I'm sitting in Beaner Bar sharing coffee and catching up with one friend when I get a text from another one. "Um, Rachel" it says. I show it to my friend. "Maybe she's mad at you," she suggests. I wait for the followup, expecting something awful. Instead, she's just telling me that my ex, or rather, the hot genius lady's husband who I used to fuck, is at her place of employment. She is a little freaked out by this, but I'm not. It doesn't phase me; I didn't know, and didn't need to know. I'm not mad, but it feels like I'm watching myself in a movie. I'm so grateful to be with a friend who doesn't judge me at all, who knows how weird this time is, with or without text messages. It's weird too that just as I finally start to get to that place of feeling nothing, I've been given all these wonderful professional opportunities; they feel connected, in some strange way, like a sign that if I grow the fuck up, focus on what I have, what I can produce and be, rather than what I can't, zero in on what I'm meant to be working on, gain the courage to change the things I can instead of chasing after those I spent way too much time wishing they were into me, the universe will reward me.
I'm grateful for how little I felt, ashamed of those moments when I still am too weak, too fragile. I hate myself when that happens, when I can't just roll with the punches. I was glad the text came now, when I'm a little stronger, fiercer, when I'm trying to protect my heart, but not protect it too much. There was a time when I'd have either asked her to do some reconnaissance, or burst into tears. Now, I can laugh, mostly, shrug it off. That's all hers, always was, always will be. It has nothing to do with me. I accept that I'm not as young, pretty, smart, kinky, perfect, and I'm okay with that. All that envy just dropped away; its toxicity was starting to seep into way too much of my life, and for nothing. I have no choice, and rather than wasting time regretting all my extreme idiocy, I'm trying to be in the now, regardless of all the TMI, self-inflicted and otherwise. You could tell me he's running for president, he's in your house, whatever, and I'd be okay. No cause for alarm. I get it.
The part that's harder is, after dating so many people who ultimately just weren't that into me, who found it so easy to walk away, having to realize that not everyone is like that. Some people actually like me for me. They aren't comparing me to someone I'll never in a million years be able to hold a candle to, they're not trying to change me or tell me what to do, they're just themselves. There aren't a million games or hoops to jump through.
I don't know if I'm up to that challenge, for simplicity is its own kind of challenge. I don't fetishize codependency and inseparability; the opposite, in fact. I am very much a loner, and for every moment of sociability, I need its opposite. At the first hint of too much togetherness, I crave nothing more than complete solitude. I miss Hawaii not just for the warmth and the beauty, but the quiet. When shit hits the fan here, I think about whether I could make it there, whether we'd be a good fit. I don't know about me and Hawaii any more than I know about the future of my relationship. One day at a time. I just know that that text felt like at test, like a sign...hopefully a good one.
And not to at all compare a breakup to drugs, but yes, I've written about this a lot, and it reminds me of Cat Marnell's Whitney Houston memorial/drug essay in that I will keep writing about it not because anyone tells me I fucking shouldn't (that's also pretty much a sure way to make me never shut up about it) but because I'm done and truly don't care anymore. I'm working toward getting there, because there are infinitely more interesting topics. I'll move on to those soon. Have a few new pieces in the works that I'm excited about, and lots of ideas percolating. Slow and steady.