It’s all so surreal.
There are just moments where I sit back and have no idea what’s happening around me. Where I kind of marvel at the way that things spread; how things move seemingly on their own for my benefit or at my expense, and there’s nothing that I can do to change it one way or another.
This has been my life for the last month, and at times, that very feeling almost ended it. That type of powerlessness is crushing. I think that’s the closest that I get to feeling claustrophobic; like the walls are closing in. At the same time, it makes me feel really small; like a pin on Google Maps with a wide world expanding rapidly around me that I don’t have any influence over. A world in which I am meaningless.
Tomorrow will mark 30 days in which I have had no control over anything.
My ex-fiance, a minister, sent me a text message on March 24, 2017 simply stating that the wedding that was planned for two weeks in the future was simply canceled. That was it. That was all. And that was when my entire existence started spinning and no matter how quickly I turned, I could never catch up.
I remember when he came to collect his things. He told me that he would; that he wasn’t coming “home” but that he was coming by “my apartment” to collect his belongings. I think it was therapeutic to gather everything together. I stacked everything that could be stacked on the kitchen counter. His clothes were on a nearby dining room chair. I waited. And when he arrived, I sat on the back of my couch and watched as he pawed through things, checking to make sure everything was there.
Like I would want to keep a souvenir.
I remember telling him that he owed me. Reminding him that I never so much as looked at another man while I was with him, because he was everything. I banked my sanity on him. I found an oasis that my depression couldn’t infiltrate and he was the president of the island. The sun rose and set in accordance with his schedule and here he just expected that to stop. He owed me an explanation, and I told him so.
When he finally managed to meet my eyes, and he said “It’s Shonte”, I literally fell to my knees.
It was like a movie. I have never had it happen before, and doubt it will happen again. It was like a movie. Like a soap opera. I crumbled to my knees and I didn’t know how I would ever get up again. I don’t know where my heart was, but it wasn’t in my chest. My chest was hollow. I don’t remember what I said next. I just remember my voice breaking. I remember crying and screaming on the inside but just not having the energy to do it out loud. I remember the look on his face as he kept repeating, “This is hard.” I remember when he started to cry himself.
I remember when he rationalized his “vow to God” to marry this woman unless she would not have him. I remember thinking to myself, this is the very same woman who canceled your wedding almost exactly one year ago, but now, two weeks before mine, she’s had a change of heart. I remember being angry with God, who I know had no parts of this vow or this decision – but is a very convenient and irrefutable scapegoat for any and everything shady and sleazy.
I remember everything so vividly that I’m crying now.
I don’t know who else battles depression. I don’t know who identifies with me saying that the only thing that I truly fear is my mind itself. I don’t know who else has counted all of the hours that they just couldn’t convince themselves to get out of bed, and knowing that it was excessive, but not having the energy to change it. But I know that as soon as the good minister said those two words that brought me to my knees, I felt the depression tickling my brain and a familiar sadness tightening my chest.
I don’t think I breathed for three days.
I guess I had to; I didn’t die. But I felt like I was suffocating. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. I lost 8 pounds really quickly, which was pretty upsetting, because I’d been trying to lose just five for an entire month to fit into the wedding dress that still hangs in my closet.
You don’t see this on TV.
They don’t show you how wedding cancellations go. They show you the weddings. Similar to my past pregnancies – they don’t show you the miscarriages; they show you baby showers and births. And then, there were the phone calls. And the text messages. And the retelling of the same story and the same story and the same story and taking two steps forward to be plucked up and thrown a mile in the opposite direction to start all over again.
I found comfort in the weirdest things. My mom and my brother came to my apartment the day after, and I remember retreating to my room and trying to clean my carpet with baking soda and white vinegar. It was so random. I remember scrubbing and that there was absolutely nothing more important than scrubbing that damn carpet. I remember when my brother discovered me, and I remember realizing that I was scaring him.
I don’t think I’ve ever broken down like that in my life.
I remember my mom rushing in and literally covering me with her body, and my brother coming in and covering HER, but it just felt like no one was there. It’s been almost a month, and it just now feels like someone is here, though I can assure you, my friends have been here with me every step of the way.
I don’t know what this feeling is called. But I do know that it’s a sadness that terrifies me.
So when people ask me how I’m doing? I tell them, “I’m alive. And I guess that’s a win.”