What a week. I have felt like I was in the middle of a downward-spiraling hurricane of depression and self-pity, with no way to pull myself out. I’m climbing back up. I always do. And as I spend Thanksgiving day alone, I feel the need to reflect out loud about the things that have brought me to this point, and why I know I can move forward.
Yesterday, when I was trying to figure out why I felt like my soul was being crushed into a grey mass of oblivion, I knew part of it was the impending holiday spent alone. I was shutting everyone out, pushing away friends and family, because I didn’t want to be a part of anyone else’s family day. I didn’t want to put on a happy face and go through the motions of someone else’s traditions. I wanted to be alone. Honestly, holidays for the past few years have been positively hell even with my own family around for them. Either Mr. Smith was about to deploy, or deployed, or back from deployment and making me miserable. Our holidays always sucked.
Then I thought about the last time I was alone on Thanksgiving. It was 1999. I lived in Spain at the time, and I was pregnant from a one-night stand with a married guy. I decided to have an abortion, but since the procedure is illegal in Spain, I had to fly to the States. I had no one to come with me. I flew in on Tuesday, found a hotel near the clinic, and went by myself to have an abortion on Wednesday. I have never felt so stranded in my life. Until the next day, when I sat in a hotel room, in physical and mental anguish, alone on Thanksgiving day. My family knew I was in the States, and my mom was upset that I couldn’t fly to Kansas to spend the day with them. I told her I was there on a temporary work assignment. I flew back to Spain the next day, and I resumed a miserably lonely existence riding out some of the worst months of my life. Which is saying a lot, considering some of my shit.
Back to the present time… yesterday, I opened up and try to relay this bit of history to someone I’ll call Birch who was trying to understand why I was so upset. Mid-story, I got a phone call from Mr. Smith, who had been blowing me up about needing to talk about divorce “stuff”. That turned out to be a subterfuge for a much larger announcement, made even more ironic by my trip down memory lane… he was calling to tell me that his girlfriend (who also happens to be his first ex-wife aka Voldemort #2, for those who aren’t in the know) is pregnant. And they wanted to tell Bug about it, along with the rest of his family on Thanksgiving (all of whom had been inviting me to join them… thank God I didn’t).
End of phone call. *Cue meltdown.*
Birch called back. I told him what I had just learned and started bawling. I don’t know why it hurt me so much. It just hurt. Usually at this point, I would shut down, stop talking to anyone, hang up, go radar silent. For some reason, I can talk to Birch like I’ve never talked to anyone. I still feel like I don’t make sense outside of my head, and that I’m rambling and awkward, but at least I’m talking.
Eventually it started to come out. I was tired of seeing everyone else being happy around while I’m alone. I’m tired of feeling confused and lost. I’m tired of keeping my feelings so closely guarded that I have no outlet for them. And, in this case, my feelings were of fear. Fear that Mr. Smith and Voldemort #2 are starting a family, one that will include my son and will give him something that I can’t… like siblings, and two parents… fear that I will never be happy or in love again. That part of me will always be alone in a hotel room on Thanksgiving, hating myself for the decisions I’ve made. Ugh.
I spent the rest of yesterday in a pretty solid funk. I stayed up late, on my couch, drinking and smoking myself in to oblivion. At least I calmed down a bit, had a couple of good conversations — including one in which I called Bittersweet to tell her the baby news and we shared a good laugh over what an idiot my ex is. I went to bed feeling about a million times better than I had that morning.
When I woke up today (at almost 2 p.m.), it was hard to get out of bed knowing that everyone else I know was probably surrounded by family or friends, eating, sharing, getting on each other’s nerves… but I took a deep breath and got up anyway.
I cooked myself some awesome food, looked up movie times to go see a show, thought about getting in the shower to get ready to get out of the house… and then I proceeded to lay on the couch surrounded by blankets, pillows, my heating pad, and food. I watched a lot of Glee, and ignored “happy Thanksgiving” text messages. I talked to Bug on the phone and tried to not cry when he asked me how my day was.
Maybe that sounds awful and depressing, but it’s an improvement over how I’ve been feeling. Because I need to cut myself some slack and take a day to rest and just… FEEL. Without wallowing in guilt or self-pity for sometimes being down, or having days (hell, weeks) when I don’t get done what I want to get done. I have a past, and some of it is brutal. But I have come so far and learned so much. Now, I have beautiful things in my life that I can appreciate even more because of everything I’ve experienced.
So, today, I am thankful. For being strong enough to be alone. For being able to move forward and open myself up again. For being able to recognize that part of having a lot of good in your life means sometimes having a little bit of pain and darkness. I’m thankful for my past, and even more thankful for all the possibilities of my future.