Rising From the Ashes of the Undead
|Sometimes when life feels hard I dial back to something more simple. |
Spent a lot of my childhood snuggled up next to this wood stove.
When the cold is unbearable it gives me warmth and hope.
I pretty much faded away to nothing.
I just disappeared. Stopped writing. Stopped sharing. I guess in a way I stopped living. I was frantically trying to fix my shit. But in actuality, I was in the middle of a maze-like chaos. Like a dying rat bumping into corners looking for the the last bit of food to sustain itself. I took my last breath. Now it's like I'm on the operating table in the O.R. I'm being shocked back into living. I can see the lights above me blurry and intense. I'm beginning to feel the pain from the fractures and broken bones surfacing from the numb.
Fuck my heart hurts.
I'm bruised, broken, and bleeding. But I'm alive.
So I've experienced a sort of death recently, although, if I'm being truly honest, it felt like I died and was resuscitated several times over during the past ten years. It was my decision to end my marriage. I spent the last 20 years with an incredible man. A good soul. A wonderful father. A very thoughtful and giving person. We had some really great times together. GREAT TIMES. Lots of laughter and meaningful moments but somewhere along our path I started to die. Parts of me were just fading into oblivion and as I tried with every fiber of my being to hang on to those autonomous pieces of my soul they just kept falling back into the black until they disappeared. You wanna know what it's like to live like a zombie? I'm pretty sure I could give you an idea. Although I didn't crave brains but if I did I think I would need ketchup to stomach that shit.
Being a mother to my mother, a wife to my husband, a mom to my boys, surviving the death of my father, a miscarriage years ago, a double biopsy that threatened my existence, some major life shifts in my thinking and my business, I was living outside myself and grasping to hold on. I sought counseling and therapy. I hid in the gym. I had to face some serious revelations that were pulling me in a direction I had never intended. I experienced a midlife enlightenment that came at a huge cost and I quit something for the first time in my life. I quit my marriage. I quit my family. I almost quit myself. I didn't endure. I didn't hold on. I didn't dig deep or relentlessly move forward. I quit. Not sure at what mile it happened, but I quit.
I own that.
So I am DNF. Soberly, I will accept that. People will judge me for it, I'm sure. My ex is devastated (bruised, broken and bleeding as well) and my youngest is struggling with my decision. I left behind carnage in my wake. I won't sit here and write a soliloquy with every excuse in the book about how I suffered or how bad things were because honestly they could have been a whole lot worse. There was no fighting. No arguing. Not a whole lot of anything, and honestly, if my marriage was something I really wanted I would find a way. But I haven't. I see life from a perspective now that skews my whole view on marriage and the social constructs around it. It's really hard to fight for something you can't see anymore and don't believe in.
I'm not one to follow a straight line, though. I tend to take roads less travelled and I have a tendency to find solutions in unusual trajectories. I'm not afraid to jump. I'm not afraid of risk anymore and I'm embracing that. Fear and judgement no longer control me like it did years ago. I killed off that part of myself over the last decade and sadly have had to fight to rise from my own ashes in order to survive my own death.
I won't say it's been easy or even fair to the people who love me, but as selfish as it is, it's been the right path for me. I had a strange thought cross my mind about a year ago last February. It was a random thought about an independence day that permeated my brain for a second and flashed my birthday in front of me. I had no idea what it meant or why I was thinking the words "Independence Day" and "8/8", but it was strange and unusual enough that I remembered it. I hadn't intended to leave my husband at that point because I wasn't quite in that space yet. I was floating numb at that point and really just trying to get through each and every day alive and feeling the earth beneath my feet. I wasn't able to even articulate thoughts to myself about where I was in life.
In June I finally told my husband. Well... actually he confronted me and I couldn't say I wasn't. I just sat silent. He knew and I knew. We both sat there stunned.
The few months that followed were torturous and blessed. Finding a place to live that met all the necessary criteria was near impossible. It had to be in the kids' school district. It had to be affordable. It had to be two bedrooms. It had to be safe and clean and not cramped. And I really wanted a place with a pool because my boys have never had a pool and they are little fish. The list went on and on, and my husband continued to push his anger and hurt aside and was gracious enough to be patient and let me live in our family home until the day came. We tried to live each day as a family and appreciate our time together. We made an effort each and every day to sit with each other, as a family, and share dinner. We laughed. We told stories. We asked the kids to share how they felt about us separating. We tried to address their fears and their concerns. Together. Until the time came.
I woke up at 5am one morning to go to the gym and my inbox had a new listing posted for condos close by. After seeing the rent price I was desperate and didn't even look at the details of the listing to see whether it worked. I called and made an appointment with the landlady.
Apparently, I was the first one to the listing and would have the first showing so I met the woman at the place at 9am the next morning with application in hand (I was learning fast that the rental market was stupid crazy and if you don't have your shit together you get booted out the door to be replaced by the next guy.)
The place was perfect. Two master baths (with a double closet big enough for my boys to share), rental priced insanely low for the market, practically Fort Knox with all the security, well maintained and kept (75% of the condos in the complex are owned), quiet, respectful, and a LARGE POOL!
I was sold. The landlady "had a gut feeling about me" and without showing it to anyone else offered me the place.
"When can I move in?" I asked.
The landlady looked at me and said "August 8."
It was a bitter-sweet day. My husband had taken the boys out of town and with the help of some very good friends I was moved in a couple days. My in-laws called me on the telephone to wish me a happy birthday and my mother-in-law came down to join me for what I suspect would be my last birthday lunch with her. It was a very good day. And a very sad day.
I'm still not sure how my brain knew what was going to happen to me or whether I was manifesting my own future, but I got the memo. My autonomy had finally been unleashed. I untethered myself from a man who loved me and would do anything for me and all the consequences of that decision were soley my own. All my shit would, from this point forward, be my burden to carry alone, without a shoulder to lean on or someone to share with and cry. And right now, I don't know why I need that. But I do. My pack is heavy and there are switchbacks ahead, but it's my burden to carry. I'm OK with that. The heavier the pack, the better. I have no clue why I feel that way. It just is the way I feel and I need to listen.
So I will be feeding my solace in the peace of the trees at my grandmother's property often now. It's where I go when things get shitty and I need to heal.
I need to spend time on that land more than ever now. In those trees from my childhood, in the red dirt, and in the memories of my grandmother (who literally cleared the land of Manzanita with her bare hands and drove the logging truck up herself to build her home.) The place is a little "Winchester Mystery-ish", but it's my place of healing. My Nexus. My hallowed ground. My peace. I'm headed up there tomorrow. I'm headed up there to try to reconnect with my soul.