Still Me

My whole life, I’ve had this feeling that invades me, most often in the first moments upon waking, but other times too. Sort of a feeling of warmth, contentment, anticipation that bubbles over. I can remember it as a kid, waking up on a summer day with nothing on the horizon. I can remember it when I was in my 20’s and working at a job that I genuinely loved: waking up in the morning with excited anticipation about going to work. I’ve had it even in the trenches of new motherhood: there is nothing, nothing sweeter than opening one eye at the first crack of light to find the eye of a baby that YOU created lying perfectly and hungrily beside you.

Sometimes I had it going up to bed at night, because the routine was the same every night: I would say goodnight to PC, and head to bed while he then stayed up for God knows how long drinking his black soul into oblivion. But the feeling came from the familiarity of routine, the comfortable security that everyone I loved most was under one roof, and life was okay.

Even when things were bad, if there was an argument looming, an unsettled sense of discord, or the normal wear and tear on life…even then, that feeling usually managed to wiggle through.

I’m not sure what I’d call it. Positivity? Happiness? Peace?

But what I do know is that feeling has been absent for the past 5 months.

I remember sensing a little hint of it, like a ghost, during the Christmas festivities with my extended family. How my aunt and I still got a kick out of our inside jokes and my mom’s weirdly huge dog continuously licked food off the table–simultaneously horrifying and amusing us all. How my kids are so comfortable with their family and all these people were mine and that would never change. But then, you know, two days later on Christmas I stood on the front lawn telling my dad how PC ruined Christmas by being drunk, calling his girlfriend, and proceeding to tell me I was dead to him in front of the kids. So, you know. Hard to grasp.

I don’t wake up the mornings with that sense anymore. That sense that all is well, and I’m happy, and excited to start the day. No, instead I wake up with (a) exhaustion from lack of solid sleep (b) intense anxiety over whatever drama has filled the day before or is bound to fill the day to come or (c) heavy sadness or (d) just a bitter sense of being overwhelmed or (e) all of the above.

I try to remember what everyone tells me, all the feel-good, positive, cliché things that I know are true but simply do not seem to penetrate the fog of dysfunction that is my life. Karma! You can do it! Stay strong! You’re better off! You’ll get through this! Don’t let him get to you! And on and on and on.

And this past week, like all the others since November was not without its drama. Last Friday began with a broken washer and a smashed car (see previous post). There were some setbacks…and some strides in my future living situation. PC decided to tell multiple people that the cause of my swiping a tree was not a deer but in fact because I’d been drinking and driving. He made comments about my “drinking” give new meaning to the phrase pot calling the kettle black.

Not to mention, it was a complete fabrication. A flat-out lie. And nothing, pre-PC or post-PC, angers me more than liars. The world is difficult enough to understand without throwing make-believe nonsense out there.

Of course, there would not be a fully complete week without some sort of lawyer/custody/girlfriend/text harassment drama – this time centered around the simple issue of a birthday party. And a dance event. And the mind-numbing realization, again and again and again, that PC’s visitation with his children has nothing to do with spending time with his kids. It’s a facade. Or a way to stick it to me. Its become ever clear to me that the Trollup is the one caring for my kids, the one communicating with me, and as of this week…the one apologizing for the behavior of her boyfriend.

Guess what Trollup? I get it. I know that drill. He’s acting like a child, refusing to do something just for the sake of being difficult, and so you smooth it over, handle things, make excuses or apologies and hope that he sees that in you: that he loves you for it and you make him a better person. I hate to tell you, that won’t happen without a miracle or a lobotomy. But there’s this part of me…the part of me that is a good person that feels like I can’t hate you, at least not right now. Everyone keeps saying, karma will work. She’ll pay for what she did. And sweetie, you will. But I don’t have the cruelty in me to feel anything but sad about that. I’ll still call you Trollup when I write because, well, it has a nice ring.

So that happened. The Trollup apologized for PC’s behavior. And I banged out a bunch of yard work that he should be helping with. And my house-hunting took a major leap. And in 3 days I’m going to the beach with the hope of restoring my soul.

And then this morning, I woke up with it again. That feeling. That bubbling, happy, life is okay feeling. My medium/therapist friend, keeps insisting the tide is turning for you. Maybe it is.

Last night, at 9:15pm I went outside to let the dog do his thing and smoke my last cigarette. I texted my girlfriend, as we do, and commented that in my previous PC life, I would be waiting for him to come home from the bar. Now I do what I want. This is better.

But here’s the thing: inherently, my night is the same. I put the kids to bed (he never helped). I pour a glass of wine. I Facebook, watch Netflix, or sit outside with my dog and text my friends. But I do this for as long or as short of a time as I like. I don’t worry about leaving the door open when I go inside to refill my wine, something that always irritated PC. God forbid bugs get in the house!

I didn’t have to come inside before I wanted to because he would be miffed that he was home and I wasn’t paying attention to him. I wouldn’t stay up later than I wanted because he was droning on and on about himself. I wouldn’t be sitting alone because he was at the bar, and I wouldn’t be waiting for those stupid headlights to turn into the driveway. I wouldn’t need to end my text conversation simply because he arrived home. Instead…I just fundamentally do the same things, with no strings attached. With a simplicity that was always so lacking.

In conclusion, I woke up this morning with that feeling. The reasons are varied and truly simple: it’s a splendid, splendid morning outside. My house smells divine because the windows were open all night. The dog’s big, slobbery head on my stomach is warm and comforting. My book lays open next to me and coffee awaits me downstairs. These are simple, fundamental things that make me happy–these things have not changed. The only thing that has changed is the rotting appendage that I call PC is no longer there.

I’m still me, and there are still glorious things in the world that make me intrinsically content. PC cannot, and will not take that away from me.

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