Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? -Mary Oliver
I cried for two months... in bed under my covers... curled up on the hard tile floor of my shower with the water beating against my skin... out in the driveway locked away in my car... never going anywhere, just sitting... sobbing... out of sight and sound of our children.
For two months I barely slept, barely ate, barely functioned... crying big ugly tears until my eyes were swollen shut, my heart was a constant state of deep ache, and I felt as if I may very possibly stop breathing altogether at any moment.
For two months I cried.
Then I stopped.
In the twenty-nine months since you left me.... I've consulted with three different therapists, one Bishop, two Shamans, four mystics, and an energy healer. Our bishop told me that due to my lack of faith and obedience, it was I who was responsible for the destruction our family, and he feared for our children's souls. I quit attending the church I had spent my entire life being an active part of, but hadn't believed in for years. It was a toxic and harmful place, and my soul no longer felt at home there. Had it ever? No, not really... I only went to appease you.
I have found solace in a heavy regimen of yoga, meditation, morning hikes, and late night walks around the neighborhood. I discovered the beauty, power, and therapeutic value in boldly saying the word "fuck"... a word I had never dared speak out loud before. I purchased my very first coffee maker and discovered that God could be found in a cup of morning espresso. I joined a Kirtan group at the park where I sang Hare Krishna mantras to John Denver tunes while a darling young man with goofy ears and the voice of an angel led the group with his guitar. I visited a Buddhist Temple where I sutra chanted, burned incense, and listened to the wisdom within dharma teachings. I spent an Easter Sunday with the kids at a Krishna Temple out in the countryside where we took part in their Holi Festival... joyfully throwing handfuls of rainbow colored powder in the air, and at each other until we all looked like tie-dyed versions of ourselves. I sat in awe at The Cathedral of the Madeline and was moved to tears through a choir performance celebrating The Christ. I sat in the living room of a friend where six beautiful woman placed their hands on my body as they shared kind and powerful words while blessing me with strength, courage and love... in the warm and fluid manner that is so naturally female. I stood under a full moon, surrounded by girlfriends donning leafy crowns and flowing dresses. We drank mead wine and danced around a crackling fire as we released into the flames all those things that no longer served us. The 16x20 wedding portrait that hung for eighteen years on our bedroom wall found a new home among the ashes.
In the twenty-nine months since you left me... I tossed, sold, or gave away our entire household of pretentious furniture and boring decor. I also ditched of all my fancy designer tracksuits... the silly outfits that all the suburban moms were wearing. I had a dozen of them. Who the hell was I trying to be? Oh, and the cable TV... that time-sucking box which got far more attention from you than we ever did... gone.
I have since surrounded myself with awesomeness... with life and energy and color... funky and fun... weird and random. Everything now has positive energy, memories, or meaning attached. My first purchase was a three foot tall Buddha statue that now resides in my entry way. I had always wanted one... you would not allow it. Holy fuck (yes, I said fuck) you would absolutely hate this place now! But you aren't here, I am... and I love it. For the first time since I've lived here this house finally feels right... it feels like a home... my home.
In the twenty-nine months since you left me we changed our diet. We quit eating pot roast and potatoes and pancakes. We now eat curry and quinoa and pomegranates and hummus. I learned to make gnocchi and brew my own kambucha. Sushi is our new family favorite... learning to make it ourselves is high on our to-do list... just before Restore a vintage trailer, and right after Hike to ten waterfalls.
We got a dog. We named her Karma. This was the first big decision I made on my own in my newly single life. I surprised the kids with a trip to pick her up on Mother's Day. She turned out to be the greatest dog in the history of ever. She saved our kids that first year without you. She gave them constant and unconditional love, companionship, and comfort. She healed their broken hearts.
Ten months later we buried her.
In the twenty-nine months since you left me I built the large fire-pit and the meandering rock wall I always wanted. I fixed nine broken sprinkler heads, and multiple broken pipes. I took apart and reassembled my lawnmower, my vacuum cleaner, my washer and my dryer. I replaced the a/c clutch on my old van... and my brake pads... and my radiator hoses. Thank you Google. Thank you YouTube... I couldn't have done it without you.
In the twenty-nine months since you left me I have become financially independent. I went from being full time, stay-home mom, to working multiple part-time jobs in order to feed our children and make a dent in the massive pile of debt and bills you left me with. I cleaned people's garbage and did their paperwork. I managed ghetto houses and painted apartments. I landscaped and dug ditches. Yes, I was a ditch digger... and grateful for the job, and all the others, as I had no education or employment history to fall back on. I modeled for a corporate photo shoot, I was a beer vendor at a sold out rock concert, I house sat and babysat and dog sat... unquestionably grateful for the opportunities that came my way. I found a way to turn a favorite hobby and a passion into a career. I joined an artist's cooperative made up of a dozen extremely cool people... we run a little upcycled furniture shop together. My love for treasure hunting, art, antiques, and painting are now all part of what I do to make a living. Since being an artist does not quite pay the bills, I also got my real estate license. Do you remember how you laughed at me when you first heard of my plan to be a Realtor? Well I did it anyways, and I am pretty damn good at it.
I am no longer afraid to drive. This happened right in the beginning. Over twenty years of fear... and then... an instant transformation. I told myself... You have too much shit to deal with now, a fear of driving can no longer be part of it... and just like that my fear was gone. Driving now means distancing myself from you... the further I drive, the more alive I feel. I now yearn for long drives and crave the open road. The kids and I found our way to Park City, Bear Lake, Zion National Park, Las Vegas, Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, and Jackson Hole. Downtown drives to the city went from being a twice yearly excursion to twice a week... as the energy and diversity that is always found there now beckons me.
I also flew alone for the first time in my life. I needed to be far away on the day you wed the woman you left me for, so I purchased an airline ticket to Colorado to stay with a friend. I woke up early the morning of your big day to sad news... my sweet grandma had passed away. A drive to Manitou Springs and a grueling hike up The Incline would offer me perspective that day... this became the day I completely fell in love with my life.
In the twenty-nine months since you left me I have danced... I've danced the fucking hell outta life! I have rocked and salsa'd and twirled. I've let go to the beat of African drums... sweat dripping, legs weakening, but unable to stop myself as long as the drums kept pounding. I dance in my bathroom mirror. I have daily jam parties in the kitchen with our kids. I rock out in my car (often creating quite the spectacle for fellow commuters). I dance at parties and concerts and at nightclubs... on rooftops, mountain tops, and balconies with views of the city lights and the setting sun. I dance down crowded streets under a bright sun, and I dance with bare feet in open fields beneath the evening stars. Eyes closed... arms in the air... face to the sky. Never caring who may be watching. I dance for me.
In the twenty-nine months since you left me I discovered sex...
Not sex as I knew it.
Sex as it should be.
Passionate, exhilarating, fun... two people both wanting each other, enjoying each other, aware of each other, pleasing each other. At almost 39 years old, this was all completely new to me as I had only ever been with you... a man who didn't see me... didn't desire me... and admittedly didn't love me. Sex with you was detached, disconnected, and... lonely. I determined The Universe wanted me to finally and fully experience this incredible form of expression, and the next year would be spent doing just that... experiencing. I dated dozens of interesting and fantastic men, most of whom are still good friends... some best friends. My first lover was a screenwriter. He was kind and passionate, yet somewhat of a tortured soul. He would prove to be the perfect friend and mentor for broken little me. After my initial training was complete and I was ready to step out into the world, I found myself in the company of musicians, comedians, film makers, doctors, and wealthy business owners. I dated sexy software engineers with just the right touch of nerdiness, and ardent world travelers with adventurous spirits that could never be tethered (nor should they). A soft spoken firefighter with ginger hair and a muscular body would make me weak in the knees and cause me pause... but it would be the ridiculously cute social worker with the bounce in his step, twinkle in his eyes, and the wild yet sensitive soul, who would be the one to completely capture my heart... sigh.
In the twenty-nine months since you left me I fell in love... deeply, madly, gorgeously in love. No longer that innocent and naive girl you charmed... the one who at only nineteen years of age, had no concept of self, and who only wanted to belong to someone. I am not that girl anymore. I am wiser now, I know myself, and I know what I want and need in a partner. And more importantly... I know what I don't want and need, and would rather be alone than be with someone whom my soul didn't feel at home with. But then, so unexpected... I found an incredible human who fit me so well that I could hardly believe he really existed. He understood me... from my core beliefs and outlook on life, right down to our matching Chucks, and our love for coconut water. So... I let my protective guard down, I let him into my heart... and My God it felt good! Forty fantastic weeks of opening up to someone, feeling comfortable, being myself, and feeling completely wonderful. Forty surreal weeks, and then... a broken heart... painfully, beautifully broken. I really thought he might be my person... I think I still do. He is who I still dream of every night after my long and tiresome single mama days. He lies next to me... eyes locked, my hand pressed firmly over his heart, my other hand on my own... feeling his energy, mirroring his breath, breathing him in. I never did this with you. I never did this with anyone. It is something I have only shared with him. It came naturally and intuitively... connecting intimately like this. I felt safe. I felt loved. I felt like someone actually gave a shit.
Does he ever still dream of me?
Oh the human experience... so raw and wrenching and completely fantastic at the same time. It can hurt something fierce but if the alternative is to never allow myself to fully feel all the awesome this world has to offer...I'll take my chances, risk the heartache, embrace the pain. There is so much beauty to be found in living open-hearted, in the moment, and in a state of complete vulnerability... nothing compares.
And speaking of pain...
And speaking of pain...
In the twenty-nine months since you left me no one has hit me because I smiled and nodded a friendly hello to another man while passing opposite directions in a crosswalk. No one has flung heavy objects at me for disagreeing with them on politics. No one has punched any new holes in my walls. No one has stared me down, shook their finger at my face, and in a harsh cold voice told me how utterly worthless I am. No one throws food across the room when I make it wrong. No one tells me my ideas and hopes and dreams are all laughable and completely idiotic. And surprisingly... not a single person has ever suggested that I need a boob job in order to be attractive. And with the exception of your correspondence which I must still endure, no one in my life has ever tried to convince me, or even suggested, that I am delusional, unstable, or certifiably crazy.
Also, in the twenty-nine months since you left...
no one has raped me.
And I am NOT crazy... I know this now.
In the twenty-nine months since you left me... I've been rock climbing and mountain biking, kickboxing, and pole dancing. I have discovered a love for live music and have since been to dozens of concerts...obscure Indie bands in divey bars being my favorite. I volunteer at the homeless shelter and raise money for homeless youth. The kids and I held homemade signs and waved rainbow flags as we marched together as LGBT allies in the Pride parade. Home is happier now and more peaceful than it's ever been before. We hug more, kiss more, smile more, love more. We laugh together, play together, sing at the top of our lungs in the car together, and snuggle together... lots.
I am in awe daily at the beauty that surrounds me. Sunlight reflecting perfectly upon the petals of a flower with bring me to tears. The soft eyes of a stranger will bring me to tears. The laughter of children will undoubtedly bring me to tears. I am wildly in love with the whole world, and am so excited to have my new life ahead of me free to discover more, to experience more, and to love more... more than I ever knew possible.
Thank you for leaving me. Thank you for freeing me. Thank you for a second chance at life... a passionate, whole-hearted, authentic life. From the bottom of my heart... thank you for the best and most beautiful twenty-nine months I've ever experienced. I can't wait to see what the next twenty-nine will bring.
This life of mine... I wouldn't trade it.