When I was married, I used to (unconsciously) adhere to this atavistic belief that my body belonged to my now ex-husband. I would get uncomfortable if another man found me attractive. I did not want to invite the male gaze. I didn't want to dress provocatively. Not that I dress that way now, but interestingly, as I was going through my closet the other day, I noticed a stark difference in my wardrobe before divorce and post-divorce.
I was going over my old writing and memorabilia the other day and I came across a short story that I had printed from an email. I do not remember who the email was from, nor the author of the story, but I thought I would share it, as I feel like it would resonate with a lot of people.
So I took a long social media hiatus during the last two weeks of the infamous, disastrous, harrowing, perplexing, the-year-that-must-not-be-named, 20th year of the 21st century. I wanted to spend time with my family, friends, my cat, and have some much needed ME time. It was energizing, liberating, empowering, and I felt like I truly lived in the moment and made these last few weeks truly special.
As if 2020 could not be more challenging, a few weeks ago, my mother got diagnosed with Stage 4 Cholangiocarcinoma, also known as cancer of the bile ducts.
She is 68 years old. She has Type 2 diabetes, but apart from that, is relatively healthy. She very rarely drinks, does not smoke, or partake in recreational drugs.
In November 2019, before thoughts of the pandemic were even in our consciousness, my therapist suggested I take a break from dating and having sex. She thought this would help me grow and find out what I truly want as I was vacillating between having casual sex and wanting a relationship at the time (which was just mere months after my divorce, by the way). I was aghast and indignant, feeling betrayed, as if she had no idea who I was after months of seeing each other on a regular basis.
A friend of mine shared this beautiful poem with me almost 20 years ago. I had no idea then that this would resonate with me in a deeply profound way through numerous points in my life. It made me realize how much he really knew me, more than sometimes I even knew myself. It is amazing when you are truly seen and heard by another person and that means everything. It is such a rarity with the ubiquity of social media and the constant curating and crafting of our personas. Allowing ourselves to be authentic and vulnerable is one of the hardest things to do and something that I am constantly working towards.
You're gonna notice that I took an uber protracted hiatus from writing. I have to be completely transparent with you, dear reader, but I went through a drastic change in my marital status last year. It was a complete upheaval and I was truly unable to write (nor did I have the motivation to write). Not only did I have to say goodbye to someone I loved, but I had to say goodbye to who I thought I was as a person.
Put it this way, when I got married at 21, that marriage was so intrinsically attached to my identity that I really felt quite lost there for quite awhile. I didn't know what I wanted, who I was, or who I wanted to be. About 90% of who I thought I was no longer existed and I had no idea who or how to be.
I have a confession to make. I am an addict. It is a full-blown addiction and nearly out of control. It is something that has been going on for about two years now. I admit it. I am addicted to Classpass.
I have never been one of...