I assure you, my dearest reader, the title of this blog was not inspired by chick-lits or Sidney Sheldon’s works. 🙂 I have chosen this title because it occurs to me, over and over again these days, that it didn’t kill me. The thing that I dreaded the most, really didn’t kill me. I am writing this blog with no regrets… and with not a whisker of pain. Because I am alive, content, and most of all, I am hopeful.
A couple of months ago, on a stormy night, I packed my bags, held Boo’s leash, and boarded an auto, after I bade adieu to a life which I thought would get better. To my dismay, the life that I lived for a decade plummeted. I was torn between taking another big leap of faith, and accepting the defeat. I chose the latter. I walked out of what gave me immense amount of pain. My hopes crumbled. My love turned futile. The tenant of my dreams left. I was back at my parents’ place… as their daughter.
Their daughter — that was my identity.
My best friend offered warm words. “You did all you could to save things. It’s now time for you to move on. It’s like you have become a spinster again.” I smirked, and shot a cynical glance at her. “There is another word for what I am going to be. Divorcee,” I spat. She smiled. But, it was a pregnant smile. It seemed as though she wanted to say, “You will know what you are going to be. That time is not too far.” After that fleeting encounter, that confidante of mine threw me to my sorrows. My nightmares. A sea full of sharks.
She withdrew her support; my only companion, who was with me through and through. Even when she receded, I knew she was doing it wilfully to let me slay my demons on my own. My days were empty, nights were excruciating. I ran to my shrink at the drop of a hat. I was mushy, obnoxiously sensitive, anti-social, and suicidal. For the first time in my life, I was scared of myself. Oftentimes, I would sob, pressing my palms against my face. I would ask myself, What am I going to do with myself? How traumatic it is to be lonely! How will I survive? I didn’t have any answers then. It was dark. And, I was terrified.
“Memory chooses to preserve what desire cannot hope to sustain.” — An Unnecessary Woman, Rabih Alameddine
Besides my anxiety, my conscience darted me with a heap of harrowing questions. Were you good enough? Did you take everything for granted? Did you give your best to save things? My attempt to take a brave stab sent me into a never-ending spiral of toxic thoughts. Guilt trapped me; I wallowed in self-pity.
The water was rising above my head, and I was drowning.
In the process of mourning, a tiny, bright thought appeared out of nowhere — I was just not grieving because a decade long relationship had come to a tragic end, but I was petrified of the freedom that I had gained as a consequence.
My room had become just mine. My bed. My finances. And… my time. Instead of reveling in the newly-acquired liberty, I shuddered; the mere thought of not having a partner to share my life almost killed me.
I was wailing because I didn’t know how to live. Most of all, I didn’t know how to live all by myself.
In that fleeting moment, when the revelation occurred, I knew I should kick my legs harder, and keep my head above the harsh waters. And, I inhaled my first breath of freedom.
I stopped airing my dirty laundry to friends. I stopped reflecting on my past. I stopped romanticising trivial things. I stopped blaming myself. I stopped blaming others. I forgave myself. I forgave others. It was cathartic.
I redid my room. I pampered myself by buying a single cot, and a bookshelf. I started doing physical activities. I started spending more time with my family. I started hugging and kissing my mum. I started bantering with my dad. I started opening up to my sister. I began reading voraciously. And, I resumed writing.
I wondered why I didn’t do any of the said things, when life seemed normal. I wondered what made me do such things then. As always, the answers were elusive.
“…it occurred to me that I didn’t have to be amazed by him anymore. There were so many other amazing things in this world. They opened up inside of me like a river. Like I didn’t know I could take a breath and then I breathed. I laughed with the joy of it, and the next moment I was crying… I wasn’t crying because I was happy. I wasn’t crying because I was sad… I was crying because I was full… I was entering. I was leaving.” — Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed
Life is different now. I find my bed adequate. I go to cinemas alone. Sometimes, I dine alone, and still relish my food. I have discovered new hobbies. I shop to my heart’s content. Above all, I am trying not to be anybody’s partner, anybody’s daughter. I am trying to be just me. Identities don’t matter to me. Not anymore.
Who said this? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and stronger.
As much as I appreciate the transformation, I am not annoyingly optimistic about the inevitable changes. I now know the value of a passionate kiss, the warmth of another body against mine, and the meaningless, yet joyful conversations that are exchanged in wee hours. I long for all of it. But, I know that the yearning will pass too.
When I think of what I miss, I tell myself, “One cannot ask for everything in life.”
The storm has now abated. While I am not ashamed of the person I used to be, I am delighted about what I have become.
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” — Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami
I never knew that a stronger person existed in me. I am happy to have met her now. I told you. It didn’t kill me. 🙂
“What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I’d done something I shouldn’t have? What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I’d done other than because it was what I wanted and needed to do? What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do anything differently than I had done? What if yes was the right answer instead of no? What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was what also had got me here? What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?” — Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed
Now that I have fought my toughest battle, I believe more firmly that life finds its way. It really does. 🙂