My Broken Heart

“It’s like getting shot in the leg. You learn to walk again,
but your gait is never quite the same.” – Me

In my early 30s, I received an endometrial ablation and tubal ligation for both personal and medical reasons. These procedures improved my quality of life immensely, and twelve years of continuous hormonal birth control use were a major exacerbating factor in my zombie-like depression. Perhaps ironically, if I had not undergone the surgery, it is unlikely that any of the past four years would have happened. I would still be in Houston, plugging away in Minecraft and binge-watching television shows, slowly eating myself to death.

Even as a child, I never wanted biological children — mostly stemming from a fear of pregnancy, but also, I struggle with the idea of creating more humans in a world of finite resources, and when so many existing children need loving homes. Adoption was always a “perhaps someday” option in the back of my mind, and I had myself sterilized without hesitation. About six months after discontinuing the hormone pills, I went out and got my first part-time day job in seven or eight years. I was (for lack of a better descriptor) almost autistic in my social awkwardness, but it was retail, and offered plenty of opportunity to practice conversation and people skills. I eventually moved on to another job for roughly two years, where I was promoted to management for the first time, and saved up the money I would use in 2015 to move to Saint Paul.

It was when I left this second job finally, in the fall of 2014, that I “woke up” and began producing my artwork and comics again. It was as if my brain had snapped back, like a rubber band, to the early 2000s. I reconnected with old friends and colleagues, and all the past feelings and unresolved issues I had been bottling up came back in a volcanic rush. Thankfully, most people were very patient and understanding with me during this process. By the time I left Texas, I had mended many fences and buried many hatchets.

In the years preceding my move, several of my friends in Houston had begun having children of their own. My feelings on the issue softened considerably. In the process of leaving my lifeless marriage and moving, I met someone I absolutely adored, who possessed all of the qualities I am searching for, and I could imagine building a life together with — but who also wanted children. We proceeded with an angst-fueled relationship, anyway. Open to adoption, and naturally optimistic, I felt some sort of solution could eventually be found. Him, less so on all counts. The hot-cold, push-pull nature of our interactions, combined with the feeling that I alone would never be enough, shattered my then-fragile self-confidence and drove me to the edge of madness. I was left cartwheeling through the first half of 2016, until a thoughtless invasion of my home and privacy later that summer finished the job of utterly breaking me.

It was Stephen who came into my life and offered the support I needed, in a sort-of fatherly way, to reassemble myself. Sometimes I wonder if I should be grateful. It is from the remains of this devastation that I finally discovered my own strength and my sense of true identity. I have been able to forgive both myself, and those that hurt me, though I hope to never see the person who violated me again. What happened to me has cruelly become a joke.

Sunday was… soul-crushing. I found myself, at breakfast on Sunday morning, accidentally seated near someone to whom I desperately wished I could say a thousand words, even if all I might actually manage was, “Have a nice day.” I looked forward and continued my conversation, trying to pretend I had not noticed, while every nerve in my body stood at attention and begged to close the few feet of space between us. I smiled and continued talking shop to my friends, until I was sure that he was gone. Then I finished breakfast, put on my coat, went to my car, and cried. I sat and cried, in the grey, cold light.

Sunday evening my best girl-friend Taya welcomed her new little boy into the world. I am incredibly excited and so happy for her, but I confess the photos have been difficult to look at. Sunday night I broke down. Stephen came over so I would not be alone. Helping Taya in any way I can might be the closest I ever get to being a mother, myself. Perhaps one day I will have a life-partner, and I can align the moon and stars into a situation where adopting an older child is realistic. Once I have gotten all the convention-hopping and travelling out of my blood, of course. I have tried my hardest to accept and make peace with all possible outcomes at this point, though it sometimes still hurts.

All I can do is adjust my crown, hold my head high, and keep working.

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