Sweat was hiding the tears as they trickled down my flushed cheeks. Most tears these days have been shed in silence, in hiding. Now I stand in the middle of a busy gym on the outskirts of Orlando. The smell of wet iron, the hint of copper, humbled by my current experience of feeling weak handling the iron, exposing my current internal weaknesses; which has been making every attempt to hide any feelings. Swallowing back the pain, unloading the plates off the bar, collecting my things, I went to my car to sob and further hide any visible pain.
Out of the industrial constructs and into the woods of the Florida state road to the place I now call home. The driving is soothing, but the tears continue to stream down my face, the sadness feels warm in my chest and almost overwhelming, as I feel the tightening and fight the feeling of my adrenaline. I am alone. My day is surrounded by the four walls that protect me from the world outside. Bearing these feelings is exhausting as I hide the pain from my entire family. A single friend, one near and dear, friends for over a decade and never meeting in person, has been my audience. My audience of one outside of The Chad who knows my struggle.
Having uprooted my family from Phoenix nearly eight weeks ago I have tried to find where exactly I fit. When I moved to Albuquerque in 1997 I immediately found my niche. I was able to meet people quickly. At work, within the community, my father’s associates, their spouses; friends and a community were no struggle. Having met The Chad, he became my community, my family, we combined and made it our community together. His friends mine and vice versa. Moving to Phoenix in 2003 The Chad and I struggled a bit to find our place. A young couple with a new baby created limitations in our social interactions, but still we managed to create a small community for ourselves over the past several years, and still surrounded by family, albeit my family this time while his still remained in Albuquerque.
Today, I find myself completely lost. Unsure where to start. I started by joining a gym in hopes of meeting other like minded individuals, women and men. Surely I could meet others the way I found a home with my former gym family; a way to escape the desert of the work from home life as a writer. Solitary work as a writer, I find myself the epitome of the stereotype. Searching for words, the strain to write anything of meaning otherwise the message nothing more than just text, I dare not share the conflict and strife of my intimate life for fear of pity or worse, more rejection. The shame of sadness, of feeling. Singularity yet again. Who would care to read the text of some random human. Such a balance of payments. Alone in my work, alone in the iron, alone in my thoughts.
This post was terrifying enough to write. I know my father is reading, possibly my mother, all privy to the solitary confinement of my feelings. Locked away for the past eight weeks as I have pushed through in eldest child fashion. Soldier on, as I always have, making every futile attempt to exhibit happy. When truly I grieve.
The feeling I have wrestled with like Heracles and Anateus, grief, crushing me. The past year has been a year of grieving for me that I have denied myself. The loss of a person I considered a dear friend, while she is still living, our friendship (in spite of my earnest and loving efforts) died. The devastating loss of my grandmother. Upon receiving the news of her passing I was greeted with house guests, soldiering on, I never had moments to grieve like I felt I should. Now I grieve the loss of a former life.
Life was almost Zionistic. My husband and I were both afforded the opportunity to work from home. In constant enjoyment of one another’s company. We never tired of each other, and were like love sick teenagers anytime one was away from the other. A wonderful community of people who banded together, as any village would, to be a part of our children’s lives where we could each rely on another for support. Neighbors that would dole out a ration of grief if they didn’t get the text you had a party when they were on a nightly constitutional through the neighborhood and saw more cars than normal in your driveway. Siblings to come to dinner and weekend pool parties, having long, philosophical talks of nothing and everything all at once. Enjoying watching my children flourish in this community we helped to build for them as well.
Now I grieve. Typing as a release in my grief, of a life I left 2194 miles away. My entire family. My friends. My home that I had raised my children for the last 14 years. I grieve and I am lost. My tropical, vacation like environment leaves me lost and bewildered of where to next. Where do I go from here? How do I start over at 40? My surroundings unfamiliar and what once felt like an adventure now brings about dread and loneliness. An occasional phone call, a random tag on a Facebook post, but nonetheless the day-to-day is habitual and regimented, empty and unfulfilling.
I prepared for everything in our cross country move. Everything had a box, a schedule, an arrangement, a preparedness. What I never prepared for was what I would feel once all the boxes were unloaded. After the final tractor trailer delivered our belongings. When my license plates no longer shimmered of purple majestic mountains across a burning horizon with the shadow of the saguaro. What I never planned for was the grief and the reality of being alone.