…never saw you leaving.
Who knew that sharing such raw emotions and authenticity would be so empowering, so relieving, and so helpful through a deep, dark process? It wasn’t the cure, by FAR, but it helped. The love and responses received after Musings: Hundreds in Therapy, Later was overwhelming in the best way possible. I did not write that post for any other person, than myself. I still, after a full month post-break-up, have a hard time saying I’m single. I have a hard time not saying we or bringing up stories of us. It’s still raw, painful, and a pit of sadness still resides inside of me. Some days are better than others, some are not.
I cannot take credit for the title of the post. My most fave artist, India Arie, always sings the words to my soul. I’ve heard this song hundreds of times, but I connected to this song on a whole new level during the break-up process. As I make my way through the grieving process, the healing process, and working toward self-growth, I seek things that resonate with however I’m currently feeling:
These eyes never saw you leavin’
This heart is in need of some healing
These arms are letting you go
And our life is the greatest story never told
All this cryin’, all this fightin’ simply ain’t my style
Though you’re one of the most important people in my life
I love you from the day we met, I know you love me, too
But at this point, walking away is the best thing we can do
Are we meant to be man and wife? The answer I don’t know
Of life’s many mystery’s, what intrigues me the most
Is who our children would have been; I guess we’ll never know (never know)
Even as I walk away I’ll always keep the hope
The feelings are ever changing, as you can imagine. Hurt. Sad. Angry. Resentful. Hurt. Pain. Then there are moments of understanding, acceptance, and developing, mixed in too. I thought my last post described pretty accurately how I was feeling until I read He Left, but I Will Not Give Up on Myself via Tiny Buddha.
The pain is visceral—like someone sliced right through your core, the heartache deep enough to make the bones ache, the weariness that makes your head feel heavy and weighted, the primal twists in your gut that cannot be fully appreciated until they are forced upon you unexpectedly.
I did not see this coming. I wasn’t blindsided completely, as there have been whispers and ghosts of unpleasant truths that had been squashed down for years: all those inner, intimate workings of a marriage that didn’t always flow smoothly, undetectable to the outside world. The ebbs and flows, the dark thoughts that sprout up on a sleepless night, a human experience in all its shared, bumpy glory.
So much time, so much history, so much togetherness feels like it has been wiped out in the span of a few months. It disappeared up in smoke with only the ashes to remain. I am untethered, rudderless, a sail desperately trying to right itself in the tempest.
There is no faultfinding, no hatred, just a crushing sadness with a generous dose of regret. Regret for all the times we didn’t tune into each other or communicate when things urgently needed to be said and handled with proper care. Care that would heal wounds instead of allowing them to fester.
That dreaded place where human emotions get murky, cloudy, and raw, allowing vulnerability and disconnect to cause you to do things you never thought you would. In turn, you make futile efforts for control when there is none. You don’t want to let go but you must. Your hands are too raw and bloody from the struggle to hang on for dear life. I know what it means to surrender now.
It is gone. I am unsure it will ever be back. If it comes back, I hope it is stronger and more lovingly powerful than before, impenetrable from any slings and arrows that may try to dent and poison it. We will nourish and nurture it to make it right, whole, solid—not let it wither away so easily on the vine.
I won’t mind the battle scars, as they will serve to remind me of what we can endure, how we cope, how we survive, and what loss really feels like in your soul. It will remind me to cherish the feeling of home, the safe haven of togetherness. We will mourn the death of our old marriage and pave a path for a new one that is healing, bright, and hopeful, permanently altered for the better.
Right now, I am alone, terrified, vulnerable, standing on the edge of an abyss. All I have is myself, and I have to believe that I am enough. My mantra is “I will get through this,” and I repeat it often. It comforts me sometimes.
I will let this exquisite pain be my greatest teacher. I will give it time—that magical elixir that taunts and teases on its own schedule. I will become the woman I know I am deep inside, even though she got lost along the way—the woman of my dreams, who is capable and strong. It has been eighteen years of building one life, and now I will begin building a new one.
The most important thing I have learned through this period of profound change is that you need to show up for yourself—always. To be your own champion and best friend. To know with absolute certainty that you are the only person you can count on in order to move forward and build the life of your dreams, with or without someone else. And knowing that is worth everything.
While our relationship/situation is nowhere near this woman’s relationship with her husband, her words couldn’t be any truer to how I feel at any given moment on any given day this past month. We were not married. We were only together less than a quarter of this authors relationship and we aren’t on a ‘break/separation.’ I do not share to create a comparison of relationships but to share her poignant words of how one can feel during this time. All I know is she described the pain, sadness, and awakened moments better than I ever could have, which is why I felt compelled to share this with you. It seems that there might be people out there, in my extended circles, in a similar boat. More than I had ever imagined.
Most people have experienced a break-up before. It is comforting to know that people can empathize with me, but it also makes me sad — no one should feel like this, despite it being a life lesson for everyone to endure. No one is immune to a broken heart…unless you do not put yourself out there for love. In that case, you probably have a different set of sadness within you.
My therapist + relationship articles = educating myself on ME. My therapist guides me in a way that is scary, yet riveting. She makes me question everything I think and believe, making me go beyond the surface level of all things in my life. She helps remind me of things I know, but seem to have forgotten while becoming an ‘us.’ She also makes me question what I truly want and deserve. Her subtle way of asking the right questions to make me think, stump me, and truly process each question within the depths of myself. It’s scary. It’s helpful. I cry with her. Every. Single. Time. I don’t feel judged. I’ve learned something new every time I close the door behind her office. I question things I have always believed to be true. Are my truths my real truths or have I been forcing faux truths onto myself? I always seem to have questions. I know she doesn’t have the answers, but I do know she can help me answer them for myself. She is my guide, and tissue provider 😉
I swear this blog won’t be a sad, break-up blog forever. It’s just what I constantly think about these days. I find this space as a place where I can write some of it out, without oversharing the details of it all. J is extremely private, which you already know, so I try to respect that and just share my thoughts, feelings, and emotions to our break-up. This is a very cathartic outlet, yet very different, versus when I journal. This is where, if I can share one thing that helps someone, I will be grateful I took the time to share.
I also thought I’d share this reminder (Tiny Buddha) because I think everyone, not just those processing a break-up, could use this reminder:
Expect nothing. Appreciate everything.
No one is responsible for you and your life. No one is obligated to show you affection and kindness. Even if they are the people you love, it doesn’t mean they must love you back. They don’t have to do anything for you, even the smallest things.
So when they do, recognize their efforts and thank them for everything they do for you. Everyone appreciates knowing they’re appreciated.
Sometimes we are so busy with our work, our hobbies, and our relationship problems that we don’t focus on the people who are right in front of us.
But if you don’t, when you look back on those moments, you will regret not being in the moment and enjoying time with your loved ones.
Make a commitment to yourself today: Stop worrying about things you have no control over. And if you can’t stop worrying altogether, at least vow to put your worries aside for a while every day so you can be there for your loved ones, both physically and spiritually.
I bolded that last ‘make a commitment to yourself today’ because I struggle with this a lot. To the point where I experienced anxiety for the first time, as well as started the pattern of not sleeping well through the night. I’m becoming aware of how much unnecessary worry I carried. This is something that I plan to work through with my therapist. She asked me what my goals for therapy were. I had my quick answer, but when I went home, I thought it about it more (as I do with most things), and then came back with a more concrete list for her. This being one of the things that I really want to work through, besides resentment, understanding boundaries, and developing a better way to cope with communicating and my barriers with that. Yup, there’s a quick little dirty laundry list of the things I need to work on. We all have them, I’m not embarrassed by mine. At all.
I thought I was going to be sad while finalizing one of the last steps in our break-up. But honestly, I wasn’t. I wasn’t quite at peace with it, there was a little bit of nervousness, but overall I feel at ease with what is happening. There was no anxiety or anxiousness at all, at that moment. It’s still happening in bouts, but less and less — thank goodness! I had no idea how I was going to feel, I anticipated sadness, but it never showed up. It actually surprised me. I was happy to be checking another thing off the to-do break-up list.
I am embracing the unknown and uncertainty of my future, more and more these days. In small, baby steps, but doing it my own way. I forgot how easy it is to just focus on me, without having to nurture, care for, or manage anyone else or a household. I know that may sound selfish, but I know it is not. It is a process to rediscover me, who I am, who I want to be, and who I WILL BE! Don’t get me wrong, my end desire is still (and has always been) to find a partner and create the family I’ve always wanted. But I won’t force it. I won’t make something happen before I am truly ready. I have NO idea when that will be and to be completely honest, I don’t even care to think about that right now. I can already bet you, J will be the first to find someone new and I instantly think of another India Arie song, Heart of the Matter. I know I cannot think, nor worry about when this happens, but I’m human. I do. I know it will hurt. A lot. But as I am now, I will move forward with as much grace and humility as I possibly can whenever that news comes my way. I can only worry about myself and stop worrying about things I have no control over.
I am beyond grateful for those that have embraced me during this weird season of my life. The ones who continually let me talk/text them to death about how I’m feeling, let me over analyze everything, those with strong and supportive words of encouragement, the warm embraces of empathy and love, and those who have provided an overall being-taken-care of and checked-in feeling on a very regular basis, I am grateful for YOU! Although I verbalize how I am feeling at any given moment, knowing I have this extreme support system has been something I do NOT take for granted in the slightest. To those in this space and the social media world, your encouraging, sweet words really, truly lift me up. Your kind words put a smile on my face. The empathetic comments are all read with a sincere earnest and re-read if needed, especially when I’m feeling sad. The conversations are treasured. The acts of kindness and making sure I stay busy are appreciated, more than my usual handwritten, thank you notes will ever convey to anyone. I’m not usually a homebody, but these days I seem to find solace (and sadness) in the quiet moments by myself. Slowing down, simplifying. I’m just focusing on what feels right in each moment. So, thank you for realizing this and giving me the time and space for myself. I’m learning to be outwardly selfish right now, with my time and self, and it is a little foreign to me. But with time, as usual, things that are unfamiliar will become familiar.
…you know the truth, by the way it feels. – India Arie