This week’s snow storm proved to be Winter’s final chance, expunging the last bits of the season’s chill.
No matter how much I want something, it’s easier to leave it untouched. The frost created delusions. Reality was hiding underneath sheets of ice. I understand that now. The warmth of the sun on my skin, the blossoms so eager to split the ground, each prove that the problems are about to be overthrown by a new, understanding chapter.
I don’t love him. Winter just wasn’t my season.
Saturday night started with a reunion. A high school best friend and I decided to have our own hometown pub crawl. Where we ended our night would be left to chance. The atmosphere, music, and conversations would lead us right where we needed to be.
At our final stop, I walked through the door to see one of James’ family members, a sibling of the cousin who told me that he was an idiot over a year ago. And then, as we continued through the entrance way saying generic hellos to those we hardly cared to see, I saw James sitting at the table next to me. And I was immediately thrown off by the chance that I had hoped would bring us good times. But I couldn’t turn around, because the movement was unnecessary. I know where we stand. I know what he wants. Looking back is only proof that I’m not ready to take the steps toward recovery that even he urged me to take. So I didn’t.
Just two days earlier I entered into my first meeting with a domestic abuse/trauma psychologist.
Sitting in the waiting room, surrounded by other women facing the same demons, I spent twenty minutes filling out papers that proved I was not suicidal. The procedure was surreal. I still look back and wonder how I ended up here. Still, Thursday proved to be beneficial. Even though my life looks like it’s put back together, I’m not whole yet.
Some of you will be offended by that statement. You think that because I survived, because I’m a survivor, I should feel whole already. And that I shouldn’t blame myself because I’m the victim. The musicality of those statements is beautiful, but it just isn’t me. I’m not whole. Lying in a bed with a man that I know doesn’t love me and giving myself to him anyway is proof. It’s a dirty little piece of my history for which I won’t feel pride.
I have three goals that my therapist and I would like to see me meet before we end our sessions.
1 – To feel whole again. I don’t want to watch my life unfold and feel that it’s not mine anymore. I want to own it. And be proud of it. And know who I am. And love myself for everything that I’m worth.
2 – To trust others. The only similarity I feel with other people is that we are different. Nobody gets it. Nobody knows how I feel. And I don’t trust them to understand. There are very few people I trust anymore. Mostly, because I’m afraid to tell them anything. They’ll find a weakness and throw me back down the nightmarish tunnel, flailing to grasp something real, until I’m on my knees again. I see the ugliness of this fear. It’s time to trust again.
3 – To trust myself. I don’t. Any time I begin opening up, I question whether I’m making similar mistakes that led me to the battered women’s shelter. When I was dating Ike, I cut off my long hair on a whim. Some people thought I was doing it because he asked me to, but the truth is that I did it so that he couldn’t rip it out of my head anymore. I saw enough blood other ways. I didn’t need it to stain my golden hair.
So, two days after making these goals, I see one person who has proven to hold me back from reaching any sort of happiness. It’s not totally his fault. I’m just as much to blame.
And just a week earlier, I was spewing insults and hatred his way. But Saturday I made the decision to leave him alone. To walk passed him. To pretend he was just another face in the crowd that I didn’t care about.
And the truth is that it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Because I’ve created enough pain while he was around. I know I need to stop putting myself in situations that present unhappiness. If I would have turned around, I would have made the same mistake. I can’t continue threatening my own happiness in that way. And, in some way, I think I threaten his too.
Our only interaction was in one moment when he walked passed me toward the restroom. The space between us was minimal, touching inevitable. I shot him a quick smile and said hello. He walked on, hardly looking at me, and touched the back of my head while reciprocating the greeting. His touch put a peace in my heart. We aren’t any further into this than we were at the beginning. We really didn’t go anywhere. Just as quickly as he passed, my heart was a tiny bit more whole. He cares on some level. And on a completely different level, I don’t.
Anne and I sat and talked until last call. On the way back to her house, I gave her my cell phone. If James tried to call or text, I wasn’t going to respond. And I wasn’t going to seek out his words either. Instead, I would sit and enjoy the company of the girl that I could trust.
He didn’t call. He didn’t text. Maybe Winter wasn’t his season either.
Tonight, I’m breathing. It’s all I had when I left Ike. And maybe now, it’s all I’ll start with again. Just my breath.
And maybe, right now, it’s all I need.