Honestly, I don't even know where to start. The first 6 months of 2017 have been... something else.
Marty and I broke up in early February. It had been a long time coming, but was also remarkably difficult and painful. He wasn't able to meet my needs, and perceived my needs as a threat, which he tried to control through a combination of dominance and avoidance. I wasn't happy, yet at the same time found the relationship compelling and kept trying to find the solutions to somehow make it all work. In the end things got weird and - after several days without sleep - I found some unstable and irrational behaviour on his part quite frightening and threatening, and got myself the hell out of the house.
I am unspeakably grateful to the friends who caught me as I fell: to Launz, who called around to find me somewhere I could land; to Laura and Houston who took in a traumatised stranger; to Kelvin and Cass who helped me pack all my shit on week days and schlep it into storage; to Tom, for being there at 2 am when everything was spinning out of control; to my team at work, for maintaining some semblance of normal.
I stayed a month with Laura and Houston and am so proud to now call them friends. I hit the rental market in peak season, giving up on trying to find a functional share to fit into and instead deciding to set one up on my own. I landed a crumbling yet charming old cottage in Kensington and set about trying to make it home. I shipped up the things I'd had in storage since I'd left Tasmania in late 2013, combined with the meagre things I had here, and spent far too much money accruing the rest. I moved fast, as soon I had a space that approximated home, with new curtains hung, a kitchen to cook properly in, hope for a garden and all the material flotsam of western adulthood. Just as I was starting to find my feet, the landlord decided she wanted to move in.
My housemate - who was already not working out so well - didn't cope with having no power over the sudden need to relocate, and things broke down pretty quickly (I've never had someone find me intimidating before and never wish to make someone feel that way again). To ease the stress on both of us I paid her back the rent she'd paid and let her leave, and set about finding myself somewhere to land in a hurry, since I couldn't afford the rent on my own. With a house full of new furnishings and a hole in my bank balance, compromises had to be made, and I found myself in a share house in Essendon with all my shiny new goods stashed in a garage, my worldly space reduced to a small bedroom overlooking a main road in Melbourne's suburbs.
Yeah, it's taken some adjustment, but it's ok. My two housemates (both women, both a decade younger than I) are decent people, and I live close to the train and the climbing gyms, and close enough to the city and to friends that I have the kind of social life I was sorely lacking with Marty out in Glen Iris. Work is going exceedingly well after a manager change back in Jan/Feb and I feel as if I'm on a viable track to get somewhere I'd like to be in the next year or so. Earning less than I used to 4 years ago, while living in a far more expensive city still sucks, mind, but it feels like forward momentum rather than just treading water.
I've spent some quality time with a very good psychologist, working through what the hell was going on and drilling right back to my childhood and the impact of shitfulness there on how I react to conflict and emotional unavailability in the here and now. It's been hard work and I've shaken up the relationship with my parents as well as my own perspectives through a few months of schema therapy. Despite all this, relations with Marty are frosty at best, with him blaming me for all that went wrong. Consequently, interactions with mutual friends remain awkward but I guess that's just the way it is: you can't win everything.
I have friends of my own here, both old ones reconnected and new ones through work and climbing. I'm getting out hiking once a month or so,and though I do miss the epic adventures of the Marty days, it's nicer to trek with people who don't mind that I'm not the fastest, and who are happy to chat and interested in what I have to say. Though I feel like I haven't don't much, when I take stock that's not the case: Rob and I hiked the Bluff in March; I did Lake Tali Karng with the Gippy gang in April, as well as taking a long weekend in Tas for a wedding. May was busy with house stuff, but June brought winter camping in Grampians with Saba and Rob, then a much-needed week in Tas and some day walks in the snow; then July was an overnight snow-shoe trip to Mt. Stirling with Rob again.
I've recently dipped my toes into internet dating, and though it makes me quite uncomfortable and I doubt it'll provide any lasting outcomes, it's nice to feel like there are opportunities out there and the attention is a welcome boost to my confidence.
As always, it all comes down to love in the end. Friendship, wild places, challenges, opportunities to learn and grow and to be more than I would have, had none of this come to pass. Soft landings...
To the journey, my friends. To the trail and finding out to where it leads this time.