Today I moved out of my apartment. Which means, today also marks the end of that in-limbo phase of my life--that rootless, post-divorce, what-the-fuck-am-I-going-to-do-now period. Oh sure, the world was my oyster and I wasn't tied to any place or thing or way of being, but all that meant was a lot of panic attacks and tears. Did I learn and grow and change and am I all the better for it now? Oh hell yes. Do I ever want to do it again? Not for a trillion dollars.
What happened, happened here. This was ground zero for my post divorce hell. I walked into this quiet apartment, in the middle of nowhere, a good half an hour's drive from all my friends in Scotia, and most nights felt like puking. Sure, I have some really happy memories here too, but I can't say I'm sad to see the place go.
Since tonight is a momentous occasion, I feel I should take stock of the last year, acknowledge it, accept it, and then move on. For old time's sake, one last navel-gazing year-in-review post.
I had forgotten who I was, and this year, I remembered. And I embraced it. All of it. I am who I am and I like what I like. I wouldn't say I'm a much different person at my core, but today I am much happier just doing me with no apologies.
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Re-invention is tough. And when you go from a marriage where everything is done for you--you become pretty helpless and nervous when the job is suddenly yours and no one's available to help. I have really learned a lot from my forced independence this year. It's always a challenge and always will be a challenge, but now I know I can rise to the occasion. I may not do everything perfectly, but it gets done.
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
There are people in my life now that I didn't even know a year ago, and they have become so important to me. I haven't been the easiest person to deal with this year (though I do make a Herculean effort). Most of the time, I'm sunny and happy and pretty damn delightful if I do say so myself, but the people closest to me are well aware that a lot of times I hurt, and seemingly with no reason behind it at all, I'll get sad, or teary, or have an anxiety attack, and get a little clingy and am totally not myself. And they support me, without judgement, and make me laugh, and tease me, and are the proverbial sunshine on my cloudy days. And I've said it a million times already, but here's a million and one, my established friends are the best human beings on Earth and I am lucky and grateful to have such amazing souls in my life. If I start paying them back now for all they've done to help me, support me, and keep me from losing it this year, I might repay them just prior to climbing into my deathbed. No one has better friends than I do.
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
I think for a lot of the year I was emotionally hindered by feelings of guilt and self-doubt. Wondering if I should have stayed in the marriage, was it really as bad as it had seemed, could it have worked out, and wondering what I would be doing if I was still there, living my old life. A completely pointless exercise. As time has marched on, I feel better and better about my decision to move out, and now that I've bought a house and made it feel like my space and my home, I am much happier alone.
5. Pick three words to describe the year..
Stressful. Growth. Rejuvenation.
6. What were the best books you read this year?
I picked up The Art of Falling in Love by Joe Beam at The Dollar Tree on a whim in the early spring. I read it voraciously and it completely changed my opinion about dating, falling in love, and what I should seek in a relationship. Up until I read it, I was very much adrift, and not making rational relationship decisions. The book opened my eyes and then it gave me the clarifying kick in the pants I needed. Since I read the book, my romantic life has been markedly saner.
I no longer feel helpless. I have proven time and again this year that a determined woman (me) can do ANYTHING by herself that a man can do for her. It may not go as smoothly, or be done as quickly, but don't underestimate me. It will get done.
For example, Kira and I moved a 700 pound craft armoire out of my third floor apartment with nothing but a furniture dolly and sheer will. Yes, that was me laying on my stomach on the landing, holding onto the dolly and letting gravity pull it down each flight of stairs. And yes, that was Kira, hanging onto it as counterweight so it wouldn't crash into the wall. Would men have done it more efficiently and with less drama (and bruising)? Yes. Did it get moved anyway? It most certainly did.
9. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
I don't know what I believe at this point. I have a lot of faith that good will triumph over evil, and that there is a force for good that lends its healing light to those who seek it. I have always believed that love is the very essence of all that is good in the world and that love is a force for transformation. I have seen a lot of love this year and I have been transformed.
10. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
I worked on my mental health to the detriment of my physical health. It went to shit. Hopefully now that life is settled, I can grow stronger physically too.
11. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
The people I love, the people in my inner circle, and the ones who mean the most to me, I love fiercely and will do anything for them. I am self-sacrificing to a fault, and will absolutely bend over backward to help someone I care about. But that said, this year, I have also discovered that some people don't deserve the acrobatics, and I am equally fierce about walking away from these toxic, soul-draining users, and removing their drama from my life.
12. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?
I bought a house and made it my own. That meant turquoise walls and whimsical art and happy colors and 2 kittens and bird door knobs and lots of spaces for books.
13. What was your most challenging area of home management?
The process of buying a house on my own was daunting, unpleasant, and I hope to never be under that much scrutiny again.
14. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
I wouldn't say I've wasted much time this year. This girl got a ton of stuff accomplished. In the last year I:
1. Got a job.
2. Moved out of my house where I was fully supported and got myself an apartment, furnished it, , and took over all the bills, insurance, etc. BY MYSELF.
3. Moved again.
4. Got another job and a significant pay increase and increase in responsibility.
5. Adopted a dog.
6. Bought a house.
7. Redecorated and repaired the house. BY MYSELF.
8. Adopted kittens.
9. While keeping my 31 business limping along.
10. All of this while being a mom (first and foremost), a friend (sadly, unreliable), a girlfriend (periodically), a not-batshit crazy ex-wife (usually), while working full time for the first time in 10 years.
15. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
I've done so many things in the past year. Spent a lot of time just thinking and reflecting and trying to understand myself and what I want from this second half of my life. Spending time with the people who mean the most to me has given me some great memories. Meeting new people and trying new things have made me so much braver. Getting up every day and facing my life bravely and saying Fuck This Shit! I'm going to figure out how to do this and make some shit happen for myself! I spend a lot of time giving myself pep talks and saying You've Got This, Brittany! Go forth and be a bad ass today!
16. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
I can do anything. I am braver than I would ever have believed. Stronger than I knew. More resilient. More talented. More amazing. Better. Happier. More. I didnt know this woman existed a year ago.
So with that said, I feel like I've come to the end of this particular story. That mom, who started this blog so many years ago because she desperately wanted to write her novel, and love her boys, and just get through the days of stay-at-home motherhood with her sanity intact, well, she doesn't really exist anymore. Her story changed, and she changed with it.
Sure, I'm still working on my novel but maybe it'll never get finished. And I'm ok with that, because I have so many other things that fill my life now.
This is the last post on this blog. Honestly, so much of it is about my previous life, it's painful to come back here and see my earlier posts. I'm in my new house, living my new life, with new interests, and new characters in my story. I hope you've enjoyed following me on this journey, and I hope you'll join me at Bungalow12302 when I get it up and running (hopefully soon!)
Bye for now!