“It has been ninety days and nine hundred years since I’ve kissed your mouth or held you and I’ve died a million deaths every day since. The tears flow without reason or trigger; they come because I know you exist, they come because I breathe air we no longer share.”Me
I’ve spent a lot of time writing about losing my ex and finding strength in the moments of unabashed pissed-off-ness that should be catapulting me towards a future free of him. I know this is what everyone I love wants to hear, that I am healing and championing my pain, that I am moving on and getting stronger and missing him less. And sometimes, for fleeting moments, I present like I am. Sometimes I even feel like I am. But not today. Today the pain is raw and real and wounding. Today the pain feels like a hungry wolf running through a cold snowy and dark night, hunting for its next kill. Today that something animalistic inside of me that fights for survival is asleep while my mind wanders and shreds my progress with its sharp and vicious teeth. Today my sadness and missing him seeps into my soul like weed-killer, paralyzing and destroying the beauty I’ve been trying to plant. I want to make sure I share these days too, because without sharing the pain and the struggle and the fickle back-peddling my heart suffers, this would be nothing more than a lie. I have to be honest. I deserve my own honesty.
On my way to work today I was crying so hard my freshly applied mascara ran down my face in angry streaks; I couldn’t control the waves of pain that kept pummeling me. He left three months ago, I was hoping it wouldn’t keeping hurting this much. But it does.
I am going to admit: I have put on a brave face and have reinforced my healing with quotes and advice, self-love and even a little self-indulgent cursing. I have put in the time and effort to move forward with my life. I have gone to therapy every week or so for months. I have joined the gym and classes. I have joined sports leagues and met new friends, keep my self as busy as my soul will allow, between the sheets of tears. But I am still in so much pain I’m almost embarrassed to admit it. I am strong, DAMN IT. I am fierce, DAMN IT! I don’t stay in pain this long, DAMN IT! Except, I do now. I am in pain this long. It still hurts. And as stubborn as I am or as many times a friend or family member tells me to rip off the Band-aid and move it along, I’m just not there yet. And I have to be ok with that.
When he left me, the man who had once shouted to the world I was the best thing that ever happened to him told me he didn’t want to spend his life with me, told me he didn’t like who I am as a person. I allowed this person to treat me like I was wretched and disposable, like I had been the one to turn my back on him and break his heart, when it was actually him. He broke all of the promises he made and I let him, time and again, and then he left with half of my heart. The remainder of me sat blanketed in silence, my face grimacing from the torturous pain his down-spiral inflicted. He tore the plans we made together into a million pieces, as if they hadn’t taken years to construct. And then he was just gone. I became so absent where I am it felt like I went with him in that car, most of my soul belted into that same seat I had occupied on our first date, on our 31 day roadtrip, and every mile of the love we had shared. I am still not here.
The painful thing about it being months out from a break-up is that the things he left when he packed up in a hurry, the ones that could be used up or had expiration dates, are now reaching that point. The tube of Aquafresh he bought in the weeks before he left is folded up into the tiniest crinkle of plastic, maybe three brushings worth left. I can’t bring myself to use it all, to throw away something we shared. Only one of the melatonin gummies we bought from Trader Joes is left in the jar, and even when I can’t sleep, I don’t take it because it means another thing he held is gone. I’ll buy another bottle of them so I don’t have to use that last one, so I don’t forget the times we would lay in bed and laugh about taking a gummy to fall asleep because it seemed so indulgent to eat something sugary at night. It is so pathetic, I know, but I can’t make my heart understand it needs to let go fully and to stop hoping this person, who treated my heart like it was literally a disgusting doormat even unfit for his dirty shit-stained shoes, will have a reckoning and want to come back and be everything he promised he would. My heart keeps stalling like it wants to be healthy and move on but it won’t, like it doesn’t have the gas, even while my mind engine keeps checking itself and re-checking itself into the position needed for me to have any semblance of normalcy or happiness again. My heart just won’t budge. And no tow truck of positive sayings or distraction from a handsome stranger is going to be able to help; I just keep moving this beat-up junker of a heart around for it to not start somewhere else. It’s so defeating.
It honestly feels like there are things constantly taunting me and pulling me backwards these days. Little things, things out of my control, things that seem so silly. I hate our his and hers sinks in the bathroom now, even though they were selling points when we got our place. I hate the white shelving that took us a full afternoon to put up in the second bedroom, which we barely used, and which I now pay for to basically function as a storage space for things I don’t want to see. All of the pictures we carefully placed around the house just remind me of the night we finally sat on our couch and laughed happy tears for being there together, our little family, happy. Those moments when I address these inanimate objects cause me so much misery are baffling; who knew something without a heart beat could damn near kill me.
And then there is our dog. Oh Lord, the way it pains me every moment he isn’t here to hold him or see him do something funny. He isn’t here to feel our baby curl behind his legs. He didn’t get to see him make his first mastiff friend and run like a weirdo at all of the wild animals that live near us. He won’t get to see him get older. He won’t hold him when he’s hurt. The things he misses and our dog misses crush me like boulders on my lungs. And the worst part is, I can see it in our dog’s personality he knows his daddy is missing. He knows. And I can’t make him understand or ease it in any way. He knows he existed and now all he knows is he isn’t here to play with and love on. Hammer meet my cold and frozen heart. Shattered pieces on the floor.
M writing is the place I come when I can’t handle the pressure building up inside of me, when I feel like if I don’t let some of this escape it feels like it actually might kill me. The words come in a monsoon sometimes, the force of them threatening to sweep me away with the rest of the debris he left behind. Sometimes I have to get this out because if I don’t I will send him late-night messages letting him know I am still pathetically, mercilessly still in love with him. After all of the insults and the cutting remarks, all of the nights he didn’t come home or I caught him lying, I still cannot sleep through the night without waking up and missing the heat of his body. I have never had so much trouble pulling myself away. And I don’t know how to handle it. I feel hopeless.
Every day I use my phone to find a photo from the last three years I have to scroll through the thousands of photos of us; our first real date, our first vacation, my brother’s wedding, every holiday we held one another exclaiming how grateful we were to have one another. Every time I open a new drawer or the main closet, something of his falls out to remind me of his absence; a hat, an umbrella we never got to use, a scarf I bought for him to wear in our cold winters. I know these things will continue to happen, until the day comes when they don’t. Part of me wants that day to come more quickly than not.
There is a part of me that wonders if I will ever get beyond this place I’m in now, the place of constantly acknowledging the only person I’ve ever felt so lost without didn’t choose me. There is a part of me that feels old, unattractive, used-up, and like I’ve failed to do the things I hoped I’d do when I was a kid. There is a part of me that feels like I aimed too high, dreamed too much, and didn’t address reality properly. It feels like there is nothing I can do but cry and try to be strong but I am exhausted. I am depleted.
Somehow I have to get through this. Somehow I have to move on and allow my heart to re-open to the warmth from someone else. Somehow I have to tell myself I will meet someone and find happiness I never knew could exist, a partnership I couldn’t imagine would be possible. But that day is not today. Today I can’t imagine a time that will ever be able to happen. Today I can’t imagine a time when I won’t prefer the arms to be holding me to be his, the voice calling my name to come from his mouth. And today I am ok with that. I am ok with not being ok.
Maybe tomorrow will be different, because it has to be. Maybe tomorrow will be very similar to today with only one small change, because maybe that is my journey. Either way, this is where I am. This is my honesty. And I wanted to share that because there is so much dishonesty about pain and loss. Even if one person relates to this, that will be enough.
It’s ok to not always be ok. – xx- Me
Something a little extra for today: I pulled over to the side of the road on my way to work today and I wrote from my soul. Here is what I found lurking in the folds of pain:
Today wildflowers and cicadas guided me to work, the ones I was so excited for you to see and listen to; I drove the back country roads with our dog, his face hanging out of my window, deeply smelling the summer air. You were not here.
I pulled to a stop sign and looked quickly at the dark gray car that looked like yours but didn’t focus on the driver; I couldn’t stand to see it wouldn’t be you. Just the blurry outline of that person threw my heart into a nausea-inducing summersault. I am lost.
It has been ninety days and nine hundred years since I’ve kissed your mouth or held you and I’ve died a million deaths every day since. The tears flow without reason or trigger; they come because I know you exist, they come because I breathe air we no longer share.
Three months to the day and nothing is easier; my sadness catches in the top of my throat, my loneliness for you burns at my stomach like hot searing coals. This world is a purgatory without you; I move but am motionless in my soul.
I’ll wear your shirt today, the one my mom gave you at our last holiday together, the one where we slept under the tree with our dog for the second year in a row. It still smells like you. It suffocates me.
How can I look forward to the fall knowing everything is dull and colorless without you? How can I move out of our home knowing you won’t have existed in the place where I go?
I’ve counted the reasons to let go. I’ve talked through every piece of advice I’ve been given; nothing has changed. Except I have lost the happiness I used to hold in my soul and my arms. Because you are still gone, I am not here.