Even though the relationship ended 20+ months ago, I’ve still had a hard time moving on. But I had an interesting thought on the metro a few days ago. I was passing by my ex’s house, which I so happily have to do every morning on the way to work, and I began thinking about Empath and the content edits I had to do, and a very peculiar thought crept into my mind.
“Once we finish this book, let’s close the door on the relationship.”
It was one of those thoughts that wells up from the natural place in your soul. Where you know in your gut that it’s truth.
Moving On through Writing
I’ve said all along that our break-up was nothing special or out of the ordinary, and it really wasn’t. Nothing I’ve experienced is unique or hasn’t been experienced by trillions of other people in humanity’s history. I knew, intellectually, that there was a light at the end of this long tunnel.
The problem was, I didn’t realize how long said tunnel was going to be. I tried to force myself to hurry up and get to it, instead of letting the process run its course in due time. All that pushing served to do was to make me angry at myself and frustrated and decidedly still in the darkness. So I accepted it, I wallowed in it, and I stewed in it for months. But with that one little thought, it was like finally coming to the end of that tunnel. I feel like I’m casting off everything (like selling my house and everything in it to move to Florida) and just starting brand new.
But I still had Empath to finish. And I began to worry that I was going to undo all of the progress I’ve made by diving back into the darkness. Empath is a mirror into the things that scare me, it was the first book in a very, very long time that I wrote from total scratch. It was a book that gave me almost daily panic attacks and set me on edge for the three months I was writing it. And, of course, it’s my cathartic “help-me-get-past-a-really-bad-breakup” book.
I was putting off reading through Empath for a while because, to be honest, I was scared of how I would react to it. Would it, as usual, dredge up feelings and memories of my ex? Maybe send me down into another dark place? Would it suck total monkey balls?
But when I read through it, I saw shades of myself and the not-so-pretty stuff that was so hard to write and I felt…happy? Amused? Gently proud of the progress I’ve made? Clean? Really, exceptionally, amazingly happy with it?
I said on Facebook that this was one of the most intentional books I’ve ever written, and it is. It’s a fantasy, but the world itself is secondary to the story that happens in the space between Lauren’s ears. And every plot point, every thought, every single thing that happens to her comes from some real place. It’s not just my ex; it’s my confrontation issues, it’s my fear of rejection.
Now that I’ve come to the end of the tunnel, I’m strong enough to turn around and look at the darkness without needing to go back into it. I can simply observe it and acknowledge that it’s there and it happened, but it doesn’t control me anymore.
As T-Swifty says, I think I am finally clean.