Today is day seven of the Oxygen Magazine fitness challenge. I woke up this morning to a stomach tied in knots, with a heart racing, and now I am pacing. I feel anxious, nervous, and tight. I can’t quite find my center. Breathe. I take a deep breath, in through the nose and out through the mouth. I don’t like breathing that way, so I switch it up. I take another deep breath, this time in through the mouth and out through the mouth. I like this way better and then I think about Josh. I shouldn’t think about him, but I can’t help it.
Josh likes to stand in the fresh air of each morning. He pulls open the slide of our patio door as he greets each new day with nature. Our house is surrounded by a stand of tall evergreen trees. There are so many of them it feels like we live in a forest, instead of a city and concrete. Five blocks down the houses are newer, but they are stacked and packed with people who are too close. He could never live that way. I would never mind it. Unless of course my neighbors complained and our neighbors already do. They don’t like our little dogs, but then that is another story.
I think about Josh and my heart sinks like a rock to the bottom of a soul that can not settle on NOW. Just weeks back we were still together and there was so much love. Now I am left with questions and there is no ‘US’. My first question, “How can love be turned off if it was true love in the first place?”
I can’t try to answer that for him, or anyone else. I just know that his final answer was ‘NO’ and my final answer was ‘YES’. I still feel what I feel just as strongly as I felt it then. Of course I love him. I always will. How will that love change now that we are no longer a couple? How is that going to work with our current living situation? Yes, we still live together. For how long? I feel sick when I see my future self looking back and into a house that will empty of me and only him.
I am nervous about the changes that are coming. I keep replaying all the horror that came before I made a home here with Josh. I think about the two bedroom apartement I was renting in the ghetto, and my business, which had been packed up in garage storage since my divorce three years back. I remember my first night being homeless after my landlord kicked my daughter and I onto the street. She was angry that I had written a blog about the slum lord that she is. Her reply was not an amendment to fix black mold or to do what it right. We were on a month to month lease and her answer was, “Get the f*ck out.”
My daughter is disgusted by my tribulations. She is tired of me losing. She is tired of seeing me hurt. She watches me fighting to make something better for myself and she loathes every effort because she would do better. “You can do better.” She insists. She is right too. I can do better and I will. My daughter is only thirteen, “I am still a child,” she reminds me when life is too grown up for her and right now it is. The stress is so severe that she doesn’t want to live with me, fifty-fifty custody turned to, “I want to live with dad. I feel safe with him.”
My friends keep reaching out to me with invitations for fun, visits over coffee, and “Let’s go to the gym.” Most invitations I declined because I need to focus on making it to a safe place and I am not yet there. I am so close to the edge of losing it all, to having nothing, to belonging nowhere, that I feel like I am being dragged and strangled by my own entrails. I tried to explain the phenomina to my daughter yesterday as we drove through downtown Olympia, passing junkies and transients, most of whom were smiling.
“Do you see those people there Sapphire? Those are the people who choose to be happy first. Those are the people who like get high, that seek pleasure before discipline. In our country we have the right to pursue our own happiness, so there is nothing wrong with their personal choice. I do not want that life for you. I need you to understand that feeling good all the time is not what true happiness is. Successful people often struggling with turmoil and unrest. You see my hurt as failure, but it’s not. We feel so that we know the true course of our soul, so that we can take action to make changes. Do not numb your own life force. Trust in it and know that it has a purpose.
The advice for her is easy, but the real for me is not quite so. I lose faith in myself daily and most of those days are lived by the hour. Life with me right now is a rollercoaster. I am not surprised that those I love the most have chosen to move away from me. I am not surprised that my boyfriend realized that he would be happier by himself, and then someday with someone else. Life with me is hard. His life is easy. His life is set, balanced, peaceful, and level. Mine is open like a cave that invites bears and bats alike. My life is a jungle. I try not to focus on that. I try not to focus on the things that want to eat me, on the savage our animal planet is. It’s hard to be here in life and know that I am alone on an individual quest. I keep God in my heart and I talk to him when I am afraid which is often. Then my heart speaks back to me, “It’s OK child. Keep the faith. Keep the focus. You will find your way home to me.”