Thursday, April 21, 2011

723.

As I was laying on the couch for a moment, watching Sex and the City 2 on HBO, I watched in dismay as Carrie and Mr. Big were in their bathroom and talking about expectations and Mr. Big's overall feeling that he was disappointing Carrie. When it came to the point where she put her arms around him and said, "No, you're not disappointing me," I realized that I am at day number 723 since my ex hit the door.

723 days, 34 credit hours, three adventures outside of my apartment and it's still just me.

As I watched Carrie throw her arms around Mr. Big, I whimpered and thought aloud, "Oh, I wish I had that." 'That' being a nice guy to hug any time I wanted.  Especially shirtless and fresh from the shower with a towel around his waist...smelling of after shave or cologne.

723 days, no dates, lots of time on the computer and lots of studying.

These are the days when it seems as my solitary nature abandons me and says, "Yeah, I know you say you don't need a boyfriend or consort, but come on, are you just lying to yourself?"  To be honest, it's a 50/50 proposition.  I don't mind breathing in and out and enjoying the silence without being annoyed by another human being, that's good, but it's nights like these when I'm stressed about school projects coming due, finals week coming up and the rest of the gamut that is all of our everyday lives, that I wish, for just a moment, that a well-built, smiling masculine presence would come into the room to make me smile and reassure me that everything is going to be fine.

I already know everything is going to be fine.  If I apply myself, everything always works out fine.  However, it's just that one person in the universe that smells like cologne that really sells the whole proposition better than just me.

Am I lonely after 723 days?  A little.  I've not been spending the much needed quality time with KP, but let's face it, he's 2500 miles away and I'm beginning to seriously doubt he'll ever come around the corner in my apartment, fresh from the shower wearing only a towel and smelling like after-shave anytime in my lifetime.   It doesn't mean I wish that he wouldn't, I just know that he can't, praying it's not because he won't.

The last couple of weeks have seen the Sophomore in rare form.  One of my dear friends is having her marriage disintegrate.  She's right where I was 723 days and 195 posts ago.  Angry, upset, and outright confused.  Lucky for her, she's got me right behind her telling her how it happened for me, blow by blow, ugly detail by ugly detail.

When a relationship goes south, especially a marriage, no one tells you that the first six weeks out of your relationship is the hardest.  It's six weeks where you're sleeping gets thrown off, your appetite goes south, you run on 100% adrenaline 100% of the time until your body comes to the point where it says "STOP!  No more," and lands you in a huge heap in what I call "The Crash."

Yep, the crash is ugly.  Everyone who has ever gone through relationship separation has gone through it.  It's normal.  My crash happened right after my birthday in 2009.  It took four months, from the time my ex left in April to right after my birthday for everything to come crashing down.  I threw some things, I yelled, I screamed, and I unintentionally broke a few things until finally landing in a heap in the middle of my living room floor, crying my eyes out.  It took about three hours of laying there in the middle of the floor to stop crying.  Then, I rolled over on my back, watched the ceiling fan spin for a while, then finally got up, realizing I couldn't lay there forever because I had things to do and no one else to ask to do them for me because I was feeling cruddy.

That was 608 days ago.

Here at day 723, I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life.  I've tackled the issues that lead to the day I crashed, I've killed spiders, I've moved, I've been out a couple of times, I've accrued a ton of A's on my transcript, but the most important thing I could have ever done was take my personal growth class.

For the last four months, I've tackled the very scary skeletons in my closet.  I've done things I never dreamed I would ever do:  I've journaled out all of the abuses and atrocities that have been visited on me; I've learned that the one person that I needed to trust to help my trust issues go away was me.  I figured out what my core issue was that lead to all of my erratic behavior, now I'm tackling that.  I've really started to like myself and who I am, and I'm proud to say that I've done it without a husband, without a boyfriend, just with the wonderful support structure of my real family, my online family and all of my friends all over the world.  You know what, for the first six months of 39, that's not bad.

But, let's get back to my friend who's having her marriage crumble down around her ankles.  I told her that she wasn't going to sleep, that it was normal because she's so stressed out.  I've begged her to eat even though she has no appetite, in which I told her after a while, her appetite will come back even though food doesn't seem appealing right now.

Then I told her about how I had to look really hard in the mirror when my marriage came crashing down around my ankles.  How KP told me how important it was that I took stock and was honest with myself about my part in what happened, after all, it does take two to tango, it can't be all one person's fault.

That's the thing about looking in the mirror and admitting your mistakes, how you allowed things to happen that you didn't like, how you go through the guilt and shame spiral like it's some kind of ride at a not-so-fun amusement park from hell.  But then you realize you have to put down the cross because someone needs the wood, that you can't blame yourself forever for what happened.  You have to accept yourself and your mistakes and hope that you've learned from them so you can move on with your life.

We also talked about how separation and divorce are classified in the same way as death.  You're watching the relationship that you built with someone else die.  You have to mourn it.  You go through K├╝bler-Ross' model of the "five stages": the denial that your relationship is over, the anger at the circumstances that brought you to that point, the bargaining to try to keep your relationship alive, depression over how you got to the point of the relationship dissolving, then finally, the acceptance of what's happened.  After all that, KP's bridge is just waiting for you to take the steps to just get over it.

The thing is, no one goes through those five stages in the same way, like Doc Cat said this week in class, "It's not linear.  Everyone goes through different stages at different times."  I told my friend about how important it was that she realize that when something ends, something new begins, so she just has to keep breathing, take the time to quiet her mind so that the stress of her situation doesn't make her sick.

I remember when Nan went through her divorce.  I remember the night she arrived in Vegas, completely disoriented and really torn up.  Then she watched me go through the same thing.  I remember calling her to ask her if what I was going through was normal.  I'd ask her, "Nan, I've not slept in two days and I don't have an appetite," and she'd reply, "Yep, that's normal.  It's going to get better, just keep busy and keep moving forward."  Sure enough, Nan was right, so when I looked at my friend this afternoon who also hasn't eaten or slept and has lost some weight, I looked at her and said, "Sweetie, this is normal.  But, you have to remember to force yourself to eat, even if it's just nibbling on something.  Your body can't hold up if you don't feed it."

Then, I told her about Cranium Command at Disney World.  I used to bring up this video to remind me that the stress that was going on in my head, real or imagined, was going to take a toll on my body:



It's like what General Knowledge said at 1:18 into the vid, "You're just worrying yourself sick.  Real stress or imagined stress, it doesn't matter beans to your body crew.  They can't tell the difference, only you can.  Take charge lunkhead! Be calm, cool, collected, serene, balanced, centered and relaxed, like me!"

Every time I watch that vid, I have to laugh, I used to sit through the show at Disney every afternoon practically, and well, if I can remember that section from the show, I think it did me a pretty good service because I have the constant reminder not to let my stress get away from me.  That's what I told my friend, that when I feel like I'm getting out of whack, I look up at the gorgeous blue sky and breathe.  Remember the part in Sleepless in Seattle when Tom Hanks' character of Sam is describing what it was like to live without his wife and he said, "Every day I have to remind myself to get up, and breathe in and out.  Maybe after a while I won't have to remind myself to keep doing it."  That's what you have to do, you have to look up, realize that the sky above you is filled with air just waiting to rush into your lungs and help you silence all of the noise and stress that's happening in your head.  When you still your mind and you get focused on just 'being', you'll start to feel better.  Then you take the time to realize that the sun will still come up tomorrow, chores still have to get done and responsibilities have to get taken care of; just those things alone will keep you busy enough to keep your mind occupied and centered on what you have to do.

In all, when you go through a troubled patch of life, it's all about being grateful for what you have and remembering to love yourself enough to take care of your mind, body and spirit along the way.

And it took 723 days for me to get to this point.  After I told my pal all that, I gave her a hug and said, "You know, individual results may vary, check with your doctor..." and we started to laugh.

723 days, just seven days shy of two years and I'm fine.  As a matter of fact, I think I'm doing great.

One more quick note...welcome to all of my new readers.  Glad you're here.

Keep breathing...and remember, tomorrow is a whole new day.

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