The Whatifs

I wish I had something upbeat and positive to say, but these days are really a bit of a bummer.

I worry that I’m making a mistake moving out on my own. What if I get hurt? What if the crushing loneliness kills me? What if I make a bad decision? What if my car breaks down? What if I don’t understand something? What if my perception of the world gets hopelessly skewed like the woman who currently lives down the street from me by herself who told me that the spray painted utility markings on the pavement were gang signs and I should watch out or they’ll break into my garage at night? What if, what if, what if?

Shel Silverstein wrote a poem for children about the “whatifs”, in which they crawl into your ear at night and have a party while you stew and simmer and waffle. The poem mixes real fears (“What if my parents get divorced?”) with silly ones (“What if green hair grows on my chest?), but doesn’t ultimately offer any solutions.

My biggest fear is the loneliness. I don’t have a good friend network right now. Spending 24 years of my life with my best friend, someone who didn’t enjoy socializing, means that my circle is very small. I really have only three dear friends, and two of those have very small children which means they have very little time for my additional whining and crying. The third friend is going through her own issues right now and I definitely don’t want to pile on. Don’t get me wrong, I think spending time with those folks is a very important and welcome distraction, but in terms of people who are available for me emotionally, the pickins are slim.

Another of my biggest fears in the immediate future is money. It’s not that I don’t have any, it’s that I have to learn how to handle it differently. I don’t know how to not split things halfway with someone all the time. I don’t know what I can afford in a new apartment. I’m desperately (and somewhat unrealistically) afraid that I’ll over extend myself financially. I don’t know how to make a real budget and stick to it because I’ve always easily lived well below my means.

I will have my animals. I will meet new people. I will work out the money on paper. I will keep writing to stave off the crazies. I don’t want to get too strict with myself right off the bat, but I have to make sure that I have an exercise plan, a meal plan, a budget, and a means to fill free time, whether that’s quilts or art or classes or time with friends, it will be important to have an orderly regimen with a plentiful offering of distractions at first.

I keep wanting to say “this too shall pass” for comfort, but the truth is that this is a permanent change, and it will not pass. My separation from my significant other is permanent.

It is permanent.

Permanent.

Part of the reason it’s hard to get a grip on the permanence is that we’re still in the same house, still in the process of splitting. I see him all the time. We both work from home.

Well, I guess there’s no better time to meet myself than now, before I’m totally alone. The past 24 years have really been an exercise in a particular kind of loneliness, since my partner is emotionally unavailable and frequently invalidates mine. I think loneliness when you’re with someone might be the worst kind of all because you shouldn’t be alone. I can remember days, in the first few years of the relationship, where the loneliness was a giant black hole in me, sucking and sucking and finding nothing of substance to fill it. Hindsight is always 20/20, but it turns out that not being alone is not better than being together and lonely.

It’s my blog, I can have double negatives if I want to. And, as, many, extra, commas, as, I, see, fit. And sentence fragments. And sentences that start with “and”.

Maybe writing more and spending time with my own voice is the best way to get in touch with a girl I lost a long time ago. I’ve spent half a lifetime not thinking about her. The task ahead is to find her again, and remake her in my own image.

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