Alright, it’s time to get on with it. We couldn’t NOT talk about it, could we? We have to say something. I know. I mean, we don’t HAVE to, but this commitment to living this life out loud calls me always, so we’re going to give this a whirl.
Here’s what I don’t want.
- I don’t want to smear him. That’s a lie. I do. But I respect his career regardless of his personal choices and so if it seems I am being vague overall it’s because I consider the details…libelous. Ish. Totally true but mean or something just the same.
- I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did and that’s why we’re here. Friends who know the details of the situation called on me to speak out so other chicks feel empowered and strong to leave when it’s bad like it was. IT WAS BAD. AND I LEFT. And my life is better for it. Be strong. Take your life. Get your happy.
- I don’t want this to come across as though I have no fault here. I have fault. I have a lot of fault. We’ll get that to that. I just want it to be said up front. It’s my fault too.
- I don’t want you to believe that 3rd bullet point. It’s not actually my fault AT ALL. When St. Pete is casting down the final judgement on this one, little to none of it shall come my way. But I have to own some of it, so that bullet up there is more like, optional or something. 😉
Ok, here we go.
For the last year of my life, I have been my very worst self. I have been volatile. I have been vexing. I have been mean-spirited. I have been a total fucking bitch. Let’s own it. I HAVE BEEN A TOTAL FUCKING BITCH. Yeah, I have. I’m cool with it. If you’re like, wait, didn’t you say this wasn’t your fault, yes, I did, and it’s not.
See, cause, here’s the thing. Most of you who know me know that I am one of the most happy, silly, crazy, life-filled, adventure-seeking people around. I mean, I’m not jumping out of an airplane, but I’ll fly to Cuba on a whim with you for sure. I will start random bar sing-alongs and make best friends with strangers and I genuinely love life so much it’s hard for me not to scream it out from the Facebook roof tops every day. For a person like that to become who I’ve been, well, it’s less like a match to a fuse and more like someone continuously dumping gasoline on a pile of burning tires. My point here is that I am not a person who spontaneously combusts…So.
I did all the usual things. I asked nicely. I tried being sweet and encouraging. I wrote letters. I begged. I cried. GOD DAMN DID I CRY. Y’all. I have cried more in the last year than my life. More than Charleston, more than that big one ten years ago that I was sure I’d never get over, more than ever. I cried every day. And then one day, I stopped. I stopped crying and instead I screamed. And then it felt like I never stopped screaming. I screamed and I screamed and NOTHING changed. Except one important thing. Me.
I changed. I broke. I broke in half and sideways. Even my face showed it. We all know I’m a pretty vain chick. For an entire year, I would smile at myself in the mirror and only see tired. God, I was tired. Tired of screaming. So tired I was convinced I was crazy and I went to see a psychiatrist. So tired that I let someone else steal my joy and convinced me I was asking for the unreasonable. I wasn’t. Never once. But I believed it. I believed it and everything he said. Because I loved him. Because, as a promise-keeper, I assumed everyone was. Well, they aren’t. And I want to tell you, if this is your life right now, there’s a good chance you aren’t crazy either and that what you are asking for is fair and right and good for your soul and you have a right to say no to anyone who refuses you it. Some women pick a lifetime of it. I would have died.
So, for months, an equal combo of screaming and withering. To a moment where I wondered if this was what depression feels like. To not wanting to get out of bed because the minute I opened my mouth, the screaming would start. I was anxious to the point of laying awake all night and wondering what was wrong with me. I didn’t want to see my friends. Because I didn’t want them to know. About the screaming. And worst of all, I was smoking. So in sum, I wasn’t sleeping, exercising, eating well, having sex, and I was chain smoking. But more important than any of those things, I wasn’t being heard. Even in my loudest voice.
So, I lost my mind. I LOST IT. I will own this. When he tells you I went crazy, he’s right. Me and Tay and our long list of Starbucks lovers. 😉 At the lowest point of it, I looked around and I knew I was really on the brink of losing myself completely as a person and that’s when I knew it was time to go. I am Jenn Ciccarelli. I am not that fucking girl. I will not be a Lifetime movie. This life of mine is meant to be EVERYTHING. And so it shall.
It was hard. I packed up my clothes and my dogs and my dignity and I went to stay with my parents. At 34! I lived with my parents for two weeks until my house was ready because getting out of there was no longer a should I, it was imperative.
Funny thing. You would think the tears started the minute I drove away, but instead, they dried up. And you would think I suffered sleepless nights worrying and wondering, but instead I slept better than I had in months. No anxiety. No smoking. No hurting. Just peace. Silence. The screaming stopped.
It’s been almost a month now. And I feel like I am coming out of a fog. Like the sun is shining on me for the first time in forever – and my face is showing it and my heart is feeling it. When you leave a relationship on empty, all you can do is fill yourself back up and, for me, there is a lot of joy in this reinvestment. In remembering the person I was and what I wanted my life to be like when I moved back to Atlanta. To making that a reality and knowing I was right to want it and to ask for it and to leave when I didn’t get it.
We joke about YOLO. But I try to live by it. This is mine. It’s the one I got and it will be beautiful or nothing at all. I made mistakes here. But man, did I learn. I learned so much.
- Don’t give everything you’ve got to a person who excels at taking. They will bleed you dry.
- Don’t look at behaviors that make you uncomfortable and try to get comfortable with them because someone tells you you should be. Stand by your fucking convictions.
- Don’t let the things that make your soul shine go to the wayside for a person who doesn’t.
- You are not crazy. You might be acting a little nutty. Maybe you are just fucking tired of asking nicely. Don’t let anyone convince you you’re crazy unless it’s your mom. Then listen. For the record, Donna is Team Jenn here and she’s the first one to call me out on batshit.
- Don’t stay because “you’re comfortable.” You aren’t comfortable. If you think about it, you’re probably sad as fuck and the fear of the unknown can be crippling. I am here to tell you. I dove into the unknown. IT’S FUCKING AWESOME OVER HERE.
- I always say that happiness is a choice. Choose it.
In close, here we go again. Life. The next step. The next chapter. I’m a few pages in and really lovin’ what I’m readin’. It’s fun and bright and feels like it’s only the beginning. AND GOD DAMNIT, Y’ALL. I AM SO GLAD I NEVER HAVE TO GO TO THE GOD DAMN FLATIRON EVER AGAIN.