Last week officially marked one year.
One year since my life went off the rails. One year since everything was flipped upside down. One year since I went radio silent here on Yellaphant. One year since the worst day of my life. One year since my husband left me for another woman. And a significantly older one, at that.
I never thought I'd write those words as a 28-year-old. Scratch that, I never thought I'd write those words ever.
Who in their right mind would ever leave this fine piece?
There's a lot I don't remember from those first few months. The tequila bottle came out that first night and many bottles followed after. But there's a lot I'll never forget.
I'll never forget how it felt to be told that I wasn't loved. Or the sound of his truck's tires reversing out of our gravel driveway. I'll certainly never forget how it felt find the proof of this other person in his life. Or how one by one his family, the family who I had married into, who had become my own, who I shared countless dinners and laughter and vacations and memories with, who were the only family I had within 400 miles, fell away one by one. I'll never forget my frantic pleading for time, for therapy, for anything and his emotionless refusal of everything. Our marriage wasn't perfect. I certainly wasn't perfect. Far from it. I'll be the first person to admit I've made my own fair share of bad choices and mis-judgements. But never could I fathom ever quitting. Everything good is worth fighting for. And I knew we had something good.
I'll never forget that feeling when you just can't stand to be in your skin for a moment longer. When so much emotion is rising up in your chest that it's seeping out of every pore and there just isn't room enough for it within you. You feel like you might burst. Or puke, like I did.
I'll never forget how my friends flew to my side in an instant. Kassie, Kelly, Taryn. How they stayed up all night with me and held me. How they took off from their jobs the next day and forced me to eat. How they tried to talk some sense into him. How they opened up their homes to me so I didn't have to sleep alone, even though they were allergic to dogs. How over the course of the next few months they were each a constant shoulder to cry on, and ear to listen, a mouth to reassure me. How they went, almost instantly, from best friends to family.
When I couldn't get out of bed in the morning, they made me. They helped me hold on, and when the time came, they helped me finally let go.
And my own family. Hundreds of miles away. How my mom got in the car and drove to me the moment she heard. How she called me every day, multiple times a day. How even she pleaded with him. But he wouldn't listen to anyone.
I did the depression thing. I did the therapy thing. I did the not enough eating and too much drinking thing. I did the tell your therapist to go fuck himself thing. I even did the whole total your car thing. Just for an added cherry on top.
During the day, I'd walk my dog for hours. Listening to the most depressing fucking music I could find. At night, I'd write. I'd hope. I'd wait for another night to pass. Looking back on those words that I wrote is hard. I'm not sure what to do with them next. But I know I want to do something. Maybe they'll appear here. Maybe they'll appear somewhere else. But for now they're still mine.
I stayed on in our house. I got used to being alone. My daily life revolved around my dog. He was the reason I got up in the morning. He greeted me with the devotion and excitement that only a dog can offer when I got home at the end of the day. In the mornings we'd run the wooded trails together. In the evenings we'd walk the beach. At night, he'd crawl into my bed and lay his head on the pillow next to mine and I'd hug his warm body until I fell asleep.
Months went by. I couldn't bare to go home to my family for Thanksgiving, so I didn't. Christmas was approaching and I was gearing up for another major stomach surgery, this time to correct everything that went wrong the first time. To put my stomach back together. I went to my appointments alone. I dealt with the doctors and the questions and the worry by myself.
The weekend before I was to go in, I threw myself a going away party. The last time I entered the hospital I didn't come out for over two weeks and 20 pounds less of what I was before. I wasn't sure what was in store for me this time or when I'd be able to be social again. I made up my mind that if I was going to be wheeled out of the hospital, I might as well be wheeled in.
The night before my friends were there. Cards and packages came from those from afar. Sushi and wine from those who were close. I was never left alone until I was wheeled into the operating room. When I woke up, Kassie was there waiting. A steady stream of visitors kept my spirits up. My coworkers, who offered so much love and support and friendship for everything. And when it was time for me to go home, I once again depended on the arms of a friend to walk my slowly down the hospital hallway and into his car, where he drove me an hour to Kelly's house, where I stayed for the first few days. My mom drove up to spend the next week with me.
After two months, I wasn't yet cleared to do any physical activity when I registered for the Boston Marathon. Another season was passing and I had had it. It was time to get back on my feet. My coworkers cheered and pushed me on. Then we had a beer.
The day of the Boston Marathon started as one of the best. When I crossed the finish line, it was the most triumphant moment of my life. I had done it. My friends and mom had come from up and down the east coast to cheer me on. No marathon or award or accomplishment achieved before could ever compare. The bombings that followed after, however, threw me into a wave of despair that not even I was prepared for.
In the time since I had started running again, it became clear I couldn't afford to keep the house on my non-profit salary. When I began desperately searching for an affordable apartment in the city, it also became clear I couldn't afford to bring my dog. I trudged on and signed what I needed to sign and did my best to keep my head above water.
In the days following the bombing however, I began once again to drown. When a grief counselor turned to me across the table in the days following the marathon and asked me about getting back to normal, the dam broke.
I had no normal. I hadn't had normal for what felt like I very long time. The house that I loved in the community I adored, steps from the homes of my closest friends, was cluttered with half-filled boxes and every time I looked at my dog my heart broke into a thousand pieces all over again. I hated my ex whose coldness and nonchalance in all of our encounters left me feeling hollowed and angry. My city was grieving. I was grieving. I couldn't even remember what normal felt like.
I began crying in that session with the counselor and I didn't stop for four days.
But life goes on. And we have no choice but to keep going. So I packed up everything. I said the hardest goodbye of all, to my dog. And I left Scituate for the city. Once again, I wasn't alone. I was trailed by cars of my best friends who unpacked my apartment faster than I thought possible. That night, my first in my new apartment in my new city, I puked. For the first time since that first night exactly eight months before. And it kinda felt a little like closure. Though I do hope, when the time comes, that I don't mark the next big event in my adult life with another hurl.
It's been four months since that night. And 12 months since that first night. Since then, even more change has taken place. There have been weddings and funerals, a new baby for two of my best friends and a new job for me. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I have grown and changed and experienced more in the past year than I have in the entire decade before that. But finally, one year later, I am me again.
And perhaps that was the hardest part of all this year. The lack of myself within myself. I went from a happy girl who was so very in love with her life to a hollowed out slop of sadness almost overnight. I lost myself entirely. I was angry and reckless and devastated to the core. This was not me at all. And from there, at the very depths of my bottom, there was nowhere to go but up.
So here I find myself. Still learning this city. Still settling into my routine. Still letting go of anger and hurt. Still figuring out what it means to feel home in this new life of mine. But what I do know is who makes me feel home. My friends who stood by me and helped me every day of this year. Through sickness and in health. Through good times and bad.
I've thought about writing this for a while now. I've been asked over and over when a new blog post would come. I just wasn't sure how to put it into words. I didn't know how to write on Yellaphant. I didn't have any funny in me. I didn't know how to not pick scabs or poke scars. How to craft a tone that reflected that I was "good" without sounding flippant. How to portray the devastation while focusing on how very far I've come.
As Louis CK has said, everything that’s difficult you should be able to laugh about. My tennis pro husband left me for a bored housewife. That's at least worth a smirk. I certainly wouldn't have survived this year if I didn't have people who taught me how to laugh again. And now, when I laugh, I mean it.
Because I have come so far. I have tried so hard. I didn't do it alone, and for those people I will always be thankful for saving me, helping me, making me whole again. They have shown me what true love and true friendship is. They have helped make me a better version of myself. I am proud of the person I have become. I am grateful for this new life and especially for new love. So yeah, I'm good.
I'm back in the game, baby.