Autobiography · Relationships


In the envelope went a selection of Christmas cards addressed to the two of us. Several pictures. A couple love notes. The boarding pass from the plane I took from Oakland to Seattle. Random keepsakes collected over the years. My passport. A necklace, my sobriety ring, and my wedding set. And, of course, the certified copies of our marriage and divorce certificates. I closed the clasp and brought it to my parents’ house. Asked my mom to put it in the safe deposit box and that was it. An entire life with someone distilled down to a manila envelope to be tucked into a vault and possibly never brought out again.

I asked Mason if we had any other business after the final check was mailed. After the phone plan was broken up. After the car keys were exchanged. Part of me wanted him to say yes, even though I knew we didn’t have anything left to sort out, nothing to discuss. I just wanted him to tell me he wasn’t ready for me to leave his life yet. But he didn’t. Another time I wanted him to show up, but couldn’t bring myself to ask. A beautifully distilled example of our entire relationship. Neither of us ever being able to ask for what we need. Separated by more than space and time. There was always a wall between us. Something to keep ourselves out and the other person in. Or maybe it was the other way around. It doesn’t matter now, does it?

So this is what it feels like to close off a section of your life. To remember a time with someone, but to know it will never be repeated. There are no second chances here. We do not recycle and come back. It’s over. And that’s just the kind of thing we have to let ourselves believe. We have to hold on to. We have to learn to need. This is moving on.

Andrew pulls his car up next to mine, Astronautalis’ “Guard the Flame” blaring out the windows. I climb inside and we both sing as loud as we can, “Fuck it, if I was that smart, I’d never learned your name…” The music dies and we breathe in deep in unison. Wait, wait, wait. Scream. The sun beats down hard on my face. “One hand strikes the match. One hand guards the flame.” He reaches across the center console of the car and puts his hand in mine. We’re alive.

It’s waking up from something. Breaking out of the sludge I’d been encased in for years. The one that always made me feel broken and afraid. The one that, for whatever reason, my marriage learned to perpetuate. The constant nervous aching of not being enough for someone. Of letting them down. Of losing. Of quitting. Of giving up. I don’t know how we fell into that pattern and I wish we never did. But we did. And that was it.

And here we are. Cut loose. I’m standing in a crowd screaming. My hands are in the air. And for the first time in a long time I am not afraid of being undeserving. I am powerful and lovable and strong. I am unafraid of love because I know how it feels to lose it and how it feels to find it again. How it feels to have it find you. How it feels to be in it with someone who sees you and isn’t afraid of what they’re seeing.

Autobiography · Mental Health · Personal Development · Relationships


tide” © snarl , 2005. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Strangers. Our eyes met and I flashed a smile. The earth was magnetic, chest light and fluttering. He was at once my roots and wings. The world melted and there he stood. Alone. Spotlit. Deafening.

And I find myself having trouble writing about him. About the angles of his body complimenting my curves perfectly. The way we dissolve into giggle fits just by exchanging glances. How his hand regularly reaches for mine, like he needs to be touching me to be sure I’m there. That this is real. That we exist. Here. Together. Finally.

I catch myself wondering if I ought to be jaded. How the broken promise of forever-love should leave me unbelieving. Instead I let him put his hands on either side of my face and kiss me deeply upon greeting. I let my knees get weak and my face to ache from smiling.

There is nothing wrong with inviting love back in.

In the morning he gets up for work and leaves me sleeping. Twisting in the sheets that belong to him. Hours later I climb into the shower. The smell of his shampoo engulfing me in the steam. I breathe deep and boggle at my good fortune of just existing.

He is the first one from the new time. From the beginning years. The first one to meet me after the medication is settled. After I rediscover my own spine and plant my own feet. He is the first one to only see the scars and hear the stories. To not have the memory of the woman I used to be. To not remember how empty I seemed.

We recreate ourselves through others, don’t we? And this time I know how I want to do things differently. So when we’re scared we tell each other, just like when we’re pleased. I stand firm on what’s important to me. I make time to see my friends. I keep writing. I talk to my family. I remember to believe there is nothing wrong with me.

Really believe.

This man does not know the way I pulled my knees to my chest and sobbed about living. He does not know the suffering. And I can see it in the way he looks at me. I am not broken or fragile. I am not a time bomb, a loose cannon. I am not the person I used to be. I’m… Happy. Grateful. Ecstatic and thriving.



"Empty Room, Window" © Tim Samoff, 2005. CC BY-ND 2.0.
Empty Room, Window” © Tim Samoff, 2005. CC BY-ND 2.0.
I don’t keep things. Journals get discarded when filled. My photo collection gets whittled down over and over again. My mind remembers the way old friends formed their letters. The dots of their i’s, the curve of their a’s. But I’ll never uncover intricately folded pieces of notebook paper containing their secrets.

Sometimes I remember an old picture I wish I still had. I catch myself hoping that someone held on to a copy and it will resurface someday. Show up in the mail with no return address as a reminder we used to be different people. Existence used to mean something else. Continue reading →