I soon found myself in a gray area, nothing was black or white, just gray and I was more confused than ever. Since I was back in LA I was continually bumping into friends that would ask me about my “breakup” and when I gave them just the minimal amount of information needed they would say some version of this; “OMG, I know exactly how you feel, my boyfriend/ husband/wife/ girlfriend cheated on me too!” I would ask myself, is that what happened? Was I cheated on? I had been cheated on before and this is not what that felt like.
In high school, my football player boyfriend was cheating on me with one of my good girlfriends and then in college, my boyfriend phone accidentally picked up in his pocket and I could hear him making out with another girl. That was gut wrenching, each time I ate a bag of potato chips, drank too much vodka and cried with my girlfriends for a week. That was not what this was. No amount of chips, vodka, or tears was going to fix this. This felt like I had been ripped apart limb from limb by some medieval torture device and left in the middle of the highway to bleed to death. I was not, am not, trying to minimize anyone else’s story, being cheated on is awful, horrible, and should be punished by the removal of genitals using only cuticle clippers, but cheating? That what not what this was.
From my journal:
“Confusion- it’s all I feel. My head and heart say two different things. My head knows I can never go back to him and my heart yearns for the life we had and the life I had in my mind. I am taking it day by day and some days I don’t know if I will make it. Some days I feel strong, but most all days I am sad. Sad about the life that won’t be, sad that he is hurting, sad that I am so broken, sad that I assumed things that I don’t know if they are true and then I feel rage. Rage, that I am in this place, rage at myself for not seeing what was in front of me. I want to hate him, I want him to leave me- that would be easier.”
It was true and I felt that way for a long time. I wanted him to leave me. Tell me that he was madly in love with Katy and ride off into the sunset with her. That way I would at least know that someone would be happy, someone would be getting what they wanted and all of this hurt and pain would have had some purpose! That was not at all what happened. Instead, it was like a bomb exploded and as I looked around I saw nothing but total destruction of my life. Everyone was in pain. For some reason seeing him in pain was one of the hardest parts. I hadn’t hit the full anger stage yet and knowing that he was hurting, even half as much as I was, killed me. I wanted to hate him, but I didn’t’ want him to hurt.
Having been in LA a week or so I headed back to the mountains to see friends, after a lot of late nights partying and a lot of fun I woke up one day and knew I had to get back to LA and start my life. I had avoided being a grown up for as long as I could. I had decided I needed to move out of my friend’s place and try and stand on my own two feet. I had nothing stable in my life; no work, no home, and no relationship. I was at a tipping point and I knew what I needed to do. I had to make something in my life stable.
Each time I ran into an old friend in LA they always asked how they could help. Ninety-nine percent of the time I smiled my fake smile and said, “oh nothing, thank you so much for offering, I will be fine.” When I ran into a friend who was a fabulous Beverly Hills real estate agent at the gym one day and I decided to ask for help. Soon we were looking at apartments and I started to feel like I could see a small speck of light at the end of a very long dark tunnel.
Within two days I found a fantastic little place in West Hollywood that made me feel like I was living in a hotel suite (my secret dream in life)! It was a mid-century building and my tiny little slice of heaven over-looked the pool surrounded by palm trees. It was a dream. I could feel myself starting to feel a tiny bit settled and that was a wonderful thing. I didn’t really have much to move; clothes, shoes, jewelry, and personal items mostly. I asked my husband for my couch and bed that we had moved into the Santa Barbara house when we moved to San Francisco. He agreed and then proceeded to send the couch and bed to me in an open air pickup truck with two delivery men. My white velvet couch and mattress riding down the highway gathering who knows what in the open air! I was livid but decided it was easier to have them cleaned than to make a big deal about it. I decided I would just happy and thankful to have furniture.
The next week I made the always-dreaded trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond. When you had a cart as loaded as mine it was like a large blinking neon sign with an arrow, She’s Starting Over. As I was standing there picking out a silverware tray for my kitchen drawer it hit me. It was like that book title that Charlotte, from Sex and The City, is too scared to buy standing in Barnes and Noble; Starting Over Yet Again. I looked around, surely I wasn’t the only one going through this it’s LA, people start over all the time! As I looked around to find someone to give me even the slightest bit of comfort I found that on one side was a happy couple registering for their wedding and the other was a beautiful pregnant lady picking out new placemats in spring colors and then there was me… starting over yet again.
We had been separated for months at this point, how is this whole thing still shocking to me? Somehow it was. Somehow I had to figure out how to face it all and I would, but that moment was not the moment I was going to face it all with grace. I started to get choked up, soon my eyes were burning. I knew what was going to happen, I was going to loose it at any moment and there was nothing I could do. I really needed the items I had in my cart but I could feel the waterworks building up and I could tell it was going to be a hell of a show. It was like I needed to wear a sign pinned to my shirt so people didn’t think I was just a crazy lady crying in silverware aisle. It would read “Don’t worry, I am fine, just crying because my husband has a double life.” But I didn’t have that sign and I was about to be the crazy lady crying in the silverware aisle. Before I knew it I was pulling out my sunglasses and ditching my cart practically running to my car. I sat in my car for about 10 minutes and cried, finally I pulled it together, kept my sunglasses on and went back to find my cart right where I left it! God bless lazy retail workers that felt no need to put my items back! Victory! I had managed to get everything I needed. Once I got everything packed into my car, I cried the whole way home.
That day was a tiny step in a forward direction. I knew it was small but it was all I had. I went home, unloaded my car by myself and sat on my dirty white velvet couch, opened a bottle of wine and ordered Chinese take out. As I finally fell asleep I repeated over and over in my head; tomorrow will be a better day, tomorrow will be a better day, tomorrow will be a better day…