"Last night, I fell asleep because I was tired, and not because I had to."
That was meant to be the first line of my first post, which I had planned out in the shower on Monday morning. It had been 3 weeks since I broke up with my partner of over 3 years, and after many ups and downs, I thought I’d finally make some break-through. I had thought that my life was finally going to stabilise itself and make some return to normalcy (to my pre-breakup self, or, to my pre-relationship self, or perhaps to some imaginary one — I have no idea, and this is to be determined)
I hadn’t expected, however, that that was the calm before the storm.
In the immediate aftermath of the breakup, I had experienced intense anger and bitterness; but, I had friends who were there to tell me to put my chin up, and important work to distract myself with. I don’t think, however, that I had fully comprehended the size of the hole in my heart, and the overwhelming sense of loneliness that I would experience. It’s the kind of loneliness more primal than fear, wordless and soundless, invisible and formless like mist but capable of weighing you down and make you choke for air.
What I hadn’t realised also was when this feeling would strike me. It would creep up unsuspecting. Yesterday, when Chris was over, it happened in the span of minutes. I felt acutely embarrassed at how I devolved into this non-functioning sad-case so quickly.
Today, it was in the line at the supermarket. I think I was looking at cheese, and like a free association exercise run amok I remembered a couple of months back when we went to Italy and we both tried caccio e pepe for the first time, then, how I managed to recreate it from scratch in my kitchen because I knew how it’d make you happy. I remembered the times you playfully teased me for my love of dairy, despite being slightly lactose intolerant myself.
But then cheese turned into sour milk, and the memory of your teasing sounded less cheeky and more snide, your jokey chiding morphed in the space of mind into exasperation. I can no longer remember which memory is the authentic one, and which one I had made up in order to cope with my feelings.
And then I can feel myself spiralling. I always know when it’s happening to me. The memory of me cooking for you: instead of joy, it now evokes pangs of regret, reminding me of every time I gave and gave, and you took and took, until you were full and I was empty. Every single slight become ‘red flags I should have seen’, or, moments to record for future posterity (to guard my heart? to spitefully retell? to construct him as some sort of monster in order to convince myself of my victimhood?). I rehash old arguments, revisit past memories, dwell on deep hurts.
I try to pull myself out of this spiral, but I can’t. And I’m scared that tonight will be like the every other night this week. I lie in bed and want to suffocate myself with my sheets. I want someone to just beat me up, partly so that I can make my outside feel like my inside, but mostly so that I can be unconscious and accelerate the passage of time. I drink wine, a lot of wine, and watch TV that I’ve already seen before so that falling asleep is easier.
But then I wake up, and more often than not, I find myself wishing that the day will pass quickly so that I can fall asleep and not feel again.
I don’t know why this week has been so especially bad - I think it might have something to do with the fact that in the absence of friends (who are there but are busy with their own problems), and in the absence of work (which is a welcome distraction), I have been forced to confront my state of limbo.
I know that I’m not ready for someone new, but I also know that I can’t get better alone. I’m here too short a time which means that I can’t plant my feet firmly on the ground, but yet I’m here long enough so I can’t convince myself that I’m just a mere traveller, visiting for a spell and then disappearing with no trace and no regrets. I am neither here nor there.
I do genuinely feel that this, doing this, is necessary for my survival.
I feel myself going crazy, haunted by the ghosts of my past and future selves, and feeling them crash into me as I peer past the precarious edge of event horizon, into a dark abyss.
Hopefully, months/years from now, I’ll re-read this and scorn at how silly and maudlin I sound. If you’re reading this, that means that you’ve moved on.
Good for you. I can’t wait to meet you.