I was already planning on leaving. I was waiting for my part time request to go through before I actually moved out. I didn’t really want it to be so dramatic but I also don’t regret a second of it. I commuted into the city for work everyday. I missed Jersey City. I used to walk to the PATH and take the train into the city and then walk to work. It was relaxing and kind of my get away and alone time. Driving was killing my car and my wallet and the train took double the time driving did. Even after going to part time hours it was killing me. I didn’t even care about this job, why was I going to bust my ass to get to the city everyday.
About a month after the big move, I decided I should probably go to therapy. I was calling out of work a lot and getting sick while I was at work. I was a mess! My room was trashed and full of all the extra stuff I bought while I was in Jersey City. On my days off I was spending hours in bed just watching TV or sleeping. I had never been depressed in my life so it took me a while to admit it to myself.
I started looking for an internship. I had been applying for jobs since graduating but never got an interview and rarely even an email telling me they weren’t interested. I figured almost five years with this retail company wasn’t doing anything for me. Getting an interview for an unpaid internship proved to be just as difficult. I finally got an interview with a small record label about an hour away from home. I told myself if I got this internship I was going to quit my retail job and start working as a server in a restaurant. I figured being a server would force/encourage me into looking for a real job, one I would be proud of.
I was still angry with myself for staying in such an awful relationship and angry with him for treating me so poorly. I needed something to make me feel beautiful and worth something again. I decided to give online dating a shot.
My boyfriend and I were having a hard time agreeing on anything. I had been unhappy for a while when we moved in together. We agreed that this move would either make the relationship or break it. We started to hate each other. It was extremely evident that nothing was going to come of this. I always told myself that I was going to get married young and have all my kids before 30. Somewhere in the back of my head I thought that this was it. I was going to have to spend the rest of my life, miserable, with this guy who clearly didn’t love me. How was I going to start over after a more than three year relationship? How was I going to meet a decent guy? Would I end up with someone just like him again?
On a Sunday night in July my boyfriend asked me why I was still there. I was kind of shocked by the question. My name was on the lease that wasn’t up until November, all my stuff was in the apartment, and I transferred stores to be with him (an hour from home). I had nowhere to go. He told me to pack my shit. Did he just break up with me? I basically freaked out. I couldn’t stop crying. I sat on the stairs of my apartment building at 10:30 that night and sent a text to anyone I could think of. I needed to move out and it needed to be now.
I spent that night on the couch and hadn’t spoken to my boyfriend since I got back in the apartment. I couldn’t sleep. In the morning I acted like I was going to work. He didn’t say a single word to me. The second he walked out the door for work, I called out sick and started packing. I filled my car and drove home to my parents house to meet my amazing friends who were going to help me with the big stuff. We rented a U-Haul and filled it up.
When the last of the stuff was loaded I wrote him a note, “Here is some money for the stuff we both paid for, go buy yourself some towels.” I left that on the kitchen counter with a $100 bill and a coupon for Bed Bath and Beyond. Yes, I took all the towels as well as several other important things that all belonged to me: microwave, toaster oven, plates, cups, silverware, pots and pans, sheets, comforter, vacuum, anything on the walls, shower curtain, desk, coffee table, kitchen table… the apartment was stripped clean. He came home after work to an empty apartment and I was gone for good.
It was one of the proudest moments of my life. I’ve never felt so empowered. Sometimes it takes being completely broken down to realize how strong you really are.