I feel like I’m dying, but not in a bad way exactly. Not in the way I was last year for about 6 months. That was wanting to die but not dying. That was intense pain, physically and mentally. That was longing for something horrible to end.
Now, something IS ending. Something that was often good and often bad. I’m leaving behind a place that has been my home for 12 years. I’m leaving behind a place where I was happy, content and safe for about 10 years, living with the person I loved most in the world, excited to see him every day, excited to be building a life together. Then it was a place where I felt trapped and like a piece of worthless trash for about 1 year, broken and lacking any sort of reasonable self-esteem. Then I tried to be as detached as possible for the final year. Reminding myself daily “this isn’t your home, you don’t like this place, don’t do anything to make this place feel like home, this place is horrible, you want to leave” as I figured out how I would be able to move forward. It wasn’t, in reality, that bad, and I didn’t want to leave. I don’t want to leave now, but I don’t want to stay either. I was successful in making this no longer feel like home.
This is a decaying box that I sleep in, that I have been keeping my stuff in. This house isn’t dying for me, it’s dead. It’s a corpse I need to finish removing the good parts from and then walk away and let it corrode out of my sight. Once I finish moving my things I never want to see this house again. I never want to be in this subdivision. I never again want to drive down very misnamed Allgood road, where I broke my leg. I would like to have the area I never see again be bigger, but I have friends who live off the next road over.
As I leave the person who lived here is dying. She dies as I finish deciding what to keep and what to take to the thrift store or throw away. She dies as I pick which plants to take and which to leave. She dies as I try to get excited about my new home, my new life.
I thought I would live here for a long time. I thought I would be married to my husband for the rest of my life. The people who moved into this house were happy, excited and in love. The woman who made these scrapbook pages about moving into this house was proud and hopeful. For 10 years my top identity label was “girlfriend” and then “wife”. My top priority was my partner. I thought of myself as part of a “we”. I liked having one person who was the center of my world, who I planned with, who I went on adventures with. It took me about 9 months after my ex left me to really accept that he wasn’t going to change his mind and come back. I really thought that once he realized that he missed me, missed us he would come back. I know, that’s pretty sad that it took that long, but I just wanted my best friend, adventure buddy, confidant, decision maker, support guy, cooking partner, tv nerd, book club, stand-up comedy audience, biggest fan, gardening friend, role model, hiking partner, biggest crush, cosplay partner, lover and so much more back. I was so lonely, having lost my “best” everything. Even though we were poly, I had somehow made him my primary in every aspect. Now I have made a promise to myself to diversify. No one will ever be the “one” for me again. I haven’t worked on collecting new people for all these roles as much as I should have so I’m still really lonely and there are things that I don’t do anymore because I don’t want to do them alone. I will never have a traditional “partner” again. Yeah, I’ll have a boyfriend/girlfriend/gendernonbinaryfriend, or several. But never again that “I married my best friend” bullshit. Because when that person fucking abandons you for someone better, you will have neither a mate or a best friend.
Kitty, the wife, is dead.
I’m giving away the books I never read on childbirth. I bought these when my ex-husband and I were still talking about having kids, but we put it off because we didn’t have the money, we had this or that important thing coming up, I wanted to lose weight first, etc. And also, because I felt like he was too angry and I was too incompetent. To be honest, up until today, when I put these things in a donation box a little tiny part of me still felt like I might be a mother someday, but that person is staying here. The person who is moving is a divorced 39 year old woman with PCOS. I will never experience pregnancy, giving birth or breastfeeding. I will never raise a child.
Kitty, the mother, is dead.
The person who moved into this house had a job, was a hard worker, made a decent of money, had just finished college, was an exercise buff, was ambitious and pretty darn good at lots of things. But she lacked the confidence that she could be alone. She had always leaned on someone emotionally, also felt like she needed someone to approve all her decisions. Over time I lost most of my competence. I stopped having a job, I gave up control of all my finances, I thought I couldn’t drive, I didn’t leave the house alone. I depended on others to make all my decisions. It’s not that I didn’t do anything. I was still a hard worker, around the house and gardens. But I lacked all agency. I didn’t do anything without approval. I was so afraid to be in charge of my own life.
Now I have a job again, turns out I am super good at managing my own money, I’m not great at the food/exercise parts yet, because of my injury, but I’m getting there. I make all my own phone calls, go to appointments alone, drive places by myself. I have a vast number of skills, which has always been true, but now I’m confident about using them without permission and managing my own life. As Glinda said “You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”
Kitty, the incompetent, is dead.
I prided myself on being something of a manic pixie dream girl. My goal was to always be joyful, to make other people feel loved, happy, at ease. The person who lived in the house thought it was her job to make everyone smile and diffuse every tense situation. I used humor to try to never let those around me feel negative emotions. I was the perpetual clown. I loved that about myself, and I really thought this was my best trait and an irreplaceable talent. One of my friend’s told me my husband might leave me, that his new girlfriend was angling for it months before he actually did. And I replied, “no, he can’t leave me, I make him laugh”. I thought my humor and joyful demeanor was what made me indisposable. I thought my jokes were so good other people “needed” them. I guess I thought I was some sort of giggle drug that the people around me were addicted to, believing everyone wanted to mainline some straight kitty brand happy juice into their veins. Yes, now I get that this was egotistical. No person, no talent is irreplaceable. Also, I understand that I am both not as funny and entertaining as I thought I was, and that joy isn’t actually something people value as much as I thought. The guy I’m dating now doesn’t find me funny, he never laughs at my jokes. I have learned that there is no reason to try to make everyone laugh or to always be “on” in social situations. Also, I’m pretty bitter and my humor is darker anyway.
Kitty, happy giggle machine, is dead.
I’m not just leaving behind a house in a few weeks. I’m leaving behind the concept of “home” that I tried to cling to for so long. I’m leaving behind a person I used to be. I can’t say the new me is better or worse. I don’t know yet. I don’t know what my future holds, but at least I know what the past keeps.