Tag Archives: ending

Another SOL Challenge is in the Books!

As I begin my annual SOL Challenge reflection, I’m struck by the odd feeling I have. For the past ten years, I always feel one of two ways on Day 31. I’m either saddened by the end, longing for more time to develop myself as a writer and connect with others in the SOL community, or I’m glad it’s over, as I limp to the finish line, depleted of words and ideas, unable to eke out another slice. It’s typically the former. But today I am feeling somewhere in the middle, like it’s just another day of slicing. It’s a strange feeling to not have a sense of finality. It probably speaks more to my mental state at the moment than anything. My brain is full-up, the endless end-of-school-year to do’s running through my head.

This year has been unlike any other SOL challenge. I’ve written every day, but I haven’t connected with the community as much as I usually do. With my limited time to slice and read/comment, I tended to gravitate toward my Welcome Wagon newbies and old slicing friends I’ve gained over the years. Unlike years past, where I made a point to read a few new slicers each day to get to know other people and expose myself to a wider range of writing styles, I simply didn’t have the time. Apart from my lazy Saturday mornings, where I explored new-to-me slicers, I was on autopilot, mining my WordPress Reader feed of followed blogs to read and comment on. And even then, I didn’t get to everyone I wanted to every day. This is probably why it feels so weird today. This community of writers is what I love most about the challenge and keeps me coming back year after year. I’m disappointed that I didn’t make more time to get to know other slicers and widen my circle. I want to change that next year.

When I look back on the past month of writing, there were some ups and downs for sure. Luckily there were more “ups” than downs! I noticed that challenging days resulted in slices of poetry. As someone who is much more comfortable with narrative, this was a surprising realization. Since moving to my new home on Jeju island, I haven’t made time to write about life here, but this month, I was able to write a few slices about my new experiences. I hope to add more as time goes by. Seeing as I was time poor this month, I didn’t rely on writing formats, such as “Currently…” or “Today I…”, as often as I would have thought I would (I used them only 4 times). A few times my slices were about something that happened in the past, coming from a spark of a conversation or something that triggered the memory. I also wrote about everyday things, like fire drills and snacks with colleagues, which is in stark contrast to my SOL challenge from 2020 where nothing could be classified as “everyday.” I’ll take a little normal and a little boring after last year.

As I close out my eleventh year of slicing in the SOL challenge, I’d like to say a big thank you to my fellow slicers for coming along on this journey with me. I’d like to thank the TWT co-authors for all of the hard work that they put into this challenge each year. I’m sure there are countless hours put in behind the scenes to make this a reality. Lastly, I’d like to thank the slicers who left comments on my slices. Your words were comforting and supportive and very much appreciated! A special shout out to Terje, Elsie, livinglife, Ms. Chiubooka Writes, Ms. Victor Reads, StandingTall, Fran McCrackin, and karpenglish for your support and love this month!

Until next time, SOL community, happy writing!

End

This April, I’ll be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, where I’ll write an entry a day centered on my theme of Memoir. I’ll be using  Old Friend from Far Away by Natalie Goldberg as my inspiration for my daily topic. Each post will be a quick write (about 10-20 minutes) to help me notice and remember.

E is for End

Tell me about how a relationship ended.

I’d been dating T for six months, longer than any other relationship before him, and I was in love. Like really in love. Like the I’d do anything for him, melt whenever he looked at me, and thought we’d be together forever kind of love. So when he broke up with me, with no warning whatsoever, on what was supposed to be a great day, I was instantly heartbroken.

It was early morning on Saturday, December 3, 2005. I still remember the date; it’s forever etched into my memory. We were driving in my truck, on our way downtown to the University of Houston for a robotics tournament. I was the coach, and my team was excellent. The excitement of the day ahead made me giddy that morning. T was coming along to help out, since he’d been volunteering with the team all semester. He was one of us now.

About halfway there, he shifted the conversation from talking about the tournament and what to expect for the day to talking about us. More specifically, talking about how he felt about us, about me. He ambled on about this and that, most of which I can longer remember, but I wasn’t prepared for what would come next.

“You know, a lot of the guys that sing on stage with me at church have girlfriends or wives that look like models,” he said. Perplexed, I wondered where this was going. “I think that I deserve a girl who looks like a model, too,” he continued.

My stomach started to tighten and my breath suddenly caught in my throat, bracing myself for what would come next.

“You know, I love who you are as a person. I love your personality, your humor, how kind you are. I think you are so pretty, too. But…you’re just not thin enough for me,” he went on to say.

The silence in the truck was deafening. As I began to process what he’d said, my heart felt like it was splitting in two. My world crumbled in an instant. You’re just not thin enough for me. Those words echoed in my head over and over. Reeling from the shock of it all, I was dumbfounded. As I ugly-cried the rest of the way there, trying and failing to catch my breath, I couldn’t believe he’d done that, that he’d said those things. That’s not what you say to someone you love.

And to do it right then, that morning, when I was on my way to a tournament where people were depending on me to lead them was beyond selfish. Not only that, we were in the same vehicle, which meant I was stuck with him all day and would have to make the ride back with him later that evening. I remember asking him why over and over, but the only response I received was that it was what he deserved.

The pounding in my head got worse and worse, as the realization of what he’d said set in. I tried to pull myself together and stay strong for my students, but I just couldn’t do it. I had to pretend to be sick, claiming that I’d come down with a bad cold the night before, but came because I wanted to be there for the team. The moms knew something was wrong. They saw the telltale signs of my puffy, red eyes. A few of them pulled me aside to ask me what happened. I fell apart and told them everything, as they enveloped me in hugs and words of support, all while glaring at T who was across the gymnasium.

Somehow I managed to get through the tournament, and my students even won a few trophies. I don’t really remember the ride home. I don’t think there was much said, as I stared out the window, tears sliding down my cheeks. The rest of that weekend was one of the lowest points of my life. I couldn’t eat. I tried, but every time I went to put food in my mouth, I thought about those words. You’re just not thin enough for me. The me that was content with my body before he uttered those words was no longer there. All I could think about was that I was too fat. Too fat to be loved.

The pain and shame and embarrassment of it all was too much to handle. I called in sick to work on Monday, and stayed home and cried. I didn’t eat much that day either, apart from a bowl or two of Raisin Bran. I lost 8 pounds in three days. That’d be the start of a 25-pound weight loss that would happen over the next few months, as I painstakingly went on a diet and spent many hours in the gym, trying to attain the body I thought he wanted.

I wish I could tell you that this was the end of our relationship altogether, but it wasn’t. We got back together and broke up a few more times before I finally called it quits. But that first break-up hurt the most. I didn’t see it coming, and the wounds he inflicted with his words have never completely gone away.