Yesterday, I set out on the journey west that I have been planning for over a year. What it actually looked like to drive away was different than my imaginings in pretty much every way possible.
In the vision that I didn’t even realize I was creating (until reality showed me that things would be different), Oldman and I spend a day carefully packing our cars and everything fits. We drive off on a beautiful, sunny, summer morning, with fun travel music bouncing and smiles on our adventurous faces. The open road before us, our new, married lives really about to start.
What actually happened was that I drove away by myself, in just my car, at 6pm on a cold, rainy September evening, with a sore throat and a head full of snot. I left a pile of crap on the floor of my parents’ garage, because in my last-minute furious packing the car, it was evident that everything would not, in fact, fit.
|Don't let the smile fool you. I'm about to sneeze.|
I haven’t posted in awhile because my life has pretty much been consumed with fighting. Fighting with Oldman – sometimes against him, as all of our pasts came colliding full force into our naïve marriage, and sometimes with him, standing side by side as we fought together to keep our newborn relationship afloat. Either way, I’ve been fighting nearly every hour of every day for the past two months. There were seven conflict-free days. I counted. Folks, I'm tired.
In the end, he left a few days before me with all of his stuff. We had one last counseling appointment before he left. It was helpful, as they always are, and he still decided to leave. He is not able to tell me how long he will be gone, or whether he will still head west on his own (from his parents’ in Louisiana where is currently), or whether we will meet up, or where, or when.
I’ve done this travel thing alone before, and I know I can do it again. I’ve just never done it as a married woman, without my husband here. I’m not quite sure how to inhabit this new way of being. I’m not a wild single girl. I’m not a happily married girl with my man by my side. It sort of feels like I have the worst of both worlds, not really able to fully embrace either.
Being sick isn’t helping me to think clearly. But it is sort of helping me to stay low. Stay down. Stay quiet. Maybe this trip, at least this first part of it, won’t be like the sunny, windows-down, music-blaring trips of the past. Maybe I’ll be a little quieter this time.
I stayed with my best friend from college, Liz, last night near State College, PA. She’s known me for over ten years. Over a sneezy, hot tea evening at a local eatery, she helped me remember myself. She reached right through my cold-induced-ditziness and my relationship self-pity and reminded me that I’m a fireball. She told me stories of myself from the past. She reminded me who I was before Oldman. She reminded me what I care about, when I shine brightest, and how much I am loved.
I am still sick and sleepy, and still afraid of what will happen to my marriage. I still miss Oldman and wish he was with me. But I don’t miss the fighting. And I don’t miss feeling stuck. When I’m in my car, at least I’m moving. Moving forward, moving somewhere. I’m going to take Liz’s words and keep on going. Stay tuned.