I’ve been absent for a few weeks because I could not bring myself to write. It was all I could to remain functional in my main roles: diligent worker, loving mother, scattered bill-payer. Productive writer was not gong to make the cut. I’d hit the next stage of this lovely process I’m in: the seriously intense sadness. (It wasn’t depression: the awesome therapist and I agreed on that.) When my marriage broke down, it was marked by one crisis after another. The overwhelming emotions early on were anxiety, fear, confusion and yes, some hurt. As things have calmed down and the new realities have set in, the other emotions have come up. The ones that tap in to every flaw I see in myself, every childhood scar and every woman-done-wrong cliché. And then the holidays arrived foisting the happy-family ideal on us and leaving  those of us in the decidedly not-happy-family corner feeling more than a little inadequate.

I’m über aware of the importance of me feeling everything I’m going through and remaining standing and positive. Whatever the payoff is on the other side of this  (the full and complete me that awaits) requires that I remain present and attentive to all of this. But I don’t like it. I want to run away from it. I want to block it out or mask it. The old me, the teenager who didn’t know what to do with these feelings, would have blocked it out with anonymous sex or alcohol. It’s been years since I realized that causing that kind of chaos to distract myself for the realities hurt way more than it “helped.” Plus I have others to think about now, so despite the phantom urges I can’t go there. So what do I do now. I probe it when I can, step back when I need to. I run. I write (when I can). I find joy wherever I can.  I talk it out with friends (good Lord, do I ever). And I listen to my own Greek chorus that tells me that the hurt and pain are not a sign of weakness. That the very fact that I continue to survive and even thrive proves my strength. And I build on the minor triumphs of making it to every new day.