Mid-last week, I decided to make a list about all the Great Things About Being Single Again. The number one thing on that list?
How much longer a tube of toothpaste will last me.
When I discovered that, I laughed for a solid eight minutes. It was one of those side-aching, cheeks-hurting kind of laughs. Of course it devolved into tears, but if saving toothpaste isn’t just a huge plus side to finding yourself single, I don’t know what is.
In order to Stay Busy And Not Get Sad, I’ve been doing all of the things I’ve put off. I bought the new furniture I needed. I applied to a few jobs. I started playing piano again. I hung out with my friends. I made NEW friends. I wrote a lot–way more than I have in the past year. And in the space of this new-found singledom, I realized that I had been as stuck as the relationship had been.
I had lost myself. Not my personality, because it’s hard to lose as awesome of a personality as mine (thanks, mom!) but I lost my drive. I started to read all of my old journals to figure out the where and why of losing it, and I found it in bits and pieces like:
I don’t know how many more mini-rejections I can take before my heart breaks completely.
I just want to spend time with him and leave my weekends open to see my friends and do other things.
I love him but I’m scared.
I have always been about the path of least resistance. I defer to everyone else’s preferences because there was a time in my life where it was impossible to have my own, both situationally and because I was too fucking scared to try. I try to make as little waves as possible in someone else’s pool; I’m the kid in the shallow end that hugs the wall and lets everyone else splash around.
Basically, I will literally bend over backwards to accommodate someone–and yes, I mean literally, but don’t be gross about it, perverts.
I have done this in every single relationship I have ever been in. Oh, you need space to decide between me and a boy? Take it. Oh, you suddenly want to go hang out with your friends when I flew into town just to see you? That’s fine. You have a BBQ to go to instead of holding my hand in the hospital? Sure, I get it, you made plans. You don’t want me to hang out with my friends anymore because you think I may be sleeping with all of them? That sounds reasonable. You don’t want to talk about our relationship but instead do the same thing every weekend? I’d love to!
I gave all of my energy into using the time I had with this person that I let all the other things that I could do on the weekends disappear, because the weekends were the only time this person was All Mine. But I was too scared to get into the why of it, because I knew then that it’d be over, and I didn’t want it to be over. So I thank him for the bravery it took to end it and stop holding both of us back.
And then I was reminded of my Biggest Truth, the thing I’ve always known but had let settle deep in my stomach next to that piece of gum I swallowed in sixth grade: I am responsible for my own happiness.
I’ve known that all along, of course. I am the happiest goddamn person you’ll meet, and even when I’m depressed I’ll put on a smile and crack jokes and laugh loudly and often. But somehow I forgot that me time is fucking awesome. I used to measure my alone time as a barometer of how-long-until-I-get-to-see-him time, and that’s just so stupid it makes my head hurt. I had thrown my entire self into the relationship, and I had lost it.
Well, now I’m doing all the things I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t because they would have taken up Our Time. I’m stretching so far beyond my comfort zone that I’d be having panic attacks if my Zoloft dose was any lower than it is. I’m reconnecting to old passions like piano, and doing yoga again for the first time since the election. I’m cutting my hair. I’m planning my next tattoo. I’m getting rid of the things that don’t serve me, both metaphorically and literally.
Nights are still the hardest. I’ll cry as I brush my teeth, which is a really unfortunate look, and I’ll cry as I get into bed and reach over and feel no one. I’ll cry for the first five minutes in bed before the insomnia sets in and I stare at the ceiling for hours upon hours, trying to count down from 1000. (If you’ve never counted down from 1000 when you’re tired before, do it. It’s so boring, you’ll fall asleep by 800. Unless you’re recently single. Then the results aren’t guaranteed.)
But I’m happy, or as happy as I can be, and that is really cool. So I’ll take that, and my extra toothpaste, and I will keep crying at night for as long as it serves me. When it no longer does, I’ll give that away, too.