I wrote this on a train on November 22, 2015. It’s about the Christmas after my first heartbreak. This captures a glimmer of the deep and dark sadness that I felt that holiday season. I found this on my phone today, and wanted to share.
After You Left Me
There was a space next to my chair at the table. My family loves me enough to remove a chair so I didn’t have to see it empty. But I could feel it there. The hole. I dressed up and wore lipstick and looked like I was getting through the holidays without you. But everyone knew better. No one brought up the missing chair.
I remember thinking that at least I didn’t have to wait for you this year and offer excuses upon your behalf. You were always late, and I was constantly defending you.
The meal was all joy and laughs but I could feel it building in my chest. The ache always started low in my lungs and choked my heart and climbed up my throat and began to drown my eyes. I let my tears fall heavy and my hands shook. My fork tinged and tanged against my plate but I didn’t have the energy to move it. My family hushed to a silence that was unlike all of them. And they let me cry. They knew why, they didn’t have to ask questions. There has never been a more vulnerable moment for me than that. I was completely broken open. I couldn’t even pretend that I was ok, I couldn’t even excuse myself. I had nothing left.
Before you left me I was so solid, I was strong, cold even. I didn’t show weakness. After you left I couldn’t show strength. I had none of it left. Tears fell without warning, mostly in the car. Mostly while giving massages to strangers in a dark quiet room. It really is a cruel profession to break up in. You have 6 hours a day to think quietly, to replay conversations, and obsess over details. You are required to pretend that you are fine-even if you can barely stand up. You are required to pretend you care about someone else’s needs,knots, and lives.
The holidays that first year, though. That was a tough one. So many tears. So many tears for years after that. Not until you left me. When you left me everything changed in my heart. I am a professional at keeping people at an arms length from my heart. I’m three years in, and I’m waiting for the pain to move away, or the fear to move aside, because despite the complete sadness and abandonment of the last three years I want to love again. I want to believe there is love after the first time. There was for him.
I had a rough week. Nothing “bad” happened. It has just been emotionally draining and confusing.
Two weeks ago,my best friend (Haley) and sister-in-law (Jeri) visited me in New York and I couldn’t believe how home sick it made me. It was such a great visit, and we were New York’s finest tourists anyone has ever seen. These were my people. These are the pee-with-the-door-open friends. These are the friends that have seen me at my worst, and hopefully my best. I missed that sort of connection, and I didn’t know how much. When they left my apartment at 5:30am I sat on my couch and cried. Not a few tears, it was the kind of cry where you can’t catch your breath. My emotion took me by surprise because things have been going decent for me here.
But I realized that when they walked out of the door, I was alone. The silence hurt my ears. Their absence hurt my heart. I felt lonely in my aloneness. Alone chasing whatever it is I am chasing. Proving to myself whatever it is that I am trying to prove. I dialed my brother’s phone number this week and had to hang up immediately because I couldn’t get myself together enough to say hello. I just burst into tears. I miss my brother. And I am missing my niece grow up. I miss my nephews, and I miss my sister. I miss being able to drop by my parents house to chat.
I had a great conversation with a co-worker, Claudia, last night, coming home from the Yankees game. She has only been in New York for one year and she came from Texas. It felt good to vent, and to empathize, and to hear from someone that I look up to that she is still having a hard time. She seemed so put together, and tough. But she is feeling the exact same thing. She gets scared on the late night train rides just like I do. She gets sad when she sees someone talking to themselves on the sidewalk. She feels overwhelmed with the tight space issues. Hearing these things make me feel more…normal. I feel unsettled and alone this week. She encouraged me to fight for what I came for. Everything is a fight here. She kept telling me that this place makes you better, because nothing is handed to you. I think I am used to not having to work so hard to make things happen. I am lazy, and this is not fun for me. I have learned so much about myself, and humanity since I have been here.
Now I need to remind myself what I am fighting for. What do I want? What do I really, really, really want? I need to shift my focus on the fight. Fight for what I came here for…even though that is even blurry today. Despite feeling inadequate, I have to pursue my dreams. I have so much I want to do. I want clarity on what I want to pursue wholeheartedly. I wish I could break open a fortune cookie to see what I was meant to do.
Part of me has a feeling that I want to run…perhaps to the West coast? Perhaps to a little town somewhere that I can afford. Somewhere with a washer and dryer. Somewhere where strangers smile at you. Somewhere with pollen.
To sum up my stream of consciousness here. This week is hard. I don’t know what I want to do with my life. Most importantly; I have great friends, and a wonderful family. Despite feeling worn down I am forever thankful for the people in my life, and for the opportunity to stretch myself. Even though stretching hurts right now.