This is a hard post to write. It’s hard professionally, and it’s hard personally. But as a woman who believes that the only thing we really have that no one can take away from us is our integrity and our word, I feel a responsibility to be truthful with you, my readers, even if it seems unwise to some who would see me, my life, this blog and my memoir purely as a business predicated on my being blissfully involved with this unbelievably bright, hot, powerful cattleman.
As most of you know, this blog and my forthcoming memoir both chronicle my romantic relationship with him, this man I have until now referred to only as “the cowboy”. I’m not going to call him that anymore, because we are unfortunately no longer together and it feels too playful and couple-ish to do so.
His name is Steve.
Some time ago, Steve broke up with me. I let enough time pass to make sure it was permanent, before sharing the news with you all. I’ll spare you the details, for now…but I will tell you that, as the memoir shows, we were an unlikely pair, with incendiary chemistry, opposing worldviews in many ways, and we had an incredible knack for just pushing each other’s buttons. For 95 percent of the time, our relationship was amazing, the best I’ve ever had. Steve was easily my best friend, and the biggest personal influence on me other than my parents in shaping how I came to think of myself in the world. But that other 5 percent was…painful, controlling, emotionally abusive, crazymaking, chaos. I have learned just how fine the line is between being an alpha male and being something else altogether. I’m piecing it all together now, and hope to come up with a sequel to the memoir, sort of a “part two” to the fairy tale that is the first book.
You might have noticed I haven’t been posting here for a while. This is because I was sidelined by being dropped like a sack of trash, just did not expect it at all. I expected marriage, and forever, a stepfather for my son. I had that easy calm that comes from being sure you are cherished. I was wrong, and it stings like a million slaps in the mouth.
There are a few things I think you need to know now.
First, that I am not letting go of the rural life I came to embrace, even though my bridge to it no longer exists. I learned so much, and came to love life in the quiet places. I am going to continue to cultivate my new rural roots in whatever way I can, being shackled to the city for the sake of my son. I will explore new corners of the country on the weekends, now that I have free time. I will get better at riding horses. I will figure out how to keep that most precious part of me that has been taken away now. I will be open, when the time comes, to dating rural men…something I wasn’t particularly attuned to before, as is described in my book. So, to all my new agricultural friends, please know I still adore you, and your life, and your world, and I am going to continue to cultivate my inner cowgirl, in spite of being dumped by the sexiest cowboy who ever lived.
Two: I am grateful for this entire experience, and I do not view this breakup as in any way being counter to the message of my book. I still love Steve, and I am convinced that I always will. This breakup hurts more than my divorce, because the depth and intensity of the love was the most profound thing I have experienced, other than being a mother.
I probably should have seen it coming, given what little I knew of his dating/family/job/friendship history. I ignored the red flags, and I chose to live in a state of hope. That’s not a bad thing, really. It was a glorious 1.5 years. Best of my life. I would not trade them for anything. I have never felt more at peace, and more alive, and more on fire with wanting than I did at his little house in the middle of nowhere, lying next to him in the deathly quiet of night. I am a completely changed human being for having known this man, in every way, and so the basic message of the memoir remains true, and always will. This relationship changed me, and just because it has been taken from me does not mean I am no longer changed. I am forever changed, better, new, reborn, wiser. Should I someday ever get to that place again where I feel I’m able to have another relationship (seems unlikely right now) I’d like to think my future boyfriend will owe Steve a thank-you letter for the woman I became with him — a gentler, more compassionate, more thoughtful and womanly version of the person I’d always been.
Three: I am now convinced that there is no man in the world who is quite as good at breaking a woman’s heart as a cowboy. The rugged individualism of his culture and identity, his stoic nature, his ability to do what needs to be done even if it hurts (and not blink or shed a tear) all mean that he is able to disappear, to ignore the woman he once said he wanted to marry, as though she never existed at all. This silence I face now is unlike anything I have ever experienced. It feels like he just died on me. He is gone. Wants nothing to do with me at all.
Four: All of this will make a hell of a good book someday. Just not today. Today, it makes me curl up in the big chair in the living room, under my chenille blanket, my hands over my mouth to keep the terrible animal sounds inside. It’s not easy being a woman. And it’s harder still being a woman who loves a cowboy who no longer loves her.
Five: I’m old enough to know that this will pass, and life will go on, and whatever other cliche you want to pick to make me feel better. I believe in God, and I know that He has a plan for me that will make sense someday, and that his plan often looks much different from what I THINK I wanted.
Six: I want to thank Steve for showing me that I have within me a capacity for great passion, deep and intoxicating love. I had honestly never experienced that. I’d always just sort of settled. I didn’t settle with Steve. I’m afraid he settled, with me. I’m a better person for it, and my memoir is not less of a love story for the breakup. As with all good tragedy, the love I describe in the book is going to seem more profound now, a glowing white light of intense romance held against the cold dark backdrop of…whatever this is now.
Finally, I know I am not the only woman who has felt this way. I know it is a common experience among human beings in general, because most of our songs and poems are about exactly this existential abyss staring back at me every time I take a breath. This is why I am unafraid to be honest, and human, and tell you guys exactly what is going on. I loved. I lost. I’m still here. I’m stronger for it, and I’m still learning lessons from Steve, in the reverberations of the echo of his last words to me.
Stop. It’s over. This isn’t your home. It will never be your home. I don’t want you. Goodbye, Alisa.