Approximately 270 days. 6,480 hours. 388,800 minutes. 23,328,000 seconds.
Make that 23,328,005.
9 months of moving on, letting go, changing addresses and names and marital statuses. 9 months of building new friendships and new after work routines and of getting really comfortable sleeping alone.
9 months of “I am okay” and “Things are going great” and “It was best for the both of us”.
9 months of “I am fine.”
I am fine.
"I am fine" has become the foundation for the wall I have been building around myself. The bricks are made of all different materials. Alcohol and food are the usual suspects, but new players in the game have decided to throw themselves into the mix; work, spending money, gossip, negativity, television. For a short stint in time, women were bricks; and then I got into a relationship.
I can't tell if the relationship is a brick or climbing ropes. I feel like in the very beginning, I mistook it for a brick, but now I see it as the ropes. My partner constantly yelling to me "On belay?", and I, on the other side of this carefully constructed wall, too afraid to say, "Belay on!”.
But the truth is- I’m not always fine. And the truth is often inconvenient and uncomfortable for people who like clear cut endings and fresh new beginnings. At any utterance of the words “Some days, I miss my family” they stare at me incredulously. How DARE I claim to love someone new and still feel the burning sting of loss? How dare I feel regret and remorse for the ways I have behaved? It is not acceptable to be perfectly sure of my decision to move on, and simultaneously say it breaks my heart that I had to do so.
So I say, “I’m fine.” And I turn on Bravo and eat a Whole Foods sandwich and a bag of plantain chips after I get home from having a glass of Cas Amigos on the rocks with a splash of sour mix. Or 3.
I let myself drift into a land that requires no thinking. So I forget that I am scared about learning how to survive on my own. I forget that I am ashamed that I have to live at home with my parents. I forget that I miss my dogs, or that I cut off from one of my best friends. I can numb and drift into a sleep and wake up and start again. I forget that letting go hurts.
I say “I’m fine” and take pretty pictures of nature and write Instagram posts about letting go and moving on and self acceptance and personal growth. I hide behind a filter of the things I want you to see and I pray you don’t ask me what the original looks like. Because the original isn’t as aesthetically pleasing.
Ask me what the original looks like.
30 days. 720 hours. 43,200 minutes. 2,592,000 seconds.
Make that 2,592,005.
1 month since the day I started deconstructing the wall. Since I put down the alcohol. Since I started telling some people- “I’m not fine today.”
Since I started letting people in again, and sometimes even letting myself out.
“I’m fine” is still a piece of me. I still use it when I don’t feel safe. I still throw it out there if my barometer tells me I need to protect myself from the storm
But the climbing ropes are in place and I am harnessed and ready to go.
Sometimes we can’t knock down our walls entirely.Sometimes they don’t just disappear. Sometimes there is no way to barrel through it.
Sometimes the only way out is to climb.