Au Revoir, 2015

I’ve been planning an end of the year post for a while, but after these past few weeks, I really felt like I needed to wrap up what has been one of the most difficult years of my life.

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The first half of 2015 was mentally exhausting. My relationship with my husband was not in the best place (although we were still working at it) and I was overwhelmed by writing and working full time. I wasn’t taking care of myself mentally or physically and it was taking its toll. I was struggling with anxiety and depression and feeling completely overwhelmed and out of control.

When Mr. Vaughn and I split in July, it was the most awful moment of my life.

I wanted to keep working on my marriage, but when that stopped being a possibility I realized I had two options. I could crawl under the covers and give up, or use this as an opportunity to start from scratch.  I chose the latter, and I’m so glad I did.

I quit my day job, moved in with my parents, began seeing a therapist, and starting walking and going to yoga regularly.

I made a plan and I’ve worked really hard at it. Not everything’s gone exactly as planned, of course. My emotional exhaustion made it more difficult for me to write than I expected. Settling into a new house/routine took longer than I hoped. I have a long way to go when it comes to figuring out time management and writing organization.

But I feel good.

I feel mentally solid. There are still rough days, but the worst of it is behind me. I feel healthier and more confident. I’ve lost 35 pounds and increased my balance and flexibility. I’ve gone on a few dates which was weird but good. I’ve spent a lot of time with friends. I’ve realized I actually enjoy going out now that I’m not exhausted and overwhelmed. I released “Connection” in October and “Trust” will be out in late January. I started a facebook group for fans and am putting together a newsletter.

Best of all, I feel like I’m in control of my life again.

A few days ago I met with the soon-to-be ex Mr. Vaughn. It was hard. It was the first time we’d seen each other since I moved out at the end of August. The meeting was sort of spur-of-the-moment. But after talking for about an hour or so, it became very clear that it was something we’d needed to do before we could take that final step. We still love each other. We miss each other a lot. But when it comes right down to it, we aren’t the best people for each other anymore. The thought makes me sad. Letting go and moving on is hard. It hurts so very much. Maybe there was a point somewhere along the way that we could have fixed things. We’ll never really know. But we both know we’re long past that point.  We ended the conversation knowing that when we have the final divorce hearing in a few weeks, it’ll be the right decision.

Best of all, we went out to dinner after. Just as friends. No anger. No tears (although a few threatened and I had to gulp down ice water to steady myself). There are conversational minefields we have to avoid for now. Some things are still too raw. But there was laughter.  And when he hugged me goodbye at the end of the evening it felt good. It felt like the way things were supposed to be. It makes me unbearably sad to know that he’s not going to be my husband anymore. But it feels really good to know that he’ll be my friend.

I’m ready to say goodbye to 2015. Last year, when 2015 started I thought it was going to be a fantastic year. I was wrong. It was hard, painful, and emotionally exhausting. I don’t ever want another year like that again.

But maybe it was exactly what I needed.

So bring on 2016. I’m doing my best to be ready for you, whatever you bring. But could you maybe go a little easy on me? I’m strong. I’m healing. But I’m a little bruised and battered and I sure would appreciate it if you took that into consideration.

Please.


 

Edited because holy typos, Batman.  I don’t know WHAT happened with the weird repeating paragraph. LOL. Sorry about that.

 

Spices and Tears

Life is weird when you’re going through a divorce.  You break down crying over random receipts, anniversary cards you’ve saved make you inexplicably angry, and as you sort through the spices you’ve meticulously put into nice jars and labeled, you think, “fuck you, I’m keeping the fleur de sel we bought on our honeymoon in Paris”.

Spices shouldn’t be one of the hardest parts of this, but somehow they are.  You both love cooking and for years you did it together.  You remember last fall when you decided to divide up the chores—thinking that would relieve some of the stress of you always getting annoyed with each other over when dinner should be made and that you are always so busy writing—you wonder if his comment about there not being enough room in the (admittedly small) kitchen for two cooks meant a hell of lot more than you thought at the time.  Was that when it fell apart?

The lack of answers in the most maddening part.

And now you’re sorting spices and bagging up half of them for him—because damn it, you’re keeping the nice jars you bought and labeled, but you want to be fair and not leave him with bare cupboards—crying because there are so many more good memories than bad.

Your second date, when he made you roast Cornish game hens, cheesy mashed potatoes, and green beans. The first time you made him a pot pie; his favorite meal. The way he was the only one who could cook bell peppers so you actually enjoyed eating them.  The number of Earl Grey desserts you made over the years because it was his favorite tea.  The way he always made the plate look so pretty when he handed you dinner, even right up until the end, when it was clear things were falling apart.

And you sit in your torn-apart dining room—the scent of spices all around you—and sob so hard you can hardly see the keyboard—and wonder how you got it so wrong.

There will be other people to love and probably even ones you will cook with.  Love and great food aren’t over at thirty-three, but what you wouldn’t give for just one more dinner, sitting across the table from him and knowing he still loved you.

You’d eat all the raw green peppers in the world just to have that.

The Next Chapter

I’m not entirely sure what the next chapter of my life entails, but some of it is starting to come together.

I am going to quit my day job, stay with my parents for six months, and see if I can support myself with my writing.   I considered about a thousand different plans, but this is the one that feels like it’ll lead to a happy, healthy future for me.  Getting an apartment of my own was tempting, but I still would have been juggling two jobs on top of adjusting to living alone. In the interest of my mental health, that didn’t seem like an ideal plan. Moving  back to my hometown isn’t my dream, but for six months, I think it’ll make for a softer landing while I readjust and plan the rest of my future.

I put in my notice at the day job today.  This isn’t how I wanted to quit.  What should have been a joyous moment feels weird and flat when all I want to do is celebrate it with Mr. Vaughn. It’s a strange, bittersweet moment instead.

I have insurance more or less squared away (thanks, Obama!) and it will start September 1.  My last day at the day job will be August 28.  In the meantime, I’m sorting/packing/moving.  My dad came and took a load of things home yesterday.

It’s weird and awful to dismantle the house I’ve lived in for the past 8 years.  It’s even more weird and awful to dismantle the rest of my life.  Mr. Vaughn and I are awkwardly cordial. I cry a lot. Sometimes I forget for a few minutes and when I remember it feels like I’ve been kicked in the chest.

Knowing I will be leaving a job that is causing me nothing but stress now is a major help. It allows me to feel in control of my life again.  It gives me something to look forward to.

I’ll be starting fresh in the fall.  I’ll move into a lovely room with a bay window where I’ll spend most days writing.  I think I’ll set my desk up so I can look out over the field where my parents’ horses graze.  I’ll go for walks and play with my camera and get my writing career in order.  I’ll see if I can talk my mom into taking a yoga class with me. I’ll find a therapist who can help me find ways to grieve and move on. I’ll go out with friends and make new ones and try stuff that scares me witless.

Fall has always felt like new beginnings to me and it’s my favorite time of year. I have a vision of waking up on cool, fall mornings and sipping tea while I sit down at my computer and write. It’s something to hold on to as I put one foot in front of the other and get through what needs to be done now. The remainder of the summer will be rough, but I’m starting to see the briefest sliver of a silver lining.

Earlier today, when I was talking to Christoper Koehler, he made an off-hand comment about my move to my parents’ house being a writing retreat, and I like that idea.

So for the next chapter of my life, I’m going to be at a six-month writing retreat.  And bittersweet or not, that’s definitely something to look forward to.

Closing a Chapter

There is no way to make the phrase Mr. Vaughn and I are getting a divorce any less ugly.  It’s raw, like the way the spot in my chest feels every time I draw in a breath. It’s been coming for a while.  A few years, maybe. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact time because it was gradual. Neither of us did anything horrible to the other.  But we did neglect our relationship.  There’s blame on both sides. We weren’t communicating well. I missed hearing what he was saying and he didn’t articulate how serious he felt things had gotten.  I still love him and am willing to fight for the relationship. He isn’t.  There’s not much more to say about that.

It hurts every time I think about the things I could have done differently.  I’d give up almost anything to go back in time and fix things. But I can’t.  So now I’m contemplating a future without him. He’s the person I wanted to grow old and grey with and with that gone, I’m not sure what lies ahead.

I’m terrified and hurting and so damn grateful for the people who’ve helped me through this first part of it.  There’s a lot I have to figure out still. Legally, it won’t be too awful, since we don’t have kids and we’re in agreement about what to do with the house.  But untangling two lives that have been intertwined for eleven years is a tricky, painful process.  I’ve barely begun and there are days I wonder how I’ll ever get through it all.

I probably won’t say much more about it publically, because it’s hard enough to deal with in private.

Those of you who already know, thank you for all the love and support.  I don’t think I would have made it this far without you.

Will this affect my writing? Probably, although these days it feels like a salvation. A distraction from everything else going on in my head.

Even in the darkest, most awful moments, I still believe in happily ever after’s.  Even if mine didn’t work out the way I planned.