An Anniversary to Forget – Or a Good Reason to Shop for Shoes

I am coming up on the one-year mark of having ended things with The One. I’ve never, ever recalled knowing a break-up date in previous relationships. Not even a little bit. I even tried to squeeze my brain for any past long term relationships and when they ended and I came up with zilch. I cannot fathom for the life of me why I do now.

I recall the moment, but no longer the words. I recall the slippery feeling the day of; like holding onto an oily fish, that was escaping my grasp. Things were spinning slowly out of control and it wasn’t thought out, it wasn’t prepared, it was just happening. Like a slow motion tumble of words, and angst and unhappiness that came spilling out of me.

And then it was over. Silence. No anger. Sadness. Stifling heartbreaking sadness. And like someone was removing the air from the room. Everything else? Disappates. Just like this will in time.

I know it was a Tuesday. The 5th? The 7th? The 2nd? I’m not certain. I refuse to look it up, because I don’t want that date imbedded in my brain. I want to recall that perhaps it was October if I think of it this time next year. And years from now, if it comes to mind, I want to wonder if it was later in the year or earlier? And which year was it? I want it to be as inconsequential as all the other break-ups I can’t recall the details of.

I have had to remind myself several times over this year to put down the victim mask and take responsibility. I do so with hesitation. *I* was the one who ended things, but it always feels like it was him. Ultimately, it’s just so much goddamn easier to defend my anger by placing the blame on him. That’s wrong. I have to remind myself, he really did nothing wrong, outside of not fighting for you. I have wanted to be angry with him for so long.

Today I have come to a place of being actually okay with him. Of truly wishing good things for him. Of recalling him with fondness. Mostly. I say this with hesitation, because the embers are still warm to the idea of how quickly he dated. That’s still the fishbone in my throat. And with who. That’s probably the bigger one. I have to look away from that, because it poisons me if I dwell on it.

Sometimes I have to swallow hard in realization of the facts. That’s on me though. That’s me wanting to be the puppet master even after the show has closed. One day, even all of that won’t matter.  We are friendly today, but physical distance will always keep us from being friends, thankfully. I don’t know if I could ever handle really being his friend. Of talking to him about anything outside say, football, joking about our birthdays or informing him of the death of some very friendly acquaintances to him. I’m always friends with exes I tell myself. Friendly will have to suffice with him.

The year has had some great leaps of growth for me. There have been some very stagnant moments, and yes even shifting backwards from time to time, but I focus on the growth mostly. I wouldn’t have had them without ending things with him.

That’s weird to think.

This is the first year I have been entirely on my own. I mean, entirely. I like to think of myself as a strong independent woman, but the truth is I’ve always had someone else in my life to lean on. Even if that lean was based solely on meeting someone else’s needs, like a kid. In theory being able to focus on myself entirely sounds selfishly lovely. In reality it’s shaky a lot of the time. I’ve found myself indecisive. I look around to ask someone what they think and find myself in an empty room. Sometimes that scares the hell out of me, but more often a smile starts to slowly bloom.

I am alone. I am not lonely though.That’s a good thing.

This past year I sort of scrambled, and fell down the rabbit hole. It was that or emotional suicide, where I just clip the nerve that allows feelings. Instead, I felt everything too hard. My senses were raw, and everything hurt and tingled and felt harsh or wonderful. I threw myself into friendships and shopping and men and booze with sometimes a frenetic pace, only to quickly scramble back a safe distance. Today I am picking up those pieces. Financially cleaning house, and learning to tell myself no. Challenging the choices I make with men, and trying to listen when my inner voice says “Chickie, something isn’t right here.”. Limiting the friendships that have no return value. I will admit that those damn Ginaritas are too tasty to completely give up though.

I still binge shop, but very limited. Truth is I will always binge shop, especially when shoes are involved. They are my drug of choice. Well one of my drugs.

I’ve dated men I wouldn’t have considered before, but the fact is I’ve dated.  I didn’t think I’d ever have to do that again, and when faced with it initially I figured I never would. I had written off my sex life, believing what his actions, — and my head had told me. I will adore for a lifetime, the one who broke that harsh dark ugly enchantment that hung over me, and convinced me I was otherwise. I was attractive. I was still sexual. I wasn’t broken. I feel more alive in that arena than I have in nearly ten years.

I’ve picked myself up and brushed myself off when I’ve tripped heading out the starting gate. Some things will never change. I’ll always emotionally trip up. My mouth will always be open a good few feet before the rest of me is. I’ll accidentally offend. I’ll hurt others with no ill-intent. I’ll laugh at inopportune moments. I’ll be sarcastic when I should be serious. I’ll get easily hurt myself. I’ll overthink some things and at the same time rush in without thinking on others.

I don’t eat as many vegetables as I did when he and I were together. And I eat far too much toast, but that could be as much my daughter leaving and my hatred for cooking for one as anything. I’ve lost 20 pounds, regained 5 of it and held firm at 15 for a year. Next year I hope for as much. I probably smoke more. I’ve held more parties, but attended less events. I relegated myself back to tent camping, because it beats no camping at all. I still worship the sun as much as I did then, and I still love me a good gadget or a morning at Home Depot, but I’ve learned to love those things alone.

Maybe I should challenge this Anniversary of sorts to make next year even better. Use it as a marker for a good life. A better life, each year. To forget break-up dates and instead recall the changes; good and bad.

Or shop for shoes. It’s always good to celebrate with shoe shopping.



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