the cold side of independence

It’s been a year, almost, on my own like this.

I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be.

I remembered fondly living alone, after college, before marriage. And naively, maybe that’s how I thought it would be again. That was when I held two jobs to cover rent and expenses. That was when I ate turkey bagel sandwiches slathered in cream cheese and collapsed into my bed after two shifts, exhausted but proud. I made my own way then.

I had once thought needing no one meant strength.

But that was when I didn’t have kids to take care of and I could work as much as I needed to make ends meet.

I have been making my own way again, but this time I have seen the cold side of independence.

Independence also means there is no one to share the bills with, no one who will be there in my home when the boys are asleep so I can go for a run, shake out my head. It means I do all the chores alone, talk only to myself about my day.

My bed is warm because I have winterized it and the boys come snuggle their sweaty little bodies up to mine at 2 each morning, but the air pumping through this place is cold. I can not figure out how to manage the temperature.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that independence can equal strength, but so can sharing. That strength doesn’t come in only one variety: that we are not greater or lesser based on our circumstances. For it is hard to share life, too. Each path we can take is fraught with obstacles and I am just over here hurdling them by myself this time, not any stronger than I was once, but maybe more courageous thinking I can handle all of them alone.

I collapse into bed again at the end of the long weekend days, having worked fourteen hours on my feet. Sometimes I have to crawl into it. But I am proud, like I was then, before all this.

This week I remembered an oil change, used a coupon, told the guy I could change my own air filter.

I lied of course. I’m faking it. But faking it is what has brought me to a year on my own with two kids, still alive, hands frigid but typing still.

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