On Monday, Ivan and I were having a bad day. We've faced some pretty serious financial setbacks lately, and the stress of them added to having a new baby is really...hard.
I have been considering whether I should leave San Francisco and return to the east coast. The toughest thing about it is that Sophia and I would be returning alone. Ivan would not be joining us. But other than him, there really is very little left for me here. Most of my friends are gone. I have been feeling terribly alone and lonely and isolated for quite some time. And the cost of living that I managed to keep up with before is killing me.
When I look at how my life has changed in the last 3 1/2 years for the worse, it all leads back to Sept. 18, 2008 for me. I still can't believe how one man could take so much from me in one night: my power, my self-confidence and self-worth. I just can't find them again. And finding them again while struggling for basic survival at the moment is proving nearly impossible.
I read a Postsecret postcard awhile back that made me weep in sharp recognition:
Anyway, back to the bad day on Monday. I was anxious and distraught and afraid. I sat outside on the front steps while Ivan was inside with his sister and Sophia napped in the bedroom. I closed my eyes and wished for something to happen to provide me with clarity. I was trying to figure out how I could leave the person I love--and my baby's father--in order to try to make a new life somewhere else. And to make it even worse, I would not be leaving from a place of strength. I would be leaving because I am fucking broken.
In my irrationality, I imagined that a natural disaster like an earthquake would absolutely fucking shake things up--help me put them in perspective. Despite feeling a little superstitious, I wished for it to happen. I closed my eyes and wished it intensely. I felt desperate for anything that might help me make this gut-wrenching decision.
Ten minutes later I was inside changing the baby and arguing with Ivan again when the oven caught on fire in the kitchen. Ivan and Natasha tried to put it out, but it only got worse. I heard Natasha say from the kitchen, "Get out. Get out now!" and I grabbed my baby and we were the first ones out the door. The smoke filled up the house so fast that we couldn't even get a baby blanket. Natasha was on the phone with 911 while smoke billowed out of our windows. Approaching sirens screamed while I curled myself around Sophia to keep her warm and covered her ears from the noise.
I felt guilty for the wish I'd made.
I sat on a nearby stoop while a crowd of neighbors and other passersby gathered and stared. Three fire trucks blocked the intersection and the firemen rushed in. I felt miserable and afraid as I held onto Sophia and crooned softly to her. In my mind I was asking myself: "Is this it? Is it time to go?" I saw Ivan looking at me and knew that he knew what I was thinking.
We are now safe and back in our house. There was minimal damage, but the damage we did have has only added to our financial burden. I'm not sure that the fire provided the clarity I wished for, but it did sink me a little further.
I feel weak. And terrified. And terribly alone. Where is the girl who arrived here in 2005 with such courage and hope and a 'fuck-it-I'll-make-it-work-somehow' attitude? I need her now.