Lessons in death
Learning to live with your death in the biggest little city
On Thursday, March 23rd I moved the last of my belongings out of the home I had shared with the man I’d loved, more than anyone in the world, for three years.
I remember we were going through the shed in the backyard. I had left work early that day because I could not control my C-PTSD. I had been drowning in emotional flashbacks since September. By March, I was in well over my head. I stood on the outside of the shed as he threw items into the grass. “If you don’t want this stuff, at least throw it away. Don’t leave it here for me.” I stepped back, gagged, and took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, but I don’t really have time for that. I’m just trying to get everything I need so we can be done. Can you please stay calm, I’m really struggling today?”
“I don’t care, flip your shit.”
After another twenty minutes I called my best friend and said, “please come help me get my stuff off his property so I can be done. The only benefit to having to come back here constantly to get stuff is that I can constantly be reminded why I’m leaving.”
As she and I pulled out of the driveway I stood out of my car door and said, “hey, this is a hard day, and it sucks. If I catch you out later, I’ll buy you a drink. Like a final farewell.”
I moved the last of my belongings into my apartment and I sat down, satisfied to be alone. I didn’t know what single people were supposed to do with their time. I grabbed my book and went to my favorite bar. I had great food. I drank a beer or two. I made a friend, a fellow beer advocate. We discussed all the beers we’d had that day and his family. Before I knew it, it was late. I looked up and saw him down the bar. He didn’t have a drink yet. As the tender finished his drink, I asked if I could give it to him and I walked up, very proud and curtsied as I handed him the beer. A moment passed and I looked up, the drink was still in my hand. He was enraged.
Enraged? I was confused. Here is where my memory starts to slip. He stood, scraping his stool across the ground and said, “I’m leaving.” I stood frozen. There were only 12 people in the bar, but every pair of eyes felt like they were on me. I wasn’t embarrassed, that I can recall, I was just confused. By the time I realized I could move again, I was halfway the length from the bar to the door, he was at the door. Just before he was able to step outside I slung the glass, careful not to let it slip from my hand, and hit every inch of his six-foot slender figure with delicious malty goodness.
I don’t remember anything else until Tuesday.
In a town the size of mine, there is really no way to have an incident like this overlooked. There are many acquaintances of mine that I just don’t even attempt to make eye contact with anymore because there is just no way to explain my violent, unintentional actions to people who don’t know me personally. There is no way, no matter how much I write, to explain how painful my life became between my family devastation in September and my boyfriend emotionally abandoning me for the exact type of women that he always told me he could never love. Similarly, there is no way to really express the pain it brings me now when I have to wonder if someone knows “the” story, or my story or his story. I hate that we view history as this 2-D object, we give no weight to the perception of each individual person. We were all right in our own eyes and wrong in the other’s. There is no way to mend this.
However, I have gathered a very important lesson from my very public episode that resulted in a suicide attempt, which is that feelings cannot be wrong. That’s the beauty of them. They are yours. You can feel however you want. I feel angry. I feel vicious. I feel vindictive and vengeful. They are horrible ways to feel but as long as I ensure that my actions don’t come back on anyone, it’s okay to feel them. In fact, I can 100% say that it’s better to feel them than to act out on what should, for all intents and purposes, have been a random stranger in a bar. If I had felt okay with feeling all of my pain over September, maybe March would never have happened. If I hadn’t been chastised for feeling jealous over the emoji-filled conversations and late nights he spent in bars, maybe I wouldn’t have reacted the way I did. If he had been raised to be okay with expressing his feelings, maybe he would have told me he didn’t feel appreciated before he became just another character in my stories.
So for now I’ll sit in my loft with my high ceilings and no one to scold me for sleeping all day and I’ll just grin at my failures, knowing that getting banned from my favorite bar was a small price to pay for coming out ahead.