Well, it’s May 11. The second year anniversary since The Day.
And I have to say, I feel pretty great.
I have done it, friends. I have scratched and crawled and screamed and cried myself to the other side and it took me two years, but I did it.
That’s not to say that there won’t be moments of sadness. Sometimes, I miss the people I’ve had to excise from my life, but I know that my life is better without them in it. It’s a paradox, to be sure, but I know my decisions are the right ones.
There are moments when I still panic a little, like when I come home and the house is silent and I worry that something terrible has happened to the kids. (The reality is that Cooper is playing video games and Emma is watching TV on the iPad, just FYI.) But I still have those moments–echoes of my own childhood laced with fear of something terrible happening to me. Now I have moments where I fear it for my own children, but those moments are fleeting.
And the anxiety is different than it was before, because now I can own it. I can name it when it happens, briefly feel the feeling, acknowledge it, and then let it go. It is so freeing.
You guys, I FEEL JOY. I never thought it would be so exciting to be able to say that. I laugh for real. I recognize how good life is and how lucky I am to be living this life.
I am happy.
I am okay. I am fantastic, even.
I have to compare what has happened to me over the last year as the feeling you get when you’ve been in extreme physical pain and then suddenly it is gone. Like the moment the epidural takes effect during labor.
Or, when you are having a gall bladder attack and it’s so bad you have to go to the emergency room and when they finally, finally push the morphine and your whole body relaxes and you can’t stop thanking the nurse for making your life so much better. (Why yes, that is a true story and I am thankful to say that the offending gall bladder with its godforsaken gallstones is getting removed next week.)
If you’ve had an experience like this, you know the sheer exhilaration that comes with NOT being in pain anymore. The joy that comes with just feeling normal again. That is how I’ve been feeling. Normal, like a real person living her life, not a sad zombie stumbling through her days listlessly. And it is amazing.
I am so very grateful to be back on the shore with the people I love instead of drowning in the murky depths, or trying to swim in against the current.
I am so very grateful to no longer be thinking about my past every waking moment. To have it haunting and torturing me. To feel like it was the only thing I could talk or write about. I have made peace with it, and it is no longer my present…it is only the past.
A year ago, I couldn’t wait to go into therapy and verbally vomit all the bitterness inside of me. I had so much to say and get out of my soul that I thought I would never be able to stop talking about it.
These days, I may spend a half hour trying to figure out what I am going to talk to my therapist about in my next appointment. My gall bladder? My annoyance that my son plays too many video games? My daughter’s seeming inability to clean up after herself? These things are so trivial, so I mostly talk about the kids and my husband and how proud I am that they are my family, my rocks, the loves of my life.
And I’m proud of what I’ve overcome. Dealing with these kinds of issues is not for the faint of heart, and it would have been so much easier for me to drown it all in alcohol, drugs, or whatever other unhealthy coping mechanism I could find. I could have kept using food as my comfort source, as I have done for most of my life.
But I just had a gut feeling that there was something better on the other side that would be worth the pain and the grueling work.
AND THERE IS.
There is love and happiness and laughter and joy and friendship, and I am so very grateful for all of it.
I am grateful for the people who have stood by me through this, who have helped pull me out, and who have loved me through it.
Life is good.