So, I died last month …

“You always hated the way I live
You never wanted the things I had to give
But still there’s something that keeps you holding on
Leavin’ me is something only you can do
I’ll never be the one to say we’re through
But if you play the game
I’m gonna play the fool.”

— Grace Potter, “Keepsake”

I died sometime last month. I don’t remember exactly when the aching stopped and the void opened up. But the girl who always told the universe that highs and lows were fine because anything beat nothingness, well, didn’t have an ounce of “care” left in her.

And then I believe it was last Saturday when my heart grew straight back into my chest. I felt it reattach. That’s because I met a nice man. Nothing has developed there other than some friendly e-mail banter.

The exchanges have been safe, neutral, noncommittal. But there was enough of a *ping* in my mind to make a Facebook post along the lines of, “And suddenly, everything changes.”

I’m starting to feel again. And although that moment of feeling alive again may never be replicated with that same person, the fact of the matter is that I realized in a BIG way that there are other men out there … other men who listen to me and make me laugh and think.

The world, it spins madly on. And baby, you can COUNT MY ASS IN for the ride.

As for my darling, darling readers, you know the deal. You’ll get an outline of the details in six to 12 months. But you get my moral to the story right now, which is this.

I died once. But no one can kill me twice. I’ve already been to hell and back, and I assure you that there is NO need to stamp THAT passport twice.

Now for those of you who know me, you know that my mother has never made a good relationship choice. (Otherwise, she’d be with someone good instead of living with me for the last six years.)

My whole life, she dragged me into all her fucked-up relationships and I, in turn, chose to have NO relationships because of how hideously she allowed herself to be treated. I mean, I’m 38 and my longest relationships were like three and six months, respectively.

(Seriously, can’t remember much about them. But I know my heart wasn’t there either time. Y’all can thank her for that. But really, I saw no future with either. One, I kicked out of bed and told him to never call me again as I LISTEN when you guys talk in your sleep. With the other, well, a girl only has so many mercy fucks in her, you know?)

Anyway, yeah. Mom’s fucked-up relationships with emotionally withholding, cheating, alcoholic and otherwise dysfunctional pieces of shit made me hold everyone at arm’s length.

To the point that when I did contact a beloved ex last month to ask some questions about my own potential dysfunctions, he said (not as a character flaw, though) that I never loved anybody. Or never showed it anyway. So, maybe that I was losing my shit over someone, this might have been something real, yes?

Let’s digress before this cat runs out of lives, shall we?

The point is, I wasn’t me in this last “thing.” I was Mom. She was the one who convinced me seven ways to Sunday to forgive this, overlook that, show this emotion here, make this better, do this cute thing, say that cute thing and otherwise hang in there till things unfolded in their own time.

So my first real interest, well, I wasn’t the one “in it.” Well, I WAS … I mean, he’s cute and funny and smart and sweet and adorably awkward, and he really did ignite my soul back in those early days. But mostly, I was my mother — the person I swore up and down for nearly 40 years from whom I’d never take a whisper of relationship advice.

So, not only is my soul breathing and FEELING again, but the soul of the Goddess of Years Past has reinvaded her mortal body. The girl who put an exclamation point at the end back on Feb. 13 was all me. But the girl who later changed it to an ellipsis had her mother’s optimistic soul sharing space with her hard-ass one.

It was weird, rooting for a happy ending. Thinking that far ahead. Admittedly being secretly pleased that he had a good last name that, should I ever have to contemplate that sort of thing, I’d be OK taking it.

Now, look, I admit this “hey, a boy I like!” shit caught me more off-guard than anyone. And I left my usual Goddess skepticism in the dust.

But when I asked the universe, “OK, he’s too perfect — what’s wrong with him?” AND HOO BOY DID I GET MY ANSWER, I was OK with saying, welp, maybe next time.

I can’t really say much more than that for right now without having to explain a lot that I can’t put into words just yet. What I can say is that, at some point, Mom even looked at me and said, “Yeah, you need to run as far away as you can from this.”

The woman who never met a psychotic, cheating prick she wouldn’t date for WAY too long … told me to hit the bricks. Behold the magnitude of that for just a moment.

Usually I act like the mother and she the daughter. But with that, our roles righted themselves for just a brief, shining moment.

I’ve been trying to keep the peace. (Not with her. That’s what I should instead be spending my energy on.) But it’s been a lot more difficult to do. So I continue to thank God that things are the way they are, and they aren’t the way they were, and that they’ll never get to where they could have been.

Looking forward to when I can let you all in on this one. But I still have a LOT of processing to do, and unanswered questions to ask in due time. In the meantime, I thank you for loving me and finding me extraordinary in a way that he no longer does. Or maybe I was too extraordinary, all things considered. Not that I have felt that way in a long time where that one is concerned.

And, my beloveds, should anyone have the audacity to not find us extraordinary … should they prefer ordinary or subpar or “good enough” to the magic that we offer … as Momma said, “Run!” Because it’s not you … IT’S THEM!!!

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