I showed you my cringe-inducing diary obsession with "Roger" my freshman year at college. (xoJane contributor Tara Dublin is determined to make that a thing, as in: "I was Rogering so hard over this guy.") But let's take a visit back to my biggest ever explosion in Relationship City, shall we?
That would be the week I decided to get divorced, reconciled and then get divorced again.
The year is 2005. And the hashtag is bleak.
I look back on this now and I see one thing and one thing only: Don't stake your happiness on any person. Any husband or ex or fiance or girlfriend. Any Roger. Any human outside of yourself you are romantically involved with and feel as if you may die if you start it all over and blow it all up because you know this is the thing you must do.
For sure, open your heart to love and intimacy, but seduce and romance the shit out of yourself first and primarily. Get your own rocks off with the life of your dreams (even if the dream is just not being fake and gross and needy with a swinging pendulum of self-esteem contingent upon others, which if you ask me, is a fantastic dream).
And now, for the week that was.
May 27, 2005
So is this like my divorce diary? Tonight I met a date. It is weird. I am separated, living with my husband and I have started dating. My date was pretty nice. He smelled a little, but who knows what that was from. I feel like I am an enchanter of men. I enjoy writing. I get a high from it. It's nice to feel that. I'm sleepy. It will be good to sleep. Tonight I had a pomegranate martini.
May 28, 2005
Today I almost died in a car accident. But then I didn't.
And it was good.
Lord, I'm praying for me. Are you praying for me?
I asked my husband today, "Do you want to be my husband?" "I am your husband," he said.
May 29, 2005
Ultimately we are all alone. You have to make the choices that you feel good about making. Not your family. Not your friends. But you. It is you and you alone. So why not do what feels right to you.
Life is about asking for what you want. Sometimes you have to lay the wedding ring box on top of the dresser and position the sock monkey just so and that is OK. It's about kissing on top of a hill. Listening to Fleetwood Mac. Having someone thrill you, tell you a story, show you a photograph, sing you a song. Kiss you in the shower, take your picture, love you and hold you close as we listen to children sing the lyrics to "Mandy."
May 30, 2005
Ah yes. And then there's a day like today. Kicked pillows knocking over a glass of water ruining the print I bought for our anniversary and all the stories of other women. I don't think I can handle this.
June 1, 2005
My friends save me. They really do.
June 2, 2005
Hello, world! My husband and I are not reconciled. And it's a good thing. Really. I think my nightmares will clear up because this is the right thing to do. My world is filled with possibilities. My life is a new beginning.
June 3, 2005
A new beginning. A new beginning. A new beginning. Keep remembering that.
June 4, 2005
Dear diary, today I thought about moving to Peru. Told my therapist one of the most painful things there is to tell someone. "I feel as if you don't care." That was scary. Looked at so many things square in the eye. Felt less energy today than yesterday but that was OK too. Here's one thing. When I think about the obsessive behavior, here's what I see. It happens when things aren't perfect. My writing. Fixating on something wrong with the floor. Fixating on something wrong with my shoes. Reading about something on the Internet. The feeling that I'm having, it's whenever I start to feel a creeping feeling of worry. I've become so much more self-sufficient. But my heart just won't stop hurting.
All the stories you don't want to tell again. Tomorrow I'm going to buy packing tape to put everything in boxes. Divide up the CDs. Tomorrow I should work out. The promises I want to keep to myself.
Resist the urge to waste time. Just resist. Like actually think about the pleasure I will feel in resisting. It will be pleasure. Think about the reward I will get in having the life that I want and that right there is my first goal. I can do it. I can own it and do it with the same assertion with which I've done everything in my life. I'm tired now, but that is OK. I just feel like I'm on the verge of something. I am. I know it. I am going to say to myself, "Mandy the rule is you have to pack for California, you have to finish this. You have to just do it. It's the rule, and it is helping you have power over your life." I am creating my life. I have the power to do whatever I want. It's an incredible, incredible power.
And this is my adventure.
Postscript: I never moved to California.
Three months after I wrote these entries, I was offered a job at the New York Post.
I hope anyone who might be in their own tumultuous or unsettling spot in their life, even if the turmoil is one you keep private or secret or can't tell anyone about, please know this. No matter how bleak things may feel for you right in this moment, there is tomorrow. And the only reason I know this is because the only reason I held any power whatsoever eight years ago was that I decided to have it.
Start by making that choice.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.