A rough spot

In one year my life has completely changed. In the span of one year, I have lost two relationships, lost my mentor and lost my job. That’s not to mention the death in the family and a family member’s bought with cancer. 2013 was not my friend. And to add to all of that emotional upheaval, I decided to move to a city where I knew no one except ex-boyfriend #3. Overall, and eventually, I truly believe it will be a great move. Right now, it’s a rough transition. I’ve been trying to figure out what the source of my anger and sadness has been and I realized that the overwhelming theme of 2013 was how disposable I was in every facet of my life.

I bent my will to attempt to make ex-boyfriend #3 interested in me and was ultimately extremely unsuccessful. It was doomed from the beginning and in the end, the relief in his voice when he dumped me was so palpable it was almost offensive. I had mailed handwritten love notes to ex-boyfriend #3 to impress him. I proofread and used a thesaurus when sending text messages and emails to him so I would seem intelligent. I bought frilly dresses covered in flowers. I was embarrassed of my curvy body and spent upwards of $500 per month on personal trainers and spinning classes to lose nearly 40 pounds. The Real me swore too much and drank way too much wine. I watched football on Sunday while downing beers, eating mozzarella sticks and lamenting the poor coaching decisions of the Oakland Raiders. I listened to punk rock and rap music. I had a tattoo and contemplated getting many more. (When I had floated the idea of an additional tattoo to ex-boyfriend #3, he responded: “You’ve already made one mistake. No need to make another.”) I knew he couldn’t love a girl like me. So I had done everything in my power to change into someone he could love. And after all that effort he had proclaimed that he “just didn’t feel the same way” about me and discarded me.

I had been brought to my law firm in Chicago to work specifically for one partner. We worked together every day for over two years and had become practically a mini-law firm within our office. In April of last year, he came into my office and announced that he was leaving to go to another firm. I was completely blind-sided and I was not asked to come with him. I felt as if I had been hit by a truck. I had no idea what this circumstance meant for my career. And, I would eventually come to realize that ultimately this situation meant that I had no mentor and not advocate within the law firm when important decisions were being made. The two years that we worked together were a mere fraction of his over twenty year legal career; however, I had hoped that my loyalty would have at least warranted a “heads up” regarding his impending departure. But, apparently, I was an afterthought in the decision-making process.

Without getting into detail, on New Years Eve, I was dealt a heavy professional blow. It was one last uppercut added to a year that had completely beat me up. Right or wrong, the overwhelming feeling of this year was that I was not needed by anyone in any part of my life. I am personally disposable and replaceable. I am professionally disposable and replaceable.

As I explained in my previous post, I feel its important to honor my emotions — even if they are extreme. I’m not ashamed to admit that all of these feelings came to a head a couple of weeks ago. Ex-boyfriend #3 attempted to be nice and come over to comfort me after my NYE job shake up. The night did not go so well. I was upset, defeated and downed nearly two bottles of wine on an empty stomach. To add insult to injury, ex-boyfriend # 3 explained he was now dating someone we went to law school with. (There is never a good time to bring this type of information up but — in my humble opinion — this was poor timing). Ex-boyfriend #3 and his new girlfriend got to decorate apartments, go to plays, eat tapas and share laughs over glasses of Merlot at book club. By contrast, I was completely alone, with mounting debt, no job, no game plan and almost no friends in a new city. All that work. The years of studying, the sleepless nights, the mindless document review projects, the demanding bosses, the deadlines, and the stress to be perfect. I had no career. My world was crumbling around me in this impossibly expensive one bedroom apartment in Adams Morgan. I had no one, no love, no game plan, and no job. So, of course, I grabbed the knife.

It’s a blur. I tried multiple times unsuccessfully to slit my wrists. Ex-boyfriend #3 wrestled multiple knives out of my hand. I was screaming and crying. He finally subdued me and put me on the phone with a suicide hotline. I had been practicing law for six years. I had just moved to Washington, D.C. four months ago and New Year’s Eve dealt me one last crushing blow in already upsetting year. I felt so defeated and like a failure. I was exhausted.

I’ll admit that it’s an intense and scary story. But it happened. As I explained in my previous post, I never processed emotions. I buried them. I’m a complete work in progress in so many aspects of my life. I’m in career transition. This is the longest I’ve been single in the last decade. And, I’m finally figuring out how to process my emotions while dealing with a pile an emotionally jarring situations in the span of 12 tiny months. It’s a lot for me. And my emotions change from hour to hour. Some hours I feel strong and resilient. Other hours I feel weak and defeated. But, at the end of the day, I refuse to apologize for any of it. I spent nearly three decades not expressing emotion and trying to be perfect. I guess I have a lot of time to make up for so I’ll be gentle with myself. It’s the only way I know how to move forward.

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