Friday, April 30, 2010

Who I Was is Not Who I Am

Yesterday I was talking to a friend that I had met before my ex and I really started to crumble into a sad mess. The spring after meeting him I started to play kickball...and consequently meet a lot of new people. He told me that there were a lot of people that really didn't like me when we first met last spring, but they're starting to now. Ah, yes, I said, "That's what always happens - that's the way I was explained to people 'she's a bitch when you first meet her, but if you can deal with her at first, she's great'."

He said something like, "That's fine. But it was more than that. You were a bitch."

"I was?"

"Ya. Total."

I stopped to think and responded, "Well, I was in a relationship that was falling apart."

He said I was rationalizing. I don't think so. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that last year - when I was meeting all these people - I wasn't who I am.

The first half of last year was, perhaps, the most desperate time of my life. It was falling apart. I was falling apart. I was fighting with part of myself that was telling me to stay and searching for the strength to leave. In a final appeal for strength, I took a sign from a Post Secret card that read: It's okay to leave. The time is now. And I did.

My family doesn't talk much about personal problems. We tend to be our own little islands; for some reason we think we can deal with everything ourselves. But we can't. For example, we went to my sister's wedding last May - in the midst of our failing relationship - and no one in my family asked what was going on between us (and I didn't tell). This past weekend, my sister told me that everyone was too afraid to ask. (Afraid of what?!) At the start of the trip I complained to my family about him being difficult, but with no further inquiries. Other than that, we got along that weekend; in fact, he thought our relationship was back on track when we got home. It wasn't back on track; we had derailed too far. And I think it really hit him then - perhaps both of us -  when he thought we were in love again and I broke the news that we'd likely never be.

I'm not sure when my family discovered it was over. I'm not sure when my friends knew either. Five years and my heart was breaking. I was angry. I was miserable. I was sad. And I was alone. Sobbing on a weekly basis. (And I never cry.)

I didn't have anyone to help; it was just me to cope. Me as my own island and the cause of my sorrows living on it. Difficult doesn't begin to explain it.
A few days ago my mom said, "depressed people will rub off on you and make you depressed". I realize that's true. People can change you. Situations can change you. And it's hard to see when you're standing in the middle of it all screaming silently for any help, sign or strength to do...something. Anything.

I don't know how I did it. Moreover, I don't know how we lived with one another for six months after breaking up. It was probably one of the bravest, stupidest and most eye-opening experiences of my life. And I can't thank those enough who were there for me in the small moments they were: Those moments were bigger to me in that time than you may ever know. And it is because of them that, one year later, I have returned to who I used to be. The girl that laughs, loves and makes a million mistakes all by herself.

It has been a journey. Nothing about it has been easy. My Dearest Ex, I love(d) our friendship, but I hope that you, like me, are doing well and laughing again. I hope you are back to who you used to be. I hope we're better versions of the people we fell in love with. And I hope that your old friends and your new friends understand that who you were last year isn't who you are in life. And love you anyway.