Learning To Live With The Double Me

February 7, 2021

After three months away from each other, my husband finally comes back to San Miguel today. My elbows are ready to knock against his as he will be in self-imposed quarantine for 10-14 days. We do that because it is the right thing for our community and ourselves. But it won’t be easy.

We are lucky we rent a big house, with three floors. Bedrooms on the first and third, so we can maintain a distance while still being near each other. There is going to be a lot of calling back and forth through the stairwell. We also have terraces big enough to be separate, still see each other, blow kisses.

I am ready to have my cheerleader and constructive critic back for my writing practice. At times, I can really put a hell of a lot of pressure on myself. Let that destructive self-talk get in my way.

But I am also applauding myself, and how I have handled being away from Glenn all this time.

Just a few years ago, the thought of this would have thrown me into a panicking disaster mode, thinking that something dire would happen to him and he wouldn’t make it back. Leaving me alone, bereft, and suicidal.

That is the old me. The incredibly ill one. The one before renewed life and loved ones built me back up.

I had been homeless for four years, lived with a boyfriend who was not in good health, we had only a small income, a lot of medication costs, and a frame of mind that I could lose it all in a heartbeat. We finally got an apartment, and I spent every week in therapy spinning out with impending doom in my head. With shared expenses, what the hell would happen if he was gone? I found out when he died suddenly one night after eight and a half years together. And I experienced complicated grief for three years, crying non-stop in my own fearful terrors.

Things eventually righted themselves. Glenn and I finally saw the writing on the wall. We were meant to be. I was manageable, no longer crazy beyond belief. It surprised no one when we started a life together in 2013, after being friends, then best friends for twenty years.

I still wasn’t done with learning how to boost myself up to feel I could in fact manage life alone if I had to. That came when we moved to Mexico, a slower, easier, less expensive life. A manageable one. A happy one. As I became healthier, my confidence grew. We made great friends here, and I’m writing and gather supportive others into my atmosphere. I am no longer flotsam.

COVID has been trying the patience of everyone. But I have gotten stronger. I am fostering my second self. The one that can stand on her own.

The old me, the overly cautious, panicked, scanning the horizon for the imminent death knell me is still there, reducing every day. My warp speed unheaded past is a warning, and taking life slow and easy is not a bad thing. It is nice to breathe.

The three months apart from my amazing husband has been a learning experience. And I am pretty proud. I am cultivating a stronger, purpose-driven self, and a can manage attitude. Our financial resources increased when we sold our house in Oakland. I no longer feel an unexpected two-hundred-dollar expense will send me back to a park bench. But that is just part of it.

I love being the married me, a part of a loving relationship where each of us brings strength and energy to the table. Where we are two parts of a strong whole. But I have also learned that I am an equally strong, just different, whole in my own right.

Sometimes, life’s lessons aren’t disasters that cripple. Sometimes they are a blessing in disguise.

If you hear a scream of excitement floating over Centro tonight, don’t worry, that is just me welcoming my husband home!

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  • Reply Chris Chase February 7, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    Congratulations! As half of an old, long-time married couple, I am so happy to imagine your joy at having Glenn much nearer. That was a long time to be apart. I hope he feels he accomplished a lot too. Hang in there for the end of quarantining. Soon I’ll be seeing two glasses side-by-side, clinking the nights away. Well done to both of you!!

    • Reply ourprimeoflife February 7, 2021 at 7:33 pm

      Thanks so much Chris!! It definitely made for an interesting time for both of us. The longest we have ever been apart since being together. He is in the shuttle now so just waiting to hear it pull up to the gate. Stay tuned for that scream!!

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