Have you ever seen a snake slither? I saw one for the first time ever, last week.
It was a pretty fascinating sight. I was surprised by how fast they move when they’re really anxious to get going. And when this one did start moving, it was hard to tell exactly which direction it wanted to go. Lots of motion, little mileage–until it caught some kind of traction and started gaining distance.
That’s kind of symbolic to this road so far.
A year ago today, I started this blog. And I’ve sort of felt like the snake: lots of thrashing around, maybe gaining some ground here and there, but it’s taking a while to really make gains, and for all the movement, sometimes it’s even hard to tell exactly what direction I’m moving in.
I’ve learned to accept that, at least to a point, as part of the process. It’s been a whole year, but it’s only been a year, after all.
Looking back, I can see how–just like the snake–frantic I was. My head swam with questions that might as well have been Buddhist koans, for all I could answer them. They had no answer. “Why do they do this?”, I wailed in my first-ever post on this blog. It’s a sensible question, sure, but the answer is, there is no why. There’s no emotion, no reasoning.
Then the first blow came. Sometimes life draws lines in your sand and divides your existence into two time periods: Before and After an event so significant that your entire life is never the same again.
There’s only one way to respond to something like that, and respond I did. Feelings flooded through me then, and those are the ones that have dried up now. Back then I channeled those emotions into action. With every revelation (they never stop coming), I would upshift into a higher gear of activity yet. Maybe that has become my default mode, which might be what motivates me.
Winter gave way to spring, and life supplied me with a VIP sampler platter of emotions – hope, optimism, frustration, overwhelm, a has-been ghost-town sensation, even anger. Moving out of the house and in with my now-roommate was responsible for the positive end of the emotional spectrum. Even as I had started to go emotionally flat, multiple people remarked how much calmer, happier, more content, and more upbeat I was. They noticed a big difference that I had not.
Summer (which for Texas, begins in May) took a downturn. A new sampler platter was put in front of me, this one filled with rotten delicacies – frustration (from the endless, wordless waiting), grief (from two significant deaths), disappointment (in a job rejection), pain (from everything), and a general feeling of being thwarted. I have a long resume of all but the last one. I try not to feel sorry for myself, but the theme was so strong that this time, I couldn’t help but feel it. Guilty.
The depression hit in June, as everything started to catch up with me. I struggled to see the silver linings, but eventually succeeded in conceptualizing theoretical ones, even if I couldn’t honestly say I could detect real ones.
It’s either ironic or poetic, I’m not sure which, that the email came from my attorneys today. They have finalized the decree document and sent it back to us for instructions on getting it signed (and notarized) and other steps to take from here.
Today is also the day I became fully-implemented as a newly-minted writer on Medium! As in, the program that lets you get paid for your writing. It takes quite a while and is dependent on one unpredictable variable: how long Medium members with paid memberships spend reading articles you’ve published since you joined the program. So, grand total for me so far: squat, and it probably will be for a while, but probably not forever.
Life goes on. I keep going.
My soon-to-be-ex is compiling all of my remaining belongings in the dinette of his apartment, while I attempt to figure out when to Make the Switch. The switch consists of those belongings as well as one of the kitties.
Yes, I’m absolutely relieved. There had been several more rounds of negotiation, some of which got tense and some of which he did his usual stalling and stonewalling, and I did my usual explaining and then waiting. No matter how patient you are, the narcissist or psychopath will always test yours, again and again.
He finally relented and declined to play any more games, put up any more walls, attempt to exploit me any further. With the revamp of his living space, it’s possible that he’s met someone, but whether he has or not honestly doesn’t matter to me. I’m not even mildly curious anymore.
So, there’s relief there, yes. The divorce road is winding down. The very-final stretch is here. I was already free of his neglect, dismissal, and invalidation. Soon I will also be completely free of his secrecy, dishonesty, sneakiness, creepiness, control, financial irresponsibility (and what that does to my credit) and mind-games.
There would probably even be elation there, too, if I weren’t so numb. The past 10 months have been so packed with one loss or disappointment after another. After the first few licks, the rest don’t hurt quite as much. It’s like alexithymia on steroids.
I don’t really feel celebratory. I don’t really feel depressed, per se, either. I’m just sort of here. I don’t joke or laugh much, and sometimes I forget to show affection to my loved ones. That’s maybe because I’m so used to convincing myself I don’t need it or crave it. Maybe it’s a “fake it till you make it” scenario in which I’ve made it.
I do feel a little flat, a little dull. When things happen, I feel a little bump or dip, but it’s rather blunted. Sort of gray.
I do feel fear–fully. Here I go, turn the page; I’ll be completely on my own now, without any support, without any safety net. Learning to do for the first time what most people my age have been doing forever and are already old hat at. Trying to carve out an income from several sources; piecing several gigs together to try to meet my bills. I know I’m not alone in that at all.
I can also fully feel motivation, as well as excitement for what I do and the various projects I’m working on. I get fired up and focus intensely, for a long time. So, my cognition and my emotions have done a recent flip-flop. For the past several years up until this one, my cognition had taken a hit but I had a full emotional spectrum. Now my cognition is coming back (!), but my emotions have flattened a fair amount.
So the anxiety, fear, motivation, and excitement I can feel at full volume. The rest? Mas o menos.
My game plan from here…
First phase, continue to secure sources of income. Turn those occasional gigs into more regularly occurring ones. I’ll probably spend every waking moment on that for a while. Also re-learn a lot of the skills that had empowered me so last fall but have faded from memory when other crises and tasks took my time and energy.
Second phase, resume strength training and meditation. I might be able to do some of that now, but so far I’ve literally been so busy that I haven’t been able to fit it in. (I’ve had much more creativity lately, and inspiration is something you pounce on when it strikes, dear ones, because it’ll be gone just as quickly as it came, so that’s why I’m doing This right now instead of That.) I definitely will as soon as I can, though. It’s something I want to do and look forward to doing, so I know I won’t stall.
Third phase is kind of a hybrid of the first two, but more relaxed, more familiar, and more seamlessly woven together. Old skills refreshed and refined, new skills developed, learning curves flattened, life changes processed, emotions sorted out, brain further rejuvenated, wounds healed (or at least further along in the process), healthy routines established, energy replenished.
I can’t sense much more beyond that. I’m not sure what a fourth phase would look like. My crystal ball is in the shop for repairs. I’ll let you know when it gets back. Maybe then I’ll be in a completely different line of work yet. 😉 ❤