This morning I crawl out of bed and I'm standing in front of the full length mirror in my bedroom. As I look at myself I think, "I am more than a mess." My hair is out of control and carelessly styled in the manner of a Scout Finch arriving home from an outdoors adventure. It is tainted with the aroma of cigarette smoke, spiraled with laughter, and reminiscent of memories from the bar last night. The remnants of black eyeliner are smeared across my face like a raccoon's mask. I cannot help but to smile. My cheekbones are beginning to flirt with an impending arrival and the dimple in my left cheek has returned.
I'm wearing my University of Memphis Snuggie backwards as an open robe. I scan my nearly naked body. I'm wearing a leopard printed push-up bra and I'm impressed, women pay for what I have naturally. I'm pleased that my waist is beginning to slim in the center, but I have a long way to go. I laugh out loud as I am immensely distracted by my giant, purple, thong panties that are at least two sizes too big and are loosely hanging between my legs. My thighs can always use more squats, my legs are begging to be shaved, and my toenails are desperate for a new color. I can't help but to not take myself seriously.
Recently, I've been facing and questioning the opinions others and I have of myself. Mostly I've been facing my fears and recouping. My married friends have been constantly telling me how envious they are of me, of my freedom. Others have told me that I am a party-girl and that I have a wild personality. Someone has even built me into something of his own creation, to the point he admittedly gets nervous to speak to me. Although wild personality is definitely a possibility, party-girl is far from the truth. And I assure you, there is nothing to be nervous about. I should know, after all, I'm my own greatest critic.
Three and a half months ago I was confused, sad, angry, and disappointed. I was trying to facilitate the best possible way to remove myself from a disaster of a relationship and a broken life of sadness in a house of sour lemons without letting myself be harmed any further and trying to avoid hurting him. Regardless of his infidelity, abusive tirades, pathological lies, controlling behavior, and neglectful hygiene I once thought I loved Rhine, I know now he was actually a bad habit. I know, I'm hopeless, actually ridiculous to stay for so long against the advice of close friends and second guessing myself. I thought I could forgive him for his cyber relationships and continued memberships to paid sex websites, but I never could win against his constant reminders of my inadequacies. I was helpless to his "Strength Training," exercises of mental and emotional abuse. However, I always followed my belief that I know I'm not perfect and I should accept his flaws. In return, he, who is far from perfect, will accept mine. I could not have been any more incorrect. After four and a half years I had no other option but to leave.
Before I left the house on November 18, Rhine threatened me. He said, "You've got another thing coming if you think you are going to leave this house with any of your furniture." After work the next evening I returned to the house. Rhine and his father, our landlord, changed the locks on the house. I had previously removed a very limited amount of belongings and one laundry basket of dirty clothes. My moved wardrobe consisted of 2 pairs of sweatpants, 4 sweatshirts, four camisoles, some panties, a few pairs of socks, one t-shirt, one bra, and one dress.
Rhine has spent months sending me multiple emails demanding money in return for the personal belongings of mine that he is willing to return to my possession. He has converted my property to his ownership, thus stealing all of my clothing, furniture, and possessions. He is a thief and has spent months spreading lies about me. In the middle of November he left me without clothing or even a winter coat. I'm completely dumbfounded as to why he would want to continue to control me nearly four months after our breakup.
For three and a half months I have been constantly reliving the end of our relationship. I have been confused, sad, angry, and disappointed. I was confused because he was still controlling me with mixed messages and promises of fixing our relationship. I was sad because I believed his lies and yet knew I had to leave. I was angry at myself for being so weak, for not following up on inconsistencies, and angry that he was not who he promised he was. I was disappointed because I was responsible for wasting my time with a lack-of-potential loser in a dead-end relationship. Dealing with these emotions is a daily issue, an internal battle against myself.
As for the party-girl stereotype, my life is far from glamorous. I constantly make bad decisions and huge mistakes. I regret something I say at least once daily. I do the absolutely wrong things and yet I want so badly to be perfect and appear put-together. I am struggling with this obsession with perfection. I am not anyone to be nervous around, I'm probably more nervous than you. That's why I find it so hard to find the right words; I don't want to say the wrong thing to scare anyone away. I rarely go on dates. In fact, I just let myself be kissed for the first time since Rhine. Let me tell you, nice guys aren't supposed to kiss like that. Most of the time I get stood-up, dates are cancelled, plans are changed, and men lose interest in me. Last week a potential date got too high and decided he'd rather sit at home watching Jeopardy. Yes, it happened. Yes, he admitted it. I don't blame them for losing interest; right now I'm an emotional mess. Many days I find it difficult to even pull myself out of bed. I cry without even knowing I'm doing it. Most days I convince myself that ordinary reasons of everyday life are occasions to celebrate just so I can make it through the day.
I'm the only one that lives my life every day. I shower. I go to work. I do my laundry. I pay my bills. As much as I hate to do it, I pump my own gas. I go to the grocery store. I eat by myself at restaurants. I go to the movies by myself. I visit my family on a regular basis, I love them. Without knowing he's done so, my six year old nephew has made me feel worthy of love. I spend a lot of time alone. I'm the only person that knows I'm happiest when I am exercising; it's the only thing I find complete comfort in. I'm the only one that knows when I sit down to eat cereal I end up with tears in my milk. I'm the only one that knows that I go to the nail salon because I miss human interaction and the sensation of being touched. I crave hugs like I'm gasping for air. I have anxiety attacks. I have nightmares. I rarely sleep. I'm the only one that knows that socializing with friends and going out keeps my mind occupied from myself, my insecurities, and my greatest fears.
Because of my vantage point I wonder why and what my married friends are so envious of. But, if going out with girlfriends, cracking jokes at my expense, laughing too loudly, saying inappropriate things, dancing, and occasionally having a couple of drinks classifies me as a party-girl, I will gladly accept that label. After all, I'm the only one that lives me. Only I know what I'm going through every day. This is me. This is the glamorous lifestyle of a single 30-something.