I got back from the Japanese program and things were, emotionally, pretty much where they've been for the last year or so - not good, but not terrible, and sort of in this in between place that's what ever.
Saturday we're waking up and I'm having my first cup of coffee and Neil looks sad and so I suggest we go have a smoke and talk about it. We sat down and he pretty much started with "I think we should separate". So we talked about it a little bit - what were the good things? What were the bad things? The good thing was pretty much that we still loved each other. The bad was that we'd lost our 'spark', that we'd been going in two different directions and he wasn't sure he could comfortably continue to do that (he felt like he was having to put his life on hold while my academic life was determining where we were and where we'd go in the future), that neither one of us was truly happy or making each other happy.
And you know, it hurt.
But it also wasn't untrue. So I started pretty much crying because from the second we'd started talking I could feel things changing and it really being ... what it was. Us ending a 15 year relationship. I called a girlfriend to come pick me up because I couldn't stay in the apartment, surrounded by our things and our life together, not knowing it was ending. It took about an hour, during which time Neil and I sat together and kind of cried, holding hands, but mourning in our own way I think.
My girl took me to my other girlfriend's place (both of them are fabulous but one had an open extra bedroom), and they sat with me while I cried. And stress smoked. And swore because it hurt. And cried while swearing. It was a whole chain of smoking crying swearing.
And I kind of cried myself out with two of my friends there to support me and let me know that I wasn't totally alone and that maybe, just maybe, this would open up places for me to go that I hadn't considered, allow me to do things I hadn't thought about, and maybe it would be good for us both (that us, i'm trying to work on not using that 'us'. but it's still there in some ways too).
I went back over the next day and Neil and I talked a little more and kind of mutually agreed that yes, this really was it. We still really care about each other, and we want each other to be happy, but I think we both kind of started to see clearly that we couldn't do that for each other (not like we had in the past). And we were both scared, so scared of what's going to happen. But being afraid of the future isn't enough of a reason to stay together.
Also I think those two conversations, the one on saturday and the one on sunday, were probably the closest we've been emotionally in months, perhaps years. If that doesn't tell you something.... yeah. We weren't sitting closed off, barricading ourselves or anything, but instead holding hands, and hugging. And crying. I packed up enough clothes to last through the week, and some books and my computer and all through it we were crying. Because that was really IT.
And I drove back that afternoon to my girlfriend's house, and looked at Craig's list to see if there were rooms to rent somewhere in the city, went over to my other friends for dinner and just sat and talked and got hugs and support and cried a little and stopped crying and came back to the room I'm staying in, and picked up Dune to read until I could fall asleep (which wasn't easy or early, but eventually happened).
So then the first day of the rest of my life started.
I met my friend for lunch at a famous LA french dip restaurant before I had to go to class, and we talked a little bout life and the future and ate some really fucking amazing french dip.
I went to my first class of the semester and discovered one of my favorite Japanese books (Masks by Enchi Fumiko) is on the syllabus, and saw classmates and friends and talked about my summer in Middlebury and got excited about the semester and the word I'd be doing.
I got into a little intellectual tiff with my advisor (for a couple of minutes until she backed off), picked up a paper from spring with amazing comments from another professor, and left school feeling knowing that classes and those things? those are the right thing for me.
I went and had dinner in Silverlake at a little french coffee shop that served brie and bread and salad while I read an article for class. I looked at a room in an apartment in an area of the city I'd really like to live in (but it was a little small). But it felt like a good thing to get out there, to think about the possibility of moving forward, even if it was something I was doing on my own. I came back to my girlfriend's house and read some Dune after talking with her and (eventually) went to sleep.
I woke up the next day and had a bad morning. They're going to happen, and I'm not going to beat myself up for feeling sad. So I cried on the drive into school.
I had to do an oral interview with my Japanese teacher to confirm I'd learned things during my Japanese summer. I actually asked her (in Japanese) if I'd improved and she said I had. It made me smile, and feel like I really CAN do this. Really. And when you're learning Classical Japanese and going to be reading the Hojoki and even your nemesis seems happy to see you, you can't feel all that bad.
That night was the monthly 'drink and cigars' night for some friends and while it's usually just the men who get together and do their drinking and smoking me and my girl stayed and hung out and tried the summer drink of the month and listened to the men get raunchy. I had to tell a mutual friend Neil and I had broken up and while he was dumfounded and didn't know the right reaction, I reassured him that I still didn't know the right reaction -- and it hurt, but it also felt like i was starting to make a clean beginning. And while I had two drinks I didn't have the impulse to have more, but instead was pleased to sit and listen to the men entertaining themselves and told some stories and listened to others and found that spark within myself that told me that maybe this was going to be ok.
And there's more - there's the visit to my old place that I made on Wed where Neil and I, it turns out, can be in the same room with each other and it's ok. It's a little weird, but I want the best for him, and I think maybe now he'll get to choose some things he felt he wasn't able to before, and that will be good. And when I realized that I found that my heart wasn't that heavy. Oh, I'm not naive enough to think that there won't be bumps in the road; emotional ones, mental ones, whatever. But I love him, and I want the best for him, and he loves me, and wants the best for me, and right now? that isn't us together.
But that isn't us out of each others lives either.
So I'm going one day at a time, one night at a time, one cigarette at a time (stress smoking, i'll have to quit soon), one dog pet at a time. And I think I'm gonna be ok. Different. Gonna learn different things about myself. Gonna probably make some different choices than I might have and that's scary that I'll need to and even a little disconcerting that I want to. But I think I'm gonna be ok.
and thank you, all of you, who dropped me message on my last post. I'm sorry i haven't replied to everything yet, but every word of every comment meant so much to me. made me feel like i wasn't alone. made me smile. even made me cry (but in a good way) because i knew i wasn't alone. i'm blessed to call you my friends.
also posted to dreamwidth | you can reply here or there | um, but don't worry, i'm still an lj girl