It’s been a cruel, cruel summer. I can’t even remember most of it. Really. I went to the doctor yesterday (long story, cooking fail—2nd degree burn on my foot—I just shouldn’t cook) and he was going through my records to see what kind of antibiotic to put me on. I remember getting really sick this summer at one point; I missed a week of work. But I literally have no recollection of having pneumonia the month before that. Seriously? I had Pneumonia in May?! They say depression can cause memory loss, and they’re … right? I’ll just have to take their word for it…
The point is, I had a big summer. My spouse moved out, I finalized my divorce (which takes fuckingforeverjesus), work was busy, I got promoted (yay), I traveled home (yay?), I was sick, I refinanced my home and got all my bills in order, I didn’t go into massive debt, and I put myself out there in the dating pool for the first time in 11 years. In the beginning, I was a different person: optimistic, energetic, hopeful. I knew this was the start of my new life, and I was ready for it. Oh, kiddo…maybe I was just a little bit naive. It’s OK, though. Things have gotten rough, but I feel like I’m coming back up for air. So I wanted to point out a few important reminders while I can for anyone going through a similar story.
You’re doing the best you can.
This took balls. It wasn’t easy to jump into the unknown, and you should be proud of that. There’s not a guided, step-by-step set of instructions for where to go next. And even if there were, you wouldn’t want to follow someone else’s path. That’s sort of why you did what you did in the first place—it felt inauthentic to blindly go along with everyone’s plans for your future (especially when it involved lies, cheating, or disappearing).
Stop comparing yourself to others.
If it feels like you’re taking a lot of shit from people (in your dwindling circle of spectators in the arena) who think it’s hilarious that you’ve attempted to meet people via online dating tools and apps, chin-up. Ask yourself: Aren’t some of these people currently with their one-and-only forever partner? And, maybe, have they never had to put themselves out there and meet new people beyond their inner circle before? Oh, and didn’t some of them line up a side-guy before they went “solo” so they’ve really got no room to judge? Or, did any of them lose about 99% of their friends when they decided to completely change their lives? What about family? Do they have supportive family nearby (or even far away who will actually take their calls)? The thing is, things aren’t perfect. And if you compare each dating
fiasco adventure to their successful, perfect, happy life, you will be miserable. Which brings us to our next point…
Putting yourself out there is hard.
I’m shy. Really. Making friends this year has been a big deal. But, like everything else, it’s possible.
Failure is proof that you give a fuck.
“I will never love again” – oh my emo! I should carve this in my arm and write a poem about it. I am so dramatic sometimes. But yes, I actually feel this way most of the time. It’s true, sometimes the idea of “love” feels like it’s not even worth it. After all, look at what it did to you. But, actually, it didn’t. And, failing at anything (friends, work, marriage, relationships, the perfect winged eyeliner) is proof that you care. Which is humiliating.
You have an overwhelming capacity for love.
In reality, I knew this during my starry-eyed, hopeful days post-divorce earlier this year. Part of the reason I stayed married so long was that I really loved my spouse. Maybe my ex is shaking his head right now (that bitch!). Anyways, I believe it. I tend to care a lot for people who probably don’t deserve it (who run around on me, lie to me, hurt me over and over.) However, I do NOT love unconditionally—I’ m not a mom. I have limits. Breaking points. I’m human. (I know! I was shocked too!) And I will love again, and I have loved again even if I didn’t realize it at the time (and someone wouldn’t give me 5 goddamn minutes to deal with it). It takes time and a patient person who also gives a fuck.
It won’t always be this way.
It just won’t. This too shall pass. I’ve just never been in this much pain before. So much so that it’s embarrassing. When I see my old friends from way back in the days, I’m ashamed. They can see it. I don’t even know what else to say about this…
Not having plans tonight does not mean you’re a loser.
I won’t always have something fun to do. A lot of people my age have kids. Sometimes staying in with a book is honestly what I want to do. Sometimes, I really just want someone to do something interesting with. It kills when I stay home knowing I could be out doing one of those things I always asked my partner to do int he past. With the holidays coming up, I’m really scared.
You have to STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP.
I told my friend about this and she wanted to know why on earth I was beating myself up? It’s complicated, but I think a lot of people like me do this. I just think it’s how I was raised. I got in trouble when I went through my first breakup as a teenager and I’m not even sure why. I just remember being yelled at for “dating a loser anyway.” It’s always my fault, I guess. I get angry for not having enough self-respect, or for letting myself trust the wrong person. (I should have known better!) Maybe these things are normal? What’s the alternative, though? Never trying again? Never making a mistake because you just never love anyone again? Yeah…sounds like a blast.
To be fair, I may only be catching my breath in between waves (and the next one might be a big one). Still, though. In a weird way, I feel lucky to have had a year like this. I know I’ve learned more than most people get to. It might just be my “best-worst year” yet.