These excerpts are unedited (except for anything in [brackets]).
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April 12, 2001:
It's nearly impossible to begin.
I'm 25 and have the life of a 35-year-old. What's missing is all the stuff that's supposed to bring a person to that point. The point of being 35 and happily settled. I was working from a really big assumption. First, I assumed that "settling down" wasn't a term that applied to me. Settle? I'd always been settled. A little boy crazy at times, but settled. Serious. Mature for my age. What was I giving up?
I still have no answer -- at least, not one I like. What have I given up? Other men? What's that mean? Independence? To do what? My work life is MORE independent because I have Dave to depend on.
Is this as pathetic as a grass-is-always-greener situation?
Looking at this piece by piece is going to take some time. Is it the lifestyle? The man? Both? Neither? I know what it feels like. It feels as though the man made the lifestyle possible, and that the lifestyle is undesirable, and naturally so is the man who brought it on.
So about that, then.
Before I even get into the sex thing...
Dave is happy. Here, now, like this. He's happy. I start screaming for change so okay -- he can be happy with change. I realize all this means is that he loves me -- he's happy with me. Wherever, however. What does it say that I can't be the same way?
Am I in love with my husband?
Let's think about sex. Kissing. I miss kissing. Really good, hard, long kissing. We don't. We actually never did. A little we did, in the beginning -- but I think about our first kiss and how awful it was. Can I go the rest of my life with only him to kiss? Geez, when I think about it like that, the answer is a decided no.
But there's more to life, love, and happiness than kissing, right? Right?
Um, sure there is.
As for the rest of the physical stuff...it's fine. No bells or whistles. It's fine. I don't care about all the other stuff, actually, as much as I do about the kissing.
When I'm thinking of us as ending, I think of some very specific things. That we don't kiss. That he doesn't really take me, orthat even now, with all this, he insists on getting permission first. That it never just "happens" out of passion. It's a task. That he doesn't/can't dance. That in the end, he'd opt for spending a month in [WDW] than in Europe.
When I'm thinking of the next me -- the best, most incredible version of myself...I see a lot of things.
I realize my ramblings are all over theplace, but so're my thoughts -- emotions -- reasons.
Ok, so me... [what i want my life to look like, the next version of myself:]
I'm finally over my high school days andpeople. They are over and don't matter anymore.
I've been all over. I've made love in the most romantic places on the planet. I've stayed up all night dancing. I've eaten in cafes that are as romantic as they come. Bath, London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Prague. I've lived in California and New York City. I've been shown the world.
Is there anyway to get from here to there? Yes. Can I do it? Well, that's what I'm here to find out.
My whole life's been about a very small circle, with very limited room for growth or change. The goal was outlined years ago, and I cutout all the extraneous crap to get there. College in the traditional sense? Woulda been nice, but didn't affect the foreseen outcome. Marry too young? How? Didn't do anything but make the outcome arrive faster.
It never, ever occurred to me that I am the outcome. Not my house or job, not my husband. Not my marital status, period. Not even my family, or their situation. My life is about me, and I htink I missed that somewhere amid the plight to find ultimate safety.
Safety above all else. And now I'm safe. And I feel dead. No, wait -- I don't feel dead, I felt asleep. Now I'm awake. I can see what I've been doing and what I haven't.
This -- Fairfield County -- is not enough. I think back to my beginnings -- back when I was thought of as a genius kid. When I wasn't afraid of doing anything, or of failing. Was this how I pictured the end? Okay, if not the end, then at least the lifestyle I wanted? Because for all my inner spirit, it comes down to me being 25, in a nearly sexless marriage, fat, bored, resigned to staying in most evenings, convinced that there are no people outside our close family/friends circle worth meeting, turning to the only outlets I can for channeling what's really inside me -- some writing, some online chats, painting the house, buying furniture.
When, in this picture, I've tried ofthought about losing weight, the answer isalways -- why? So that what? I'll look good the three times a year I go out? Is the beach really that much fun? What's the point?
I'm so tired of resigning myself to this version. No more. No more!
And Dave? Dave is the perfect guy forthe woman I thought I was. But I fear he's all wrong for the woman I want to be. How will I know? I already do know. That's not even a real question. The question is...will I do it? Will I leave all that I've known behind? Will I go after becoming better? Or after whatever that even means?
If I do, if I go, if I leave all my everything in search of all else...can he come?
Of course not.
It's fascinating to me to read this now. You'd think that, given this line of thinking, I'd have been happy when Dave decided to go. But as I said before, fantasy and reality are two very different things. I never had it in me to leave Dave.
Excerpt from April 23, 2001:
Dave is so perfect and wonderful. He knows me so well. He treats me like a princess. He adores me unconditionally. And my problem would be? Why would any man appeal to me? Why would Davenot be enough? I don't know. What am I looking for?
Sometimes I wonder if I'm dwellingon the man thing because it distracts me from all the other stuff I should maybe be working on.
Mostly I feel like I just want to be free. Free from everything, and then maybe I can be free from fear. Like, okay, I claim there are all of these things I want to do. But I'm not going to do them if things don't change. I won't do them so long as I'm held back by all the things I've surrounded myself with for protection. Maybe that's what all this comes down to. With a house, it's all about safety.
April 24, 2001. Apparently after having read Bridget Jones's Diary for the first time:
Tonight, sans present, we go to Dave's parents' house for Kathie's birthday. Will not be fun. Will talk much about house-selling, Dave's job, Mark's job, and possibly what we'll do in Denver. Will be cake -- will not eat it. Or much, anyway. Will def. drink wine before we go...
It's kind of funny. I know in hindsight how scared I was then about Mom, but I wouldn't let myself talk about it.
June 18, 2001, in smaller handwriting:
This isn't want I want to be writing or where. I haven't written anything since being in Boston. Nothing about how horrible the last month has been. Nothing about going back and forth, or of crying all the time. Of mom not getting better, of her having cancer. Of the doctors' talking to us. Of finding out. Of falling apart. Of there being no hope save for that of my family...some of them...all of them but me. I don't think there's hope, not in that sense. What I hope is gloomier, sadder, meaner even. I hope this won't get worse. I hope she doesn't get sicker. I hope she never feels too much pain. I hope she can go outside. I hope she never ever has to fully feel what's going on. I hope the rest is peaceful.
And the next entry was from July 7. After Dave left.
Nothing stops the pain. If I take pause to let the thoughts come I hurt so much I could scream. Sometimes I do. The tears are already there, poised, ready for action on a moment's notice. My heart is heavy and I know what that means now.
"Go," she said. "Spread your wings and fly." Just yesterday [Hakuna] said that.
The problem, the blackness I can't escape, the big secret is that I did this. I could've been better. I could've been truer, happier, freer. I was spoiled and rotten. I complained. All the time. I hurt him. All the time. I did this. It's all my fault.
There were -- we had-- problems, true enough. But I know the real truth, the whole truth that he probably doesn't even know.
The truth that if I had been better, he wouldn't have gone. It wasn't really about the words I was saying (though it works out nicely that way) it was that they were ever said. I should've shut up.
Maybe if I'd had gotten a therapist a long time ago...
I've never made a mistake in my life that wasn't fixable. But this I broke. And it doesn't get unbroken.
In what I think of as my better moments, I look hard at this and think my spoiled-girl whining was about choosing between something more "glamorous" and my heart's greatest comfort. The version of myself I wanted to be true -- the version I'd no way to become -- and the version I was already.
Would I leave? Would I have left?
I don't know. I say no, but I suppose it's possible. Maybe I did want to. But I want a lot of things.
It was very easy to see greener grass. There, in the great distance. I would be with a guy like Marcus and in love, with the world -- the WORLD -- as my oyster. Of course that makes the life I had seem less than everything wonderful. But...do you? Do you, in the end, leave? Do you leave everything and go in search of something completely different? If you do, don't you get your heart broken at least twice? I don't think you go. I think you think, and work, and love, and stay.
Yes, I do think so.
And then after all the crap...
September 26, 2001:
Moving day, the first.
Today I leave Fairfield. I'm here at Einstein Bagels enjoying my breakfast. I just mailed off the rest of my stuff -- my lamp and computer. All I've left to do is pack my car, dump the kitty litter, and do a sweep-mop-vacuum through. After that, I'll be on my merry way.
I thought today would be sad. Of course, in some ways it is. Mom's not sharing it with me. Dad's too preoccupied to be more concerned or involved. I'm by myself save for (tremendous) phone support and the cats.
But I surprised myself. I woke up feeling excited, happy. I opened my eyes and couldn't fall back asleep. Like the going on vacation feeling, or Christmas.
I must know this is good. It's what I should have been doing all along. I leave today,and I am free. Free from domesticity, from Fairfield County, from marriage, from all the ties that suffocate.
Today I start the journey.
Today really is the first day of the rest of my life.