.
yet while i’m completely comfortable being in front of people…i don’t particularly like being around them.
when i want somebody to be a part of my life, and i let them in, and let my walls down, the more relaxed side of me comes out. that side of me that laughs loudly and talks nonstop and could spend all day sitting in the dining room talking about everything over coffee or wine
or the raspberry wheat shock top ale i am STILL dying to try.
but when you get right down to it…i like being alone. i grew up an only child in a house on the outskirts of town, no neighbors. i became amazingly adept at self-entertainment, and to this day i love nothing more than to spend an afternoon curled up on the couch reading an entire book or cross-stitching until my feet fall asleep.
which makes it all the more strange that i’m still finding times when i so desperately miss my former other half. times when i roll over in the middle of the night and wish with all of my half-asleep heart that i was wrapping myself around k, not simply reaching into air.
i know how to be solitary. i’ve done it all my life, in one way or another. but re-learning how to be alone after you’ve experienced the other side…that’s a whole different ballgame.
it’s been about six months since k and i broke up. and i’m starting to get questions from friends and family – “is there anyone new in your life?;” “dating anybody yet?;” “when do you think you’ll jump back into the dating pool?”
my response is usually prompt and certain: i’m as single as they come and plan on staying that way for a very long time. maybe permanently.
let’s face it – i work well single. i barely have time to keep myself together right now; i wouldn’t function well as half of a couple on top of it. in a shamelessly selfish way, i like my life right now. i get up early, have 2 hours to myself at the gym, go to class and teach and do work during the day, teach or run or both and then shuffle home after dark with just enough time and energy to get myself ready to do it all again the next day. i love my colleagues, i love the people with whom i live, and my jobs are the best. i don’t feel like i’m missing any integral parts of myself or of a happy life.
yet there are times when i miss us so much that it takes my breath away. times when i desperately miss the silly text messages or the skype dates or how excited we would get when we were going to see one another. and although i’m ferociously independent, there are still times i miss needing somebody.
and i’m trying hard to miss that less, because the person i feel like i need doesn’t need me back. and i hate, more than anything, the idea that i’m being “that” girl. the one who still texts and calls her ex while her friends whisper behind her back about how sad and pathetic it is that she can’t let go. the one who is hanging on to a pipe dream long after it’s reasonable to hope. the one who misses a dozen chances with somebody new because she’s holding out for the one who left her brokenhearted in the first place.
i’m not so worried about missed chances, though. i don’t think a chance counts as a chance if you’re not ready to take it. and, on so many levels, i’m absolutely not. i’m only ready to build on the life i have right now. to stop telling myself i need things that i cannot have. and to learn that sometimes fairy tale endings stay on the pages of the story books.
because really, i seem to do a lot of thinking on my commute to and from campus. i’m just going to chalk it up to the absurd number of stop lights i sit through, though. anyway –
i had what i suppose would be considered a “normal” day. got up, had breakfast. was at the gym by 5:55. did some cardio, and today was shoulders – had a good lift, showered, threw on jeans and a t-shirt and was at the office at about a quarter to nine. did a ton of work between then and my 12:30 staff meeting – made copies of tomorrow’s quiz, made my key for said quiz, wrote out my lesson plan, went over my reading for jazz class, and prepped next week’s exam and key. got some coffee.
we had our staff meeting, i went for a run, and then i had class until six. headed back to the gym and taught a 7pm yoga class that was packed and fabulous.
as i was driving home i realized: i’m going to be okay. yes, the past year has been awful. i miss my mom, still, every day, and i always will. and then everything with k. but then i look at a day like today…i was productive, i laughed a LOT, i felt wholly comfortable and loved. and i realize that i’m going to be just fine. i can stand on my own two feet. i have support here. i’m slowly re-learning what it’s like to be single again. i downgraded my phone plan; i stopped daydreaming about wedding dresses and baby bumps; i’m allowing myself to be okay with being alone.
Maybe you and me got lost somewhere
We can’t move or we can’t stay here
Well, maybe we’ve just had enough
Well, maybe we ain’t meant for this love
You and me tried everything
But still that mockingbird won’t sing
Well man, this life seems hard enough
Well, maybe we ain’t meant for this love
and by “should be” i suppose i mean, “was planning to be.” october 13th was our wedding date. the venue, photographer, and dj were all booked. my dress is still hanging in my bedroom closet back home.
it’s funny, as a kid/teenager i firmly believed i was simply not meant to be half of a couple. it wasn’t something that occurred to me in an epiphany or that i dug from the trenches of angst-ridden self-reflection. it was, quite simply, a fact. i attached very little emotion to it, nor did i see it as a particularly negative thing. i just…wasn’t the marrying type. and since i couldn’t see the sense in being in a relationship if you didn’t plan to marry, then by extension i suppose i wasn’t the relationship type, either.
which suited me just fine. until i was stupid enough to go and fall in love.
and now, a week away from what was going to be the happiest, best, most beautiful day of my life, i’m stupid enough to find myself sitting at my desk caught somewhere between a wall of impenetrable sadness and slowly simmering rage. i’ve been salty all day, don’t want to be around anybody, and wish it were socially appropriate for me to just curl up in a ball in my room and hermit until further notice.
i’m sick of wondering what went wrong. i’m sick of beating myself up for not being good enough, not grieving quickly enough, not being enough enough.
i’m sick of wondering what happens next.
what happens next is that i move forward. i have no pieces to pick up, i don’t want them any more. i’m just that twelve-year-old girl who was never meant to be half of anything.
you can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened…or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.
– tupac shakur
i never thought i would be starting out a blog post with a quote from tupac, but hot damn i love this one.
my trip home made me think a lot about ‘moving on’ as a concept and a practice. i spent a lot of time feeling angry and hurt that it seemed like my dad had ‘moved on’ from my mom’s death so unbelievably quickly. but as i talked to him the morning of my flight, i realized that he is still hurting and that he really does miss her every bit as much as i do. he just deals with it differently, shows it differently (or not at all, at times).
i’m never going to ‘recover’ so to speak from my mom’s death. it will always, always be a heartbreaking loss, and i will spend the rest of my life wishing she were still here with me. but moving forward is my only option.
and then i think about my relationship with k, and i could keep myself up every night from now until doomsday replaying the last few months, wondering what i could have done differently, how i could have maybe made it work. but in the words of a former therapist, “that’s crazy-making.”
things are as they are, and all i can do is make my life the best it can be.
…i’m back in lexington, partially moved into my new place. my bed is being delivered on monday and i should be totally moved in by tuesday.
…my knee is getting stronger and more flexible every day.
…my life is full of amazing people.
i don’t need to worry about picking up the pieces of my old life. i’m just going to go ahead and build a new one.
every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.