You may remember we were burglarized last September, twice. In one week. They stole my laptop and essentially every piece of jewelry Mac had ever given me during our 13 years together. They stole my grandmother’s ring, the single item I inherited from her.
It took months to “get over it,” but recently, the wound was reopened. Basically, through a rather coincidental chain of events I’d rather not elaborate on, we found out for sure who burglarized our home, and it was the person I suspected: Our former nanny’s son, a young man addicted to methamphetamines.
I knew it was him the moment I saw my jewelry box laid open, empty. I drove immediately to his home. He was in the street. I walked right up to him looked him dead in the eyes and said “Hey. I get it. I was a drug addict once too. Just give me back my things. Have them show up on my doorstep and I’ll give you $1000. No questions asked.”
Looking back, I realize he had probably already traded everything for a 20 sack, maybe two.
He went around and around about how it wasn’t him. But I knew it was. The sight of his face in my mind’s eye makes me feel sick. Lying motherfucker. I had no proof, but I knew. 100%.
And the worst part is I knew it was going to happen before it happened. I saw it in my mind. I literally saw in my mind that this person was going to burglarize our home.
I knew it the day my nanny sat in our living room and told me her son (who lived with her) was addicted to meth. A thought crossed my mind: One of these days, he’s going to find out through his mom that you’re gone for the weekend and he’s going to burglarize your home.
Three months later, that is precisely, EXACTLY what happened.
After my nanny left that day, I called my mom. I told her “I need to find a new nanny. I need to disconnect. Something bad is going to happen.”
But I did nothing.
I talked to Mac about it, told him my concerns. I am no stranger to drug addiction and what it causes. I am no stranger to the monsters people become.
But still I did nothing.
I did nothing against my better judgment.
I did nothing against every cell of my being screaming at me “Stop this. Get out. Bad things are going to happen.”
I did nothing because I ignored my intuition.
I did nothing until it was too late.
And that is the part I can’t get over.
That is the part that haunts me, late at night when I think about the family photos and videos that were lost in the stolen laptop and the pearl necklace gone, the one Mac gave me a couple months into our relationship, and the diamond ring I remember so clearly on my beloved grandmother’s thin, wrinkled gorgeous finger.
I did nothing because I was stuck. I was stuck in a motherfucking rut and I could not see out. I refused to see out. I would not see out.
Life gave me the signs. It gave me the chance to redirect, to move along, to do something new. The universe hinted, nudged, and at times downright pushed and shoved, but still, I did nothing.
Why? Because it was too hard. Because I preferred the comfort of my rut to the difficulty of a new course.
Our home was dark. The neighborhood was terrible. I hated it. We all hated it. It was a dead, depressing place. We lived two houses down from a known drug house. They’d do deals in the street. They’d park in front of our house waiting for the delivery. Sometimes I’d walk up to them and knock on the car window, ask if I could help. Probably not the safest move, but it gets to the point when you don’t fucking care anymore. The neighbor on our left occasionally got drunk and poisoned animals in the neighborhood. We lived in near-constant fear of our animals getting out. One day our cat did. We found her on our driveway, poisoned the same way our two kitties died when we first moved in, two years prior, before we knew. Our street was a thoroughfare to the worst street in town, so a constant stream of addicts and drunks poured down our road like a sad parade. They left their trash on our lawn and their baggies on the sidewalk.
We needed to move a long time before, but we didn’t. We didn’t because we were stuck. We didn’t because sometimes the misery you know is easier than the unknown, because it’s safer, or you think it is, simply because it is known.
It all starts to feel so heavy: The change. The fear surrounding it all: What will happen? What if it doesn’t work? Where will we go and do and how will it all work?
One day turns into the next and the next and the next and it’s just you and the aching intuition, the burning feeling that something needs to change. But nothing changes, because nothing changes. And fear.
The burglary ended it.
Shaken to our core, we were faced with the reality of what our life had become and how distant we had grown from that reality. Within 45 days our house was on the market and we had moved into my mom’s house. Within 90 days our house was sold and we were in escrow on another. Around 4 months from that burglary we moved into the house we live in now, a place I love so much I never want to leave (which is its own problem but one I love to have!). I had forgotten how much a miserable house can bring you down. I had forgotten what it feels like to love where you’re living, to feel “home” each day, in your home.
Action. Finally. Happened.
In a way, that burglary was the best thing to ever happen to us, but still I’m full of hatred sometimes, toward him, but mostly toward myself. Why didn’t I act? Why didn’t I do something? Why didn’t I trust my gut and heart?
I know. I already know: I was doing the best I could at the time. And really, it was just stuff gone. It’s just stuff. Means nothing.
But shit. It’s hard. You know?
Hard to face the elements of responsibility in our own lives, hard to square off with the truth about ourselves. It is not my fault that he burglarized our home. It is, however, my fault that I denied my intuition and chose comfort over change, even though that comfort was making me fucking miserable and I KNEW IT.
It is my fault that I didn’t leave a house and town and situation that was sucking the life out of me.
It is my fault I DID NOT ACT.
Life is strange, isn’t it? The way we stay in things that are killing us because at least we feel safe – hang out in the muck and dirt and mire because at least it’s the muck and dirt and mire we’re accustomed to. The way we justify the shit in our lives as if it’s other people’s faults when really it’s us – we’re the ones too chicken shit to move, paralyzed by our own indecision, cut off at the knees with terror. Of what, who knows. How could it be worse than this?
Until life slaughters us one day, to be reborn.
I’m beginning to think life is just a series of little deaths, of becoming unstuck, of seeing how fear pulses through my mind and spine and legs, moving my body for me, on nothing more than a glorified rat wheel. Around and around we call it “living.” I know the truth but I’m too scared to face it. That bullshit job, relationship, habit, whatever. The truth rests deep inside of me. I work every day to ignore it, until I cannot any longer.
I was stuck. I’m not stuck now.
I want to forgive myself, but some mental construction won’t work. “I forgive you Janelle.”
Ah, fuck off.
That shit never works. I need action. I will forgive myself by staying unstuck, by laughing at the voice that says “You can’t. It’s too hard. Stay here.”
I tried that, asshole. I went down that road and it didn’t work. I couldn’t get off the track on my own so life did it for me, and it hurt. I was shattered into a new direction.
I’m responsible for that, too, I guess. New digs and freedom. My own failure to move – literally and figuratively – killed me. But to begin again. Unstuck, one more time.
Maybe I’ll trust better, sooner.
Myself, and life.
The real kind.