A ranty, funny, dead-serious intersectional feminist blog.

Six Months Later: Thanks for Being Here

calendar.pngTomorrow will mark six months since I learned that my best friend had betrayed me. Six months since he got caught, confessed, and ran out the door as fast as his cowardly feet could carry him. Four months since I gave up any hope that he was still capable of being a friend or even a decent human being when it came to his treatment of me and broke off all contact with him probably forever.

This has been one of the (if not the) most difficult periods of my life—a life that has included other betrayals as well as beatings and even rape. And though I’m doing much better than I was six or even four months ago, there are times when the whole thing hits me all over again and knocks me back down onto the floor where he left me back in December. A photograph, a dream, the bar where we had one of our first dates which I can’t avoid visiting because friends must support friends—these things and so many others poke holes in the armor I’ve built around myself these past months and stab me right in the heart.

I have felt all of these things and more.

I have felt all of these things and more.

Some folks tell me that all this only has as much power over me as I allow it to have–that it is my choice whether to dwell in the past or move on with my life. It’s true, I have no choice but to move on–it’s that or die. But this healing I’m doing is a process, and I don’t actually control how my body reacts to stimuli such as an image, a place, or just a vivid memory. There’s a sensation like a kick to the gut or chest, and then the tears come, and *then* I get to choose what to do next. And I have chosen life. And there have been good times. I have optimistic days. Sometimes I think I might be ok. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen again and that I won’t feel agony every time—at least for a while.

The support I have received from friends and acquaintances (and here I must acknowledge that even the ones who say and do things I don’t find particularly helpful are usually trying to be supportive) has been overwhelming. Social discomfort has mostly been due to the place (my old apartment building, the bar I mentioned above, a local convention, or just downtown Seattle, for that matter) or my state of mind. There are those times when people ask how I’m doing and then change the subject when I tell them the truth and it’s not happy, and that can be awkward and can leave me feeling like they didn’t really want the answer to that question. (I’ve never been one for small-talk anyway, so if you ask how I’m doing, you’re very likely to get an honest answer.) There are those people who I know are still friends with my ex, and that can be uncomfortable for me because he hurt me so much and they remind me of that by their very existence in my social sphere (it’s not their fault—it just is). There are those people I suspect are still his friends, but who don’t tell me so—don’t say anything at all about him (which is as it should be—as I have requested—if they are still friends). All of this can be awkward and painful, but it honestly pales in comparison to the outpouring of support from people from all areas of my life—especially from my online friends and acquaintances (some of whom are also RL friends and acquaintances).

That very much includes you, dear readers. Very much indeed. Without this place to share my stories and my personal…challenges? …this past year, I can’t imagine what my life would have been like. Without this place to vent my pain and rage in December and January, I’m afraid to think what would have happened to me. And without you showing up here, whether just to read or to comment or commiserate, this place would not be what it is for me. I know that I can talk about the things that feel important–whether they are about all of us or just about me–because you have helped me see that our stories are one of the most important ways we learn, grow, and connect with our fellow human beings.

Thank you for being a part of mine.


Respectful discussion is welcome and encouraged. When in doubt, see the Comment Policy.

25 responses

  1. I’m so sorry you had to live through this and still live through this in a way . Know that it will get better, like that song, one step forward two steps back, at times but happy we can make it a bit better for you along the way ) peace, beth

    June 19, 2013 at 7:36 am

    • Thank you, Beth. I know that dance well.

      June 19, 2013 at 10:56 am

  2. timelines don’t really apply in the grieving process. one day, inexplicably, you’ll feel like your done. gather up your lessons not your grievances. why do i have Helen Reddy music in my head now?

    June 17, 2013 at 8:02 pm

  3. New to MMAS, not new to betrayal, heartbreak, ugly face crying over said betrayal and heartbreak… I haven’t forgotten the attendant seemingly endless well of misery that keeps sputtering and spewing long after your eleventy-millionth “uncle!”. The well dries up eventually, it really does. Time does the trick, and sometimes it helps to cull the lessons, make a plan for utilizing those lessons in the future.

    Really enjoying the blog, so I’m glad it’s served as a positive outlet for you. As for the people who change the subject when you confess you aren’t “fine” (or some other anticipated social niceties filler): Fuck ’em. Life is too short for fair weather, superficial “friends”.

    June 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm

  4. crazycricketlove

    My boyfriend just left me three days ago after i found a picture that i didnt want to see. It is so disheartening. Heartbreak is the worst!! I think the hardest part is that someone can betray us so easily. So sorry that you went through this, but it sounds like you are on the right path! crazykittylove.wordpress.com

    June 17, 2013 at 7:34 pm

  5. Wow, that sounds like a lot to get through! I admire you for getting through all you’ve gotten through. Sorry you had to go through all of what you went through, but it sounds like, despite the challenges, you’re well on your way on this new journey!

    June 17, 2013 at 5:48 pm

  6. Carol

    I’m a fairly new reader, but I think you are amazingly strong and brave, and I’m in awe of how you put your feelings out there, because it does make a difference not just for you, but for me as a reader too. Thanks for the good you do when you talk about broader issues, and thanks for the personal stuff too.

    I’m sorry you went through such a rough time this past year, but you should be proud as hell for making it through and turning it into something good. Sure. There will be setbacks, and times you can’t avoid a place or turn a song off fast enough..but you are strong, and it’s OK to stop and cry for a while if you need to.

    We have your back if you need us!

    June 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm

  7. For what it’s worth, I think your awesome. I have since the day I read your first blog post, and I don’t see that opinion changing anytime soon. :)

    As a side note, can I just say how much it irks me when people say “you choose how you feel”? My dad was a big proponent of that. Growing up I was always taught to ignore my emotions or the poor behavior of others, because if I ever let myself get upset about it, then suddenly I was the one doing something wrong. Even today, I still get messages like that when I talk about sexism and verbal abuse in my online communities. People tell me to “empower” myself by letting the words of others go, as if somehow that makes everything better.

    But it’s not that simple, and never has been. Grief, pain, loss, sadness, anxiety, depression…those are all things you have to work through at your OWN pace. And while ignoring the bad behavior of others is sometimes necessary for one’s own sanity, it’s often far more effective to be honest about it and to have a dialogue about it. I feel phrases of the “sticks and stones” variety re-frame the issue so that suddenly, you’re the one at fault for not coping “fast enough”, an accusation which helps no one. And it seems to me like it’s often more for the benefit of others than it is for you.

    Anyway, mini-rant over, many e-hugs and supportive thoughts to you. :) They aren’t much, but they are genuine.

    June 17, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    • I love that mini-rant! I have definitely felt like I’m not coping fast enough for some people. The important thing is that I’m mostly ok with the pace at which I’m progressing now. Mostly. :)

      June 17, 2013 at 6:44 pm

      • Absolutely. No one else gets to set the pace of your recovery–though that can be really, really hard to do. It’s always tempting to try and please others, especially if you care about them, or know they care about you. But at the end of the day, you’re the one who has to live with your own thoughts and feelings–not them. So I’m glad to hear you’ve found a rhythm that works for you, even if it gets interrupted from time to time. I wish you all the best. :)

        June 17, 2013 at 7:40 pm

  8. I am sorry you are struggling with this, these types of things are difficult and people who have not been harmed at this level won’t understand. Your feelings are valid, feel them with no shame. There may be some that no matter what cannot feel – there are disordered people out there like that and no amount of trying to explain how hard this is and what’s involved will make them understand. Trauma is hard to tackle but be gentle and loving with yourself. Writing is so very helpful…you are in my thoughts and prayers…

    June 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    • Thank you so much for these words of support. Learning to really take care of myself in this has been one of my biggest challenges, but I’m doing better at it all the time.

      June 17, 2013 at 5:27 pm

  9. Ugh. I’m sorry, Rosie. I had a similar experience in a relationship, many years ago. It wasn’t infidelity, it was a different type of betrayal. I felt kicked in the teeth, in the stomach, in the face, and I felt like someone had taken my heart out through my chest, put it in the blender, and then poured it out into the street. It’s a horrible, horrible feeling. It does get better over time, it does. The sharp edges get blunted and it stops hurting so much. And you have so many people who love you and care about you, and they’ll help you through this, as my friends did.

    June 17, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    • Wow, you describe it so well. It really does feel very much like that. Thanks so much.

      June 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm

  10. Slowly but surely. I understand well. The work you’re doing since then is much appreciated and desperately needed. Thank for the example of how to turn pain into something that can help others.

    June 17, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    • Thanks, Joe. So glad when what I do is useful in any way.

      June 17, 2013 at 5:25 pm

  11. Britni

    You rock. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

    June 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    • jerniganzachary

      Ditto what Britni said.

      June 17, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      • Thanks to both of you. It means more than I can say.

        June 17, 2013 at 5:24 pm

  12. Damn, I am

    You know what? Those kicks might keep coming for years, but they become vanishingly small twinges over time, barely eliciting more than a sad smile. I speak from the worst kind of experience. And we aren’t going anywhere.

    June 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    • Thanks, D. I appreciate the perspective and the support very much.

      June 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm

  13. Went through something similar and I’m here to tell you it does get better, although that might not help you right now. My thoughts go with you.

    June 17, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    • Thank you. It does. I very much appreciate hearing from people who have gone through this. It makes me feel less alone.

      June 17, 2013 at 12:21 pm

  14. Le Clown

    No… Thank you. Really.
    Le Clown

    June 17, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Chime in:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s