Happy (Little) Gratitudes

I feel compelled to write one of these.   It goes without saying that I’m grateful for family, friends, etc.  But these are just the little things that are making my heart happy, these last few days.

Google Docs.   How did I never know this gloriousness before?  Special thanks to my friend Lyndsey who introduced me to it.  I have all of the drafts of the Fallen Beyond Salvation series up there, along with the rough drafts of my thesis chapters and my Christmas shopping list.  Seriously, being able to a) access from any computer and b) not worry about my own computer crashing?  Gold.  Pure gold.

Homemade sugar scrub.  I did this last night and my skin feels bangin’.  Going to make sugar scrubs for friends this holiday season, I think.

Teavana’s White Chocolate Peppermint Rooibos Tea.  YES.  You can pick up this liquid herbal joy here.  Jess and I bought a tin of it the other day, splitting the cost (at $40, it ain’t cheap), and that’s going to keep us from spending our money at Starbucks when we get together at her place, at least for a while.

Lancome Energie De Vie.  I got this as a 100 point sample from Sephora and I LOVE it.  It makes my skin feel incredibly soft and smells very familiar, I’m wondering if my grandmother used it when I was little, because its scent instantly transported me back to being a little girl spending the night at her house.  Of course, the full size retails for $55, so I won’t be getting THAT, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.  Much like the holiday season.

This week at work.  I have only a day and a half before I’m off for a wonderful four and a half day weekend.  I can’t wait.

Good friends.  ‘Nuff said.

Prednisone.  Lucky me has a lung infection…but at least I have steroids to clear it up.  And at least it’s not pneumonia.

90.5 completed pages of my thesis.  One chapter and 30 more pages to do between now and December 20th.  I CAN DO IT.  And then I get a month off.  Thank God.

Little Victories, Week 47

Welp, we haven’t done one of these in a while!

Reached 75 pages on my thesis.  Over halfway there, with about 45 pages to go before the chapters are completed!  I can do this!

Finished the rough draft of Book II of “Fallen Beyond Salvation”.  Guys, I am so in love with this book series.  You don’t even understand.

– Started hard editing Book I.  Editing SUCKS.  I’ll tell you that for free.  I get myself through it by telling myself, over and over again, that it will be worth it, that after the hard edits are done, I can send it off to beta readers and we can actually START getting feedback.  I’m nervous as hell, but hopefully it will go well.

– Completed NaNoWriMo!  This is something I’ve wanted to do since I first heard of it in 2006, and I managed to do it!  I hit 50,000 words yesterday.  So very happy with that.

– ALMOST finished a baby hat for a shower I’m going to tomorrow.

I’ve done pretty well this week, guys!  I’m getting stuff done, and I’m making myself happy.  And as a nice change from the last, oh, month or so, I’m sleeping a lot more and drinking less coffee.  That realization, a few weeks ago, from Dr. LW, that I was not going to finish my thesis by December (and that it was insane of me to ever think that I would) was really a wake-up call that I could not keep putting myself through this.  I needed to slow down, try to enjoy life and take care of myself a little better.  Fortunately, I’m learning, and it’s getting a little easier.  I’m going to be great.  Gonna get it all done, balance everything in my life, hit every deadline, and make it all happen.

I’ve got this.  In the end, my grandfather was right.  2013 was my year.

Whoa! When did that happen?!

How did I let two months slip away from me?  Is anyone even reading this thing still?

Yesterday, November 18th, marked one year since I moved out of the apartment I shared with my then-husband, so I was feeling a burst of nostalgia and that urge to look back and see what’s changed, what I’ve accomplished in the last year.  It’s not an anniversary I ever thought I wanted to commemorate, but it’s one that I’m glad that I have.  Because when I look back on the past year, I see…a lot of joy, a lot of growing, a lot of learning.  I hadn’t lived by myself or with roommates other than David since 2009, and that’s quite a long time.  But I learned that I am still financially independent, I’m doing well, and even though I still don’t sleep alone as well as I did when there was someone else there, I sleep just fine.  I have no regrets about my conduct or my behavior in the past year.  I think I’ve done all right for myself, for the most part.

So what’s happening in the life of me?

School: I have 75.25 pages completed in a rough draft of my senior thesis.  I originally had hope that it would be completed by Christmas, but I see now that this was a ridiculous goal.  Although I technically am ahead of schedule (with two and a half completed chapters of four), my professor does not think that the editing process will be complete before the spring.  There are two pieces of good news that came along with this.  The first being, I don’t have to defend my thesis (which is AMAZING), and the second being that Dr. LW promised me that, if I complete all four chapters by December 20th, she won’t give me any work to do over Christmas vacation.  Which means FOUR glorious weeks off.  I can’t even imagine.  I may just be inebriated for most of it.
Dating: Well, I’ve gone on a couple of dates.  None of them really panned out.  That’s okay.  I’m awfully freakin’ busy.  The right guy will come along eventually.  Right now I’m not trying to push anything.
Writing: Would you believe that, on top of my already crazy thesis writing, I’ve undertaken the task of writing fiction?  I have!  My friend Jess and I pulled out the notes we had on a series we’d thought of writing back in 2007, dusted them off, and rebooted the whole thing.  And would you believe that the rough drafts of the first TWO books are finished?  There will eventually be five, but I’m really surprised (and psyched) that they’ve been coming along as well as they have!  I’m also doing NaNoWriMo (because I am completely, utterly insane) and I’m already at over 43,000 words with over two weeks to go.  I’m a writing machine, guys.
Holidays: I am so, so psyched for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.  Last year’s holidays were rough at best, between the separation still being fresh and the question of divorce still up in the air.  This year, there’s nothing standing in the way of me and a wonderful holiday.  I couldn’t be more excited.  Plans are underway to decorate the apartment; Sam inherited a fake tree from one of her friends and I have to get my ornaments and creche from David’s basement.  I even managed to find Advent candles, so now I just need to pull together a wreath.  As for Christmas shopping?  I’ve barely started.  Not even thinking about it right now, guys.  Not even a blip on the radar.  I just paid my credit card bill (almost in full — the rest will come on Friday) and then I can use it for holiday shopping or emergencies if need be.   The only person who is “set” (as in, I know what I’m getting for him and just haven’t bought it yet) is my father.  Everyone else?  Well, it’ll come in time.  Always does.
I leave you with this hilarious photo from Halloween.  That’s me and Drea in the foreground.  Can you spot Jess?

Now I know I was built to last

(This is going to be image-heavy)Friday afternoon, around 4 PM, Drea and I left for New Hampshire.  It was a four hour drive that turned into something like five and a half hours because of Friday afternoon traffic.  We had fun on the drive up, as much fun as two people can have who are stuck in traffic and tired, and at least one of whom is terribly anxious.  The whole time, the climb was in the back of my mind, and I kept thinking, what if I can’t do this?  What if I get hurt?  What will happen?

We got to the hotel around 9:20, and guys…the proprietor was a dick.  He reminded me SO MUCH of our old landlord, Derrick, who used to just barge into our apartment for one reason or another (and who, Drea was convinced, was a sex offender).  He yelled at me when he found out we had two extra people in our room, and insisted I pay an extra $40.  I didn’t say anything because I was just so tired.  But when we finally got INTO our room, I burst into tears.  Drea had to sit down and hug me and tell me, yeah, it’s going to be okay.  You are GOING to climb that mountain tomorrow.

I don’t know why I was psyching myself out so early.  I usually take the Crazy Bruce approach to things like this.  “What’s the worst that can happen if you fall short?”  Is anyone going to die?  No.  (Well…funny enough, when Drea and I were getting water at base camp, the boys saw a list of fatalities, which included some 20-year olds, recently, on the trail we were taking.  Scary).  I had used this approach when Drea had been worrying about falling short on Katahdin.  But I couldn’t do it for me.

After she calmed me down, and we called Jess, Drea and I went to the gas station to get some provisions and batteries for the air mattress pump.  And when we got there, we beheld the glory that is New Hampshire gas stations:

Beer, cider, and wine in the gas station.  WHY DON’T WE HAVE THIS IN CONNECTICUT?!

Matt and Paul got to the hotel around 12 AM, Sam arrived close to 2:30 AM.  As I guess you can probably imagine, I didn’t sleep.  I was way too jumpy, too scared.  When the alarm went off at 6:45 AM, I was relieved.  One way or another, it would be over with by the end of the day.

We hit a Dunks before getting to Pinkham Notch, and then…we began.

Sam was there, too, but I took a terrible picture of him and Drea at base camp so I didn’t post it here.

We took the Tuckerman Ravine trail, which I’ve taken twice previously, so I knew exactly what it entailed.  The first two miles are nothing but straight walking, on boulders, which can get tiring, but it’s nothing compared to the latter half of the trail.  By about halfway, it was evident that Drea and Paul were in the best shape, and me, Matt, and Sam were lagging badly.  I think Sam was mainly lagging because of me, not because he needed to…but I was glad he did (more on that later).

We finally got to Tuckerman’s Ravine, which is just…beautiful.

(Yes, Paul’s in a utilikilt)

Hard to believe, but that bowl of the ravine?  We climbed that.  Seriously.

Climbing the Ravine was the worst for me.  I was seriously hurting by the end of it.  Every time I had to lift my left leg above my hip, it just burned.  I started crying a little at that point.  Sam held back and kept saying “You can do this, you know you can.  I know it hurts but you can do it.  It’s less than 2 miles, you’re already halfway, you can do this.”  But it was a nasty, nasty leg of the climb.

Finally we hit tree-line and got to sit for about 20 minutes and just breathe.

You can’t tell, but that hill behind Drea?  That’s the top.  A lot further away than it looks.

There was still .80 of a mile left.  And I could not have believed that it could be worse than the Ravine.  It wasn’t, but at that point, I was so tired and sore that everything was pretty terrible.  At this point, the hike becomes a boulder scramble.  You have a lot of points where you need to use your hands to scrabble.

Drea is optimistic.  I, on the other hand…am not.

We started the boulder scramble.  Paul and Drea pulled far ahead, and the three of us who remained, lagged.  At this point, I was almost exclusively crying.  I had to stop to rest over and over again, and I felt terrible.  On multiple counts.  My pelvic bones ached, I was embarrassed to be crying, and I thought other hikers looking at me were thinking things like “God, what a baby, it’s not that bad of a hike, get over it.”  What I didn’t know at the time was that Drea had gone up ahead, and was telling almost everyone who talked to her that her friend who had broken her pelvis was climbing behind her.  One person said to her “She is the biggest badass on this mountain.”  When I found that out later, that felt pretty great.

I need to insert here, because it’s important, I guess: I had seriously underestimated the gravity of that fact.  Like I did when my aunt told me back in ’05 that I was ‘lucky to be alive’, I had just brushed it aside.  I knew that it would hurt, I KNEW it wouldn’t be easy.  But I never thought that my pelvis would be the thing that stopped me on the mountain.  I thought it would be me.  I never thought “You know, you might just be physically incapable of doing this.”  Until I got to the boulder scramble.  There were a bad few minutes where I told Sam “I don’t think I can do it.  It’s not endurance, I just don’t think I can physically finish this climb.”  Of course, when you get past Tuckerman’s Ravine…you really have one of two options.  Get to the top, and take the bus down.  Or go back down on your own, which hurts probably more.  But I wasn’t really thinking that in the moment.

We finally got to the point where I could see the top.  We could see the orange weather poles.  I knew from experience that you see those poles, and then as you get closer, they fall out of sight again over the ridge…and then you see them when you hit the top.  So I knew we were getting close.

And then the worst thing happened.  I put my foot down on a loose rock, and I wrenched my ankle.

That was the worst.  I burst into tears and I just kept saying “No, no, I am so close, I can see it, it’s right there, no, this isn’t happening.”  Sam, the perfect Boy Scout, whipped out a couple of handkerchiefs from his pack and set my ankle, binding it up.  He said “You’re right, we’re damn close and you’re going to do this.  I know you are.”  He immobilized it perfectly, and I was able to keep going.  Turns out, in the end, it was just a wrench, not a sprain (thank GOD), and I was able to keep going.

But the last leg was bad.  I was sore, I was tired, I was hurting, I couldn’t stop crying.  Also, the wind speed was 50 MPH near the summit, so that was working against us too.  I almost felt like God was saying “You want this, but do you want it badly enough?  You gotta work for it.”  Hikers kept passing us, and saying “You are so close, you can do it.”  A man in his sixties patted me on the arm and said “I’m a Giants fan, Patriots, and I’m pulling for you.  You can do this.”  Drea and Paul appeared with a sign they had made with one of the gift shop bags, that said “Go Meg!  6,288 feet!  30 got nothing on you!”  But I was just…I couldn’t do it.  I could see the top.  But it still felt so far away.

Drea and Paul and Matt and Sam hung behind me and kept talking.  Drea said “You’re going to do this.  For yourself, for all those people who doubted you.  Everyone who said you couldn’t do it.”  And I gave it one more surge, one more push, and stumbled over the step into the parking lot.

And I burst into tears.

I stumbled around in a circle for a minute, gasping, crying, staring all around me, and then I sat down on that rock and just sobbed.  Drea sat next to me on one side, Sam on the other, and it was one of the best moments of my life.  I did it.  It was painful, it was horrible, but they were all right.  Once I was there, it all went away.  It was perfect.  Drea asked before she took that picture, and I felt kind of like “Well, I’m bawling my eyes out, do I want to remember this?”  But I did.  Paul said, when he saw it “there never was a more genuine moment”, and that’s pretty accurate.  I had nothing left to give.  But I was there.  And it was perfect.

And then, we summitted.  Because the summit is actually further away than just the top.  But the last leg was easy.  I did it with all of them.  Yeah, I limped my way up.  But I made it up.  Which is more than many people ever do, as Drea and Sam kept pointing out.

They let me summit first.  Even though by rights I should have gotten there last…they let me summit first.  I have, without a doubt, the best friends in the world.

This is the picture I sent my parents.  Who had no idea that I climbed the mountain until it was over.  I wrote “This is what I did today!”

Three times.  In 1994 (age 10), 2002 (age 19), and 2013 (age 29).  And guys, three times will be it.  Three is enough.  I knew when I reached the top, and I knew the next day when my pelvic bones were on fire…this will be it.  I will never summit Mt. Washington again.  But it doesn’t matter.  I did the climb.  I did it when it mattered to me.  I had to know if I could do it.  And I did.  I summitted Mt. Washington for a third time on a pelvis that had been broken in three places.

I couldn’t have done it without these guys.  They pushed me, every step of the way.  Because this was never just another climb to me, and they knew it.  This was something I had to do.  I had to.  I knew in my heart, if I didn’t do it this year, I’d never do it again.  I had to do the climb.  And I did it.

My parents were shocked.  My dad was jealous!  He said I should be proud of myself.  He couldn’t believe I did it.  A lot of people, I guess, couldn’t believe I did it.  I’m okay with that.  Like I said…I didn’t realize what a big fucking deal breaking my pelvis would be on my ability to climb.  When I summitted at age 10, it was nothing.  No pain.  At 19, sure, some pain, but I could handle it.  At 29…everything hurt.  I really would not have finished the climb without these guys pushing me.  This is the last time.

But I did it.

That is something that nobody can take away from me.  No matter what happens to me the rest of my life, I did this.

I’ve been beat up and broken down,
and I’ve been there a thousand times.
I may have walked through the worst in hell, my friend,
and we’ve all got our reasons why.
I’d give my life for the things I had,
and it all flies by so fast.
I may have walked through the worst in hell, my friend.
Now I know I was built to last.
– Redlight Kings, “Built to Last”

When night falls on me, I’ll not close my eyes (car accident PTSD-PSA)

August 27, 2005

I can sum it up in one sentence — my life changed forever.  It was one day, one decision, one mistake.  I got in that car.  By rights, I should never have done it.  I had my own car, but why waste the gas when I could catch a ride with my mother?  She’d drive me back later.  Except I never went back later.  I ended my evening with a trip to Hartford Hospital on LifeStar.  The hours, minutes, seconds of that evening are a blur.  There are moments, lost in time, that I’ll never get back.  Most of them are moments I never want to have back.

To nearly die is such a surreal thing.  At the time, in my head, there was never any question that I was going to live.  There was never even a second where I was lying there and thought “I might not live through this.”  It took me half an hour just to wrap my brain around what had happened to me.   The first time I remember realizing what had happened to me — “I was just in a really bad car accident” — was when I was being carried off the helicopter and into the emergency room.  Before that, I mostly felt heavy.  Tired.  Searing pain on the right side of my body.  I didn’t even realize until a few days later that my face was messed-up.  I didn’t even notice the pain in my cheekbone, near my right eye.  My biggest terror, the only one I voiced, was when they were prying the door from out of my side, and I thought that I was paralyzed because I couldn’t move.  As soon as I knew I wasn’t, I calmed down a bit.  I didn’t realize how bad the accident was until my aunt, coming to visit me in the hospital after taking my mom to sign over her totaled car, said to me “I think you’re lucky to be alive.”  Or, until months later, when I saw the photos of the car itself.  What was left of it.

A lot of people thought that the worst part was the injuries, the hospital visit, the rehabilitation, the physical therapy.  And I’m not going to lie and say those things didn’t suck.  They did.  A lot.  I would never, ever want to go back and revisit those moments of my life.  But the hardest part came after I got better.  When I was home again, in my apartment, and everything was the same, except for in my head.

Me – Autumn 2005, two months after the accident.  If you look carefully, you can see a little bit of “road burn” from the crash in my right cheek, hidden by my hair.

Car accidents aren’t usually the first thing that someone thinks of when they hear the words “post-traumatic stress disorder”.  Most of the time, we think of veterans hitting the deck, or rape victims, or those who were horribly abused in childhood.  But 10% of motor vehicle accident survivors will be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after the fact — and that is only the number of people who seek a diagnosis.  Motor vehicle-related PTSD may effect anywhere from 3.5 to 7 million people in the United States.  It is more prevalent in our country than we may be aware.

I can speak only for myself.  I spent three years in hell.  From 2005 to 2008, my life went off the rails.  I couldn’t sleep.  I couldn’t eat.  I had days where I would walk to my door, to try and leave my apartment, and I would go into a panic attack just reaching for the doorknob.  I stayed up too late.  I drank more than I should have.  I tried to pretend that it didn’t bother me.  I refused to seek counseling.  I refused to get medicated.  I insisted I could handle everything — a full time job and graduate school.  I got fired from one job and laid off from another.  My GPA tanked.  Worst of all — I lost who I was.  I couldn’t shake the feeling that the person I had been, before August 27, 2005, died in that car.  The EMTs pulled out an entirely different person, and I didn’t know how to find myself again.

Over the last five years, I’ve clawed my way out.  It was not easy.  I am not proud of the person that I had become.  It was an uphill climb, with several steps back before I could step forward.  I had to drop out of school.  I had to go through four different brands of pills before I hit on the one that was right for me.  I had to concede and commit to counseling.  More than anything, I had to really self-reflect, to look at the person I had become since the car accident, and say that yes, it was different; no, it couldn’t be the same.  But it could be better.  I could be better.  I just had to accept that I maybe couldn’t do it on my own.

I don’t view it as a personal victory.  It wasn’t about winning or losing; it was about salvation.  I couldn’t go on the way I lived from 2005-2008.  I was losing every piece of myself, everything that made me a likeable person, a good friend, a loving daughter, a caring sister.  There was only one way my life was going if I continued on that path.  It took me three years to figure out that this wasn’t the way I wanted to be.  I had to take back my life.

Now, eight years later, I can look back and say that I am certainly not perfect.  I am probably not where I would have been, if I had decided not to get in that car that Saturday evening.  But I can look in the mirror and say, I’ve got this.  I’ve been through it, and I handled it, and now I’m doing okay.  I wish that I could have become somebody that I liked, without those three years of disorder and chaos, but…that’s not how the world works sometimes.

If there was anything that I could say that is good from all of this, it’s…yes.  It sucks.  It hurts.  But you can get through it.  You can pick up the pieces and be who you were again.  Get help.  Put your pride in your pocket if need be.  Your health is more important.  Your life is more important.  Your relationships with your family and friends are more important.  It’s going to be tough, and yes, sometimes, it is going to hurt.  But God, once you get over the hump, once you get to the top of the mountain and you can look down and see how far you’ve climbed…the view is truly spectacular.  

And it’s all worth it.  Every second.

Me today – Summer 2013. First day of my last year of grad school.

 

The following link is a great resource for people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder of any kind:  Helpguide.org.

 

 

Little Victories, Week 32

I haven’t done one of these since I got divorced.  And guys, there were barely any victories this week.  Because all of my being has been centered on not completely melting into a mess.

My parents went on vacation this past Monday.  My sister broke her leg two weeks ago.  That meant…that I’ve been staying at their house since Monday.  I haven’t been to my apartment.  I haven’t seen my kitties.  I’ve barely had any time or space to call my own.  I miss my bed.  I miss my cats.  I miss my free time.

But I’m getting it all back tomorrow.  So that’s something.

In the past week, I basically was fetch-and-carry for my younger sister.  I fed cats.  I cleaned litterboxes (and for eight cats, that’s no small task).  I fed the birds.  I watered the plant.  I emptied the dehumidifiers.  I cleaned up vomit.  I took Scout (one of my parents’ many cats) to the vet for her surgery, and I’ve been giving her pills (4 a day) ever since — and you can imagine how well that goes over.  The term “like a lead balloon” comes to mind.

I am very, very glad to relinquish all of those roles and jobs when my parents come home from the Cape tomorrow.

Other than that, the only real “little victory” that I had is: Learned to sew.  Which I went over in this entry.  Progress picture there.  I haven’t done anything since then.  Be impressed.

 

Most of this week has gone by in a gigantic blur.  I can’t remember most of what I did, besides cooking and chores.  And trying to sleep.  And failing to sleep.

Next week, guys.  Next week is Wildfire and hopefully I’ll get a little of myself back.

 

I need to update this thing more…

Sorry, guys.  I’m doing an absolute shit job of keeping this thing updated now that the divorce is over.  Even though I said I would be transitioning this blog into something other than a ‘divorce blog’, I haven’t been doing a great job of that.  I may have made my life something more interesting than just centering on the end of my marriage, but I certainly have done a shit job of documenting it.  The last time I updated was July 23rd, over two weeks ago.  So let’s see where we are now.

Wildfire is in a week and a half.  As in, a week from Thursday.  Holy cats.  Right now, the state of my car and packing is, shall we say, utter garbage.  My car is still full to the gills with stuff that I took from David’s apartment and haven’t found space for in my own apartment (I really need to take a Saturday to just unpack shit and move things around), and I still need a sleeping bag and ear plugs.  Oh, and a can of fuel.  Fortunately, I have everything else I’m going to need.

My thesis is…stalled.  Even though the Graduate Studies Office approved the prospectus (did I mention this?  Oh well, if I didn’t — the GSO approved my prospectus), I’m realizing that I am terrified of actually starting the stupid thing.  I don’t know why it’s so daunting.  It just is.  Stupid, I know.  (In hindsight, I realize that I did write about that.  See?  I need to post more often)

I learned how to sew this past weekend.  Or, more accurately, I learned how to use my sewing machine.  The sewing machine I got for my birthday in September of 2012 (I have been busy.  Sue me).  My first project is a cotton peasant skirt for Wildfire next weekend.  I’m making it in green and white, and if I have time I’m planning on putting a Tudor rose on it.

Speaking of Tudor roses, I designed what I hope to have tattooed on my body one of these days:

It’s a Tudor rose, the white inside the red, symbolic of my obsession with history.  I’ve been trying to figure out what would best illustrate my love of history, since I’ve wanted a history tattoo for a while, and the other day thought, why not a Tudor rose?  They’re beautiful, I’m obsessed with Tudor history (not just Henry VIII — the Wars of the Roses all the way to Elizabeth I and beyond fascinates me)…it’s perfect.  Around the circle, in Gaelic (little nod to my Irish heritage) are the words of my favorite saying: “When there’s nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.”  Because I like to plan, I’m going to sit on the design for a while before committing to having it inked on me.  I don’t know how long.  I also don’t know where I want it — I’m thinking back, but I don’t know if I am brave enough to have it out in plain view between my shoulder blades (which is my ideal location, really), or lower back.  But I love it.

And for your edification (ha) here is a picture of my in-progress green and white peasant skirt:

2013-08-04 18.18.48

Front and back.  I’m pleased with it so far.

I wish I had more exciting things to write, but nothing really is going on.

More (and more progress pics, most likely) when I have time again.

Midsummer update

I haven’t really been writing lately, and I don’t have much of an excuse, except that I’m suffering from burnout in a major way.  Anxious people will know what I mean: you know that feeling after you’ve had a massive, massive panic attack, where you feel like you have absolutely zero strength left in your body, and you just want to sleep for, oh, a decade?  That is how I feel right now.  Seriously.  It’s like we got through the divorce, and then my body said “You know all that tension and nerve you’ve been carrying for the last 22 months?  Yeah, we give up now,” and just fell apart.  I haven’t done the horrible keening crying, or “fallen apart” per se, but I just emotionally have very little to give right now.  The things that used to not bother me, or at least, didn’t bother me so much?  Send me screeching into the night, lately.  I’m tense, I’m exhausted, I just have nothing left to give lately.

Which lead me to asking my boss for a vacation week.  I’ll be taking it from August 31st to September 9th.  And I could not be more excited.

I don’t really have any plans right now, because a) I’m broke and b) who would I even go with?  But it’s really exciting to know that I have that option, that I’m going to have a week to sleep in, relax, take some time for myself.  Maybe get a massage, maybe visit some friends out of state (if I want to), and then top it all off with my trip to New Hampshire that first full weekend in September.  Yes.  It is a little over a month away, so I have plenty of time to plan ahead.

 

In other news, Wildfire is THREE WEEKS FROM FRIDAY OMG.  I can’t believe it came this fast.  I still have to buy a sleeping bag and start going over stuff I need to pack.

I got an email from Dr. LW, and my master’s thesis prospectus was approved and signed off by the Graduate Studies’ Office ON THE FIRST TRY.  Wahooo!  The good news is: three rewrites and edits before submission apparently did the trick!  The bad news is: omg, it’s time to actually write this thing and I am scared to death, here, let me spend another six months on research because actually writing it is scary.

But people who don’t write their Master’s theses don’t get Master’s degrees, and therefore don’t go on to become Ph.D.’s.  Or something like that.

I joined a fantasy football league, too.  That’s a thing that happened.    My transition from “Ew, football sucks,” to casual Patriots fan, to rabid Patriots fan, to rabid football fan, is nearing completion.  Look at my life, look at my choices.  I regret nothing.

Things are going pretty damn well.  I’m content.  Not ecstatic, not euphoric, but content, and that’s a pretty good place to be at 29 years and 10 months 🙂

Little Victories, Week 28

We are more than halfway through the year.  Hard to believe, guys!

It’s also hard to believe that I am still writing these “Little Victories” entries even though I skip them all the time.  Huh.

You know the drill.

– Got divorced.  That is, seriously, the biggest victory this year (I think).  I didn’t break down (in public), I didn’t lose my shit, and when it was over, I felt the weight of the world fall from my shoulders.  There is literally nothing left to do, except for file for an annulment in the Catholic Church.  But that’s such a little hump that I’m not worried about it, at least not yet.  Don’t borrow trouble and all that.

Went to NYC and didn’t have a freakout on the train.  Anxiety disorder + public transportation + agoraphobia = usually doesn’t end well.  But I went with the fabulous Miss Nicki to New York City on Tuesday evening and had zero issues whatsoever.  It was an amazing night.  I only wish that Nicki and I hadn’t had to work in the morning so we could have stayed later than 9:30 PM.

 

Rescued a baby kitten.  It was stuck in the oil trap of a car that was driving through the neighborhood where I work.  Kitty is a female, about four weeks old, and is currently being fostered by Nicki and her husband until a forever home can be found for her.  She’s intensely cute and very curious.  I’m hoping she finds a good forever home soon!

 

This weekend, I’m headed off to Massachusetts to stay with Amy and Doug, and see a whole bunch of people.  We were planning on hitting the beach tomorrow but rain might get in the way of our plans.  Not worried in the slightest, I’m excited!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Chase the wind and touch the sky

It’s over.

I will not be writing out a blow-by-blow account of my divorce experience.  I know me, and I know I will go back and read it over later and I do not want to remember every detail of the four hours I spent in court (90% of it spent sitting there waiting).  I don’t want to remember that.  I am hoping that, with time, the finer details will eventually fade and fuzz and I won’t remember them clearly.  I have, to be honest, already forgotten what the judge actually said.  He spoke the words so quickly.

What I will write down, and what I do want to remember, is how, an hour after leaving court, when the numbness wore off (yes, I did cry, but not until the decision was pronounced and we were leaving), I finally felt the weight of the world shift from my shoulders, to be replaced with…lightness.

And then the tears flowed again, but they were tears of relief, tears of happiness, tears of realization that finally, after twenty-two months, there were no more “what-ifs’ there was no more hope of reconciliation, there was no more push for me to fix what I had known for months in my heart could not be fixed any longer.  There was no court date hanging over my head, there was nothing left to tear down and set on fire.

Freedom.

 

Please don’t take this to mean that I am happy that my marriage ended, or that I’m thrilled to be divorced.  The best way I can put it into words (and this is after almost 48 hours of thinking about it) is this:

I’m not happy that I’m divorced.  I’m sad that our marriage ended.  But I am so happy, so relieved, so thrilled, that there is nothing left to burn.

I had been carrying this horrible burden since September of 2011, this push, this drive, to fix this marriage, to make it work.  Even knowing as I did that David gave up on us back in 2011, even if he didn’t admit it until almost a year later, I still felt obligated to fix what I could.  Which was ludicrous in hind sight, because from Day One, it was on David.  He was the one who was unhappy, he was the one who didn’t want to be married, he was the one who decided, on that day in September 2011 that I will never forget, not if I live to be 100 years old, that he was ready to tell me that he didn’t want to be married to me anymore.

If anyone says, “Divorce is not an option, you MUST fix your marriage“…well, that’s all well and good, and it’s a noble thought.  But for a marriage to work, both individuals need to want it to.  Both need to strive with every fiber of their being, every single day, to make it work.  You have to wake up every morning, determined to keep your marriage strong, whether consciously or unconsciously.  If even one of the two people in a couple is not on board…it isn’t going to work.  It took me a very long time to figure that out.  And even after I had realized it, I still kept hoping, against every hope, that David would change his mind.  Even knowing as I did, that it would never work.  My trust had been broken far too many times.  There was no realm of being where I could have ever trusted him again.  Without trust, you cannot have a healthy marriage.  (I sort of laugh when I think about how often I said that before we were married.)

 

But once the divorce was final, there was nothing left.  There were no more expectations, no more hopes, no more fears.  What was done, was done.  The worst had truly happened…and I had lived through it after all.

Months ago, acknowledging finally that my castle in the air was long since abandoned by its other inhabitant, who had no interest in coming back, I made the decision to burn it metaphorically to the ground.  All of it, burn everything.  I knew that if I held on to even one scrap of those dreams, if I looked back for even one moment, I would be trapped in a dying dream forever, like Miss Havisham in Great Expectations.  I didn’t want that.  Only when everything was ashes could I step out and rebuild.

As of July 8th, everything, every last piece, of that lovely mad dream, is ashes.

My heart has never been more full and open.  And I’m shaking the ashes off my feet, and walking forward, never looking back, to build myself a bright, beautiful new future.

 

There’s one thing I want to say, so I’ll be brave
You were what I wanted
I gave what I gave
I’m not sorry I met you
I’m not sorry it’s over
I’m not sorry there’s nothing to save

I’m not sorry there’s nothing to save…

– Stars, “Your Ex-Lover is Dead”