Chad Grayson

Two Years

Two years ago, I blew up my life. My wife and I were having a fight about something stupid. She left, angry, and said when I solved the problem she would come back. I was defensive. She was over-reacting. But something fundamental had changed. We hadn’t really been getting along for several years at that point. Most of that wasn’t her fault. But that day, I knew it was over. So I texted her: I’m done. And that was that.

Yes, I broke up a twenty-year marriage by text. I’m not proud of it.

We didn’t talk except for when we couldn’t avoid it for about a month. Then we had an in-person conversation wherein we decided that yes, It was over. And made arrangements for disentangling our lives. We were officially divorced about a year later.

I was terrified. I didn’t know how I was going to make it. But I knew for the sake of my own mental health that I was going to have to try. And it took a few months, but I was eventually able to find a way.

In these two years I have become fully myself. I felt selfish doing it, but I had to acknowledge all of those things I had been suppressing, and trust that the people I loved would catch up. And they did. I had to undergo the mortifying ordeal of being known, finally, letting drop the mask I’d been wearing since I was thirteen years old.

In these two years I have written three and a half books, and published one, with more on the way. I’d struggled against my executive dysfunction for over twenty years, trying to write books. Turns out I couldn’t accomplish that until I stopped hiding in the closet. Just having the weight of pretending lifted meant I had more mental real estate available for the work.

In these two years I have developed deeper friendships with people. Some with older friends and several of my cousins. Others with people who’d only recently come into my life. My relationship with my children changed, as I was able to share my whole self with them. This coincided with my daughter moving out on her own and my son becoming an adult.

In these two years I have finally managed to get control of my living environment, creating spaces for myself that soothe me instead of making me feel like my environment is draining my energy. I finally have a peaceful place to work and live. A home that reflects my own tastes and that I’m not embarrassed to have people see.

In these two years I’ve gotten control of my mental and physical health. I’m still bipolar (and just spent the weekend in a hypomanic episode), I still have adhd, but I finally feel like I have myself under control. I also started working out more and watching my diet and have lost nearly thirty pounds. I have about forty left to go to get to my goal, but it feels reachable.

I’m not really sure what my point is, but it feels like a good moment to mark, this anniversary. Two years ago, I was a miserable fuck-up, doing no good to anyone or anything. I have not become the king of executive function, but at least I’m no longer miserable. I’m actually accomplishing things, finally.

So … not bad for two years progress. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

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