hello again

i have discovered that the only music i can listen to these days is pop music that can be found on spotify's confidence boost playlist. listening to it has reminded me of how much i love to dance. i haven't danced in a long time. i am a homebody, i say. i am an introvert, i say. these things are true. but i am also someone who loves to go out, have a drink or two, and dance to music with my friends. there was a magical year in boston where my coworkers and i basically went out every weekend--working 12hr days at a middle school required an outlet. i was heartbroken then too and it was a lovely thing to go out every weekend, dance and drink soco lime shots. i cut my hair short and told men to leave me alone while i talked to my friends. it wasn't always amazing...i definitely puked in the bathroom of a very fancy restaurant which i had been brought to by a boss. oops. 

but i say that to say, i am someone who loves to dance and i haven't been dancing.

there are a number of reasons for that-- my ex wasn't really a go out and dance person. i am an introvert and so going out to dance feels anti-everything i feel inside. i am sleepy and dancing often happens late. i don't think i'm that great of a dancer....

but it doesn't change the fact that even as i sit here and write this post, all i can picture in my head is me in some cute but practical outfit shaking my curls back and forth. this image feels so important to who i am and yet...my dancing shoes...don't even exist. why?

since my breakup, i've been thinking a lot about myself. obviously. but i've been really thinking about all it is that i want and need and ultimately...who the hell am i and what parts of myself have i been ignoring. i've been staring at myself in the mirror. i've been thinking long and hard about some of the things i thought of as "innately" me. i've been noticing when i'm on autopilot. 

if i'm honest, it feels a little scary. i thought by now i'd just know the answer to these questions. i'd assumed that by this time in my life i wouldn't hide myself or i wouldn't let others make me feel somehow less than. i thought i wouldn't put others on pedestals as a way to keep myself down. i thought i would love myself completely and be myself completely and say f**k off to everyone who disagreed. 

that has not proven true. what's true is that i have had to reconnect over and over again. remind myself over and over again that i am perfect in my imperfection. that i am who i am due to everything i am and that i can be amazing and worthy of love and successful just as i am. that i don't need validation. that i don't need someone's approval. i do that thing where i live a lot of my life listening to "shoulds". i learned early that to get through some less than stellar situations i should act a certain way. i should want certain things. i should be a certain type of person. i still deal with that--albeit in a different way now--but here i am again...looking at a list of shoulds that are not serving me. and i just want to feel like i can be me. and, really, the only person who is preventing that is this scared little girl inside of me who doesn't want to be laughed at or judged or called drama queen again so she steers us away from all the scary things...she steers as way from ourself.

i just want to know that i can want to dance some days and not want to other days, that i can deal with depression and anxiety and be sad and not be defined as a "sad person", that i can want to just sit by the water and listen to the waves, that i can want to jump in the water with all my clothes on, that i can sometimes be boring, that i can sometimes be spontaneous, that i can make mistakes, that i can share who i am and the right people will bring me in close as opposed to push me away, that i can cry and laugh and fart at the same time, that i can keep exploring who i am and changing my mind, that i can be me without apology.

the last two weekends i've been scared by the huge pockets of free time that have landed in my schedule. i've been running around like crazy and here i am scared of free time because then it is just me and me and me and the pup. and sure right now free time means a lot of time to feel the heartbreak, but i also feel it in the middle of plays and conversations with friends...so why avoid it? i can't. and all i'm really avoiding is time with myself. time to learn who i am. time to find me and be me. 

so tonight i will go home earlier than i have for three weeks. and just...be with myself. learn who this weirdly wonderful, wonkily wise woman is...

an assortment of thoughts

i haven't been able to listen to music. 

i don't know what happened. last week music was fine, but this week music does nothing but make me feel sad. i can't even listen to the songs that have no connection to him. i can't bring myself to play them. so i've been listening to podcasts and trying to read and watch tv but i miss music. in an effort to avoid love as a theme, i have sunk into my true crime podcasts and criminal minds tv episodes. i'm not sure these are the healthiest choices i could be making as a now single woman who is moving through the city mostly by herself, but oh well. serial killers it is. [i watched all of mindhunter when away in oregon earlier this month (when he was treating me terribly, when i knew it was a matter of days before we ended). mindhunter got me through some rough days...oddly. i'm not sure what this says about me...i'm not going to think about it too hard...]

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deleting photos is an annoying process. there are so many more to go. boo.

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taking a step back, i always find it interesting how the different stages of heartbreak appear and disappear and reappear. the stages have this odd familiarity. like a friend that just moved to L.A. for a bit, but has come back to the city. i'm like, oh hello there extremely painful third week! oh i remember this phase. the you can't shake it phase. i wonder how long you'll be around.

most of the day, i haven't been able to shake the sadness. i haven't been able to shake the anger. i haven't been able to shake the sense of loss, the sense of confusion, the sense of frustration. they have just been there, sitting inside my chest, right behind my eyes. i silently pleaded for them to go away. just for a bit. they have done no such thing so i am sitting here doing my best not to cry, but also knowing that it will end there. now or later, it will end in tears. i keep thinking of this nayyirah waheed poem: expect sadness/like/you expect the rain./both/cleanse you...

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sadness is cleansing. tears are cleansing. cleanse me, i whisper as i cry, cleanse me. wipe away the dirt and grime, wipe away the pain, wipe away the hurt and pain, wipe away the fear, wipe away the grasping, wipe away the loss, wipe away the self-doubt, wipe away...cleanse me. rejuvenate me. let me jump into the puddles left behind.

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but there was a moment, a few moments, today that i was fine...when i was teaching. teaching made me feel grounded. teaching got me out of my own head. teaching reminded me of the present and what's right in front of me. and of course, that faded as soon as the class ended and here i was fighting with sadness again...but i had that moment. i felt it. holy shit, i thought. teaching is going to get me thru, i thought. and it will. along with everything else. 

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viola davis tweeted out an image that said "what if you simply devoted this year to loving yourself." 

that is my work. i know it is. loving myself. loving my work. believing in my worthiness. believing that i am more than what one person saw or concluded. believing my dreams can come true. knowing i am a good person. knowing i am a loving person. knowing another crack in my heart will only make it beat more furiously, will only make it more determined, will only make it more clear on what it wants and needs. that is the work. that is the lesson. back to me, back to loving me, back to loving my work, back to growing, back to the beat of my own heart.

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speaking of which, as soon as this music hatred ends, i'd really love to go dancing. i need dancing. someone come dance with me. like rihanna. 

 

she

I sit with it. I walk with it. I feel it in me, like a ghost just underneath my skin. 

I’m sad she says. I know I say.

And then we sit and walk and move on, she and I twin sisters, chimera, attached like a invisible woman down into a dress.** 

This sadness feels so familiar to me. I know heartbreak. While this one does not feel as earth-shattering as before, my heart feels wearier. She worries. But she knows what it is like to break and have to put herself together again and so she knows she has to wait, has to be patient, and already she is weary but also knows she will keep beating because that is what she does. she's over it and not. 

I’m sad she, the one in me, says. I’m sad because in the end he seemed to be revolted by your very existence, seemed he wished you’d disappear from view, seemed to be laughing behind your back, planning his escape, cringing at your smile and your touch... 

Stop, I tell her. I already know. I don’t want to think of this. I don’t want to remember anything. 

I wish I didn’t have to cry for someone who seemed to care less about me in the end. My therapist says that I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t cry about this someone. It’s one of the qualities that makes you, you and it’s a good thing, she says. 

She, the one inside me, starts to scream. I’m carrying groceries home and she is screaming. She is livid. She is red. She is throwing things. Burning things. Destroying things. She is angry and I am walking down the street with no expression just with the groceries as she yells for answers she will never get. She blames me. She yells at me. She tears me down. And I carry the groceries. I whisper that I know she has to do this, but really...maybe...really...could she pause. I can't hear myself over her yelling. And it is only when I get home and see something that frustrates me that suddenly I am yelling too and cursing and letting the anger fill us both. I hate her and I tell her that. I tell her I hate that I am stuck with her. Just her. Again. I tell her I don't want this either.  And we are yelling and yelling and yelling and we realize we are mad at him. We are so mad at him. We curse him. We are walking the dog and we are cursing him out as we yell inside. We yell about feeling as though we can’t be angry. We yell about feeling as though we can’t be vulnerable. We yell because we never yell and all we want to do is yell. We yell because he never heard us yell and now never will and that makes us even angrier.

And then it’s over. 

We are yelled out.

We just feel the anger. And the sadness. Still there. Intertwined. 

I sigh. And cry. And she, the one in me, the sad and angry one, me, says I’m sad and I say I know and she says I'm angry and I say I know and that's wonderful and feel it and yell and cry and let it out and then someone else comes up and asks how are you and we say okay and these are all true and we walk and we sit and I feel her, the sadness, underneath the okayness mixed with the anger and I’m tired and it’s just the beginning and all there is to do is wait and work and breathe and grow and one day realize my twin, my chimera, my invisible girl sown into skin is resting. 

Until then we walk together and when we get home I’ll make her some tea or pour a glass of wine or even just some water because we need to stay hydrated and I sit with her until one of us falls asleep.

**image borrowed from a short story by carmen maria machado

burn

i am sitting here, watching a bunch of papers burn.

it is not as cathartic as i was hoping. the fire didn't grow large and the papers didn't burst into flames and disintegrate quickly. it is now smoldering, slowly turning the pages with words into darkened remnants of themselves. but it is taking too long and i can still make out some of the words and i don't want to anymore. 

you see the papers have words of love. these papers have promises of a lifetime together. these papers use to sit on my dresser, a daily reminder of the love i had and cherished.

today that love left.

i wasn't surprised that that love left today. i was blindsided three weeks ago when i got the first inkling, but today i wasn't. it has been a long, downright unfair three weeks, but i knew they'd be over today and so when i came home and 40min later that love left...i was not surprised.

the papers got to smokey so i had to cover them with water. also not as cathartic as i hoped.

i've been here before. in this very apartment. just over two years ago. i've been here, staring at a man's stuff that has yet to be removed. i know there are steps ahead. awkward dances while things are packed up and moved and then taken out. i know there will be the moment it is just me again here. me and the dog and our stuff. i know this will feel good and heartbreaking at the same time.

this time i don't know if i'll keep the couch or if he'll take it. who paid for it after all? maybe him? or maybe he bought the rug? i know the trunk and the tv will go, as will the record player and the sonos. at least two of the bookcases are his...but right now i am here staring at it all. feeling like everything has changed and yet the only sign here is that his suitcase is gone.

here are some things i've learned: don't buy a boyfriend tickets to hamilton. they will leave you before you get to go. also don't renew your lease for two years...you will be stuck in an apartment you probably wouldn't leave anyway, but now are committed to for two more years. also, if it feels like your boyfriend wants to break up with you and you have a trip planned to his hometown, maybe don't go. you'll spend the whole time feeling like it is a weird goodbye that no one else is in on. also, very often, you might be the one who has to start the breakup conversation. it will feel like you are breaking up with yourself. this might make it hurt more in the short term, but at least you know now. at least you can restart now.

i want to burn the memories away but i can't, can i? 

the ends of relationships always reveal what someone actually thought about you. i have a new list of things to worry about. i have once again learned that sharing something vulnerable and scary can lead to someone leaving. i once again have learned i feel like a burden to someone in some ways. i look forward to internalizing all of this and having my therapist try to talk it out of me. of course it reveals disappointing things about your now ex too. things i'm glad to know now, but wish i didn't.

i hate how we get here and how something once so beautiful ends cold and painful. 

at least he walked the dog. and took down the tree. and vacuumed all the pine needles off the floor. before i got home. before we'd officially say, it's over.

i can still smell the smoke and can feel it in my eyes and i don't want his words in my eyes.

i'll be 32 in forty-nine days. this feels significant, but probably isn't. i didn't think i'd be where i am, but i also feel okay about being here. i've done so much crying the last three weeks that i haven't really cried tonight. i'm sure it will come. i know myself well enough to know it will happen. but i also feel okay. i feel the most grounded i've felt in three weeks. maybe that is because tonight i worked with six women in a class all about being a badass. i don't feel like a badass, but i left there tonight with my breath and mind clear and grounded. i came home open and vulnerable, but also with a great sense of self, with a little fire in my belly about who i am and who i want to be and what i want. 

that's a fire that is still burning. and i hope she keeps burning these next few days and weeks when things get harder and it hits me that love left...i hope she keeps burning as i move in the world and try to find someone who will love and not leave. i hope she keeps burning as i do all the writing i have to do. i hope she keeps burning and burning and burning and burning...