I think, actually I’m pretty positive, that it was almost exactly one year ago that I ended a four year relationship. I stayed at our home for a couple of weeks, which is completely inadvisable, and shortly thereafter, which is EXACTLY one year ago today, I moved out. I left my old life, my home, and my dog behind and put everything I own into storage, moved into the basement of my friends’ house, and slept for almost a month on an air mattress. Then I moved (during the TTC strike) the air mattress and my suitcase to my cousin’s apartment where I house-sat for a week. From there I flew to Paris, jacked up my credit card, and came back a new woman.
And here I am. One year, and a whole lot of debt, later.
I didn’t realize it was my anniversary of freedom until my ex text messaged me today regarding the dog. It wasn’t an unpleasant exchange. It actually wasn’t much of an exchange at all, but he made it very clear that he was feeling the impact of this date in a not-so-positive way. I am feeling like it’s the celebration of a great milestone.
Despite ongoing financial white-knuckling, I have survived. I am paying my bills, living on my own, and free of the stress, the drama, the complication, and the pain of my former life. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’ve accomplished a lot in terms of saving up emotional currency. I have learned more about the person that I am in this last year than I have in most of my life. By removing myself from a less-than-ideal situation, I have been able to sort through and process so many HUGE life-altering experiences, and I’ve come a long way in coming to terms with these things.
And yet, there is an element of sadness. Despite the toxicity of the relationship, despite its dysfunction, there was real love there, on both sides. True, some of us were not so good at demonstrating this love most of the time, but I cannot believe unbridled masochism kept me there for four years. I loved this man deeply. I loved the hope that I saw in him, I loved his brilliance, his talent, and his moments of raw vulnerability. I believed (sometimes against all reason) in the potential in him, and in us. I do myself no service whatsoever if I continue to beat myself up for that. The mistakes I made had everything to do with not seeing greater potential in myself, and believing that I did not deserve love that was uncomplicated and easy.
I believe that such love can exist. Perhaps not all the time, perhaps not consistently, but it exists. I see it every day in my relationships with my friends…
Of all the things I have learned in my life, the most important is that if I don’t have romantic love in my life, I will be o.k. True, I will feel a little strange. True, I am used to having someone else there. An interesting thing has happened now. I’m comfortable alone. Really comfortable. I sit in my living room, with Arthur curled up beside me as I type this. The wind is howling outside something fierce. I’m sipping wine and writing these words, and even though I’m a little emotional, I feel good, and safe. I’m not lonely.
I am so aware of everything I have. I am so grateful for all of these blessings. The last year has been spent in stasis. A still place of healing; of listening to my heart and my soul. I feel like there is so much more of this to do, but I feel now that the time has come to set goals for myself. Goal-setting didn’t really feel possible before now. It sort of felt like basic survival was all I could focus on. Now I feel like it is my duty to myself to map out a path for the next year. I feel like this could be exciting for me.
What is important is to continue to seek out pleasure in the every day beauty of the world to temper the pain I have endured in the last six years. To be gentle and kind with myself, and to honour my accomplishments in order to alleviate the guilt and shame that I still struggle with. To embrace all of the love I have in my life to arm me against those moments when I wake up at night afraid I will die alone and childless, or stranger still, when I wake up in terror that someone I may have feelings for might become a large part of my life and betray me and lie to me again.
On March 16th 2006 in the year that I turned 30, I went to see a psychic in Peterborough who completely rocked my world. Tonight, for the first time since the visit, I listened to the recording of my 45 minutes spent with him. He told me some really, really beautiful things, and he knew some very specific things about me that he couldn’t have possibly known. If what he says is true, I must hold it close to my heart and let it serve as fuel as I take these next steps towards realizing my path in this life.
Each day, I seek to know myself better. At first I thought it was because I am narcissistic, but now I believe it is so I may use my insight to help other people. To step into the world with my eyes open, and use my unique sight to shed some light into other people’s corners of the universe. I think this is the “why”. I’m eager now to explore the “how”.
Thank you universe, for an incredible year.