Piano Face

Seven months after the fact

I still occasionally crack.

The tears well up in their usual place,

Remembering her delicate face.

My heart used to thump when I saw it:

When she played piano

When she was freshly showered

When she puttered around in her pajamas

When she concentrated hard on a puzzle.

Now I can barely remember her smile…

But that delicate face used to make me melt,

And it’s all I see as the tears are falling.

I don’t know why they continue to come calling.

I think it’s because she made my heart grow larger than it had ever been

And now all that extra space is empty, and I can’t say when it’ll be filled again.

Day 219


I’m in a Rut

I am functional and focused on moving on. I am doing all the right things; I’m focused on me and working to develop friendships and hobbies. I’m putting thought into who I am and who I want to be. For the most part I’m enjoying life and the newfound sense of freedom. I’m definitely on the road to recovery.

But at the same time, I’m in a rut. I come home from hanging out with friends and I’m lonely. I see other friends having fun on social media without me and I get depressed; why didn’t they think of me (although I didn’t text them either)? I have dreams where my ex comes back to me and in the dream, I’m happy. These dreams worm their way into my brain as seeds of hope for us. This woman dashed my hopes and dreams, rejected my love and commitment, and yet there is a piece of my brain that holds on to her. That assumes we’re just on a break and she’ll be coming back. It simmers under the surface, bubbles to the top when my mind is blank or I’m day dreaming.

Having these feelings makes me exasperated… makes me feel like I’m not moving on fast enough. There is no logical reason to hold out any hope for her after what she did, but it’s still there deep down inside despite my best efforts. I assume it will go away with time, but I don’t like it.

Day 200

The Anger Stage

I supported you financially for five years. I paid all all rent, all bills, and a decidedly large chunk of your classes and courses. I worked full time, you part time and then only occasionally because getting your dream careers started took time. You sometimes contributed for groceries but then would get upset about not having any money and I would reassure you that I could cover them, that you should save. I worked continuously so you could pursue your passions.
–You said you needed someone more generous at heart.

Fuck you.

I supported you emotionally when all your schemes and projects failed. I invested all of my emotional energies into being your shoulder to cry on, and your therapist. I spent countless hours consoling you and doing my best to help you gain confidence and meaning. I stayed up late, got up early, did everything I could to help you feel good. I wanted to pull my hair out at times but more than anything I wanted you to be happy.
–You said you needed someone more kind.

Fuck you.

We got into fights in the early days because our personalities were so different and we dealt with conflict in different ways. But over the years I changed my entire worldview, my inner personality, and my outlook on life to better understand you and be aligned with you.
–You said you needed someone who was more like you.

Fuck you.

When you started doubting us, I asked you about our wedding vows. I asked how you could have stood before me and your family and read wedding vows, since you were claiming to have never felt 100% sure of us. Didn’t you take those seriously? I did!
–You said, “to be honest I don’t think I really believed the vows myself at the time”.

Fuck you.

We were in love for five years. You were my everything. Bringing you joy and happiness was my #1 goal, and became my chief hobby. I lost myself in you. I gave you everything I had and still had more to give if only I was given the chance.
–You gave up on us three weeks after first telling me you were having doubts. You didn’t do me the courtesy of even trying; you never got around to scheduling that couples therapy appointment…

The last time we saw each other, to sign the divorce papers, I had prepared some things to say. I knew this was the ultimate moment, the climax of all our time together, of our entire shared life, and that we would never see each other again. I wanted to make sure I expressed to you what you had meant to me, what you were leaving behind, and how what you were doing made me feel. I knew if I didn’t think things through ahead of time and write them down, I would fail to speak clearly and regret it. Reading these final words to you was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life, and by far the saddest.
–While I sobbed through the words you also cried softly, but you said nothing. After ending our five year relationship you had nothing to say. You came prepared with nothing to tell me, no closure to offer. You told me you’d write me a letter, that would explain everything and give me more information on the decision you made. You said you’d write my parents one too. Six months later the only thing that’s been written is this blog, by me.

You’re a shitty person. It’s too bad I have so many fond memories with you, because I am becoming decidedly less fond OF you.

Fuck you Annabelle.

Day 179

On Dating: When is it Time?

When is time to start dating? What is the temporal milestone that should be passed after a heart-breaking split? What is the emotional waypoint in your recovery that should first be reached? There is so much that can go wrong with dating if you’re not ready… things like inauthentically falling in love with the first person who likes you back, not being emotionally available to someone who develops feelings for you, being TOO emotional with someone who doesn’t really care, etc

Knowing when it’s time, and if I’m ready is something I’m struggling with lately. I have learned from my past relationship that I enjoy life best when sharing it with someone else. I want to have a partner again to share life with; the rushes of excitement, the mundane details… the highs, the lows, the good the bad. But at the same time I don’t know if I’m ready yet. I don’t find myself attracted to many women right now, and I can’t imagine being intimate with anyone. It’s not out of any lingering attachment to my ex–that ship has thoroughly sailed–but there’s something holding me back, telling me it’s not time yet. I don’t really even know what I’m looking for, or how to know when I find it!

But I worry that it’s simply the overwhelming newness of dating, the unknown of it, rather than a legitimate emotional reason. After all, even though I am now 31 I haven’t ever really dated as an adult. I wonder if I’m holding back just because of the “unknown” factor, and I’m missing out on chances at finding someone as a result.

But at the same time dating just seems like a lot of… work. Lots of effort and energy put into a process that isn’t guaranteed to return a result. And at the moment I’ve gotten to a place where I’m finally starting to enjoy life a bit; nurturing some friendships, developing some hobbies. Why rush back in?

To date or not to date, this is the question and this is where I need your help. When did you start dating again after your bad break up, and how did it go?
What advice do you have for me, oh all-knowing blogosphere?

Day 166

Sunday Musings

What is happiness without sadness?

What is joy without pain?

What is success without failure?

What is day without night?

What is a really tasty, freshly glazed donut straight from the fryer without the prepackaged, stale, powdered sugar kind?

None of the former can be appreciated without an experience of the former. You gotta have experienced the bad to recognize the good, and to know what it is that makes the good worth enjoying.

What is my future life and relationship without this current period of sadness and change?

A quote from Netflix documentary Last Chance U in which Blues musician Jimmy “Duck” Holmes talks about the gradual decline of the town of Clarksdale, MS:

It is what it is, man.
And that’s LIFE, period: it IS what it is.
And once you get past it, it was what it was… but now it is what it is.

I think you have to watch the episode for the full gravity and context of the statement. I’m not sure what it means to me specifically, but it struck a chord. I think it has to do with an acceptance of life, of the things that have happened and the way things are… one day those things won’t matter anymore, but now they do matter and that’s okay. But accept them. Acknowledge the things you can’t change. Roll with the punches. Deal with it. Rise, rinse & repeat.

Day 143.

Moving on is a Bitch Pt 2

Expanding on yesterday’s poem, I’ve hit a snag in my recovery.

Things had been going pretty well, I was going weeks at a time without crying and I was excited about the future. It seemed that the past was in the past and there was nothing but a blue-skied future ahead. However, the past few weeks have seen a reversion back into melancholy and sadness. Memories of her and times we shared together are bubbling to the surface with their old regularity, accompanied by daily watery eyes.

I was shocked to catch myself thinking if she came back, I would accept her and still love her. That’s crazy talk! We’re DIVORCED… she ain’t coming back and I know it.

What happened? Have I gone backwards?

In the immediate aftermath of the split, there was nothing but pain, loss, confusion… the raw emotions the come from from having your partner of many years, the object of your devotion, suddenly end things. Every little thing was a trigger for sadness and I couldn’t even keep it together through the morning bike commute to work.

Then, after a few weeks, the pain morphed into action. There were divorce steps to organize, a project to work on. Grocery shopping and weekly dinners were something to figure out, another challenge. All the chores we used to split, like laundry, were now back on my plate and had to be slotted in. Everything old became new again; fresh challenges were tackled, new routines and habits were figured out, new freedoms were discovered. I spent time thinking about who I am, what makes me me, and what I’ll look for in my future partner. The silver lining started to materialize. Looking back, this was around when I wrote Movement.

That period took me into the holidays, which despite some trepidation about being alone for this festive time, were a welcome distraction. I was lucky enough to spend two weeks back in the midwest over both Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Years. Being removed from Portland, back in familiar surroundings with family and friends, was enjoyable and for the most part made me feel happy and supported.

This momentum continued on through my return to home in January. I even returned to the therapist, not to get help moving on but to talk through my desire to start dating and how to approach it. But then, a few weeks ago, I found myself back in the sad state of mind. The sheen of my new life suddenly wore off: I am alone. Reality has set in… all the time, the years, spent getting to know her have been for naught. Finding someone new will be just as long of a journey, not something that will happen overnight. I desire a life partner, but it will take years to get there with someone. In other words, I’m going to be alone for a long time. This dose of reality is what brought me back to Earth, and likely is what has my brain serving up fond memories of the past, wishfully hoping I’ll make some attempt to regain that past relationship.

I know I’m going to be okay. I know I just need to keep continuing forward and this pain will subside, that this is just a phase. But I’ll be damned if it doesn’t suck any less than it did on day 1.

Day 121

Moving on is a Bitch Pt. 1

Hello sadness my old friend
Didn’t think I’d see you again.
I was doing so well,
Focusing on me and my new life was quite swell.
Thought I had left her in the past
But I guess no one moves on that fast.
Now I’m seeing her nightly when I’m sleeping
And waking up feeling like weeping.
Our memories constantly boil to the surface of my mind
As I realize a new partner will be so hard to find.
I think I can find someone better
But for now, to our legacy I am still fettered.

So I’ll keep on living.
Knowing that one day this sadness, I’ll be able to ditch.
But in the meantime I have learned one thing:
Moving on is a bitch.

Day 120