So, I’m going to be honest. Totally, bluntly, I’m-a-few-glasses-of-wine-deep honest (which for me means two glasses, and no more, but if you know me, you know that’s enough to get me talking).
I started this blog in June because I was at a standstill with my writing. My divorce was final, I was devastated, and I couldn’t write. I couldn’t write anything except what was actually happening to me.
And so, Confessions of a Romance Novelist was born.
I wanted to tell the truth. I wanted to be like the writers I so admire, the ones who are brave enough to write about their real lives. Those are the writers who have helped me through my roughest times. To know that someone else has felt the way I feel, has grieved the way I am grieving, has experienced a loss so deep they can hardly breathe…and yet they have the strength to keep going, and to write about it no less, is my greatest inspiration. I wanted to give that gift to others…and to myself.
Plus, they say truth is stranger than fiction, right? Well, in my case, I believe it has been. On so many fronts. And so, I wanted to tell my story. I already reveal it in pieces in my novels, of course. But I wanted to tell my true story. The whole story.
And then, something happened. (Doesn’t it always?). I started dating someone. A nice guy. A normal guy. A handsome, sweet guy. And I really, really liked him. Early on in the relationship, I thought, okay…maybe I can be normal too. Maybe I can do this relationship thing again. But dear God, if I’m broadcasting all of my depressive divorce thoughts and wild writer ideas on this blog, he will find out, and he will probably break up with me (or at the very least be secretly horrified). And his family! What if his family sees this?!
I have to take this blog down.
So I did.
And I tried. I tried to fit into the mold. All of his friends were getting married. His family wanted to meet me. But only a few short months later, I knew I couldn’t do it. I was still having full-on meltdowns over my divorce. Missing my husband and wondering if I had made the right decision in leaving him. Wondering if I had permanently and forever screwed up my life.
Oh, and I was still pining (and mourning) over the extremely unavailable guy I fell in love with immediately following my divorce. A guy who was still in love with me too, but like any tragic, ill-timed love story, we couldn’t be together. And probably never would be.
How Romeo & Juliet of us. I certainly picked the right pen name…but I digress.
On top of all of that, I was still losing weight. I was still pretending to be happy. I’m really good at that–the pretending to be happy skill. Many of my friends and acquaintances think I’m handling this divorce thing extraordinarily well because I’m always smiling! Always fabulous! Always pulling it together! But dear God, if they had only seen me in those moments alone in the shower, or in the car, or downing Xanax, or alone in bed at night gripping the pillow like the earth may actually collapse beneath me at any minute…
It wasn’t pretty. It was downright terrifying.
There were many a day when the only reason I got out of bed, the only reason I didn’t do something stupid was because of my giant, adorable cats who required that I get my depressed ass up and feed them.
Yup, there, I said it. That’s the truth. My cats saved my life.
I have never grieved as hard or as intensely as I have this past year. And that is not to say that I haven’t been through some shit. I mean, we all have, right? But losing a husband, a partner, the man I spent twelve years with–even though I was the one who chose to leave–was, and still is, the most monumental loss of my life.
And so, back to that sweet new boyfriend I’d met. I had to break up with him. None of this was fair to him. He deserved someone who was ready for everything he had to give. And that wasn’t me.
So, I ended it.
Right around that time, I talked to my ex-husband* again. (*Side note: I hate calling him my “ex.” It sounds so impersonal, so full of hate. And I have nothing but love for this man. Despite the fact that I was the one who chose to leave. So in this blog, let’s call him my first soul mate. Because I still believe that is the role he has played in my life.) So….around this time, I was talking to my first soul mate again, and we were confused. We missed each other. We weren’t sure what to do next. I knew one thing, though. I knew that all this back and forth between men was not helping my writing.
And I knew that none of these men were paying my bills.
I needed to write again.
So I suggested to my first soul mate that we take two months off from being in touch. Just to have some space to breathe. He agreed.
One month later, I was out at a wine bar with one of my close girlfriends. I told her that I felt like I was in a holding pattern. Waiting until the two month “waiting period” was over, so I could see what might happen next. What if he had changed? What if the perspectives we had both gained over this past year had made it possible to try things again?
So, I asked her, “Do you think I should wait another month before moving forward? Before dating? Before trying to meet anyone new?”
She answered with a clear and firm, “No.”
She said more than that, of course, and everything she said made sense. Logically, my response was, “Let’s order a pizza.”
We headed to the counter, and while we were ordering pizza, I met a guy…
But that’s a story for another night because this girl needs to go to bed so she can write books in the morning. After all, even that guy isn’t paying the bills.
I am. And I need to sleep. Then I need to write.
Don’t you just love a cliff hanger?
I will, however, quickly explain why I titled this post “How Does It Feel?”
While drinking wine and eating a box of Trader Joe’s organic Mac & Cheese (at least it’s organic, right?), I was watching “Le Week-End,” a Paris-based film–being the obsessive Francophile I am, I love any and all Paris movies–and in this particular Paris film, the song “Like a Rolling Stone” by the Rolling Stones came on.
The chorus hit me…
“How does It Feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone”
Losing my husband has felt like losing my home. I am rebuilding it. Day by day. And it is here that I will write about what that feels like. The only promise I will make is that I will tell the truth.
Hemingway said that “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
And so, that is what I will do…