It’s been a long week. A long couple of weeks, but this one… I’m just glad it’s over.
Last week I held my routine together pretty well but this week it all fell apart. My kids brought home some sort of stomach bug, so I spent a lot of time cleaning up vomit and unclogging the toilet. Of course, there was a lot of extra laundry and as it turns out, the laundry facilities in our apartment complex were out of order this week. I could wash, but not dry. So that added a layer of complication to everything.
In between, I tried to keep up with work because, of course, this week was a busy work week. Several deadlines. And I was struggling to stay focused. I’m in one of those work/creative slumps where nothing feels interesting and everything seems 1000x more difficult than usual.
I’ve been staring hard at Friday night since about, ohhhh, Tuesday morning. And it has been slow to get here.
A friend of mine texted me a little while ago, checking in. I haven’t seen you on social lately. Haven’t heard from you in a while. Are you okay?
I gave her the answers about kids and work and life. Real answers, but high-level ones.
Great. I’m glad to hear about work and kids and life. What about YOU?
What about me?
I know I haven’t felt okay this week. I know I didn’t feel okay last week. But I put my head down and pushed through. I can’t focus, but I can stay distracted.
Until I go to bed and lay there feeling things that threaten to overwhelm me.
I’m cycling. I’ve been doing this, and I guess I’ll keep doing this. That’s what I told my friend. I go in cycles, feeling okay, moving forward. Then I plunge into this dark place where memories seem like yesterday and I’m confused, emotional, feeling as raw as if everything just fell apart for the first time. And feeling foolish, so foolish. Struggling to reconcile everything I thought I knew for so long with the actual reality. The cognitive dissonance is deep. Despite all the very concrete ways my ex has proven he does not care about me and cares very little about our children, I still feel shocked, newly hurt, when he proves it again.
And I’m mad at myself for not being over it, for not being able to brush it off and move on. Because I don’t want this to be my story. I don’t want this to be what I dwell on. I don’t want this to define me. I don’t want him to have that power over me. I want so badly to be able to not care. To let go, to accept and release and all those things the books tell you to do.
I worry about my kids constantly. I worry about the effect this has had on them. I grieve over what they lost. I want to make it up to them. I worry that I waited too long to get a divorce. I worry that I did it too soon. I worry about saying too much and saying too little. I worry about their time around their dad now, because they come home telling me bits and pieces, and it’s not great. But is it worse to cut that relationship off? How do I know? I’m not equipped to make these decisions.
And I don’t know how sensitive I am, how tightly stretched I am, if I have any sort of perspective on how to respond. My daughter’s boyfriend was kind of shitty to her about Valentine’s Day, and I about lost it. They’re 16 years old. She’s calling him on his bullshit and handling it just fine. I don’t need to intervene. I think I handled it okay (i.e. listened and supported and then backed the fuck off) but inside I was trembling, livid, gasping for air, screaming. Seeing my daughter deal with a boy who, instead of acknowledging his mistake, apologizing, and making it right, turned it around and punished her with his anger.
And all these memories well up and it feels like yesterday, like last week, like it all just happened. How it feels to be punished instead of protected. To be blamed for his unhappiness, to somehow be responsible for his behavior? To feel that asking for anything was asking too much. To tiptoe around so many sensitive areas and there were always more and they kept getting bigger and there was nowhere I could walk without the whole thing caving in.

And to think I lived like that for so long, for so long.
I told my friend that I keep cycling, and the dark parts are hard, but I can feel it getting easier to move out of those places. But I also feel something else. For so long I’ve been grieving for him, for the loss of love and trust and relationship and now it’s different. Now I think I’m grieving for myself.