Friday, September 25, 2009

Reality: not so overrated after all.

In my post, Stockholm Syndrome, I explained how I ignored the things that didn't work in my relationship for a long time. And once I broke the spell of the “syndrome” I had a job to do; I had to face the reality I spent all my energy pushing away. Let me tell you my friends, that was a hard look.

Let me explain.

When the breakup started, I did the only thing I felt like I had any control over; I proceed to pack and gather my belongings from the home we shared and I did this in such a state of panic that I would often collapse wherever I happen to be standing at that moment, as if someone had punched me in the stomach, my legs too weak to hold me up. I'd fall into a heap on the floor, sobbing, and eventually, after I’d worked myself up into a suitable hysterical frenzy and then tire myself out, I'd get up and continue packing away my life. I was in a constant state of fear. Why? Because I was afraid of the unknown and I had no idea what was going to happen to me or even who I was anymore. And when you’re faced with the unknown, you tend to make shit up. And when you’re that scared, it’s not positive shit either.

During the process of leaving, I imagined the following, albeit highly melodramatic, events would unfold. Be forewarned, it's not pretty.

(a) I would soon go insane and unable to care for myself, be committed to the psych ward of a local hospital for an indeterminate length of time. Picturing it clearly, I imagined my parents coming to visit me, viewing me from behind a protective sheet of shatterproof glass, watching me with sad and pained expressions thinking, “But she’s such a bright girl. Why doesn't she snap herself out of this?” (b) As a result of “a” I would need to be heavily sedated/medicated to combat the impending madness I was sure was going to consume my life. (c) Upon my eventual release from said psych ward, I would move into an apartment by myself and it was sure to be the tinniest, dirtiest, darkest and most depressing hovel known to man.

Can you see why I evaded reality for as long as I did? I mean, fuck, I could put up with ANYTHING so long as I didn’t have to endure what was sure to become of me if I didn’t.

So what actually did happen to me?

Well, I had to examine what I had just been through and I was very, sometimes painfully, angry. For a while, I couldn’t sleep. I thought about all the things that I tolerated for so long and who I really was in the relationship, and I talked about it... a lot. I was honest with the closest people in my life for the first time, telling them what my relationship was and what it wasn't. I was totally honest about all of it and that's how I faced reality; by being honest. And for the first time my eyes focused on what I tolerated and the person I’d been for so long in the relationship and I wondered, "Who the fuck was that?!"

After that, I never again felt the hysteria I felt when I was packing my things. I didn’t need to be medicated or live behind a protective sheet of shatterproof glass. I moved into my own apartment and it’s certainly not a hovel; it just happens to be the brightest and warmest home I could ever imagine having. I’ve made new friends in the past two months that are more caring, kind and supportive than the ones that were in my life for the last nine years. Now that's really saying something.

Sometimes, I think, for the first time in a very long time I can see more clearly who I really am. My future isn't the "great bleak unknown" anymore. My ability to ignore reality feels like some distant memory and my tolerance for bullshit has all but disappeared. I'm standing outside of the relationship, the break-up, and who I used to be. Outside of my old reality, I'm coming into focus again. It's really pretty amazing to witness.

So Dear Followers of my humble blog, if you too have left (or are leaving) a relationship that didn't work out, how do you perceive who you were compared to who you are today? And what about your reality? What was it like to face it? I'd love to know, because I know I'm not alone.

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