My Favorite Anniversary

Today is March 16, 2021 and it has been one year since I decided to unapologetically live my life to the fucking fullest.

My friends and family remember this day as the day I went postal on my Instagram story and broke up with my ex. Oh yeah, I documented my very messy breakup on social media during a pandemic. The people with common sense were already hunkering down at the time, so I was providing a very necessary distraction for my viewers. A whole 100 people, mostly family, tuned into the drama.

All of the emotions I had bottled inside during my six year long abusive relationship, exploded. A terrifying combination of rage and sadness possessed my body. This breakup was a long time coming. We were pretty much living as roommates the last year we were together. In January of 2019, he begged me to forgive him and stay with him. When I stayed, we both knew it was because I didn’t feel like I had a choice and not because I loved him. That’s when he stopped hiding the other women he was dating.

After six years with someone, everything is entangled– friends, family, money, property, and a bunch of things you don’t think about until you start fantasizing about your escape plan. All the news about COVID created the sense of urgency I needed to finally put a plan into place.

The tension in our apartment was very similar to the beginning of the Battle of Helm’s Deep, where both sides are waiting for someone to make the first move. The more I thought about being stuck in there with him during the lockdown, the more I thought about stabbing him. I knew I was at the point where if he tried to grab me to prevent me from walking away (a common tactic), I would fucking stab him. One of my biggest triggers is having my wrists or arms grabbed. So, if my admission about daydreaming of stabbing my ex seems intense to you, just know that you have no idea what I have lived through.

The days leading up to our breakup were a complete shit show. We had explosive arguments for three days. I already had his shit packed up into garbage bags that I piled up in the garage for him to come get. Instead of accepting defeat, he wrote me a “love” letter and taped it to the door with a rose for me to find. He was pissed when I didn’t react to the note. I knew every single fucking word written on that paper was a lie.

All these reasons he loved me and wanted to stay with me. Gross.

The true reason he didn’t want to breakup is because he wanted to continue to leech off of me. As someone that struggled to keep a job for more than five seconds, he needed someone to pay for his housing and addiction. I am painfully aware of how I enabled his addiction. At a certain point, the argument wasn’t worth confronting him about money he owed me or cards he used without asking. I knew the only way I could stop enabling him was to cut him off. This is not the reason I left. The idea of him getting clean stopped being a motivating force a long time ago.

On the infamous night I documented my breakup, I shared screenshots of a conversation where I had evidence he was cheating on me. This is why most people think the reason I left him was because he was unfaithful. Little do most people know that I already knew he was unfaithful because he confessed more than once for cheating. The first time he cheated on me was only six months in. Trust me, I wish that is when I left.

The screenshots of him kissing another woman weren’t the final straw, they were just the ammunition I needed to win the final argument. I remember the look on his face when I showed him the evidence I had. He finally couldn’t gaslight me. Sweet justice could finally be served.

I remember yelling at him, “I knew your stupid love letter was bullshit because if you actually loved me you would’ve washed the fucking dishes!” Yes, the real reason I reached my boiling point on March 16, 2020 was because I was sick and fucking tired of working my ass off to come home to my leech boyfriend who just didn’t have the time to put the xbox controller down and WASH THE FUCKING DISHES PILED IN THE SINK THAT WEREN’T EVEN MINE.

It is really weird how the brain works. All I know, is that seeing the dishes in the sink after a long day at work made me go wild. Not in the fun at a party kind of way, but in the destructive one.

We were going back and forth about who would get the apartment. He kept saying he refused to leave and since he was on the lease, I couldn’t make him. The whole time he was rambling on about what a terrible person I would be if I kicked him out during a pandemic when he doesn’t have a job, I kept staring at the scissors on the coffee table and the canvas of the Chicago skyline on the wall. I got him the canvas for his birthday one year. When I couldn’t take his stupid speech anymore, I picked up the scissors.

I sliced through the canvas of the Chicago skyline. I took it off the wall and tossed it on the couch right next to him. I said, “now it’s trash, just like everyone from that fucking city.” I told him he could keep the apartment and I would move. I went into the bedroom and started packing. He eventually got up and left.

I actually love Chicago– the music, the food, the people. My ex is not a good representative. He just had a lot of hometown pride, so it felt really good to punch him in the gut with my dramatic slashing of the canvas.

I had nowhere to go but home. I called my parents in tears telling them that we broke up and I needed to go stay with them. My parents lived an hour and a half away from me. I felt guilty going to them. First of all, people were already withdrawing into their COVID bubbles. My parents are in their 70s and me going to their house was potentially life threatening for them. Also, I have two cats and one very large dog that I had to bring with me. My mom is not a fan of dogs. I mostly felt guilty because all the years of lying and hiding the truth from them was ending in the least graceful way possible.

I can’t begin to explain the shame I feel when I think about my parents.

I facetimed my best friends while I packed up my car with as much that could fit. I didn’t get to take much of my own stuff that first night. I packed everything thing that I needed for my cats and dog first. Then I had to have space for the three of them in the car. I also ensured that the urn containing the ashes of my first dog, Brillow, was in the car. The remaining space was for my clothes and whatever random items got swept up in my frenzy.

I somehow managed to get my flatscreen in the car. I laugh thinking about my little arms maneuvering this TV during my hysteria. I had two very good reasons why the TV needed to with me on the first trip. Reason one: my ex was known for going on rampages and destroying my things. Reason two: I didn’t want him to be able to play xbox anymore.

Since I am petty, I took all of the COVID lockdown essentials. All the hand sanitizer, hand soap, disinfectant and cleaning supplies. I got a lot of support from the viewers at home when I posted a picture of the brand new pack of Costco toilet paper going into my car. I also remembered to take what was on the roll in the bathroom. I really hope that was a pleasant surprise for him.

I called my brother when I finally got on the freeway. We hadn’t spoken in a while, so I can’t imagine what he was thinking and feeling about all my bullshit. This call felt like an olive branch that I didn’t even know I needed.

We didn’t speak for long, so I was left alone with my thoughts for the rest of the drive. I honestly can’t remember if I even had music on or not. I was just numb, focussed on the road. When I got to Lathrop, my dog put his head on my hand. This was the first time he’d actually done anything sweet. I looked down at him and his little face just fucking broke me. I’d been crying off and on the whole night, but it was all angry crying. This was the sad crying.

Since I was driving in the middle of the night, I took a deep breath to swallow the sadness back down… deep down. So far down, that I actually have not revisited the whole crying when sad thing. I don’t want to open that can of worms though.

I don’t remember much of what happened once I got to my parents house. My dad helped me bring in everything from my car. I spoke to my parents about something, I just don’t remember what. My mom gave me a few joints that I smoked in the backyard.

Sitting on the back steps of my parents house, smoking weed given to me by my mother, in the middle of a pandemic, with no fucking plan was the start of my quarter-life crisis. I promised myself that I’d at least make it fun.

I am beyond proud to announce I had so much fucking fun in the last year, which was mostly in the dumpster fire known as 2020. Even when the world was ending. Even when anything and everything was set up for everyone to be at rock bottom. I really kicked my depression’s ass. Any time I found a moment to have fun, I took it. I also learned how to make un-fun moments feel fun. A true gift in a crisis.

Fun Shit I Did:

-Realized my worth and left (oof)

-Got my own place for the first time ever

-Experience couch surfing during a pandemic

-Got a puppy

-Celebrated every second of my best friend’s pregnancy and the birth of our perfect pandemic baby

-Got my nipples pierced

-Got four new tattoos

-Dyed my hair whatever color I fucking felt like (I miss the blue)

-Went on several hikes, mostly solo

-Turned my living room into best place for dance parties

-Started dating again even though I am terrible at it

-Worked as a bad ass essential worker

-So many great nail sets

-Partied with my COVID bubble babes

-Finally found MY coffee shop after 3 years living out here

-Started therapy (yikes and yay)

To keep the motivation of having as much fun as possible for the rest of my life to make up for the six years I spent in hell, I will go especially hard every March 16.

Earlier today, I really spoiled myself. I went to Rescate for a large sugar-free snickerdoodle latte with almond milk and add shot. I cringe at myself for being the basic bitch that has a dumb order, but such deliciousness for such few carbs. I got in my car, rolled down the driver-side window and opened the sun roof because the weather was perfect today. I’m selfishly going to believe that the beautiful weather was just for me on my favorite day.

I was feeling nostalgic, so I put on Led Zeppelin. Which, if you have never listened to Ramble On with the wind in your hair while pretending to be in a critical scene in the movie that is your life, we are not the same kind of weird.

I went on a solo hike at my favorite preserve. There are few things that get the positive chemicals in the brain going like duck butts poking out of the water. I fucking love ducks. They are so plump and they waddle. I need not explain further. I was in such a good mood that I was actually able to meditate for a solid two minutes.

On the drive home, I stopped at this random old cemetery that I’ve driven past dozens of times before. I walked to the back of the cemetery where the graves got older. I spent about an hour reading each tombstone. Turns out the last living dude from the Lewis and Clark expedition is buried there. I just love how fucking random that is.

I definitely had the heebie jeebies walking around the cemetery by myself. Any time I had to step somewhere that seemed like there was potentially a body under my foot I would say “I’m sorry.” I’m not sure if that was normal or crazy behavior. As I made my way to the very back, I found two tombstones right next to each other under a tree. It was a father buried next to his daughter. He was 28 and she was four. When I read the dates and realized that she died first, I got emotional thinking about this young dad from the 1800s who had to experience his even younger daughter die. I was getting teary eyed, so I might’ve cried but the heebie jeebies started to intensify so I started power walking back to my car.

As I got closer to the front, I calmed down and decided to take a look at the last section of older graves before leaving. I stepped closer to try and read this tomb and a giant rabbit jumped out of a crack in the tomb at me. I was so scared that my scream didn’t even make a sound. I’m pretty sure I peed a little.

Terrified from the rabbit that jumped out of a crack in a spooky old tomb at me, I decided to call my mom. I told her I had to whisper because I was at a spooky old cemetery. I explained the situation to ask if I needed to worry about the rabbit. She told me that Alice followed the rabbit and that’s what I should do. I started to feel like my day was turning into a scary movie when I was in the mood for something more cute and uplifting, like Moxie maybe.

The thing is, I told my mom I’d follow it and I don’t want to be a chicken. Also, I love scary movies. Being born in October means you have to embrace all things spooky and strange. I followed the rabbit. The cemetery rabbit led me right back to the tombstones of the dad and daughter. Coincidence? I don’t fucking know! But I would appreciate that if anyone religious happens to read this, if you could please pray for me in whichever way you do that sort of thing. I’m agnostic or atheist, depends on my mood. Regardless, I have an irrational fear of being possessed by a demon or evil spirit. The movies make it seem like the only way to get rid of that crap is through religion, which I have none of. Therefore, better safe than sorry and I would appreciate prayers to protect me from whatever bullshit that cemetery rabbit was trying to get me involved in.

Leaving the cemetery, I switched from Led Zepp to Paul Simon. Still very nostalgic.

I went home, took my dog out, and changed. I then went to celebrate in my favorite way– getting a new tattoo. I went downtown to the same shop I got my coverup at. I covered up a matching tattoo I had with my ex with a giant side piece. It felt fitting to return to this shop for this special March 16 occasion.

My parents will not be thrilled, but I am delighted with my new tattoo of the number 16 on my right ring finger. March 16, the day I started living for myself. According to numerology, 16 is the number of freedom and independence. Sometimes my impulsive decisions still manage to be thoughtful.

In the waiting room, the girl waiting next to me started asking me what I was going to get. I explained what today is the anniversary of. I said something along the lines of “it is the day I left my piece of shit abuser and decided not to look back.” This stranger from the tattoo shop lobby looked me straight in the eye (eye contact is hard for me) and said, “I am so sorry you ever had to go through that– you deserve so much better.”

I barely had the strength to get out a “thank you” before getting called back by the artist.

I’m glad I got Arthur for this tattoo. He’s just a funny dude. He recognized that the work on my right arm was mostly done by Tanya. We instantly started showing off the pieces we’d gotten done by her. This involved Arthur taking off his pants to show me his thigh piece, which I recognized from Tanya’s social media. We spent the rest of the time joking about how I work in HR with all these tattoos.

As I write this, I am finishing this first anniversary in the perfectly imperfect bubble I created for myself. I hate cliches but this is the best way to describe my lair. I just swapped my Jim Groce vinyl for Al Green. I am alternating between cooking, dancing, and writing. The smell of the chile verde cooking on the stove makes me think of home, of my mom. My dog is chasing his tail and I can’t stop laughing because the edible I forgot I took is kicking in. I’m pretty sure that my dog and cats are probably also all high since there is a haze in the living room (sorry, dad). The lava lamp is the true source of the vibe in here. *Cues 2 Chainz*

There’s also zero dirty dishes in the sink.

I am far from perfect, but I promise that I won’t let anyone fuck with this peace– including myself. I will celebrate this victory every March 16. After all, it’s my favorite anniversary.

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