“Time, mystical time
Cuttin’ me open, then healin’ me fine”
Time is a funny thing. They say it heals all wounds, but does it really? I’ve spent a lot of time in the past year tending to my wounds, the little scratches that annoy the surface of my skin, the seemingly small punctures that fester deep inside, and the wide gashes with raw edges that seep blood and expose bone and tissue. Time might be a healer, but it’s not the only tool needed to deal with the pain of loss.
Time has passed so strangely in the past year. I don’t really feel like my year even began until March. I was in a holding pattern until the world crashed. January was when when it all started to break, a crack in the ice had begun to form, but I was still standing on it, oblivious, my hair just beginning to move in the cold wind.
I was silent in February, I felt censored by things outside of my control. I was scared my words would be scrutinized, taken the wrong way, used against me so I stayed silent. I never got a chance to speak about the events that caused me to stay quiet in the first place, and now I feel as though time has smoothed over the bumps I’d stubbed my toe on. I no longer feel the need to write about it, to get those feelings off my chest.
My relationship was slowly crumbling but I was still standing. I thought I could save it, save myself. I didn’t see that the fragile ground I was standing on had cracked wide open, that the wind was now whipping around me, grabbing at my clothes and trying to knock me down. I thought London was the answer, a vacation, a getaway was what we needed to repair what was broken.
For me, the year of 2020 began when I got back from London, sick with Covid, stuck at home with a partner who was already halfway out the door. I think that is when the year as we will collectively remember it truly began for a lot of us. 2020, the year of the pandemic, began when life as we knew it ceased to exist.
I suppose it’s fitting that I’m late on my 2020 Reflection post, and I don’t blame myself for not writing one for 2019. Looking back, everything in my life was so twisted and confusing at the beginning of the year, anything I wrote at the time would not have been honest. It would have been a sugar coated covering over of all of the crap I had yet to deal with. Now, one year later, I’ve finally taken down the boards I put up over my broken windows to protect myself from the storm.
Looking back at the last year, it would be easy for me to label it a complete dumpster fire. We all could. I lost almost everything that made me feel comfortable and secure. I am no longer married, I had to sell my home and move in with my little sister. I had to change my job, my name, even my email addresses. I had to find new ways to navigate the kink world alone. I had to start dating again, figure out my boundaries and what I want from relationships.
It’s not my nature to look at things in a negative light, and even while reflecting on all that went wrong in the last year, I can so easily see the good that came out of all of this. I may have lost everything, but I’ve gained much more in giving up all of those things that I clung to unnecessarily. Now that it’s all over and I’ve sifted through the rubble of blame and grief, I can see the flood of positivity that has permeated my entire life.
I am no longer in a relationship that centers around alcohol. In fact, I hardly drink at all any more, and all of the negativity it caused in my life has disappeared. Alcohol used to be such a constant companion in my life, even if I wasn’t the one drinking. I don’t miss the feelings it gave me, both good and bad. I find my mind is more clear and my body is more able without it weighing me down.
My finances, which constantly teetered on the edge of disaster and caused me more anxiety than I even realized, have finally been repaired. I have paid off all of my debt, and when I open my banking app, I no longer get that horrible foreboding feeling that I used to. There is a great feeling of freedom in having financial stability, a freedom that I did not expect when my ex asked for a divorce.
I wonder if I would have taken the step to change my job if I hadn’t already been catapulted into changing just about every other aspect of my life. I have a tendency to get complacent in my career, the idea of being loyal is important to me, so I have stayed too long in situations that weren’t benefitting me. This was certainly the case in my old job, and I probably would have stayed if certain circumstances hadn’t aligned. Opening my mind to the benefits of change allowed me to see that my views did not match the those of my company and it’s leadership. The company I now work for shares similar values to me and I feel like I am able to be a more authentic version of myself in that space. Most importantly, I can bring V to a company function as my partner and not feel as though there would be any judgement.
Because of Covid, my kink experiences have certainly been impacted, but when I was navigating the beginning stages of my divorce, I thought that part of my life was over. My thinking wasn’t correct of course, because my mind was dealing with so much grief and change, and I didn’t have the mental capacity to see the future clearly. The idea, however, that I would no longer be able to practice rope was devastating. I almost gave up. Until I met someone who showed me that I didn’t need to be confined by geography in order to experience the rope that I craved. In other words, if I wanted to experience a certain type of rope bondage, I just needed to go out and get it. So, I did. With Covid, obviously this hasn’t lead to a lot of actual experiences yet, but it has lead me to create connections with people I would have previously been intimidated by. In fact my kink confidence in general has grown. I feel a freedom that I did not have while I was still married. I think my previous relationship stifled me, making me feel more insecure in social situations. Being untethered from that relationship forced me to become more outspoken about my feelings and needs and define my expectations from all of my relationships.
Small changes have coincided with all of these big changes, and some of those small changes have been extremely impactful on my mindset and my daily life. Changing my name back to my maiden name has severed that connection to my past and given me back an identity that I’d given up. I’m still the same person, but changing my name is like walking around in new shoes. I have a bigger spring in my step. I also decided to remove my nipple piercings. They were something that my ex wanted, and I never would have gotten them if he hadn’t pressured me. They were a constant reminder of how I’d changed for him, and their absence reminds me not to do that again in the future.
Another thing I refuse to do again is censor myself. I did it last year when I was scared my words would be used against me, but I’m not scared anymore. I won’t be silenced about my own experiences, even though I’ve been bullied and pressured into keeping certain posts private. I’ve struggled with this decision, teetering back and forth between posting certain blog posts and making them private (this one about the end of my marriage, this one about the revelations I discovered once I had time to process my grief, this one about lessons I’d learned from my failed relationship, and this one about marital abuse). I finally have the strength to stand up for myself and the knowledge to know that I am allowed to share these words about my life and experiences. I will not be silenced.
I’m in such a better place now than I was a year ago. I have actual security, not the illusion of it. My mental and physical health have improved with work and dedication to a life different than I was living before, and I’ve let go of the hurt and anger I felt throughout the last year. I’ve moved forward in every way possible, and it feels amazing. 2020 gave me some of the greatest challenges of my life so far, but it also gave me the understanding that I could overcome them and thrive in the process.