The List 

I had my list of reasons on standby in the back of my head. Like a wallet full of condems, I kept them there ‘just in case.’ If ever there was a chance that I could feel like staying, I would quietly recite my list of reasons in my head.  

1. He didn’t hold me when I needed him to. When I had delivered a fetus into our bathtub, he should have held me. He didn’t. I wasn’t looking for sympathy. I just wanted him to hold me. I was emotionally and physically drained from the ordeal. I was sore and numb at the same time. I only wanted him to hold me, nothing more. He yelled and dismissed me. He complained about the dirty dishes. He told me to get out of bed and clean the kitchen, while my uterus was still spilling out of me, tears still wet on my face.  He made me feel hollow at a time when I needed to feel solid.  

2. He scared me. My anger rises slowly, like a burning piece of paper under a magnifying glass. It takes a while to get going, but when the flames rise up, they engulf the paper completely and all at once. His anger was like rogue bottle rocket ricocheting through a house. I never knew what he was going to hit. I never knew how far he would go. I only knew to get the fuck away from him when his passions flared.  His temper was unpredictable and abusive.

3. Instead of supporting me, instead of building me up, he criticized me and shot down my dreams like enemy aircraft. He didn’t believe in me. He treated me like some sort of fast food burger that he had to settle for because he couldn’t afford a real meal. He treated me like a mistake, like I was a karmic punishment.  

4. I did the same to him, and that hurt just as bad.

I never really loved him, and yet I did and still do. There’s another list too. The list of reasons why I stayed for as long as I did. The list of all the things he got right.  That list is just as long as the other. But for a long while now, no matter how hard I strained my eyes, I couldn’t read it.  I didn’t want to.  I still don’t want to.

Valentine’s Day 

In honor of being single on Valentine’s Day, I would like to take this opportunity and write about heartache. Getting your heart broken is probably the worst part about being human. Every person I know is terrified of it. If a broken heart wasn’t so painful, we would saturate ourselves in vulnerability. But no one does. Every single person I know is so hungry for love, to feel loved, to submit to love. Every one I know has an instinct to be accepted completely by another person. We are driven towards validation.  
And yet I’ve met very few who were able to let their guard down and place their heart in another person’s hands. At this point in my life, I’d rather give someone a kidney, than give them my heart.  

And I hate that I feel that way. If heartache wasn’t real, I would give my heart out every chance I could get. But heartache is real. And after you experience it, you never forget how it feels to give your heart so graciously to someone who drops it on the dirty floor.  It hurts.

There is also something very beautiful about heartache. It’s that sweet feeling you get, after you step back into the world with your newly independent feet. It’s that warm feeling you get, having a beer and watching a sexy young Brad Pitt get naked in Thelma and Louise by yourself on a Friday night.  It’s that feeling of wearing your cute new slippers and robe on a rainy day.   It’s cuddling with your friend Charlie (my cat) and sharing a plate of the amazing salmon I just made.  At least someone appreciates my culinary skills.

Jesus Christ, Brad Pitt looks damn good in this movie!  I do believe she owed him that money.

Seriously though, I love the way I take care of myself when I don’t have to take care of anyone else. I love the feeling I get when I tackle some situation that is hard for a single mom and I knock it out of the park. Hell, even if I don’t knock it out of the park, I love the feeling I get when I try. I really do feel happier on my own. I love that my house is my house and I don’t have some man bullying me around in it. I love that I work harder to feel happy because I am all I’ve got. I’m also all my kids have got. I love that feeling I get when I find a little piece of my long lost identity hidden in some extraordinarily mundane moment.  I love single me.

So, I have decided to write my own astrology reading for Valentine’s Day. I have written hundreds of astrology readings for people around the world.  But I have never written an analysis of my own chart.  Here it goes…

As a Libra sun and rising, with all of my planets equally divided between Scorpio and Virgo, my life is a swinging scale of opposites. I always find myself leaning between the emotional intuition of Scorpio and the critical logic of Virgo. I feel pulled to feel something and my brain drags me back to reality. I come from two families, one with traditional values and one with intelligent heathens.  I am the dirty virgin and the virtuous witch.I want love but I hate when I have it. I have big ideas but I talk myself out of them. I see both sides to everything. And so I see the good in evil people and I see the many imperfections of good people. I have the innate ability to sprinkle pixie dust over reality. And I can whittle a dream down to the bone. Every person in my life is a hero and a villain. I find myself in long stretches of solitude and I use that precious time to heal, to have adventures, to fall in love with my own life. I also find myself wandering away from solitude from time to time because I am a Libra after all, and Libras are always tempted by love. As I get older, I will find myself molding these contrasts together, and that is where I will find true happiness.  That is where I will change my world.