Rafting the Waters

I finally had a boyfriend! We were the proud obnoxious couple dripping sweet nothings into the other’s ear, giggling at our cuteness. I usually hate these people as they make me want to scream though I certainly was thrilled to enter the club.  It’s been a while.

The two of us were visiting Vegas acting in our usual insufferable ways when I found out he was cheating. A lot.

“It’s not what it looks like,” he pleaded.

“Did you try to have sex with other people while we were in a relationship?” I asked.

“Yes,” he looked down. “What now?”

“This is over and I’m leaving,” I responded humiliated.

“I love you. You deserve better. I’m sorry. Please give us another chance,” he stated. “Do you want me to pay for your flight?”

I nod booking my ticket home. I could have given this another chance but I’d already known this wasn’t a long-term fit. His attention felt good, it felt great to go out with someone, I loved the warmth of holding his hand. He made it easier to deals with my Mom’s death. He wasn’t waiting for me to be my old self again or not sure what to do for me. He knew me as the way I am now…

Angry, lonely, heartbroken and trying not to take it out on anyone as I silently prayed to please, please, please send help.

I emailed my cousin, Ginger who is gorgeous, happy, loved like a Queen by her totally handsome and fantastic husband, and strong.

Ginger suggested, that while I deserve love, to please slow the F’ down.

“I think of you on a large raft right now – stable in the middle but the edges are pretty damn pitchy. Head back to the middle/your center. The sparkly outer edges are cool. The views are magical. They are extremely fattening.  They are a special treat – not every day.

“I hope you don’t see this as negative. I do want so much for you but I feel very strongly that my place in your life right now is a friend and older sister if you will.

I hope you feel the same towards me – please- if you see/read/sense something I appreciate honesty.  That’s what family does – keeps it, real sister.”

The desire to flee, explain, fix myself, ask what she knows that she isn’t telling me because look how great her life is why won’t she help me with mine, was overwhelming. I felt perched on the side of a raft getting smacked in the face with waves but unwilling to move because I don’t want to miss anything important.

Ginger’s communication stung as I felt misunderstood. I thought everyone should understand and felt humiliated when they didn’t.

I’d fallen back into telling others what I thought they needed to hear, that I found while silently harboring resentment.
Support was supposed to be approving everything I did. Even if that meant my raft was teetering over the edge of a waterfall. Anything looking remotely close to disagreement became a threat.

But the threat was letting go of the edge of the raft. Coming back to my center and grieving over the death of my most fantastic Mother. Owning this grief and sadness as my own. They’re mine, proudly, owning this.

The boyfriend was a distraction. And if he should be reading this, I am sorry. You deserved better.

In the meantime, I’ll be sitting in the middle of my raft as it travels where the water has been meaning to take me. Being grateful for a community that has my back, my front, and my sides.


This essay was written and submitted by Kelly Kreuzberger. Thanks for sharing your story, Kelly!

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