One day I’ll be able to look back at this time period and understand a little more about myself, who I am, who I was, who I became and how. At this point, there are times when I’m just trying to make it through and I’m glad I have good friends to turn to for support. There are some days where I am on the edge of crying all day long and sometimes I go over that edge. I know it’s not a weakness, but it sometimes feels that way. Because all choices have consequences, and sometimes those consequences take a long time to play out.
So here I am, blaming no one but myself for my lot in life because I chose this path. I’m good with that. But, for those who don’t know, who struggle to understand, who don’t want to know because it’s too difficult, or who don’t want to imagine what it would be like to have to start over, I’m going to explain this little stage I’m in just so a little understanding can be reached.
I don’t feign happiness, but I’m not going to be mopey all the time because it’s not sympathy I need. Sometimes I just need an ear, or someone to talk to even if it’s not about my divorce, or sleeping on an air mattress, or being unemployed. Sometimes it’s just companionship I need. But, although it looks like I’m just having the time of my life, understand this clearly: I. Am. Not. When you start over, you’re happier because you’ve left the part of your life behind that made you miserable, but you also left behind lots of you and you struggle to find who you are again and how you fit in the new life you’re trying to carve out. Everything you thought you knew about yourself is different, because you quit something. You’re starting over. You don’t get to be the same person you were before. Everything you had planned on doing, all those ideas about what life was going to look like in five years is different now because you’re starting over. Your expectations, your hopes, your dreams and your plans all change, so now what?
It’s simply not easy and whatever face I put on to deal with it, is just that: a face to deal with it. I can’t break down all the time because I can’t afford to emotionally, and at some point, I have to get over what I’ve done. Starting over means I have to learn to forgive myself for making a mistake, legitimate or not. Life didn’t come with instructions and I know that when I start to let go of what was supposed to be, where I turned right when I wished I’d turned left, and what could have been if I’d only….well, then I’ll have started over.
I recently had a friend stay the night at my apartment. She met me when I was 24, with a nice apartment, nice furniture, career, relatively clear future, cats…I was someone she could look up to. When I brought her into my room and showed her my air mattress, bedside night tub, stack of books and shoe rack (the only piece of furniture in my room), it was a very humbling experience, which might be needless to say. Sometimes I get so frustrated because I look at my life and think, where did I go wrong? What was the first step in the wrong direction? Where did it all start?
And when I have a better attitude, I think: well, this all needed to happen for me to get wherever it is that I’m going. My friend left me a note which basically said that she was proud of me for seeking my dream and even though I’m at a low point now, she reminded me that it wouldn’t last forever.
I am so grateful for her and other friends who rallied by my side. Starting over doesn’t mean you leave everything behind. It doesn’t mean that you become an entirely new person. Some things will never change. I love Star Trek, cats and baseball. I keep secrets. I laugh too loud. I am afraid of swimming in the deep end of the pool by myself.
My new beginning is just another curve on my unique path (as a feathered friend put it) and at times it’s exciting, sometimes scary, sometimes too hard to walk alone, and sometimes I want to turn around, or just sit. But I am going to keep on walking, because that’s what I do. Head up or down, I’m putting one food in front of the other and like I said at the beginning of this post, I’ll be able to look back one day and see the path I carved for myself, but right now, it feels like a lot of hacking down vines in a jungle, trying to find my way. So I’m just grateful I have a machete…because if I had to tear it down with my own hands, I’d probably just build a treehouse and call it a day. My machete is part will, part friends and part sheer determination. Thank G-d for it.