I used to have a personal rule that whenever I felt something, I would write. It didn’t matter if I was happy, sad, excited, angry, lonely, horny, confused, lost, scared, proud, whatever. I’d sit down and write about it. No, I didn’t always write about what made me feel those things, but I think whatever I was feeling in the time was fairly well conveyed through the tone and words I had chosen. I never really cared what other people thought of me, because it didn’t matter as long as I was following my happy and not hurting anyone in the process. I liked myself and the people who accepted me got a front-row seat to my life. And damn it, I was good at living.
If you’ve played along with me, you’ll know that somewhere around September of 2010, that all changed quite drastically. Writing was no longer a priority. It wasn’t something I’d do to just convey whatever it was I was feeling. Instead, it became how I dealt with my anger of being traded in for a quick high; how I felt with being left alone with a 6-year-old and no family to help me; how it felt having to lie to my son because I didn’t want him to ever feel the way his father made me feel – like we just were disposable. I look back at the things I wrote during that time and everything was so full of anger and sadness. It was probably a huge cry for help in a world of people who viewed me as almost super-human and able to handle whatever life tossed my way. The thing is – I handled it. But it cost me, and it cost me a lot.
I closed myself off to the majority of the people around me. I kept friends and tried dating, but I never really let anyone else who wasn’t already on the inside anywhere near. I got hurt and I’m sure I hurt some people in the process of locking myself away, so sure there wouldn’t be anything anyone could do to convince me that it was OK to just be whoever I was in any given moment.
It started to really matter to me what other people thought, and I found myself doing things completely out of character that I’d later come to regret, such as no longer caring about what I wanted. It was comforting to push everything aside and have no feelings. I mean if you don’t have feelings, you can’t really be hurt. And if you did things that seemed to make other people happy or even envious of the life you’re living, well that’s even better. The thing about this kind of life is that eventually you start to believe in it. You think this is the way it was meant to be and you fool yourself into thinking you’re happy, when really you’re just swimming in a bunch of shit, happy that you brought a snorkel.
I spent a really long time telling myself none of it mattered. That I was ok just being a mom and…well, that’s it really. I mean I have friends, some truly amazing friends, but at the end of the day it was me and my son and that was all. It was enough, but fuck it was lonely. There were relationships and every one of them fell short somewhere of something I convinced myself I needed in order to get over this feeling of indifference. Sure, maybe the things I thought were missing were nothing more than excuses to keep myself insulated from hurt, but at some point it all felt like giving up some part of me that I just didn’t want to give away.
I’m not sure, exactly, when I got tired of that. Maybe it was time. Maybe it was space. Maybe it was that I was tired of things that were “good enough” and was open to something more. I don’t really know and can’t really tell you. What I do know is that when it happened, it happened in a big way.
I wasn’t looking for it. I wasn’t expecting it. I didn’t think anything of it at first. I mean, he was just a guy doing a thing, just like every other guy doing every other thing. But there was a difference. He stayed on my mind long after he should have. So, we talked. We talked a lot and then talked some more. We made plans to see each other and waited and talked some more. We got together, said goodbye, and talked some more. We talked about life and what we wanted out of it and how this is all so crazy and doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. We made more plans to see each other again and talked and waited and talked until he was here and everything was as it should be. He’s gone again and we just keep on talking, keep on planning, and keep on waiting for the day we don’t have to plan or wait or stand in an airport handing out sad good-byes. I’m pretty sure I’ve learned more about him through all of this talking than I ever learned about any other person, ever. He makes me happy and whole. That’s what you need to know.
As hard as it is sometimes, it’s not anything I’d trade because after all of this time, I don’t want to not care about my own feelings anymore. I’m not meant to ignore feelings, I never was. I love fiercely. I care deeply. I am loyal to a fault. I don’t know when to quit. I don’t believe in just giving up because something is hard. Most importantly, I don’t really care what anyone thinks of that because I’m following my happy.