It's been so hard to write. It has and it hasn't. It's been hard to write about things that don't eternally matter. I realize that we have bills to pay and empires to build. Most of the day, that makes sense. But in the quiet cracks between sunlight and shadows, my mind wanders to the world not apparent and I know that these things mean nothing.
My eyes have been puffy for the past four months. I never knew my tears could fall so heavily and endlessly down my face. At the moment I think I've come to the end of crying, a renewed sadness overcomes me and they keep flowing. They have to end, I think. But the grief hasn't, and so neither have the tears.
I know it surprises, or rather, confuses some people. If I cared enough to, I'd explain it, but I don't understand it much, either. I just know that a man I shared my life with, good or bad, is gone.
This new reality makes writing about a new restaurant or adventure park hard to do. I go through the motions hoping that something will finally click into place. I go to the openings and the tastings and the screenings and take the pictures and post the tidbits on my social channels and it's true, we ARE having fun. And in my head, I formulate the words, the angle, the flow... but the desire to share floats away in the darkness when left alone with my memories and the horrendous what-if's that plague me.
I stopped writing for the local site... the site I was so much a part of. It had become more a part of me than any of my personal work, and I was thankful for that. There, I could put all the pleasant experiences and not worry about the somber parts of me bleeding onto cheery snippets of everyday existence. Then things changed. The owner went in a new direction and left the day-to-day management to someone I once called a friend. Although I was paid well to share my favorite things, the brewing unease was making it less of a joy.
And then Larry died, and so I took time off to grieve. When I was ready to write again, I found that I wasn't as accepting of the new order and didn't care much for the way we were doing things. With the fresh reminder of how little time we're all allotted, I sort of ghosted my assignments until I finally burned the bridge completely last week. But that was after the outpouring.
November blew in and it was NaNoWriMo once again, and I decided to see if I had anything left. I did. Words poured out onto my screen just like the tears had been pouring down my cheeks. It was a relief in more than just the sense that I was happy to see that I could still write. The relief felt like I was releasing something I'd been holding onto too long... like I was finally letting out the noxious fumes. I finally put those thoughts somewhere outside of myself... those feelings that had been indescribable... the pain that came out as a hollow unfamiliar wailing in the middle of the night... I gave them a home on a document in the cloud, and suddenly, I could breathe again.
As glad as I was to put those thoughts down somewhere, I haven't felt comfortable putting too many of them out everywhere. I might someday, but they still feel too raw... too vulnerable... like a flower that's trying desperately to turn to the sun, petals tearing in the brutal wind, straining to live.
I didn't want to turn this site into a memorial to my dead husband or to my failed marriage or to the senselessness of addiction and loss. I also don't feel entirely comfortable talking about "Where to Grab a Bite with Your Boyfriend" here, either, so I started working on my own local site where those happier posts can live. It's given me a brighter outlook on my day and a return to my local escapes of discovery. The proximity of content to my former site also burned that bridge I mentioned earlier. That's okay. Sometimes, it's better to have no possible way to go back.
Now I turn my eyes to this place and wonder what to do here. Part of me wants to share all the good things that have been happening, because there have been so many good things. But then I share them on Facebook or Instagram and think, well... that's enough. And then I wonder if I should just shut it all down and go find a job of quiet desperation and pretend this was a chapter of my life that was really cool but no longer me. Another part of me... a wild woman with no inhibitions that lives in the dark cracks... she wants to rip off all the bandages and expose every feeling I'm feeling, no matter how much it stings or repels the innocent onlookers.
Lately, I've been thinking about a conversation I had with a really smart and compassionate guy. He described my situation back to me in a way that I knew he understood at a soul level. He reminded me how few people have actually written about the process of going through this pain. There are plenty of articles by the all knowing professionals and some essays told by women already well on the other side of end stage, divorce, or even death, but not many being vulnerable and sharing those weighty topics while walking through it.
We both agreed, my story is not unique. It is, to the degree that I uniquely experienced it, but I'm not the only woman who has lost a loved one to addiction. I'm not the only woman who has hidden the bottles or made excuses for her husband's absence. I'm not the only one who has resented not being able to have a glass of wine at dinner at her own goddam table. I'm not the only one that misses the sober Dr. Jekyll, no matter how much the drunk Mr. Hyde destroyed her life.
The temptation is to get past the pain and to cover all the sad parts with the happy moments and recipes and travels. There's an equal allure to shirk it all and just dive into the grief, vomiting all the bile in my heart all over the screen. I know that doing either is being untrue, so I'll try to strike a balance that feels genuine to my experience.
I know family and friends will beg me to stop airing my dirty chonies for all the world to see. They don't understand that it's unavoidable for me. My pain... my grief... my joy... my happiness... I have only one way to fully express those, and that's in words. And for whatever reason, I have been given this story to tell... these words to share.
And so I have to find a place for them.