I wrote this about 9 months ago, I’m in a much better place about everything. After reading it last night I thought it was still worthy of a post.
The One Legged Lady Is Dancing: The Day Your Ex Get’s Engaged Before You
I got the email at 8am and I think I went brain numb. Two years after our
break up there he was engaged on a beach in Maui to a beautiful blond woman named Sharleen. This probably should have pissed me off. The image was entitled “The Happy Couple”. This probably should have made me vomit but the water from the shower just dripped off my body. I realized any jealousy I was experiencing stemmed only from the fact that he found someone first. It was certain, I did not want him back. But still where were the sobs? Where was the pain? For seven years we were together, for seven years he was my best friend and right now that meant jack and squat. I’d just been BCC’d. I was unaware that he was even dating someone, let alone
someone whom he was so serious about that he’d just asked her to marry him. In one mouse click seven years seemed to have evaporated and invalidated and that didn’t make my stomach sick. I couldn’t help but wonder was I ever in love with him? Why was it only at this moment that I knew the answer was no?
Then the real debilitating realization came, I’m 35 years old and I have never truly been in love.
I spent the remainder of day brain numb, sort of in a daze and trying to
find some sort of zen. I wasn’t in any sort of panic, but I was massively
trying to make sense of all of the everything. Life was moving forward
around me at accelerated speeds and all I was left with was an overwhelming
feeling of being left behind. I was going to resist any urges or impulses to
jump on the next guy that comes around just because he’s there. That’s not
cool Spinning Dancer, stay cool. I stuck to my schedule and the next
day went to my “super-duper-bound-to-not-get-you-laid-basic-ballet-class-for-adults” and it was there I was jolted out of my daze.
In my mid 20’s I discovered dance. (There is a pattern in my life, I always seem to always be late to the party.) When I turned 30 the injuries happened. Herniated disks, one 12mm up against the sciatic nerve leaving my left leg with permanent nerve damage. Nothing that was crippling but I now have a button on my foot. This button I have lovingly entitled “Old Dead Foot”. If you push “Old Dead Foot” my entire leg buckles and I go crashing to the floor.
Tonight in ballet there was a new move to be learned. A tour jeté, this jeté is a leap with both legs changing in mid-air done in all directions and in a circle, to be landed on one foot. So when I fell it was because I was looking in the direction I never saw coming. “Old Dead Foot”, I forgot about you. I fell spectacularly hard. I heard audible gasps from behind me. Sprawled on the floor I was sort of in a daze of pain and bewilderment but I popped right back up, shook off the pain and tried it again. And again, I went crashing to the floor.
Soon after my ex and I broke up my amazing friend Rachel consoled me with something so simple. “You’re not done one minute before you’re done.” She is right, the second you are done and that turkey thermometer popping moment happens, that’s it. Turkey is done. My turkey pop moment happened, after seven years of proclaiming that I didn’t feel the need to get married, it was a piece of paper that meant nothing, blah blah blah and then one day it hit me, POP! It was the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to admit to myself, it was not that I didn’t want to get married and have kids, it’s that I didn’t want that with him.
I never told him this. I never had the desire to hurt him that way and I think it’s safe to say that it is never that simple when it comes to relationships. I told him that I couldn’t be with him any more because I knew that he wanted to be married and have children and that’s not where I was and after seven years, I didn’t know if that is a place that I ever would be. I told him that the guilt of stealing time from him to do the things that he wanted was become overwhelming and he deserved to find someone who could give these things to him. That wasn’t a lie and I think it’s the part of this story that got me the most. I would have loved to have known that he was with someone and happy. It would have alleviated my guilt. But I was given no such absolution. Maybe I didn’t deserve it, but there we go hurting each other.
Six months after the break up was the first time we saw each other and naturally it was at was at a wedding. I was in the wedding party and apparently also wearing some sort of scarlet letter. It became clear by the time I walked down the aisle both the brides party and the grooms party had a meeting and come to the conclusion that I was the anti-christ for breaking his heart. With the exception of a hand full of people, I was not talked to or looked in the eye. It wasn’t until the bride’s father during the ceremony gave a speech about giving up love to find a greater love that I found a shimmering beautiful moment of hope. I wasn’t sure why the groom was glaring daggers at his father in law until after when the bride’s father took me aside and said, “I never knew you were so brave, to do what you did. I’d had enough of what was going on. That speech, that one was for you.”
Remembering this moment as I got in my car to go home after the ballet class and the dam broke. All the irrational thoughts flooded in. And not the tired irrational thoughts, like “Oh no, I’ll be the lady in the apartment that choked to death because she lived alone and there was no one there to help her.” No, I’m talking the really new irrational thoughts.
Clearly I would have to procure a child. Reproduce sure. Adoption? Sure. Who cares, some how I would have to get one because I need some sort of indentured servant to take care of me when I am old and if I am really lucky it would be a she and she would be someone with no discernible talent and nothing extraordinary in the looks department. If it were Victorian times she would be the daughter with the extreme case of melancholy so terrible that she would never marry and her epitaph WILL READ “She lived to take care of her mother”!!! WHAT? Oh god, who said that?
Shamefully yes, I actually thought this.
Maybe it was going that low that snapped me out of it. Maybe it was the physical pain of waking up the next morning to a really sore body and me cursing the tour jeté stupid dance move that finally gave my brain a second of air to not think about it that made me realize just like everything else, this too shall pass. Or maybe it was the text from my mom that read,”Wow, well it was bound to happen to one of you eventually. Buy a really really expensive pair of shoes.” that reminded me there were people in my corner keeping it real. But I think it was the fall. It still amazes me that my own physical numbness reminded me that I am not emotionally numb because I got right back up and kept dancing. That kind of unquestionable irrational devotion means love and if you love something like that you must have the capacity to love someone and just to be loved in return.
After many conversations of pondering what it all means I have come to three conclusions. One, life isn’t a race. Everyday I fight a war in my head between the reality of being a single white female with no prospects as a straight plateau into the great horizon of spinsterhood and finding faith that I will find someone someday that I want to be with more than I want to be alone. That’s the war all singles fight. My Ex just got lucky first and luck isn’t a race.
Two, friends are awesome. I do not have that faith that some day my prince will come everyday so I have given that heavy burden to the friend that reminded me that life isn’t a race. With her, I know that my faith is being kept very safe, especially because she’s becoming a Rabbi and while I am not Jewish, all I have to do is look at Rebecca to know that she took our new shared faith very seriously.
Three, if you can find one thing that you love, do it. At your worst times it will always be there for you. It will never betray you and then you will always have a place were you can truly be honest with yourself. If you can do that, that means you’re not lost, you’re on the right track and that’s the only place you ever want to be.
I know I’m on my track, I got back up and kept dancing, even if it was only on one leg.