Ten years ago, on my thirtieth birthday, I started this blog, thinking that I’d use it to record all of the happenings of my thirties.
I kept up with it pretty faithfully, to be honest… and while it was destroyed in 2020 by an asshole who couldn’t handle the fact that he wasn’t worthy of keeping me in his life (you can read the archives once I get them up next week), I’ve spent the last couple of years rebuilding this thing from scratch and formulating a second platform altogether to host the archives on so that I can keep this thing going, completely preserved, and as accurate as I could.
As forty approached, and as I started cataloging all the archives, I got to watch myself change. Not in good ways, if we’re being completely honest, and while things ended well at the end of the decade, it got questionable there for a little while. I didn’t really know what I wanted my forties to look like, but I knew that they had to be better than my thirties were – collectively (there were some really bright spots in there too, just often overshadowed by the stuff that wasn’t so bright).
And so I started thinking about what it was about my thirties that got me into so much trouble and, the more I thought about it, and the more certain patterns started to repeat themselves – especially with a reappearance of 3.0, followed by a proposition and proposal, which I’ll write about later – I started realizing what really was driving me to make all of those bad choices that provided a ton of stuff to write about but, in the end, caused me so much pain. And the answer was this:
I was trying too hard. I wanted to be with someone, somehow, so badly that I was willing to bend over backward and, essentially, betray myself and who I was to be whatever they wanted me to be. And the part of myself that I stifled on those occasions was so very unhappy. She was tortured. It went against everything she ever was, everything she ever believed in.
I tried to become the Stepford Wife for 3.0. I became a pushover for Botboy… of course he was never going to come back… who would come back to someone who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) stand up for herself? Who let herself become a doormat? (And yes, I know you’ve apologized, I’ve forgiven you, all is well… but I also see what I did wrong there, and in a way, I’m as much to blame for my own state of being as anything you did or didn’t do.)
And POS? Jesus… where do I begin… I saw what he was right at the beginning when he started slamming a lightbulb into the concrete floor of his garage when he was getting evicted. I saw it in SO MANY WAYS when he would lash out at people for the smallest things, at me for things I couldn’t control, when he’d give himself black eyes… when he’d lash out, even, at his own sweet dog for the simple fact that she medically could not control her bladder. I saw her eyes when she looked at him… sometimes so terrified that she’d be shaking, and yet she’d come right back to him an hour later and want her head scratched. It was pathetic, and it made me cry, but you know what… even long after she was gone, I BECAME THAT FUCKING DOG.
I SAW WHAT HE WAS and yet I was so desperate to find something – anything – rather than to be alone, maybe even to prove that I COULD when so many times I’d been shut down, that I ignored it. I settled for someone who, in the end, was too unstable to be anything other than the thing that would tear me down and destroy me until, in the end, I had nothing left to give. Not emotionally. Not financially. Not pragmatically or romantically. Nothing. Except pity. I had plenty of that. But when I reached that breaking point, and I tried to get away (as gently as I could, because I was so, so scared of what he would do to me), because I was taking away his supply… the only good thing he had left in his life (his words), and he had nothing else to live for, he was determined (based on the things I’ve seen, the things I’ve read) to ensure that I didn’t get to have a life either. Literally.
But I did. I took it back. I went to therapy. I moved away, to a better place. I’ve regained the things I lost – primarily… myself… that stubborn, willful, fiercely independent and determined woman that I shoved under a rug so many times because someone else said I had to. I’ve missed her. And now that she’s back, honestly, she takes no shit from anyone.
I usually end these posts by telling the new year to “bring it.” I’ve said that so many times that I feel like when I do, the universe replies, “Hold my beer.” So I’m not closing it that way this time.
Instead, I want to share the new mantra I have… the resolution I’ve made (because that’s when I make these… on my birthday… not the new year): No more cages. None. No matter how gilded they are, no matter how attractive they look, no matter how much I might want to go in there and take a nap… no more cages… because I don’t ever, EVER want to have to work so hard to find myself ever again.
So, here’s to a new year… and a new decade.
(And check back next week… all of the archives from the last decade will FINALLY be live on the Archives page.)