Sunday, June 26, 2011

Words from the Precipice

I’ve had my kids for the last few days since I decided to start the project, so being “alone” hasn’t really been an option. When they’re here, my life is a whirlwind of movement and sound. I’ve been realizing more lately, watching from the sidelines as Ben takes our break-up as license to be pretty self-destructive, how important my kids are to my life and my healing. I’m pretty self-destructive myself, but having kids (more so than just having a spouse or partner) makes it so you don’t just have to keep your head on your shoulders because you are held accountable for their safety and well-being, but also because you are held accountable for your own. My kids watch me. They watch me eat, they watch me sleep, they watch me smile or laugh or cry. I can’t kill myself or cut myself or pickle my liver in vodka because I am the foundation of our family and I have to stay – even if a little stumbling and fractured – whole. Does that mean they make it effortless? God, no. Every breath is still a struggle, and I constantly have to remind myself that it will be so much easier to stay off of my knees than to try to get back up once I’ve let life put me down on them.

They don’t lessen the pain, even if they are distracting. Some times all I want in the world is to be able to just sit somewhere quiet and breathe and shake out all the stress and pain and I don’t get to do that because there are baths and dinner and they want to sit in my lap to watch TV. 

Today they went back to their dad’s house for the week and I am staring down the barrel of another week alone. I’d be lying if I said it’s not difficult to stop myself from trying to shove someone in the void. I want to have a man to be calling, texting, flirting, meeting me for drinks and telling me how pretty I am. At the very least I want to be filling the time and space with my friends. I want to fill it with anything other than myself, because that is the ultimate unknown. The ultimate vast expanse of broken, ugly, unlovable wasteland.  

Still, for one reason or another, I have seen the project as a beacon for the last week. When I wake up in the morning and have that groggy realization that in fact Ben is gone, and the nightmare is continuing even as I wake, and my stomach turns and I begin to tremble, I think of the project. I imagine forging ahead and I have something to look forward to. I don’t just look forward to a momentary respite or distraction, I feel like I’m going to be able to do something real. I don’t want to just recover from Ben, I want to become so comfortable in my life alone that when the next guy comes along, I won’t be afraid to lose him. I won’t gloss over his flaws, I won’t lie to myself about how he’s treating me and if it’s what I deserve. My life will be strong whether he’s in it or not. 

For the first time, I am lighting my own path.

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