I know what you’re thinking.
“How cliche. The first song she picks is by Fiona Apple? What is she? Some kind of angsty, male-bashing feminist?”
Well, not exactly.
I’m going to be honest with you, it took me a while to get on the Fiona bandwagon. In fact, it took me nearly 30 years. Maybe it something to do with the fact that I was a just a little girl during Fiona’s heyday. When she was popular I was likely beboppin’ around to Mmmbop; I didn't have the capacity to understand her womanly heartache (yet.)
Like most of the songs I love, I particularly enjoy this one because it’s so damn relatable.
I was in a relationship with someone for five official years (even more when you count the dating dance we did beforehand).
We lived together.
We had a family (a super chunk of a cat and sweet sweet angel of a pup.)
We were each other’s best friend.
To me this song perfectly explains the feeling when you are with someone, and it doesn’t quite feel right, though you can’t put your finger on exactly what it is.
You get along.
You laugh at the same memes.
You binge watch the same TV shows.
You love your pup with the same fierceness.
But still, something in the pit of your guts is telling you to run away.
And so after a lot of sleepless nights, I left. I left him. I left our animals. I left the country.
Though it was one of the hardest things I have ever done, it was something I couldn’t not do.
And guess what?
I cried. I thought about him late at night. I thought about our animals. I thought about the four of us in bed, the animals piled on top. I knew that I could have been happy with him forever and ever. But I also knew that my happiness would always have a limit. Never one to just accept things that are “good enough,” I pushed my boundaries and I expanded my limits.
And guess what?
I was right. Leaving the relationship forced me to examine who the hell I actually was. I had spent so many years thinking as an “us” that I forgot how to think for myself. What the hell even made me happy? I started running (I never liked running before.) I started to dance every chance I got (a few times a week.) I started to write (though I had always kept a journal, now I was publishing pieces publicly.) I started a blog (ReproJustice.com) that encouraged other women to share their experiences, thus empowering them and the communities they lived. I upped my standards for relationships, friends and otherwise, which then encouraged me to become a better friend to myself and others. I built a new life, completely from scratch, and all by my damn self.
And guess what?
He did too. He finally started his own beverage company (something that he was always on the verge of doing before the breakup). And it was successful. I’m sure it hurt him that I left, that I abandoned our shared dreams that never came to fruition; like buying a tiny house with an outdoor shower or backpacking through South America. But slowly, he started to figure out how to make his own dreams come true.
Though we were good for each other up to a certain point, we held each other back time and time again. We went through the motions and stayed in our comfort zone because it was familiar and safe. We didn’t take risks (like moving to Europe, or starting our own businesses or pursuing our dreams) because what we had was “good enough.” And though we are no longer together, I am still his biggest cheerleader. I want nothing but the best for him.
We can still support each other…. all we gotta do is avoid each other.