To quote the late, great Leslie Jordan, “Well, shit.”
That’s sort of how I feel about everything these days. It is what it is.
One year ago I could have never imagined that I would be where I am. One year ago I thought I was still kind of straight—well, enough straight that I could keep a husband. But it turns out neither are true. I am not straight at all, and I can’t keep a husband.
I have been writing on this platform for 15+ years. (Although I have since hidden most of my posts because ew… cringe). And some of my readers are just random people that I picked up along the way. Some people joined on when Josiah was born with a heart defect and needed heart surgery on day 3 of life. Others joined when Nico came home from Haiti and we went through that transition. Some followed along for the mom-blog era and Hot Topic Tuesdays back when I was an asshole and thought I knew everything. (Spoiler alert: I am still an asshole, I just hope less of one). Others joined on when our family moved to Haiti. A lot more readers joined when the earthquake happened. Some people from each life stage stayed.
And then blogs became sort of obsolete. But I kept writing. I wrote through our transition back to the States in 2015. I wrote through my de-conversion from Christianity. I wrote through my social awakening regarding Black lives and the many layered, nuanced experiences I have had as the white mother of Black children. I wrote through my journey towards accepting my body as she was—in a state where she weighed 138 lbs. more than she did when I got on the scale this morning. I wrote through my weight loss journey. I wrote through my grad school process. And most recently, I wrote through my coming out.
And throughout all these 15 years, one thing was the same. And that one thing was my absolute assertion that Nick Mangine was the best human alive. When I started writing this blog, Nick and I had been married for 7 years already. When we moved to Haiti, it was 9 years. When the earthquake happened—10 years married. When we came home from Haiti it was 15 years. When I came out, we had been married 21+ years.
And now, while technically still married, everything has changed. Being separated is something I never envisioned I would be. (But does anybody?) I was thinking about that this morning when I was reflecting on today being the 13th anniversary of the earthquake that changed everything. I was thinking about the current fault lines in my life that have been disrupted and how I am, again, at a place where everything will change. In fact, everything HAS already changed. I am no longer half of Nick and Gwenn. I no longer insist that there is anyone who can hold the title, “the best human.” I now realize that a man is a man, is a man, is a man. And I know more change is inevitable.
“Whose “fault” (dad-pun intended) is it? “
“Did someone stray from their vows?”
“I thought they said they going to stay together?”
“What are the juicy details of all that?”
“Well, I don’t blame him/her.”
“Good for him/her.”
“I knew this wouldn’t work. I told them it wouldn’t. Called it.”
(Congratulations, by the way, for calling it. What might have been more helpful is support along the way rather than your insistence that we fail. At least we fucking tried).
I have a narrative of how this happened. I know that Nick does too. I think the work we have ahead of us is finding the commonalities between those narratives and the weaving together some semblance of unity for the sake of our kids, and, hopefully, for the sake of a future friendship.
But this is the messy middle.
This is the part no one wants to be in.
This is the ugly part.
This is the fighting part.
This is the misunderstood part.
This is the sad part.
This is my “crying myself to sleep every night” part.
This is the lonely part.
This is the knot-in-my-throat and ache-in-my-chest part.
This is the touch-starved part.
This is the betrayed part.
This is the “I gave my whole life to you and you’re treating me like this?!” part.
And yet, this is where we are.
It’s extremely disorienting to spend your entire adult life as a part of a whole only to be left alone. I find myself, at age 45, feeling emotions I have never experienced. Who knew there were still new things to feel?
And how does one know the right way to move forward alone when they have only ever been a part of a whole?
Some people are insisting that I need to spend time alone to “find myself.” I get that. (Although I think that’s what the last 6 “bisexual” years of my life were about. But I digress). I do see the wisdom in taking time alone to get used to it.
But then, I have other people telling me that I need to live it up. That I need to experience all the things and people that I never got the chance to. That this needs to be the phase where I pursue pleasure and don’t settle for anything less.
I have pondered these two approaches for a while now and here’s my current theory (because you know I always have a current theory)--
I have spent the past several years learning how to trust my body and her intuition. I have spent these years leaning into my “knowing”… into believing that I can trust myself to make good decisions for myself when I am living in line with my own values and when I am prioritizing my physical and emotional health. And so, I think the best thing I can do for me is double down on living a life that is congruent with my values and prioritizes my health. * I genuinely believe that if that’s what I do, it doesn’t matter if I stay single or if I get back into a relationship. It doesn’t matter if I hook up with someone or everyone or stay celibate. It doesn’t matter if I live alone forever or Uhaul with someone tomorrow. (PS- There are no Uhauling plans in my future, this is not an announcement).
What matters is that I am true to myself. That I am true to the things that I want, true to the things that feed me, and true to the things I need. But to REALLY do that, I need to be able to stay intellectually honest about what all of those things are.
So cheers to 2023. Cheers to my pursuit of independence. Of learning. Of pleasure. Of health. Of autonomy. Of intellectual honesty.
Cheers to the last semester of grad school. To the opportunities ahead. To whatever career path I pursue.
Cheers to the friends and lovers—former, current, and future. Cheers to the things you have taught me. Cheers to the things I can take with me and the things I have learned I can leave behind.
But mostly, cheers to me and wherever this all leads.
*And of course, my children, which was never something that was on the table to be taken off no matter which path I chose.