Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Eight years ago this month, I pulled the plug on my marriage by finally summoning the courage to move out. It was difficult for me to admit that it was a) past over and b) more abusive to stay by the minute, but eventually, I had to do it. You can only put a doily on the elephant in the room for so long before you're forced to admit that it is, in fact, an elephant and not an end table. 

So. I moved out of the house I loved and into an apartment that I most definitely did not love. Not even a little. I tried to tell myself (and Beansie) that I loved it, that it was great, but between the job I didn't love, the apartment that I didn't love, and the soon to be ex husband who, frankly, scared me, I was a miserable, sobbing, depressed wreck.

It happens.

When my folks were all, "Move to North Carolina and come live with us!" I fought it. I don't know why now, except that -- possibly -- when every day is a fight? You just get used to fighting. "No," I said. "I don't want to," I said.

The Flinkster told me to go. I still fought. "No," I said.

And then one day ... Tired, defeated, anxious ... I called my mom in North Carolina. "Okay," I said. "Okay."

The Flinkster refers to it as "when you put yourself in time out."

When I think about that time, I call it "when I unplugged."


The first week I spent in North Carolina, I slept. Really slept. For the first time in months. With the air conditioning on and Beansie curled up on a pillow beside me, I slept.

The second week, I realized that I could breathe without feeling like someone was standing on my chest. I found myself crying, but it was with relief -- for the realization that I was still alive, that I was still here. I played cribbage with my mom. I drank coffee with my dad. I practiced simple things: breathing in. Breathing out. Tossing things for Bean to chase.

I did that for three years.


I rarely left the house, except for business trips and shopping excursions with my mom. It was sort of monastic. It was a very quiet life.

It was healing. It let me heal.


I was thinking about this today, because The Fella did something unbelievably thoughtful and got us tickets so we can go home to North Carolina for Christmas. Make no mistake... North Carolina became home in spite of everything (the heat! The politics! The poisonous spiders!). I can't wait. I haven't been in ages, and am excited for my parents to meet my Fella, and to sit on the steps and drink coffee, and to stand in the office Bean and I used to spend our days (and sometimes nights) in and just think.

I am also excited because I want to make sure I thank my parents in person for giving me a place to go and unplug. If they had not urged me -- repeatedly -- to go to them, I wouldn't be where I am now. I might have made it through, but not like I did. I wouldn't have enough trust or love left in me for The Fella. I wouldn't have made it through losing Bean.

When I was on the phone with my mom earlier this evening, she said something about buying a birthday present for me.

I need to make sure that she and my dad both know that I appreciate what they gave me eight years ago, and that I'm thankful every day that they let me unplug then so that I can be plugged in now.

There's not much that's worth more than that.

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