The one thing I’ve noticed that I’ve not been doing is sleeping in the middle of the bed.
This has got to be a part of the process. It has to. I have to train myself to sleep in the middle of the bed again.
I mean, it’s not like I’m having to share space with another human being. I just have to remember to make room for Teddy, my 34-year-old teddy bear. Sometimes, I wish he’d turn into a man. He’d know me inside and out, he would know the pain I’ve been through and he would, as he always has, comfort me when I need a good cry or just a hug when I have a moment of bliss. Alas, Teddy sits on the bed, like a silent guardian, waiting for me to pull him to me for a night of slumber.
When I was single, sleeping in the middle of the bed was the norm. I guess it didn’t hurt that I had a full-sized bed, which meant if you had a brain in your head, you slept in the middle because that’s where the most room was.
Now I sleep in a queen-sized bed. I have been for at least the last 3 years. Every morning, I look up at my headboard to see where I slept most of the night and I find, regrettably, that I’m still sleeping on the same side of the bed that I did while I was married. Every night, I look up at the headboard and figure out where the middle is, place my pillows just so and go to sleep. But, no matter what I do, I wake up, look at the headboard and find I’m on “my” side of the bed again.
It’s frustrating. I want to kick, yell and scream that I just keep falling back into the same habits when I sleep, that my subconscious is not moving forward as fast as my consciousness. It’s my bed, I should be taking up all the space in it. I should be selfish and take up every last bit of available room on that big bed. I just don’t get it.
It’s one more habit I’m trying to break.
If I had to write this into a book I guess I would say:
“When recovering from abandonment, you have to remember to be selfish. It’s the ice cream you had to share before but now you can put a spoon in the middle of the pint and eat the whole thing. It’s the dress that you wanted to wear that your ex didn’t like, so you wear it. It’s sleeping in the middle of the bed because you don’t have to share or worry about hogging the covers or being told you’re taking up too much space anymore. It’s a myriad of things that when you look at all the accommodations you made to another person just for their happiness, you realize that you ended up unintentionally neglecting yourself. This is the moment where you realize that the world hasn’t ended, it’s just decided to change geography.
Earthquakes, for all their scariness, are a healthy part of the way the planet works. Tectonic plates shift on a sea of molten lava. Sometimes the tectonic plates float apart, other times they collide. Like the tectonic plates, we float through life, occasionally bumping into other land masses. Sometimes when they collide, the plates will either lower themselves or rise to accommodate the opposing land mass. However, other times, neither will give and you end up with a collision which forces each land mass, at the impact point, to change their topography.
When you start a relationship, you welcome the collision, the changes, the rumblings here and there. You accept what happens, you’re happy it did and you grow content, allowing grass and flowers to cover the impact point, amazed at the beautiful mountain range you get to traverse with the other person who life collided you with.
But when you get divorced, left, abandoned or if you take the initiative and bail out of your relationship yourself, the whole world shakes, reels and feels like it’s torn asunder. After the earthquake is over, you look around the house and you find that the pictures on the wall have fallen down, the carpets are ruined, the staircase is broken and the foundation is irreparably cracked. At that point, you sit down on the front steps of the house and cry; you mourn the loss of the thing you built with someone else. You’re left with the changes that took place, the ground cracked and looking much as it did before life collided you with that other person. At that point, you salvage what you can, take your belongings and find shelter until you can begin building a new life.
It takes a while. Repairs don’t happen over night. It’s taking your own two hands and pouring a new foundation for a new house that you build yourself. Soon, you’ll find that the grass will eventually grow over the changed areas, and you accept the new terrain knowing that you, like the earth, are a rich place with rich soil that will eventually sprout flowers again.
The best thing to start with is by sleeping in the middle of the bed, wearing the dress and eating the ice cream and realizing that you’re your own continent that’s ready to support life again.”
For now, I’m just going to keep unpacking boxes and float.