The main thing I felt when my relationship ended was relief. Also, freedom. Also, peace.
I still had no paying job and now ten years of my life seemed to have gone down the drain, but I was happier and more peaceful than I had ever been. I finally came to know for myself the peace that passes all understanding because God had shown me how much He loved me. As low as my self-esteem had sunken, I wasn’t a self-hater. But God loves me so much that He rescued me out of a situation from which I was unable (and unwilling) to rescue myself. That’s how much He loves me. That knowledge gave me immeasurable peace because it told me that He hadn’t been ignoring me after all and that He has my back.
Through those first few days, Spiritual Mentor #2, my anam cara and my sister were my emotional rocks. They counselled me and shored me up, even though I was on a weird shock high. I honestly hadn’t seen the end coming and I was in shock. But I was so relieved to be free that I was also feeling a little high.
Still, my mind shifted to practical matters within hours of that final break. One big consideration was that the house needed to be sold – our names were jointly on the title and we needed to set about severing that very big tie without delay.
On the last day of 2014, two days after we landed back in Jamaica, I had my real estate agent list the house. My intention was to continue living there until it sold and that was his intention, as well. But within two days, I reversed my decision. Again, I won’t get into too much detail, but the night I went to bed with my bedroom door locked and my taser in my hand was the night I decided that I didn’t want a War of the Roses situation for myself and knew that it was time to go. That very night, I messaged my dad to let him know that I would be moving out that weekend and asked him to ask my mom (she hadn’t yet discovered smartphones…or technology, for that matter) to come stay with me for the next day and night – to be a trusted buffer between me and my ex-partner and to help me pack up all my stuff to move.
I’ll skip over the dramatic details of the next two days but come the first Saturday of 2015, I said sayonara to my home of just under seven years, for which I was still paying – and, again for reasons I won’t talk about here, would continue to pay until the sale was wrapped up ten months later – and moved into my mom’s guest room. I put my furniture and most of my belongings into storage at the home of my mom’s friend and I hunkered down to figure out my life.
That first day as the moving truck drove away from my parents’ house, I struggled. I love my parents, I knew they were happy to have me, and am comforted to know that I can always return to their home whenever I want. But I was also embarrassed and a little depressed that this was what I had come to. Who moves into their mom’s house at almost thirty-nine years old?
Unfortunately, getting my car from my ex-partner’s possession involved some drama that I’ll skip over. But the car had to go. After all, I was unemployed and had no use for a luxury car for which I was still paying from savings that I needed to tide me over until I started earning again. I had to be practical so once I managed to get the car back, I sent it directly off to a lot to be sold.
For the next twelve months or so, I lived in my mom’s guest room, my sister’s guest room, and my anam cara’s guest room. I drove my mom’s car, my sister’s car and my anam cara’s car. And I almost totally withdrew from any type of social life. Seeing as I’m an introvert anyway, withdrawing didn’t require much sacrifice or effort on my part but I just didn’t want to be around most people. There was one set of people that I was embarrassed to be around, because I confess that I was still very prideful at the time. Those were mostly the people I used to work with – the people who I knew would look down on me for having lost the status that came from the life I used to live and the things I used to own. Those were the people I knew were judging and pitying me for my losses. Then there were the people who I finally realised meant me no good and only wanted the get the dirt on my failed life. I withdrew from them all, save a very few who showed themselves to genuinely care about me. By the time 2015 was over, I had five true friends (including my sister) in my inner circle and three in my outer circle. That was it. I didn’t even need both hands to count my friends.
Also by the time 2015 drew to a close I had sorted through my possessions that were in storage and given away the lion’s share of it, keeping only those things that held sentimental value, like my grandmother’s china. I gave away clothes, shoes, handbags and household items like nobody’s business. Within another few months after that, I also gave away every single piece of my top quality furniture, some of which were almost brand new. At the end of it all, I was stripped bare of everything that the world had told me I should amass in order to be successful.
On the surface it looked like my life had crashed and burned in a spectacular tower of flames, but below the surface I knew that everything was actually God’s doing. Remember all that crying out that I had been doing during the previous years? All that anguish that I didn’t know how to get rid of? All the tears I thought He had ignored? He heard every prayer and He answered every one, but not in any way that I expected. I expected Him to wave His magic wand and make everything good again but instead it was like He said, “Everything must go!” and proceeded to strip me down to nothing so we could start afresh.
Well, I was stripped bare. So now what?