I've been thinking lately about how strange it is that so many of my girlfriends are, within the past few years, doing something I did long ago: moving in with a significant other.
Then again, I always have done things out of order.
I'm know I've mentioned somewhere on here before that I lived with my boyfriend senior year of college, but I've never actually went into detail about how the demise of it all was the driving force that brought me to NYC. Looking back, I have two main thoughts: How dumb I was. And thank God I did it.
I'm glad I can laugh about it now, because back then, I was a disaster. We broke up halfway into our lease and I was inconsolable. I would get in my car and drive and cry at every stoplight. I moved into the guest room but there was no true detachment. We shared a home. We had a dog together. He got a new girlfriend, though we were far from finished. He would tell me how much better I was, how much prettier and sexier... but that he couldn't bare to be alone and would rather be in a halfhearted relationship than single. We would lie in bed together and then I would get up and go back to my room. It was an absolute mind-youknowwhat. I think back to it all and shudder. I was "the other woman" and didn't even care.
The dog was a surprise from him to me, and we never bothered to train her. She was cute as hell but horribly behaved. Originally we agreed that she'd come to New York with me once we moved out of the shared apartment, but I ultimately decided that I wouldn't be able to give her the home she deserved and he ended up keeping her. There are no words to describe how ready I was to graduate and get the hell out of there, but saying goodbye to that dog was heart-wrenching, and I was pretty sure I'd never see her again. (I haven't.) My whole first year in New York, I had a recurring nightmare that she'd moved with me after all but I'd forgotten all about her and she'd come limping out from under my bed, not having been fed or bathed in weeks. I woke up in a sweat more times than I can count. I was racked with guilt, and it's a huge part of the reason that my first year here was so difficult.
I had no real plan after graduation, and nowhere to go but home. Which, despite my every best effort, was no longer Florida. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is with my parents and sister. So I booked a one way ticket to LaGuardia, got my diploma, and fled.
My ex and I kept in touch, and he asked me a number of times if we could try again. He said he'd come to New York. That we were meant to be. Turning down his offers killed me, but in my heart of hearts, I know too much had happened to ever go back. We managed to stay close and talked often for about a year after graduation, until we stopped talking completely. There's a lot more I could say, but out of respect for him I will leave it at that. I heard through the grapevine that he's married now and I wish him only the best. The end was so, so bad, but I don't want to lose sight of the fact that there was a lot of good before it.
In a lot of ways, that heartbreak is what led me here. I am so thankful we lived together and discovered that we weren't ready to spend the rest of our lives together. Who knows what would or could have happened if we hadn't made the adult decision to go our separate ways? In a year full of stupidity, it was the one smart thing we did. It forced me to do something I never thought I'd do: live in New York City.
The title of this post is from the poem "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley, and it's one of my favorite lines of all time. Everyone makes mistakes and often they are what make our fate. Carrie Bradshaw once said that you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be. I spent a lot of time dwelling on and punishing myself for things that happened, but you can't enjoy the present or focus on the future if you're stuck in the past.