I needed a softer landing this weekend. I’ve shed tears every night since Thursday: some out of frustration, others out of elation, but most unfounded. I take and give freely and sometimes I hurt because of both. I need to find a way of letting go when things fall apart.
I drove my old car to my dad’s house and left it, driving away in the once-mine Volkswagen that I’ve been dreaming of since I lost it. She’s mine again. That’s the good news.
Two years ago, amidst the Ike era, he stole enough money from me that I could no longer afford my car. After missing more than one payment, it was repossessed. That moment was rock bottom. I had just left Ike for the last time. My life was in shambles. I still had bruises from our last encounter, and, after moving back into my house for less than a week, a man, his wife, and their Pit-bull waited outside my front door at three o’clock in the morning. They wanted my car key. It was too late to fix my mistake. Within ten minutes, my car was gone. I was facing foreclosure on my house, I was unemployed, I was battered, and the final blow landed me without a car.
The undeniable beauty in this was that there was nowhere for me to go but forward. It was time to pick up the pieces of my shattered life. I made mistakes, I worked my ass off, and I fell in love with a man who didn’t want to love me back. I got a new job, I drove the worst car I’ve ever owned, I got back into teaching, and I reconstructed my broken life.
My dad purchased the car back from the lender, hoping to sell it and make his money back (he co-signed on my original loan). But he never sold it. And every time I went to his house it was there to remind me that I had failed. That I had a long way to go. And that I needed to get my shit together.
That car is now mine again. I picked her up on Thursday night. My life is back together enough that I can afford the payment and my dad trusts me enough again to allow me to take it back. I cried the entire way home. Tears of redemption and joy. With the sun-roof open and the radio blasting, I took the best ride of my life. The one that all of the healing created.
James‘ roommate called me and told me to meet him and his friends for a few drinks. Marissa and Emma (his sister, Marissa’s sister-in-law) were going to be there. This coming week is spring break. I was primed for a kick-off.
When I arrived it was decided that we would all crash at Jack’s place (which happens to be James’ place too). I felt fine about it. I had stayed there one other time and slept on the couch. Plus, Marissa and Emma were there. They would keep me preoccupied.
But, as all stories go, that’s not exactly what happened.
As soon as we got back to their place, I began a verbal assault on James. The funny thing about it is that I don’t truly believe anything that I said about him. I wanted to make him mad. I’m not sure why, really. Maybe he wasn’t giving me the attention that I wanted. Perhaps seeing him triggered some unresolved feelings. Truth be told, neither of those things justify me being rude. But I was. I was a raging lunatic and a total bitch.
Bless his heart, he gave me sweatpants and told me to crash in his bed (while everyone else had a dance party in the living room). In theory, it could have ended there…but it didn’t. And, eventually, he tried to kick me out of his room because I hadn’t stopped being so damn mean. But I, embarrassingly, refused to leave.
I can’t break through the heartbreak of it all. I’m mad at myself for creating romance novels in my head. After all, our story would have been cute if it had played out the way that I wanted. But it didn’t. And I haven’t quite accepted my participation in the mess.
So I woke up Saturday morning to his voice, telling me that we needed to talk. And that I needed to roll over, so that he knew I was listening to him. He had valid points and concerns. I apologized after being filled in on my behaviors. But the ugly truth is that no apology can make those insults any better. I really didn’t mean anything I said, but that doesn’t really matter, because it was said. And words hit hard sometimes.
An hour later, his roommate dropped me off at my new car. On the way home, the guilt of my poor choices weighed heavy on my heart.
I don’t feel that anyone deserves to be treated poorly. However, most of the pain I felt was because I caused anger and frustration in someone else by treating them the way that I had once been treated. And I shed a few tears out of frustration, because I felt like a monster. I wasn’t mad at myself for saying these things to James. I was mad that I could say them to anyone.
After such a high, I was brought back to reality. Perhaps I still had some healing to do.
That night I met Justice and Topher for a much-needed night with close friends. I was soothed again. I was safe with them. I could move forward again.
Later in the night, Justice told me how proud she was of me for getting back on my feet. She told me how scared she was when I came back from Ike. I was unstable and my future was so uncertain, but I pushed myself. And I’d gotten so far.
So, I shed more tears. I knew she was right. And it felt damn good to hear someone else acknowledge it.
It’s not so hard to breathe today. I apologized to James again early this morning. He seems fine.
I have my car. I have my life back and, even though I’m not quite there yet, I know I can do anything with a little work.
The beauty of being a battered woman is that, sometimes, mistakes don’t seem so monumental. Yeah, I was a raging bitch. Yes, I’m pretty ashamed. But the truth is, that it’s not going to set me back.
What I realized through Saturday’s early morning conversation was big. My biggest struggle is in trusting people again. I don’t trust men. I haven’t since I left Ike.
Specifically, I don’t trust men that I didn’t know before Ike. I avoid them. And I need to quit. And I need to trust again. There is no shame in being apprehensive, but there is some in avoiding.
When I’m in a room with new people, I pin myself against a wall. It gives them one less direction to come from for an attack. It protects the back of my head from blows. But if I continue to corner myself, I might just miss out on something fantastic. And I’ll never forgive myself for that.
What I learned from Saturday’s late-night conversation was even bigger. I can persevere. I don’t quite know where that revelation is going to take me, but I do know that I’m not okay with knowing this and doing nothing about it. I mentioned to Megan that I might seek the help of a trauma psychologist. Even if it only takes one or two visits. Maybe I just need to get this shit off my chest. Maybe that will help me stand in the middle of the room instead of the corner. Perhaps I’ll stop being so mean to people who I feel have hurt me.
I’m really happy today, even though I’ve cried more this weekend than I have this year. My journey isn’t over yet. And I have a vehicle to ride in that isn’t going to break down on me while I find the right path.