10 years ago began one of the rockiest decades of my life. In the space of 60 days, I lost 2 grandparents, broke up with one of the best boyfriends I ever had for reasons that seem positively ridiculous now, and allowed all of the worries of a quarter life crisis to kick into full throttle. These stresses would strangle me nightly. I had debilitating insomnia, manic anxiety episodes, and other slightly OCD behaviors that could only be “cured” by a high twice daily dosage of anticonvulsant/mood stabilizers, copious drinking and constant attention from would-be-lovers. To call them suitors would have been an insult to men who actually court women. All of this took place before through low self esteem, I met, fell in love with and married the wrong person. That (discussed ad nauseam) relationship was five-year roller-coaster whose aftermath ricocheted through my life (and finances) longer than the marriage itself.
Instead of taking the much needed time to heal, I leapt into a terribly needy rebound with an ex I called my muse, followed by a farce of a relationship with a selfish and recycled undergrad flame and then dove into a 2 year on again off again stint with a new lover who just didn’t wanna commit. There were other bedfellows and dates along the way, but none that rocked me to my core as hard as the afore mentioned did. I was somehow still standing after all of this self induced drama and I found myself staring summer 2013 full in the face, completely single without a prospect in sight, unsure of what I was supposed to do or who I was supposed to become.
From 2009 to early 2013 I did a great deal of faking the “I’m fine” funk. My happily ever after was off living his happily ever after with someone else and the muse, the man I though I loved more than anything else, broke my heart in an irreparable way in 2012. To add insult to injury, I had to watch him, via some light social media stalking, live out what I’d thought we’d have together with a shorter, younger version of me. Dude didn’t even bother to different cast his same script. He went out and found the Lil’Momma to my Left Eye as it were. Her and my adult lives looked so similar it was hard at a distance to tell them apart.
I thought that pretending that none of the mess of the previous years bothered me was me being strong. I thought that by acting unfazed by heartbreak that could have felled a giant, I was proving that I, a renowned emotional cream puff, was bulletproof and invincible. By pretending to be unbreakable and acting like I didn’t care, I thought I was moving on. 2009-2011 I authored a now defunct blog called “It’s the Lauren Show.” My blog was a performance piece I was desperately trying to live out as a part of my feigned fuerza. I pretended my accounts of dates gone wrong, my attempts to discover love after loss and my revelations were a part of my healing process to recover from my broken marriage. It occurred to me that what it had become was a passive aggressive way to take swipes at those I’d allowed to injure me emotionally under the guise of self-empowerment. In 2011, I took down my blog when me and the recycled undergrad flame in were on the rocks in what I said was an attempt to gain favor with him, but in reality, it was because I didn’t like the blogger bandage I’d laid over the wounds.
Getting divorced hurt like hell.
Breaking up with the boyfriend/bestfriend for reasons that seemed important then still makes me weep today. I mean, I thought he and I were legit going to grow old together chiefing on a porch while we watched our grandkids and our grass grow. Seeeeen?
Getting my heart broken by my muse made me ache in way I can’t even begin to describe.. I couldn’t believe I’d loved someone so long who could get it so wrong when I needed him the most.
Believing that a man whose mind and nookie I loved dearly would one day find me good enough to claim yet never did no matter how much I extended myself and how many allowances I made was as devastating as it was disappointing.
In summer 2013 I watched my "understudy" do to my muse what he’d done to me (cue: I Wanna Be Around...) and felt true schadenfreude upon discovering that my ex husband suffered an injury that caused his narcissistic ass to gain a paunch from lack of activity…. (HI KARMA!) This was a man who insisted I develop a workout regime so that if (not when, if...how did I miss all of these red flags?) I did get pregnant, it wouldn’t be so hard for me to lose the weight. I would be lying if I said I didn’t smile just a wee bit broader to learn that karma truly doesn’t ever forget a name or address. I don’t know if those smiles did it or what the actual turning point was for me, but somewhere in summer 2013 I started to feel like a montage of the following scenes from some of my favorite movies:
* The "Everybody Rejoice/Brand New Day" scene in The Wiz when Evilene melts away, they take a group shower in the sprinklers, the sunlight comes in through the sooty skylights of the factory, and everyone strips off their leathery skin and masks and does that strange celebratory dance in body stockings.
* When at the end of Labrynth after undergoing all these trials and tribulations that helped her both to grow up and to regain her younger brother, Jennifer Connely turns to David Bowie as the Goblin King and said “ You have no power over me.”
* When Miss Sophia sits as the Easter Dinner table, finally feeling like herself again and proceeds to boss and serve everyone at the table. (You ever want a good laugh, look THAT scene up on Youtube and watch all of the interpretations of it.) Or maybe when Celie stands up for herself, FINALLY, and curses Mister....
Take all of those scenes and roll them up into a feeling and THAT was what I felt like. Suddenly, the spell was lifted and after 10 years, I was myself again. No prince had to kiss me to wake me, up, though quiet as kept that would've been ALL TYPES OF AMAZING. Suddenly, I just felt like me again. Who am I?
I am a woman teetering dangerously on the precipice between mid and late thirties who may not be walking the path I thought I would back in 2003, but at least now my footing feels more sure as I step.