Fault Lines

I’ve been spending a lot of time in my hometown these days, what with the living with my parents for the first time since I left for college [redacted] years ago. And in walking around this neighborhood all the time, I’ve run into a lot of people I haven’t seen or spoken to in years. Sometimes, when I find myself unexpectedly staring into faces that hold awkward memories, I test the limits of my newfound confidence and openness, like when I told the mother of my high school boyfriend about my divorce when all she really wanted was to exchange simple pleasantries and then get back to weeding her front lawn. Other times, when I don’t feel like dealing, I’ll walk past people I’ve known for fifteen years and pretend that I don’t know them at all, which is, oddly, a strategy that works pretty well 100% of the time. However, despite the relative effectiveness of these methods, there are still moments when I am ambushed.

On Halloween, when every person in a five-mile radius tromped past my parents’ house to see my dad’s carnival of bizarre fan-motor-powered skeletons and zombies, I found myself talking to a couple I hadn’t spoken to since 2009. “I heard about your divorce,” the wife said, making the face I’ve come to associate with statements like that, a  face I’ve deemed The Grimace of Universal Unpleasantness. “Is he an asshole? Are we supposed to hate him?”

This was not the first time that question has been posed to me, and it most likely will not be the last, but it struck me then, as it always has, as a pretty damn upsetting thing to be asked at a time like this – at least for me.

I won’t rewrite history and pretend that, some months ago when I was still dealing with the major fallout of making such a huge, life-altering decision, that I wasn’t angry. I was furious. I resented. I was frustrated. I had been the one to make this call, and there were people in my life who thought I deserved whatever emotional trauma I was feeling. There were weeks I drove white-knuckled and hysterical to and from work, sobbing in my car so that no one would really know how painful this was for me, because to some, I was getting what I had coming to me. I had blown up my entire life and therefore had to pay my dues.

It was in those weeks that I thought he was an asshole – for making me live such a small, small life, and then for making people see me as a monster when I finally grew confident enough to leave it.

In time, though, I realized something enormous: not one of those people knew a goddamn thing about what my experience was. Not one person. No one knew that a life that seemed romantic and idealistic and attainable for me at age 20 turned into something frustrating and scary and suffocating at age 26. No one knew about the cyclical arguments or the nights spent feeling guilty and miserable or all the times I made excuses for him or myself when I was too embarrassed to tell the truth. Not one of those people judging the shit out of me (or of us) knew the first thing about how we had come to this, and therefore, none of their opinions mattered at all.

When I realized this, that this whole tremendous mess was entirely mine, for better and for worse, I stopped caring what other people thought about me. I stopped caring about what I felt he might have done to me, or to my personal relationships with people I cared about. Because, ultimately, it wasn’t about anyone else. Selfishly, right at this moment, now my life is about me.

And maybe that makes me the asshole.

If so, I totally accept it. I want to be happy, and if that’s what it takes, I will be the happiest asshole in all the land.

Starting Over.

Helllllllllo.

Oh, how I’ve missed this. I’ve had the most eventful, dramatic, blog-worthy two months of my entire life and yet have had no idea how to make the transition from “married person blogging about conception” to “divorced 27-year-old living with her parents for the first time in ten years,” and therefore could not share it in real time.

depressed-cat-meme

In fact, I’m still pretty damn sure I don’t know how to do it. However, in the last eight weeks, I’ve done literally every single other thing that has been terrifying me and making me anxious and haunting my dreams for the past several years of my life (read: ended a major relationship, finished my thesis, applied to graduate from my Master’s program, started leading a classroom, to name a few), so I have full faith in my abilities to talk about myself on the internet again.

Until I figure out exactly how to explain my new life, please enjoy some photos of me and the Fiece, who is basically in college now, and her younger sister, who is, sadly, almost always eclipsed by the never-ending tornado of crazy that is the Fiece. A gigantic, absolutely sincere thank you to Fertile Myrtle, for being the most supportive, kind, and generous friend during the worst/best time of my entire life, and for letting me snuggle her babies whenever I felt like spinning out. I love you, darlings.

1395828_10102743957663666_517738597_n 1385507_10102761691884146_32817600_n 1374926_10102761692088736_177552355_n 1378102_10102730814168336_1687669211_n 1235277_10102671693786056_114231521_n 1383648_10102764399762536_1485825192_n 580300_10102669032524246_646092173_n

And finally, la piece de resistance, Fiece all fired up over a particularly gruesome moment in Katy Perry’s “Roar” video:

Hopefully, I’ll be back soon, with tales of travels and dramas and huge, epic, Eat-Pray-Love-y personal growth.

P.S. If you really missed me and want to thank someone for lighting this new posting fire, head over and say hi to Katy. She sent me the most thoughtful, wonderful email the other day, and made me realize that I need this back in my life. Thank you, Katy! Much love.