Step One – Unpacking

Have you ever really looked at your wardrobe?  I mean really taken a look at the clothes you have and said why do I still have this shirt?  I swear to you that as I unpack the things that have taken me 42 to acquire all I can think is – what the hell!

I have found a pair of turquoise Chucks that I bought in 1989.  A brown sweater that I have a picture of myself wearing in 1987. A ring that my 7th grade boyfriend, the love of my life (aka old what’s-his-name), gave me in 1983.  Really.  I have more shirts that I wear as pajamas than I have to wear to work (I have found that as soon as a shirt gets a stain it just moves into the pj drawer).  I have concert tour shirts from 1989 INXS, 1989 Richard Marx, 1990 Def Leppard, 1999 Barry Manilow, and 2004 Guns N Roses.

Really.  Is this how I want my life judged.  If I die tomorrow and my family goes through my things what will they save for my daughter to remember her mother?

Of course the real trauma of the unpacking has been discovering piece by piece the damage my things have incurred during the transition of my ex “packing” my things for me.  Though, if I say so my self, I think that i have desperately worked to remember that things are only things.

I can’t mourn the loss of the brand new dress I bought for my step-daughters wedding – the wedding and her happiness are what matter.  I can’t be bothered to cry over the broken jewlery when it’s the memories that matter more than the possessions.

That was until I found my jeans.  You know, THE JEANS.  Every woman has that pair of jeans. The jeans that you find thinking they are just jeans until that day someone says, “wow your ass looks great in those.”  And you look, and it does.  They become the pivot point of your closet, the center of your dressing, the go to when you need that extra boost in a day.

I found the jeans in the myriad of garbage bags my clothes had been “packed” into.  I washed the jeans, gently dried the jeans in low heat to preserve both size and color. And then, as I went to delicately hang the jeans I saw it – cuts and slashes across both legs.  Rips and holes in THE JEANS!  Finally I understood why everyone kept saying – you know that he had no right to destroy your things right.  THE JEANS!

So, I went to my first meeting to meet other women who have left controlling relationships….

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A new life begins…

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself how did I get here?  That mid-life moment when you look around you and think, holy crap whose life is this?

That moment came for me.  I took my daughter and walked out of a nine year relationship with all the strength and confidence of a woman who is determined to find independance and happiness.   The only catch was I walked right out onto a patch of ice, fractured my ankle in at least four places, and have spent the last two months recovering. Now I’ve had to give up my apartment and move back in with my mother, haven’t been able to drive in two months, can’t go any where unless I beg someone else for a ride, and feel like a burden to the universe.  But….

I am now a week away from the cast coming off and it’s almost time for me to fly…again… But one must pause to ask a few questions before daring to step out the door again:

  1. do i remember how to put my makeup on since i haven’t bothered to put any on in two months?
  2. how many razors will it take to shave my legs?
  3. will i set off metal detectors now that i have two plates and four screws in my ankle?
  4. will i ever have sex again?
  5. how can i make sure that my daughter still sees her father and be nice to a man who shredded my favorite shirts and the only pair of jeans that actually made my ass look great?
  6. will the calluses on my hands ever go away?
  7. will frankensteins bride be jealous of my new scars?
  8. is it normal for him to call 20 times a day to tell me how i have destroyed his life?
  9. what have I done?!!?

How does a woman who gets tired walking to the bathroom on her crutches start to rebuild her whole life?