There he is in a cell phone video on his new Muay Thai training Instagram account he followed me with, doing his kicks outside my old writing room. A slow boil of rage emerges as a wave of sadness threatens to crash. “How DARE he film this outside… his spare room at his house.” Sadness wave crashes, rage boils over, tears burst from my eyes.
It’s break-up day all over again. It’s “get out of my house” day all over again. Only, it was never “get out of my house.” I just knew I couldn’t stay, and I didn’t, not one moment longer than I had to.
I can’t believe I took a shower after that talk. I was in shock, even though I saw this coming, had SEEN this coming for months. I guess I needed to try and wash all of the “I don’t have ‘I’m in love with you’ feelings anymore” off of me. Though, like Lady Macbeth, they’re still there.
My only regret is not pulling the plug myself. By which I mean, my only regret is ignoring my gut and not leaving when it was telling me to months earlier.
When we had that conversation and he went to bed and left me alone in the living room with nothing but my thoughts and an open end. And my gut said two things. “Pack a bag and leave tonight” and “He doesn’t want to be with you anymore.”
When he got up hours later I asked him two questions. I said, “Do you want to break up with me?” He sheepishly said, “No.” And then defiantly said, “If I wanted to break up with you I would.”
My gut screamed “BULLSHIT! A damnable lie!” You did NO such thing with your ex, with whom you were MISERABLE, you ain’t gonna do it now.
My second question was, “Do you want me to move out?” He sheepishly said, “No.”
He was lying. Bold face lying. And so I lied to myself.
Despite all I’ve learned about relationships, despite all the work I’ve done to turn my dating life around, despite everything I’ve written about and KNOW to be TRUE, I ignored ALL of that and did the exact opposite.
I ignored my gut saying “leave” and listened to my anxiety saying, “Well now wait a second here, let’s stop and think about this, we’re comfortable here and we don’t want to date anymore, and all our stuff is here and he’s cute and we already had our life planned, we can work this out right? We can work this out. Because what’s wrong with me? Why aren’t I good enough?” Cue childhood wounds and therapy.
And I reverted right back to ego-land. If he wants this to end he’s gonna have to do it. I became a victim all over again, afraid to take control of my own life. I’d come so far and faltered at the top.
But I picked that shit right back up the day of our break-up. If this was over, it was over. On the outside.
HAVING to leave feels much different than CHOOSING to leave. I didn’t want to leave at all. It sucks when things end. It hurts. And this brand new overwhelm of emotion concerned me. It made me wonder if I’d ignored or glossed over these feelings and pretended everything was OK and now they’d come back to bite me in the ass.
Because that’s what unresolved feelings do — they come for you. Don’t think you can hide. They’ll resurface. Best to deal with them sonsabitches NOW. But no, I’d dealt with these feelings. A lot. It’s been 11 months. Almost a year. So, in my logical, not used to dealing with emotions mind, I shouldn’t ever be upset about this again.
Cut to a trip I took to Tempe, AZ in December to visit friends. I went to the apartment complex my second ex and I lived in 15 years ago and stood below our balcony. And bawled like a baby. What the fuck was THAT about? Explain THAT to me, doc.
The truth is, I’m not dead inside. And feelings aren’t all or nothing, finite things.
If you see a picture of someone you love who died, you might feel sad again. Doesn’t mean you’re not over it, doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you and you’re fucked up. You didn’t avoid it, and you don’t dwell in it. You experience the feelings and they pass like weather. Or bad gas.
My therapist reassured me this was normal to feel which was such a relief for someone who is still learning how to experience emotions like normal people.
I have renewed empathy/sympathy for those going through the fresh hell of moving out, which I feel was the real motivation behind The Universe presenting me with this delightful gift.
A dear friend is going through a divorce and recently moved out and he told me every time he drives by his former home he’s filled with rage. I think I was dumb enough to ask why.
In my mind I’m so glad he’s out and in his own place and away from his ex, and all I see is freedom and open skies and getting away from a toxic environment and a weight lifted and… all the things my friends and family could see that I couldn’t because I was too blinded by the grief of my relationship ending. Even when I wasn’t that happy in it, either.
This was a SHARP reminder that he’s going through so much more than a change of address. And I knew that, but I really feel and taste that pain in my heart all over again, and I hurt for him to the point of being ashamed for appearing to ever be flippant about it. I’m sorry, dollface. Forgive me.
Levity. Jocularity. Always sincerity. I want so desperately for everyone to be OK and not hurt. So I’ll make you laugh! Sense a theme here?
So if you find yourself in the same situation of feeling upset or angry over something from the past, ask yourself if it’s unresolved feelings or just a memory lane gut punch.
If it’s the latter, you’re aces. Shed a tear, punch a wall, have a drink, make that call to an old friend and carry on with your day.
If it’s the former, you’re gonna wanna sit down and duke it out with those old feelings. Dig them out and have it out with them so you can send them on their way. Because I’m telling you, they are living rent free in your head and your soul until you do. And they WILL bust down a wall at THE worst moment imaginable and DEMAND to be dealt with. You can’t hide from your bullshit or your demons or your trauma. Come for it before it comes for you.
You can thank me with a huge cash reward later. I’ll allow it.