Tangible Joy

While the world around me implodes and everybody freaks out one way or another about the worldwide lockdown… I am in heaven.

I wasted almost 2 years struggling over someone with nothing but misery to offer me. You’d think I’d be hanging my head in shame, crying in private over my foolish heart or raining down angry adjectives in his direction, day after day.

But to use his favorite word: he ain’t worth another drop. Those two years taught me a lot about being manipulated, working through impossible circumstances and more importantly, about my own fierce resilience. I spent months beating myself up over it and so many sleepless nights agonizing about facing another day in the same hell.

Not anymore. I never have to see him again. I feel like I can actually breathe deeply for the first time in over a year. Social distancing has been a lifesaver and I’m in no hurry for life to return to business as usual.

I get up around 9 these days, snuggle with my happy little Dumpling and our favorite cat. My kitchen is a mess but the pantry is well stocked and has become my playground again. Being home is my favorite thing in the world, and it shows. Gone are the circles under my eyes that I’ve painstakingly painted over with concealer for so long, and my skin is finally recovering from too much makeup, worn too often. I’m sleeping again and he’s finally not showing up there, either. Hating him is an immense relief.

Stress weight is melting off like the snow on the mountains you can see from my kitchen window and I catch myself smiling at each sleepy new morning that promises to bring another beautiful day. I am all about this quarantine life.

Being hurt by someone you trusted implicitly can change how willing you are to invest yourself again. It can ruin that fledgling bit of hope that love is supposed to inspire. It can break things that can’t be fixed while making you jaded and bitter.

Or… you can look at the lessons in all of it and hope they saved you from making the same mistake again. It hurts to know I put my trust where I shouldn’t have, but the lessons I take away from this will forever change what I allow in my life, how much time I’m willing to spend feeling uncertain and how long it takes me to listen to my own intuition.


I put him back in the shitty little place I found him and pretty soon he’ll be nothing but a bad memory and strong reminder to be a little more guarded, even with the people I trust the most. Sometimes those are the people you need to watch the closest. That’s a painful but valuable lesson and I thank him for helping me better recognize the wolves in sheep’s clothing.

I’m moving away from the snow I hate so much and throwing away all these familiar places and reminders.

I’m terribly grateful to him for lighting the fire I needed to get up and get after those dreams I’ve let collect dust. I got stuck in this little town after having my first baby at 18, my second at 23 and subsequent divorce at 27. Shared custody kept me in the same town I grew up in, seeing my high school friends (and enemies) every time I leave the house.

Ironically enough, my elder two children grew up, graduated and got the hell out of here, immediately. I was planning on doing the same, when I got my dream job.

I probably would have stayed forever because the money was great for my little town, my boss is a dear friend and I’m loyal to a fault. But…. I loathe winter. I hate a lot of things about where I live.

And people for that matter.

I decided it was finally my turn to go. I’ve spent the day packing boxes for the thrift store and loading garbage into the truck to take to the dump. It’s finally getting real. My heart is singing and I’m already pinching myself at the thought of that one last drive out of town.

I’m happy to my toes and dancing while I pack up the past and walk into the future I’ve worked so hard for, to a place without snow and surrounded by strangers.

Thanks be to God. ♥

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