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Head of Household

by Crystal Torres on June 13, 2016

I think it was a combination. I had been pushing against the door for so long that when it finally opened I couldn’t help but stumble into the lack of resistance. It’s not that I liked the fight, it’s just that I was used to it, freedom felt strange, and I felt lost. Also, the amount of death in my life around that time was unreal. I was trying to celebrate goals accomplished while drowning in grief. Either way, on November 22, 2015 I moved out. After 20 years of living with The (Ex)Husband, I moved out.

The kids and I went to stay with friends and I tried to sort my life out. I had a divorce lawyer and that ball was rolling. I also had a lot of shared debt from the marriage, few liquid assets, Though I had my own car, my own job and amazing friends. On the one hand, this was an incredibly easy phase in my life. I took some time off from school. My work was very patient and supportive. My bills were negligible, and my responsibility minimized. Still I stumbled.

I kept starting over even on my starting over. I wanted to launch like a rocket. Instead, I had to keep relearning how to crawl. Ultimately, I accepted that my new goal was recovery. I discovered a great tool for self-care triage, that I could use when I felt too broken to even know what I needed. I focused on the simplest physical needs, rest, hydrate, nourish.

My days were structured to allow for a consistent evening routine that started with dinner and ended with some Netflix with my daughter (who had become my roomie when we all crammed into my friend’s house), usually allowing for at least seven hours of sleep. Rest, hydrate, nourish. Rinse, lather, repeat. Everything had to be bite sized. Everything had to be slow. A lot of things had to be started over and over. 

Just a little more than six months into my divorce, I moved into a little rental house. For the first time in my life, I’m not living with family, or roommates, or a boyfriend or a husband. This is my home. This is where I sink or swim. For so long, The (Ex)Husband told me I didn’t know anything about the real world, I’d never make it in the real world. A part of me is really worried that he might be right. I’ve never had a chance to try before.

The thing is, the further I get from my marriage the less lonely I feel. There is room for my friends, and their friends, to help me. Asking for help, accepting help, these things are terrifying. Sometimes, I worry that they prove some of the things my ex told me. I mean, I’m not really doing it by myself. I’m getting so much help. Then I remember that there really isn’t any rule that says I have to do it by myself. I don’t get extra points for hoarding all my burdens. I like to think that if I had to, I could take care of my kids, and myself, on my own. Still, I think it speaks to a greater success in life that I’ve cultivated such kind and generous souls that I don’t have to do it all alone.

On June 1, 2016, they gave me the keys to my very own rental house. This is me, slightly damaged and weary and still trying to figure it all out, but I am finally free, a woman self-possessed. This is where I roll up my sleeves and sink my hands deep into the glorious sticky mess that is living. Everything before was prologue. This is where my story really begins.

Also, I’m going to attempt to YouTube the adventure. There is so much poetry in longing, in noble suffering, in tragedy. I’m done with those things for now. I feel like this is a more visual journey and I want to do more things outside of my comfort zone. So, um, yeah, I made a thing.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Richard Foss June 13, 2016 at 3:59 pm

Documenting the next phase of a great journey… you have been doing it in prose and poetry for a while. I hope you continue in all media.


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