In Between

A couple of months ago, I pulled on a loose thread of the warm, soft sweater of my life. Slowly it began to unravel and even as I saw what was happening to my sweater I kept pulling the yarn, mesmerized, unable to stop. I was in the tropics and the sweater was hot and itchy. Now I sit here in my pile of yarn, the winter coming quickly. It's getting cold and I don't know how to knit. I wish I could have my sweater back.

Normally I am an optimistic person. The glass is always half full or, if need be, even a quarter full. The lump in my breast is at worst a cyst. He loves me is much more likely than he loves me not. I believed I would see the Red Sox win the World Series sooner rather than later despite the negativity from my more traditional New England family. More than once - well that's just being greedy. But you get the point.

However the last weeks have been wicked. Let's review what I haven't posted recently, with the optimism that it's just a short-lived phase, a minor inconvenience and all would be better soon.

An attempted reconciliation (mine) resulting in the much dreaded F word (his).*

The cancellation of my role on the project in Zurich.

Starting, stopping and starting again the search for a new apartment in Munich and thinking about how I will have nothing to put in it but 2 suitcases, a teddy bear and a pillow.

The lack of energy I have for starting ALL OVER AGAIN.

The humiliation of a fall down the Spyri Steig in my work clothes with all the scratches and bruises and busted knee.

Being sick all weekend without any hope that the phone would ring even once. Not feeling like talking to anyone anyway and definitely not bothering to call anyone.

Parking tickets and car dents and letters from car rental companies in various languages (German and, even worse, English Legalese).

Trying and failing to keep up with German correspondence, contracts and business meetings.

Becoming alternately apathetic, depressed and angry about all of the above.

There. That's enough. I needed to get that off my chest.
As expected, all the normal cliches are there to help with the situation but they are meaningless to me right now.

It's just a phase/rough time.

One day you'll look back on this and laugh.

Time heals all wounds.

Bad things come in threes.

You need to find a diversion/something to take your mind off things.

It's just something you're going through.

What I know is life is testing my flexibility and strength and I feel close to my limit right now. There is not an area of my life that is not in flux right now. Every foothold is crumbling just as I think I have finally found solid ground.

Ex-pat life is glamorous until it is not. Going back to the US sounds even worse.

In all of this there is one thing I want. To make something beautiful. Beautiful photographs. A beautiful home. A beautiful dinner. A beautiful body and spirit. A beautiful smile.

But I am not there yet. Right now I am in between.

*'Friends' - as in Let's Be.
Posted from Zürich


Expat Traveler said...

Hang in there! It's been a year of "in between's" for me also! I've stayed busy doing what I loved the most, photographing, blogging, travels, and being outdoors!

I know this will past. Hang in there and when you need a chat, make sure you speak with your true friends!

Blogging makes me happy tooo. Post some pics, I'll help you smile more!

christina said...

Ugh three times over. What can I say other than I'm so sorry you're having to go through all this. Sometimes optimism has its limits, I guess. This is a rough, rough time for you but at least you're able to look at it somewhat objectively and realize what you need and want to do. Start small, but work on creating and reclaiming that beauty in your life.

Belinda said...

Hi Michelle,
I stalk your blog and never leave comments. I've admired your beautiful photography quietly. The reason I wanted to leave a comment now is because I just wanted to say, I know what you're going through.

2008 was a really rough year for me. In February I woke up and my husband told me that he was moving out. I had no idea that it was coming. I had no job, no money and I had no idea what I was going to do.

Being alone without friends or family made it hard for me to feel the optimism I usually always feel in bad times.

I try always to look at the bright side of things. I know that in time life gets better. I know that it's hard to always stay positive when everything hits you at once.

What I can tell you is that you sound like me. You have days where sometimes you just feel like crap and have no idea how to move on. But you definitely will.

The love for life that you seem to have will always get you through to the next wonderful stage of your life.

I'm truly sorry to hear you're going through so much. You know in your heart, though, that it will only get better from here on.

Best of luck to you and I look forward to seeing your blog and your life continue to grow =)


Anonymous said...


Just a few words to say that things will get better and that your blog has brought me many smiles from London!!


Anonymous said...

Hello from another expat in Munich. I recently started reading your blog. I am so sorry to learn about your breakup and job situation. I know it's small consolation, but I’m certain that in the not-so-distant future you will look back on these days and see that much better times were just ahead of you.

I haven't read your entire blog, but it’s clear from the entries I’ve read that you are a strong person who bravely takes on new challenges, and who lives a rich and interesting life. Not everyone would be able to go to Europe and Asia and handle the work, social, and travel situations so adeptly.

But you don’t have to be strong all the time. Take your time to grieve, to get your bearings again, take each day, each hour, each minute as it comes, until you feel that “spark” return. And don’t hesitate to reach out to family and friends if you need them.

Regarding creating something beautiful: Your photographs are AMAZING … you have already created something quite beautiful, and I look forward to seeing more in the future!

By the way, your posting German songs on your blog is great. My German language skills are not so hot, but your blog has motivated me to try a little harder. :)

P.S. I think “So What” by Pink (her current single) is an excellent breakup song, meant to be played LOUD … even better while working out or running!

Michelle said...

Dear All,

Thank you for your encouragement. Each of these comments and those who sent me emails put a little bigger smile on my face.

For those who commented for the first time - nice to hear from you!

Belinda - I used to read your blog I think but then I couldn't find it anymore.

And that Pink song is awesome!

christina said...

Speaking of Pink, maybe we need to all pitch in and get Michelle a nice chainsaw for her birthday!

Anonymous said...

Also a guitar to smash!

Here's the Pink video and lyrics, in case anyone is reading this and doesn't know what we're talking about!


Michelle said...

Hmmm - maybe I need to buy guitar hero and start rocking out whenever I get down. My poor, poor neighbors. :)

I love the video - also how she did the song in at the MTV music awards or video awards...rock star attitude all the way!

Anonymous said...

Guitar Hero is an excellent idea!

And how about a “Karaoke Party Pack” so that you have a microphone and speakers for belting out lyrics? (It’s a “party pack,” so you can invite the neighbors over to participate.)


Actually, I think I want the Karaoke Party Pack....

I agree -- Pink was awesome on the MTV awards show!

Expat Traveler said...

See - I think you are feeling better already... At least know you've got lots of women who are on your side rooting for you!