What was delivered to me drop by painful drop in that time, was the notion of staying. Of not hoping for a different moment than the one I was in—not because I found the moment acceptable, but because fighting it became futile. Fighting it made me suffer. Immensely.
I’ve been writing about the day in the spring of 2012 when my husband and I had the conversation to separate, the day I took the same run for the first time, when the sensation of running both towards and away from something was so urgent I felt I might spin right off the land into the deep, endless waters.
Do you ever/did you ever look at friends' Facebook posts, or hear good news about their lives, and be filled with a combination of jealousy and rage? Sometimes I feel that way and I am so ashamed that I can't just be happy for other people without feeling like my life in no way measures up. I have good things in my life...but not the marriage, house, and kids that everyone posts a million pictures of. And my instinctual reaction to watching other people be happy is, "Why can't I be like that?" Sometimes I just have to stop looking because otherwise, it makes me so sad.
I’m sitting on the edge of my bed looking out at the bay, still in my work clothes. It’s Friday afternoon, Memorial Day weekend, and the sun is bouncing off all the roofs of the houses, the water, the docked boats bobbing in the bay. Even after living here for two years, the view still stuns me. The house sits on top of a steep row of houses, the highest on the street, and from this perch in my bedroom, the beauty is always so shocking I believe it washes away all that is wrong. How can a marriage break in the face of that view? How can there be any pain at all?
The longer I'm around the more I realize we all have a little bit of everything in us. I am both dependent and independent, generous and selfish, discontent and full-up, spiteful and deeply forgiving. We're all made of the same bits. That doesn't mean we all express the same personalities, or that we all have the same strengths and weaknesses, or can deal with things in a similar fashion, or show up for our lives in similar ways.
Here it goes: since I was probably 15 I've struggled with drinking. Over the years I've done many things that could have completely destroyed the parts of my life I value the most. And if I'm being honest I have caused myself and others some significant pain. Being married and have kids now it seems like the stakes are much higher so my relationship with drinking has started to weigh heavily on my mind. After one incident I stopped drinking for a year but slowly I put new rules in place about when and how much I drink and I've managed to keep everything kind of under control for now.
I’d hear the words tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth like a drumbeat in my heart—a prayer, an encouragement, a promise—that if I could find a way to do it, I would be forgiven and free. But I couldn’t find any version of the truth that didn’t make me a monster. I searched, even prayed for “good enough” reasons to leave: lies, a big betrayal, hidden addictions, a mortal flaw in him or our relationship, but never found anything but my solid, kind, just-as-promised man.
Maybe it’s the passing of another birthday, or that I’m coming up on a year sober (?...!), but I’m thinking a lot about time lately. A dozen times in the past couple weeks I've been asked, either on this site or in-person, a version of the same question: WHEN?
When will I feel better?
When will I stop thinking about drinking so much?
I'm interrupting my brief writing hiatus to put down a few things I know today, my 38th birthday. It has been a year, lovelies. A big, beautiful, transformative, burn-to-the-ground-and-build-it-back-up kind of year. I'm sitting here at the kitchen table in my dad's house in Colorado, 4:13 am. I'm tired from a bad night's sleep, but the coffee is hot and the candle burning smells like orange and cinnamon and the sky is dark and cool. The picture above is just before publishing this. Yes, I have fabulous morning hair and a few of them are grey.