Always Yessing Me

I just wrote: “I feel like I’ve lost an entire year of my life but gained my entire future”.

What a complex feeling (by which I mean, shitty and confusing, of course). This last year has been a blur. A painful and heartbreaking year chock-full of mistakes…or growing pains, I suppose. A year in which I never thought I would survive yet now I am nearly thriving…nearly.

I want to to look back on our 16 year marriage with fondness. I want to tell people that we “just grew apart”. I want to say, “we are still such good friends”. But we aren’t…and I don’t want to be. And we didn’t grow apart…we never grew together. And there are few fond memories despite the fact that we almost always got along. And yes, I’d say that was one of the biggest problems and one of the things I have learned I need to work on.

I was watching The Americans and this scene comes on where a separated couple (Stan and Sandra Beeman) have a fight. Stan tries to do something to connect with his estranged wife…she isn’t impressed…he lies about his feelings and she calls him out on it by saying  “This was the big problem in our marriage.  You were always “yessing” me to avoid conflict and you weren’t being yourself“. He then tells her exactly how he feels and she walks away.

I watched this and felt like I was watching T and I having a fight…except that we never had that fight…because I was always yessing her…which means that clearly this past year has also brought growth for me. I can recognize issues that I brought into our marriage and work to not repeat them with others.

I’ve also spent time looking at T and asking myself if I am better off for knowing her? And…sadly…I struggle to answer that question…I hope in time that changes but for now…all I see when I look at T is the same insecure 17 year old girl who always plays the role of victim and desperately needs attention from everyone around her. And please don’t get me wrong, she has a number of great attributes I’m just not sure that any of them helped me grow.

So as I continue to reflect on this past year, and as I inch closer to the seemingly never ending struggle to get paperwork signed off by a judge to make this divorce official, I see a year marked by pain, sadness, and fear. And yet, as I look towards the future, I see a life full of joy, peace,  and growth. Continual personal growth.

Yes, I’ve lost a year to divorce…but I’ve also gained a future.

 

Always Yessing Me

The difference a year makes

Looking back on the past year, I’m surprised at how much I have changed. How much growth I’ve seen and how much sorrow I’ve survived. The most surprising thing though is how different my 16 year marriage looks to me now…versus how I viewed it when T first decided it was over.

As I go back and read through early journal entries I see so much fear and weakness in myself. I put so much of my identity in trying to be a husband and father that I was unable to see how miserable I was.

T saw it..I’ll give her that.

She said we were done and I thought I was done. I could never find someone to love again…as if I knew what love was. I would never make it on my own…as if I had any idea of what “on my own” would look like. I was destined to die, young and alone. And then a funny thing happened…I moved on pretty quickly.

T said she wanted to see other people and I knew she already was and somehow, despite my complete lack of self-awareness, I found enough pride and personal worth to dust off my shoes and walk away. It still hurt, don’t get me wrong, but my perspective changed. Suddenly I didn’t want to be with her anymore. She found someone else that she was happy with. She didn’t want me…so why sit around and mourn her? I wouldn’t. And it was only a short time later that I didn’t.

And now I look back and see how sad our relationship was. Again, I want to clarify, we both tried and did the best we could but it was an unfulfilling marriage. In my journal I listed off 7 things that I loved about T. 4 of the 7 were about her looks. 4 out of 7 were superficial pointless vanity filled reasons. And the other 3 had to do with her treatment of my children and her treatment of the girls she works with (she is a great mother and advocate). I sat there realizing how sad both T and I must have been if the things I admired most about her were her pretty face.

I also saw how much blame I put on myself. And realized how much time T spent tearing me down. Telling me how depressed I was and how rude/unsocial I was. And in fairness,  that’s how I acted when I was around her. What came first? The judgement or the actions? Hardly matters now that it’s over.

I now see T as often wanting to be the victim. It’s T against the world. It’s how she thrived…and I became her enabler. I never stood up to her. I never called her out. I was so afraid that any misstep would cause her to leave me that I was never authentic with her, or myself for that matter. And then she left anyway. In many ways I am grateful to her for having the strength to leave. She had checked out of our marriage years earlier and I was unable to see that I had barely checked into life.

One year later, I’m growing…trying new things…adventuring…and gaining confidence. I’m learning to communicate with others, despite the risk of offending (losing) them. I’m learning to hear my own voice, my own needs, my own feelings and finding freedom.

Now that she is gone there is a strange sense of relief. It isn’t a particularly pleasant feeling but it’s relief. It reminds me of when a migraine headache starts to fade away…there is this feeling of relief mixed in with a memory of the pain. It’s all still there…mashed together…yet  each time the pain fades a new feeling of strength fills its place. I’ve come a long way and I have a long way to go and I’m exited for my future.

The difference a year makes

Anyway

“Get in the car and drive”
Love just pulled up and said to me

But I know better than to ride with strangers
Candy isn’t that sweet anyway

And anyway

Seat belt on
Let’s ride

Remove this bitter taste
Or crash
And burn
And lie to me about lies

I’ve become attached to our speed
The taste of wind flying free
As we drive slow and dangerously
Dangerous we

And anyway

Let’s see where this goes
Can’t get lost when you have a back seat
Naive is just another word for something we both need

Anyway

Perfectly Distracted 

If I could, a magic wand would wave
And life would be just as we imagined
Tiny feet running carelessly through the yard.
With laughter the bonfires rage.

Little giggles, by an innocent child.

And you. Always you. Grasping hold of youth and love and child. Your child.

You opened (and we met)  you close (I never left). And we shared. And now we share. Magic. Moments. Connections. Comfort.

So much love for a friend. My friend. This wand has saved us all. And grandparents smile as we speak in tongues. Words meaning nothing and everything to all.

And I. I hold you. In my soul and in my life. And without a touch we are.

Perfectly distracted.

Because I can choose and I choose you. And this wand waves magic. For you. And C. And child. And me.

This is where the tears fall.

Perfectly Distracted 

Hurting. Healing. Hurting.

People who are hurting want to believe the worst.
People who are healing need to believe the best.

And it seems I spend most of my time somewhere in between. Hurting. Healing. Hurting. Healing. Effing up. Healing. Healing. Healing. Effing up again. Hurting. Healing.

And lately, and I mean quite a good few weeks lately, I’ve believed the best about T. And that is a good sign of healing. And I’m still hurting.

Every time I convince myself that I’m over the hurt I get a solid gut punch to the stomach. And lately, and I mean quite a good few weeks lately, the pain has been short lived before it has turned to life. I’m not sure entirely what I mean by that so…let’s see…

Pain becomes Sadness becomes Neutral becomes Optimism. In the optimism I find joy and then the cycle starts again. Life.

I hate pain. Emotional pain specifically. Physical pain I can tolerate…when something in my body hurts I tend to know exactly what is wrong and how I can fix it. Emotional pain I often don’t even recognize until it’s got me hurting so bad I just want to roll up in a big old ball and cry. Which is often exactly what I need to do.

“Life is pain, highness, anyone who says differently is selling something”
-The Princess Bride

And in pain there is often beauty. And if I can figure out how to accept my pain I’ll be much better off. But that is easier said than done. So for now, for today, I’ll focus on the joy that optimism has brought to my life. And I’ll smile. Because despite what you may have heard…today is a great day.

Hurting. Healing. Hurting.

Intimacy

Our intimacy is so much more than sex. So much so that I don’t think it can be stopped. Even completely separated, severed from seeing, being, talking, texting the intimacy stays. That is what is so beautiful about our friendship…relationship…our love. As I lay in bed last night, reflecting on the beauty of our day and knowing that you were miles away, in an argument that would most likely put an end to our sexual intimacy…i could feel you. I was, once again, comforted by you, despite being alone…and I wanted so badly to be a comfort to you in your time of stress.  A beautiful paradox. Complicated. Yes, so very complex and so very beautiful. Me wanting you and having you yet at the same time stepping back? Not back…not yet. I step to the side because that is what today requires. And my heart is full knowing that someday we will either rejoin each other physically or we will settle in to be the best of friends and in both we will fill each other with joy. We will comfort and laugh and cry and we will be.

Sex is an amazing expression of passion but not sex…that just might be even more intimate.

You can have love without passion and passion without love, as their defining characteristics are commitment and lust, but what about intimacy? Intimacy is the joining of commitment with passion to create a deeper connection than either love or lust can fulfill. Intimacy stands on it’s own…in all forms, everything, present or not, you. Always you.

Or perhaps intimacy is simply two souls recognizing their brokenness yet forever committed to each other, for each other.  Perhaps it is all a dream.

And what of love? And why do we fear it? Why do we hold off on even saying the word? A fearful love is not. It’s something other…a failure in waiting…time ticking away the seconds towards inevitable pain. And yes, life is pain, but love…love should be welcomed and embraced. Grab hold, every chance you get and cling to love so that you can be loved and in that love you will find peace.

Hearts break. Souls do not. Do not fear your heart being broken, let rather your soul be forever entwined with others…and do not limit the amount of others you allow in. For in each relationship is a new love…to be loved.

We sing “love hurts” as we run to fulfill our insecure promises. And even before the pain has reached us we start building our walls; working hard to protect our hearts against the one thing our souls actually need. Love. We scream “keep out” for fear that our heart will break…and it will…and it should. Hearts break. Souls do not. Love will break your heart but fill your soul when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Intimate.

Do not try and own your love for in doing so you will only be incomplete. Instead set your love free and know that when life moves relationships away your souls will forever be together. Connected. Comforted.

My heart will stop beating, of this I am sure. My soul will never part you, for it is a part of you and together we shall forever be connected.

You. Always you.

Intimacy