"You write because you need to write, or because you hope someone will listen,
or because writing will mend something broken inside of you,
or bring something back to life."
~ Joanne Harris
Roll over. Turn alarm off on my phone. Him. Rub my eyes. Stretch. Stare at my bedroom window. Him. Deep breaths. Him. Force myself to think about my day. Him. Shower. Closet. Clothes. Curling iron turned on. Him. Songs on the radio. Make up. Hair. Him. Brush my teeth. Inspect myself in the mirror. Him. Deep breaths. Move. Walk forward. You cannot lay in this bed all day. Lunch. Work bag. Phone. Him. Car keys. One more glance at my empty apartment. Him. Unlock the door. Walk outside. Leave the memories here. Lock the door. Him.
I am learning and accepting that I am going to have to grieve him like a death. Because just like a death, there are going to be answers I will never get. Ever. I'm just going to have to accept it and move forward. It's like a broken leg that doesn't heal right. Sometimes it acts up when it rains and you may always have a slight limp, but eventually you learn to dance again even with the limp. Eventually others won't notice the limp as much, but it will always be there. Always. Less noticeable. Less prominent in your life. But, always there.
Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for the break to heal. It's healing. It is. But, not all the way. And a huge part of why it's not healing is because I'm not allowing myself to grieve. I'm too busy sugar-coating my pain, putting a positive spin on the situations that cut me the deepest, and smiling. Always. Freaking. Smiling. Smiling until your face hurts. Smiling until I come home, walk back through my door, greet all of these memories that linger, and finally allow the smile to fade.
Well, I'm learning from lots of therapy that I don't have to fast forward my pain. I don't have to pretend just because every one is tired of hearing about it. I don't have to fake smile or hide my red eyes with concealer and make-up. Yes. I have to function. I have to get up everyday and go to work. I have to bury the pain deep inside when I have my daughter. I have to parent. I have to eat and shower and pay my bills and do my homework and function. Society expects me to function, and so I will. But, for the record. I am done sugar-coating my grief. I'm done pretending it's not laying there just below the surface. This is my blog. My space. My words. If your tired of hearing about it don't read it. Period.
Because the truth is I need to grieve. I need to let this break me...really truly break me...so I can become stronger. I need to scream at imaginary him in the car and acknowledge out loud that I have be used. I have been broken. I have been lied about and lied too. I have been forced to suffer for mistakes I did not make alone, while the other party gets a "clean slate"-a "fresh start". I need to acknowledge that this isn't fair without someone chiming in, "Well, life isn't fair, Ashley." I need to cry and mourn and figure out how to be whole again without forcing pieces together that do not fit.
I know all the "church answers". I can quote Scripture until I'm blue in the face and say the books of the Bible backwards. I can write lovely posts about grace and about accepting future step-mothers. I can pray. I can sing a worship song. I can sing ten worship songs. None of this is fake or bad. And some days it does help. Some days its exactly what I need to force myself out of bed in the morning and fall back asleep at night.
But, the truth is that grief is ugly. It does not always fit into a perfectly defined box of what is acceptable in society and what's not. It is messy, and hard, and dark. So very dark. It leaves you breathless. It leaves you grasping for answers you are never going to get, and looking for a life raft-any life raft to keep you afloat. Grief is painful and deep. And the only way to get through it is to recognize that you're going through it. Really, truly, staring-you-right-in-the-face, no-going-back-from-here acknowledging that your grief is apart of your life right now, and you have to go through each step to come out on the other side better and stronger.
So, this is me letting you know that I'm grieving. I'm hurting. I'm still coaching myself through every second of every day. This is not YOUR grief. It's mine. And I'm done being told to hurry and get over it. Done. I am going to walk this path, because I HAVE too, not because I want too or because I'm "choosing to stay this way". Trust me, I did not choose this path. Sure, I've made some crappy choices that got me here, but this is not what I had planned for my life two years ago. It's not. Not even close. And because of this: I am allowed to grieve. I am allowed to grieve for the broken promises and the wounds. I'm allowed to grieve for the unanswered questions and the loneliness. I am allowed to grieve for what was, what was supposed to be, and what never happened. I am allowed to grieve for the girl who has been used and abused more times than she can count. I am ALLOWED to grieve. I'm giving myself permission.
I will be better eventually, and someday I'll even quit talking about it. I know that once I walk through this valley and face these demons, I will come out on the other side stronger than I've ever been. That day is coming. I just know it. But, I'm sorry to inform you that day isn't today.