Friday, July 15, 2016

Cold day in July (or, the beginning of the fairy tale)

It was 10 years ago this month that my ex moved out.

If I'm honest, I'm still pretty angry sometimes. Angry, because that bastard stole eight years of my life. In those eight years, I could have been out finding the person I'd spend the rest of my life with. Instead, he stuck with me until someone else came along.

(Note that I didn't say "someone better." In every way, the man downgraded. Idiot.)

There's this song that the Dixie Chicks covered, called "Cold Day in July," and it goes something like this:
The moon is full, my heart is empty
all night long, how I pleaded and cried
You always said the day that you would leave me
would be a cold day in July
Well, it wasn't a cold day. It was a blistering July day in Chicagoland, and one of my best friends came over to rescue me from the torture of watching the leaving. Brian dropped the top on the Jeep, and the two of us spent the entire day driving all over hell's half acre. Music blaring, hair flying, we drove.

And when we arrived back at my place, I was well and truly alone. For the first time in my adult life, really, I was single. Didn't wanna be, but like Mick says - you can't always get what you want.

It took a long time and tears before I even decided I would move on. But once I did ... there was no looking back. The person I am becoming barely recognizes the girl I left a decade ago. And sometimes it scares me to death, because I do not know how this story ends.

Sometimes people ask me if I'm afraid of dying alone. If I'm honest, I do have moments when I'm afraid it'll take awhile for people to find the body, especially if I kick it in winter. But the truth is, I won't die alone unless I turn into an asshole. (Spoiler alert: I don't intend to do that.) I'm not alone now. But damn, was I ever alone during the eight years I was with my husband. I was an island. I thought I was on that island with him, but in truth, we had our separate islands.

And so, here I am. Ten years later, still figuring it out. But all that really means is that I'm still growing. Still becoming. It's a good life. It's not as full of romance as I'd planned. There is no white picket fence.

What there is, instead, is a girl who knows herself. Who isn't afraid to be authentic. She understands boundaries, and she understands her worth. She invests in people. She loves thoroughly and well. She cries a lot, but she laughs more. On a scale from one to 10, she feels at an 11. She's barefoot and tan, she hasn't combed her hair in a couple of days, and she had coffee for breakfast.

She's living happily ever after.

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