This week I tried to write a shortish year in review. It didn’t turn out the way I pictured it in my head. The reason for that is what I really wanted to write about was the month of March. I’ve come to refer to March 2010 as the month I ran away. I believe what I want to do is explain myself. Not because people have been asking, or criticizing me for going away, at least not to my face. I want to explain because it was a sort of turning point for me and I think explaining it will help me to truly understand it. So really this is a purely selfish post.
As some of you may or may not know, I left Seattle for twelve days in March. I went so far as to leave the kiddo with my sister and brother in law. The initial thought for this trip came from Hans. I was talking about going away and he encouraged me to do it. So I set it all in motion. I decided to go “home” to Palm Springs for awhile, then head over to Arizona to visit my dear friend Connie.
I was going to drive down by myself and stay with friends. I was nervous about this part of the trip because I’d never made that drive alone before. It turned out to be one of the best parts of the trip. Since January my life had been spinning out of control, with me just barely hanging on. I needed something simple and easy to control for a change instead of dealing with these huge changes. A road trip was perfect. I was finally in control of something manageable again. I could control how fast I went, where I stopped, what I put on the radio; what was even more wonderful, I could be alone with my thoughts. I could feel whatever I wanted without worrying about how it would affect those around me or my son. I believe that’s when I truly started to heal, when I was able to be alone with myself.
I arrived in Redlands to have dinner with my college roommate and her parents feeling better than I had in weeks. I was ready for a week or so of relaxing and healing.
This trip was also when I decided what kind of woman I was going to be. I’m not saying I don’t have a good grasp of who I am. I know what kind of person I am, the thing was, that it had become so tied up with Jordan. Which, I think is ok. He was my husband after all and we’d been together for over five years. It’s not as if he defined me, he just became part of me. Basically, since Jordan was so suddenly gone I felt as if I had no clue as to what that left me with. Did I go back to who I was before we started dating or could I hold onto some things? Or did I want to completely reinvent myself? Would that even be an option? What about dating? When would it be appropriate for me to start seeing new men? How do you date with a young child? These were the questions I was dealing with in Palm Springs; questions I had been asking myself in Seattle but hadn’t been able to answer because of all that was happening around me. To put it in the simplest form, the big question was, what kind of woman/mother are you going to be?
I admit these questions weren’t totally figured out when I returned to Seattle. Every time I found an answer a new question would surface. The nice thing about being away was I could welcome all the questions that came. I didn’t have to ignore them or push them aside.
The last thing Palm Springs did for me was make me feel attractive again. In Seattle I had been nothing but a mother and widow. I was actually complimented in Palm Springs. I was told by actual men that I looked good. I was even ogled once or twice, which mostly made me laugh. It may seem small and insignificant to some. Or it may seem as though all my self worth comes from men’s compliments. It surely does not. All I’m saying is that it’s difficult to go from hearing everyday how gorgeous you are to not hearing it ever. You’d think it would make very little difference, but once it’s gone, you notice.
I think I returned to Seattle, slightly less insane than when I fled. Although it would be months more until I truly started to feel myself again. This was the first step in the journey back to myself.