My beds and desk have arrived. I make my bed and flop on it like a kid. I do not know if it is a flash or for real, but right now I feel happy. I set my telework equipment up and arranged my desk. I am back at work. My apartment is completely furnished. My paid-off credit cards are once again maxed out in exchange for a whole house that is all mine and reflects my tastes, colors, vibes, d├ęcor, energy, vision, and purpose. The purpose is to heal, feel safe, live life in positivity and peace, get myself together, and hopefully become a whole loaf. I also created this space for my youngest, a college student, to live during weekends, holidays, summers, or whenever. I am settled in my new apartment, my new life, and on my own.

Glory hallelujah! The weight has been lifted. I feel free in my apartment, free from toxicity. Free to express myself without judgment, criticism, or cynicism. To move freely without the lurking shadows of rudeness, abuse, rage, threats, and dirty looks. Free to laugh without being shushed, cry without scolding, speak without arguing, host family & friends without drama, practice self-care without punishment, and live without chaos.

Living in an apartment means community and my new neighbors, upstairs and downstairs, are friendly, funny, helpful, and great to talk to in our comings and goings. I walked around my neighborhood to explore, and it seems like everyone walks, rides bikes, and has cute dogs whose poop is scooped up. This suburb is artistic and multi-cultured. I make note of the community pool and adjacent park nearby. The trouble comes when I drive. The traffic is ferocious, the streets are wide with multiple lanes, one wrong turn, and I get lost or swept up in circular driving patterns away from my apartment. I had to pull over many times for mini meltdowns wondering where I was. To run errands, I had to plot the time, so I did not have to compete with traffic. At night I get confused in the thick traffic, cars darting in and out on a dime, blinded by headlights and honked at by fast cars hustling to and from major stores, mom-and-pop shops, bars, and restaurants, which make nighttime excursions rare. I accept the challenges that come with tremendous changes, and I accept that living on my own comes with a big price tag that is not just about money.

My fear of the unknown is subsiding, and I deal with my emotions as they come. I feel strong, fragile, empowered, lively, apprehensive, frustrated, encouraged, brave, confused, hopeful, alone and safe. I get up and keep it moving. I work on my self-care and vow to get healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally. There is no excuse and no one to blame for my inaction. Just like my apartment, I need a restoration which is my responsibility. I am learning to trust the peace & quiet without fearing loud footsteps galloping up the stairs to torment me. I thanked God for everything and slept sprawled out in my brand-new bed, all night. This is the end of my marriage and the beginning of a better life with the freedom to live my life my way and on my own, moving forward toward healing, one step at a time.