One Year

July 15, 2013, 5:45pm.  I was lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, waiting for mom to arrive bearing gifts of Sprite and dinner.  Later, Sarah would arrive with hard cider and coconut pie.  My newly single life had begun.

Everyone says the first day is the hardest.  I disagree.  What sucks are all the subsequent days, when you read something you wish you could tell him or have a bad day and wish there was someone waiting at home to drive down to Majestic Diner with.  You miss the company, the history, the comfort.

I watched all seven seasons of Desperate Housewives in a week and a half.  I took cold medicine nightly, so I wouldn’t lie in bed and think of how sad I was, and wonder where he was at that particular moment.  A lot of wine was consumed.  Lots of cookies.

The sharp newness turned to a dull listlessness – empty, waiting, remembering.  August brought my new apartment but then a sharp goodbye to our old apartment, where he left most of his/our belongings to die a sad, lonely death.  It didn’t seem right.  My hopes were raised in September, then dashed again two months later.  Christmas didn’t feel like Christmas, and the bleakness coupled with a nasty case of bronchitis made the holidays less than holly jolly.  I saw 2014 in with the resolution that by December, I’d be me again.  I’d be whole.  February brought the official news that things were truly over, forever, and I made my way to therapy, once a week, because that feeling wasn’t one that had been covered in any book I’d read.

By May, I was feeling that light at the end of the tunnel that everyone talks about.  I was dating again, I’d come to terms with everything that the relationship between Ry and I wasn’t.  I was moving on, accepting, and I could feel it.

And here we are, July 15, 2014.  It’s funny how time can feel so slow until you forget to count the seconds as they pass.  I am healed.  I am well.  My life is heading towards the place I’ve always wanted it to be.

I still feel sad sometimes.  My therapist says I’ll always be a little sensitive in spots, so it doesn’t bother me too much when something pinches. And I figure if I have to reach back to feel that devastation I felt last year then I’m doing ok.

I have a bucket list of summer and fall things to do, things I never would have done if I was still in a relationship.  I’ve checked off a huge chunk, but I panicked the other day – the summer is passing so fast, and I feel like I’m running out of time.  And then I realized: this isn’t an ending.  There is no deadline.  I have countless summers ahead, with all the time in the world left to start again.  And it may not be the life I had planned for myself for so many years.  But unthinkably good things can happen, even late in the game.  You just have to have faith.

I finally do.

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I’m Just a Girl, Standing in Front of a Boy

I watched Notting Hill last night.  Normally, one of my favorite movies.  The music, the dialogue, the classic lines, it all culminates into a pretty damn good movie.

However.

I imagined if the situation was reversed.  Girl get crush on famous guy.  They go out to her sister’s house for dinner, but then, come to find out, he had a girlfriend all along.  Then, he appears again, out of the blue, and they spend the entire day together.  Boy gets upset at the press that’s gathered outside, says horrible things to the girl, and then leaves.  A year goes by.  Boy shows up AGAIN, with an expensive gift and an apology and a plea to give him another chance.

By this time, every female in the world is yelling at the screen.  DON’T DO IT.  HE’S AN ASSHOLE.  YOU DESERVE BETTER.  HE DID IT ONCE, HE’LL DO IT AGAIN.

But here we are instead, back to Hugh Grant pining over Julia Roberts and then the music swells and cameras flash and they live happily ever after.

What a crock of shit.

Another example?  Sex and the City.  Now, anyone who knows me knows my eternal devotion to this show.  However, the older I get the more peeved I get at Mr. Big.  He was a horrible, narcissistic asshole who only called Carrie when he was bored.  He never loved her.  He never felt the same connection with her as she imagined she felt with him.  Yet, here we are, cheering them on because he went to “rescue” her from The Russian in Paris.  And then he leaves her at the altar…and we still cheer them on.

What is wrong with us?  Why do we celebrate men doing things that we would crucify our fellow women for?  Why do we put up with ridiculous behavior in a movie when we all know things would be different in real life?

We’re teaching our girls (and ourselves, honestly) that lovely double standard that has been perpetuated since the dawn of time.  I’m getting sick of it.  Life doesn’t happen like the movies, honey, and expecting it to shows me that you’re sadly separated from reality.

I wish real life was like the movies.  I wish a Hugh Grant or a Mr. Big would come and sweep me off my feet and pine over me and love me forever.  I’d love to sit around and wait for a man, wait for him to rescue me or call me or tell me he loves me and make my life complete.  But that’s not real.  And I’d rather be alone forever than subscribe to a fairy tale that will only hurt me in the end.

Moonlight Through the Pines

It’s a late hour, so please forgive the possible ramblings that might appear forthwith.

Let me begin by saying, I am a Southerner.  I was born here, raised here, and will, by the grace of God, die here.  My family has been Southern for 200-some odd years.  Hell, my ancestors founded one of the most Southern town in South Carolina.  I have roots here.  It’s in my blood.

Which makes working for a Yankee pretty damn hard.  We don’t see things the same way.  We don’t speak the same way.  We don’t communicate with people in the same way.  And lately, it’s been getting me down.  It’s trying.

However, this evening, while in the shower (where most pep talks seem to occur), it came to me.  I’m not leaving this job.  I’m sticking it out, no matter how much it makes me cry and how much wine I want to drink at the end of each day.  I will not quit.  I will not give up.  Does the magnolia break apart in the hurricane?  No…she stands tall, her branches strong and hard.  I can handle these two Yankees and their northern attitudes.  They’re on my turf.  And if I have to act like a crude, loud, and rude Yankee to stake my place in this company, so be it.  I will be northern during the day; I will drink Tennessee whiskey and let my accent come through at night.  I will sleep soundly, knowing I did everything I could do, and in the morning, I will get up and face the new day again.

The South might not rise again, but I certainly will.

So This is the New Year…

…and I don’t feel any different.

Just kidding.  I feel a bit different.

It’s funny how quickly things change, how fast things happen, and how your world can change so dramatically in the span of such a short time.  2013 began with large plans, excitement, promises that this year would be the BEST year ever.  7 months in, the bottom dropped out, and here I am, bringing in another new year alone for the first time in many moons.

However, let’s not dwell on the past.  2013 was not a good year.  It was hard, painful, distressing, and about a thousand other sad adjectives that no one wants to read about.

I’ve made a decision.

I’m not going to dwell on the past anymore.  I’m looking ahead, focusing on the future and forgetting (or, at least not thinking) about what’s behind me.  I have an entire year stretched out before me, open and available for anything I can cook up.  It’s all me, now.  Whatever I want to do, I can do it.  2014 will be the year of discovery, organization, adventure, and healing.  It will be the year of preparation.

Resolutions?  Oh yeah, lots of them.  I’m getting a dog.  I’m getting a new tattoo.  I’m buying myself a fancy KitchenAid mixer.  I’m going to Chicago or Austin (or both).  I’m losing all this damn weight that has appeared over the past 3 years (literally and metaphorically).  I’m finally writing something worthwhile that will enable me to (one day soon) be a real, professional writer.  It’s gonna happen.

By the end of 2014, I will be different.  In all the best ways.

Happy New Year, friends.