September 30, 2011

future cat lady?

I'm healing slowly, but I know that there is a part of my heart that is dead now. I feel somewhat untouchable. If anyone attempts to flirt with me — looks deeply into my eyes — they can't even see me. And I don't really even care. I'm just so...heartbroken. Whoever gets me won't get my heart, at least anytime soon. But I don't want to repeat old cycles where I ended up with people who got a "dead version" of me. It's hard to balance loneliness/heartbreak/lust/healing.

After exchanging emails with J the other day...I avoided her when I saw her again at the L this morning. I'm just...not wanting to start anything with her. She deserves someone way better than the hot mess that I am right now!

But on a positive note, my girls are relived that I have gotten myself out of the unhealthy relationship spiral I was caught in, and can finally focus on them. Of course, I will never reveal that the final blowup was in defense of my oldest daughter — that is too much pressure for a child bear — but I'm proud that I finally stood up for her. Big M is going to her first Homecoming game and dance this weekend — and asked a girl as her date. She's definitely curious about girls, thought it may just be a phase for her. She's become active in GLSN and other high school clubs, and is getting all A's so far. We've made a lot of headway in our family therapy sessions towards strengthening family communication and building trust. Single parenting is such a difficult job! I so wish that I had a partner, but I now realize that I am on my own for the long haul...and I'm proud so far of the job I'm doing. Things could definitely be worse. It's really amazing the amount of responsibility they have both taken on, and how well we are all working together under less than ideal circumstances. But I think that it is bringing us closer, because to make it all work, it requires a much higher level of communication.

I'm trying to keep busy — to stave off the loneliness. The weekends when the kids are away are the difficult times. I'm planning on getting some new kittens this weekend to fill the huge dog-shaped hole in my heart. I find myself actually looking down the block some (most) days hoping to catch a glimpse of Olive out for a walk...all while I'm also hoping to avoid The Nurse. And I've given myself permission to skip out on some school functions that would just make my heart hurt more. There's really no requirement that I put myself through that. Maybe someday it won't hurt so bad to be in the same room, making small talk and drinking cocktails and moving around the room awkwardly — but I'm just not able. I've got a new dress, and I plan on wearing it weekend. Fake it until you make it. I'm going to look fucking amazing, going to a couple of events and parties — and maybe I'll actually buy into it and change my attitude. The truth is: maybe I'm just too old for the single scene. It's so...bizarre. I'm not sure how to navigate it and I'm not sure I want to. Geez, what the hell has happened to me? I used to love going out! Now I'd really just love to curl up on the couch with my new cats.

September 28, 2011

Cry Cry Cry

I'm just blogging up a storm these past few days...I guess the floodgates have opened. Writing is certainly helping me process things. Last night I sat and re-read a year's worth of journal entries. Wow. It really drove home the cycle that I was stuck in, the issues that were present, and the need for my relationship to end with The Nurse. Anytime someone puts major deal-breaker conditions on your relationship that you cannot meet, it's time to move on. I couldn't make my children disappear, it's as simple as that.

I've been listening to this song nonstop for days:

And speaking of re-reading through things as a form of process, I came across this old posting today from when The Nurse and were first dating...and so happy. Her comment is even there. I realize that so much of this blog is a history of our relationship — perhaps in time I will have the strength to re-read it all.

So, what am I to think now about the notion of soulmate? I don't know. I just don't. Is it a Hollywood construct? Am I a fool? I know that I believed it with my whole heart...and I want to be a believer, even if that is foolish. Perhaps the fool's life is the happier one. Giving up completely on love — I know too many people who have chosen that path and I don't want to resemble them...but I can admit that I have felt the strong pull to throw in the towel. I mean, heartbreak sucks. Really sucks. But I don't know who I would be then. I wouldn't be me anymore. I would lose some vital part of myself if I gave up that dream. At what age do people finally become so jaded that they just say, "fuck it"?


So I was standing at the L this morning, remembering this girl that I had gone out on a couple of dates with during one of my extended breakups with The Nurse this year. We had clicked on many levels and I remembered when I told her rather callously via email that I was getting back together with The Nurse that she believed I was "worth waiting for." Just then, I looked up and there she was, standing there on the L platform. Unbelievable serendipity! I hadn't seen her in about 4 months — she honestly looked better than ever. The platform was crowded, the train was pulling in and she was engrossed in her book and headphones....I tried to make eye-contact but she didn't see me (or pretended not to) and before I knew it, we were both swept up in the crowd. We ended up kind of close to each other on the train — but considering I was such an asshat to her, I decided not to approach her awkwardly on the train.

I'm really not any more available than I was when I went out with her the first time -- I still need to let go of The Nurse completely if I want a real relationship with any one new. But if J really meant that I was worth waiting for — than I'm not going to regret the email I just sent her.

September 26, 2011


Dear AnimaSola,
I know that you are feeling a deep sense of shame about your depression and where you have let yourself end up emotionally, particularly after having the strength to come out as a lesbian and leave your 10-year marriage behind — but I forgive you. And really, you are so much better than you were a year ago. A year ago was the real low point for you. You and The Nurse went through this whole last year on-again and off-again just so that you could both be a little more okay with letting each other go I think. At least not suicidal, right? Sigh. But you know it was about so much more than the breakup. It's deep issues you've got in there: Yearning for family. Sexual abuse. Abandonment by your mother. So much loss. But this relationship too, has taken a toll on your self-esteem. You were doing all the dreaming for a future that only you wanted. That was certainly clear after you both moved out of your dream apartment last Fall. It was clear that there was no love for your children in her heart — and something very far from love directed at your teenager. You knew that you could never marry a woman who didn't love your children. It's so heartbreaking to even put that into writing, but you both need to face that truth, so that you can heal.

I know you are in deep pain. I know how much it hurts to see The Nurse, her daughter — and oh, the dog you adopted together. How your heart aches for the damned dog! Maybe because her love was so...unconditional, you miss her so. You have permission to avoid as many sporting events, school socials and church gatherings as you need to. You are not required to go to most of these things --but you are required to take care of your heart. You are not required to try to be friends. Right now, that would be asking the impossible. You are not required to put up any fronts for anyone. Protect yourself in anyway you need to. Block/restrict whoever you need to on Facebook. Limit your exposure to postings that might upset you. It doesn't make you a bad person that you are not capable of putting on a false front for the world and pretending to be friends with your ex when you are truly heartbroken. It took you 9 months to get over your last relationship, before The Nurse, so you know it will take some time. Give yourself all the time you need.

When the new girl you don't really know tells you that you have beautiful eyes — you say thank you but you don't pursue it, because you know it's not time yet. Not for anything real. There have been times in your life that you've shared single nights with such women — and men — just to let the loneliness pass away for a moment, just to feel beautiful — just to feel...but did you really feel anything at all? No. You have only ever felt connected within relationship — so that is what you will wait for again. But, of course, you know better than to look for it. It will just come when the time is right again.

It's so odd that you haven't given up on love yet. Heartbroken, crushed, defeated, lying on the couch for days and sobbing and still — still! You're dreaming about future love! You have always believed that it is out there, waiting for you: a true partnership, someone to share your life with and grow old with. And here you are, on the brink of 40 — alone and still dreaming! That is pretty powerful!

Be really good to yourself. Try to eat a little more. Try to keep biking through the Fall. Keep singing! Push yourself really hard to call friends and keep asking people if you can come over and just hang out -- its so good for you, even though it's so hard and I know you'd rather be alone. Keep processing the hard emotions. Don't shut down. Keep exploring new hobbies and rekindling old ones. Connect. Pray. Enjoy bonding time with your girls. Get new pets. And forgive yourself. You fell in love and tried so hard — I know you did. It's okay. I still love you and you are worthy of love and someday, I know that your dreams will come true.
All my love,

September 24, 2011


This post was originally written on 10/28/10 -- but I never had the guts to publish it at the time. But after reading what I wrote today and then stumbling upon this unpublished post from almost exactly a year ago, I realized that it's all connected, and it's time to set it free. This was obviously written from a place of deep pain and depression -- one that I am again trying to navigate, as I find way out of the relationship that had utterly destroyed every bit of my self-esteem. I don't blame anyone but myself for that, to be clear. I was weak at the start, and a year after writing this post, I'm somewhat more grounded after a year of hard work and therapy. Anyway, here it is.
"I'm an effigy, a parody of who I appear to be, put your flaming torches under me."
~ Natalie Merchant

Anima Sola returned home today, succumbing to the familiar flames that define her existence. She has run back here, screaming as if a madwoman, haunted by the words that ring in her ears still, words that can never be taken back. Ever yearning for "family," instead she finds it's wreckage at her feet. She will not utter the word, she dare not, but it cries to escape her lips: soulmate....

It seems like she had only just left this place — realizing her chains were broken — yet the fates have demanded her return here. She cannot resist, for she is empty now, broken. She knows that this place is all that remains for her, and indeed, it is all that exists. The earthly world holds no promise for the lonely soul — only the purifying flames of purgatory can cleanse her of this pain now.

And she is ready for this destruction, it's power so complete that she has had no choice but to totally surrender to it. Proud, to feel every piercing and agonizing blow — even the ones that draw the breath away from her and leave her begging for mercy — because there was a time when she would not allow herself to feel these things at all, and she knows the consequences of such repression.

Feeling this pain is the only choice now. And so with with her eyes fixed heavenward, not knowing the time of her emancipation, she succumbs to the flames, indefinitely, and with faith.

Nursing my wounds

I've been avoiding writing about my breakup with The Nurse. First, because I know that she sometimes reads this blog, but mostly because the pain of it all has been locked deep away inside of me. I haven't cried about it, since we broke up a month-and-a-half-ago. I've tried not to feel much at all. And I don't want to bash her, or the relationship here -- I just need a safe space to feel something. I'm still in such a haze about it all -- really, I went into complete survival mode. I'm not going to rehash any of the details....just accept that I'm starting to tap into the deep pain of losing the girl that I had hoped to marry, of wasting 4 1/2 years of my life on someone who didn't love me, and that although we spent the better part of a year in an agonizing stalemate, in the end it felt like she let me go with effortless ease and abandonment. I wish I could run to the ends of the earth and deposit myself safely in hermitage alone where I could deal with all that is swirling in my heart. It's going to take me a long time to heal this. I still think of her when I wake and when I go to bed -- even though I know she has already replaced me in her life. It doesn't comfort me to know that her friends called me "the best" that she had dated, because I know her pattern, and I know my own. I can't look back for her -- who has utterly destroyed my heart in such a way. I wasn't "the one," wasn't good enough. I've got to learn to be good enough for just myself and love myself anyway. Never has this animasola felt the conscious weight of her chains and chosen to hold on tight to them. Purgatorio. But why? Why can't I just let it go? How long must I torment myself over this?

September 10, 2011

Can they tell?

So, I went to a training seminar today in order to be certified as a volunteer with the Archdiocese of Chicago; this will allow them to run a background check on me so that I can volunteer around my child's school for classroom activities and school functions. While I knew that the VIRTUS training was centered around child sexual abuse, I guess I hadn't prepared myself mentally or emotionally. As the seminar began, I panned the room and wondered -- I am the only adult in here who is an abuse survivor? Later, as I choked back tears and wiped away the few the rolled down my burning cheeks as the child victims told stories of their pain and suffering in the videos we watched -- I wondered if anyone was noticing. It was definitely a tough couple of hours for me to get through. I managed to pull it together, before the "table discussion" portion after each of the two videos -- but wow, I really couldn't wait to get out of there. Afterward, I couldn't help but reflect on some of what I had learned in the videos and apply it to my own life and experiences. As was noted, victims of abuse often have difficulty with lasting relationships. Well, here I am, nearly 40 years old, another failed relationship at my feet. I don't know if I can say that I'm doing any worse than my peers though. People everywhere seem to have trouble with relationships, for all manner of reasons. Still, I didn't see myself as going into my 40's as a single gal -- I had hoped to be more settled by now. The video pointed out that victims of abuse are unable to trust because the ability to trust has been fundamentally damaged. Perhaps that is why I have been drawn both to other abuse survivors and/or abusive/toxic/addicts. In any case, it left me in a melancholy state for the rest of the day. I do know that I fundamentally believe that most people are good. I have learned to trust my intuition -- which is the most important thing any abuse survivor can do -- trust themselves. There are things that I will likely always struggle with -- like being alone and feeling safe: I remind myself that I am never truly alone -- God is with me always. Being given tools to help protect other children from abuse was empowering and worthwhile -- and on some level, healing. It was nice to be in a room full of adults on a mission to protect children from the predators out there who our children probably already know and trust.