Monday, February 24, 2014

The Ugly Truth

I have been homeless for the past week. Last Saturday, I moved out of the home I shared with my wife. We are officially separated.

This is a confusing and sad time for me. I've spent the past week trying to avoid talking about it here, my last bastion of sanity, but I'm finding it just too difficult to talk around. I need to address it head-on. Then, maybe I can get back to blogging about tabletop gaming stuff.

I hung out with my wife all day yesterday. We got caught up on True Detective, and we ate at a great new Italian restaurant. We had fun. We laughed together. My wife has been, and always will be, my best friend. But we just can't live together anymore. That breaks my heart, but it's the ugly truth I must wrap my brain around. We may not be separated forever...there is very much a chance that things could turn around...but there is also a very real chance that this is it. That, although we will always be in each other's lives, it may not be the way we originally intended.

I've tried to take solace in my hobbies in this odd time, but it's been difficult for me. RPGs provide a creative outlet like none other, but the tradeoff is they demand your attention. And lately, my attention has been pretty badly compromised. I spent all last weekend playing videogames; something I haven't done in years. Normally I just play an hour or two of Assassin's Creed IV once or twice a week. But Saturday, I purchased Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and went to town on that for about six hours straight, before switching over to the Xbox and playing some Left 4 Dead 2 with a friend online. I was originally going to write this post about my thoughts concerning the differences between videogames and tabletop games, but I didn't know how I was going to do that without talking about why I was playing videogames so much in the first place. Normally even that wouldn't bother me (if I didn't write a blog post because I was afraid of being too meandering, there wouldn't be a SINGLE entry in this thing), but today, I just can't do it.

I had a good mojo going there for awhile, but now this has happened, and I can just barely string together enough thoughts to write even a half-assed blog entry about my dream job of GMing for pay. And now I've even failed at that, instead just writing about how sad life is for me right now... 

(the following was added at 3:46 P.M. on the same day):

...oh, and this is post number 50. I wanted the 50th post to be something special. This isn't what I had in mind.

I'm still in a pretty glum mood so I'm just going to try writing a little more. See if I can exorcise these feelings.

I'm going to look at a new place tonight. Assuming there aren't any dead bodies being stored in the basement or something, I'm probably going to take it. The commute is going to be murder, but with how little I'm willing to pay, it's about the best I can hope for.

The hardest part about all of this right now is the transition. Like the old saying goes "It's not the fall that kills you, it's hitting the ground." I'm in freefall right now, and the ground is rushing up to meet me, and I am really dreading that impact. And there's nothing I can do to change the speed, or protect myself, or anything. I just have to wait in freefall until it all happens. I can't relax. I can't make myself feel any better. I can't do anything. I just sit here, hurt and worried and confused.

Last week felt alright, all things considered. I was crashing on a friend's couch. It wasn't exactly an ideal arrangement for either of us, but it was something. It was stable. Then, last night, he told me he wanted me to move out next week. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. In fact, I appreciate his honesty and straight-forwardness. Better this way than me staying for weeks on end thinking everything is okay, then he explodes on me for some random reason because he's been bottling up his feelings and then we're not friends anymore. But, still, it sucks. It's like when the action hero is sliding off the cliff, and he grabs the branch, and for a second thinks he's safe, and then the branch snaps, and he's falling again. I am falling again.

So, when life really sucks like this, I try and do a little Oprah move and think of five things I'm grateful for. Here are five things, in no particular order:

1. My relationship with my wife, though strained, is still alive and (for the most part) healthy. If everything else falls apart and I can't find a place by Sunday, I can always come crawling back to what was once my home and pass out on the couch there. That's not a long term option, but I at least won't be sleeping on the streets, or a hotel room I can't afford.

2. My job is an uncaring institution towering over my personal life...and I'm grateful for that. Nobody knows here about what's going on in my life. No one's asked. No one cares. And that's not a bad thing. It's a little normalcy in an otherwise un-normal time. My marriage may be crumbling and I may not know where I'll be living in a week from today, but I do know where I'll be working.

3. I've had a number of great friends wishing me sympathy and offering support. It's very humbling. With my marriage dying on the vine, I should feel alone, but I don't. In fact, loneliness hasn't landed anywhere on the docket. Just a lot of sadness and frustration and confusion. But no loneliness.

4. Though I'm not, by any stretch of the imagination, wealthy, I do have a considerable amount of resources at my disposal. As a veteran, I have free healthcare. I have one of the most ridiculously-full collections of RPGs one could ever imagine, and a formidable boardgame collection to keep my mind occupied. I have the latest iPhone, a Google Nexus tablet, a laptop that runs videogames better than an Xbox. An Xbox. A Playstation 3. A Nintendo 3DS. And I live in one of the biggest cities in the country, with access to dozens (if not hundreds) of affordable places to go and affable people to socialize with. So although I may be homeless, I am far from impovershed.

5. I have a bright future ahead of me, and there's a good chance that I'll look back on this moment and think "thank God THAT'S over!" I am less than a year away from my Masters Degree in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. I am on a career track with the federal government that guarantees at least two more raises in the next two years...assuming I stay in the federal government. I could go private sector, where I could make even more as a technical writer. Either way, the natural momentum of life will have me going nowhere but up for the next several years.

There. Sure enough, I feel better, albeit just a little.

(added at 5:40 P.M.).

Nope. I broke down in the bathroom about 15 minutes ago. Then, I called my wife and, in a barely coherent babble of sobbing, I presented a feeble case for us just moving back in together and "working it out."

Not exactly my proudest moment. And here I am, writing it, in some desperate, pathetic attempt to give it some....I don't even know. Whatever.

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