When I’m struggling, I find this incredibly hard to believe. But when I think about it, when I think about the wonderful memories from the past, it proves it must be true. One day, I will look back on these days and see what I’m missing about my joy today. I’m working on appreciating that.
Some blogs come. Sometimes I wake up with them already written in my head. There is an easy satisfaction with giving these stories away having sheltered them for so long in my own mind. But sometimes they get torn out of me, like I’m painfully giving birth to them. I always eagerly await the other side of these blogs. The sweet sorrow flooding with relief for having somewhere else to put them. This is one of those blogs.
People often track their lives like in the bible – “before christ’ and “after christ”. I do that too. Before the divorce and after. I’m surely not the first person who recognizes this fragment in their timeline for this exact reason. There are plenty of groups, meetings, books and TV shows devoted entirely to this subject. I don’t believe I am any less or more impacted by it than anyone else but from my own eyes, it matters. It changed me. Deeply.
When I first started to imagine writing this blog, I was overwhelmed with how badly I wanted to write about the bad stuff. I’ve erased it about three times because they keep sneaking in, disguised as harmless explanations but really they want recognition. Look what’s been done to me. Broken hearts always seem to want retribution. I have been seeking refuge from this desire for the better part of three years. I am haunted by the idea of forgiveness. It feels impossible some days to just let by gones be by gones. But I keep rolling Buddha’s words around in my head: Not forgiving is like poisoning yourself and waiting for the other person to die. Dammit Buddha. That is some solid logic.
I want to list for you all the reasons I should not forgive him. I want you to read them and recognize how terribly I suffered. I want someone to write him a strongly worded letter of admonishment. What I do not want is for you to look behind the heavy curtain and investigate my side of it, my contribution to the end. Of course, there is that. And perhaps this sense of denying forgiveness has a lot to do with forgiving myself. For my sins during the relationship, and there was many, and the way I short circuited my grief of rejection to include every living being on the planet so as to save myself from getting hurt again. Of course, this required me to in turn reject people who loved me in the process. Oh what a tangled web we weave…
But here’s my first best go at it. I have spent most of this day trying to remember the good things about him, the things that made me fall in love with him in the first place since you cannot grieve what you don’t love. I will admit, I have tantrumed several times as the lovely memories got mixed up with the hard ones. I can hear myself thinking “what the …” in response to some of his incredible kindness to me in the beginning. I still feel tricked. I have to stuff the idea down that he did some of those things intentionally to hide a whole bunch of other things. I’ll never know. I can only tell you what I remember and how it made me feel then. And in handling them all day, I have found some genuine space for them separate from the rest of it. It’s not quite forgiveness all the way, it’s demi-forgiveness. And it’s all I have today.
I feel compelled to tell you about the time he carried me through a lake to a floating dock in the middle of the night and we lied on our backs talking to each other and the stars. It was one of our first dates. I remember thinking right then, “I could love this man”.
His friends were the originators of BrandiLand..saying he was lost in it. We talked on the phone for hours. I couldn’t even tell you about what, but it was endless. One time he even talked to me almost the entire time while he was at a party and he passed me off to everyone there and said, “Tell this girl how much I like her” and I was regaled with tales from virtual strangers about how impacted he had been by my presence.
I remember the first time he went away to go visit his mom for 2 weeks. It felt like an eternity even though we talked every day. He shared very intimate things about his early life with his family – some sweet things, some disappointments, things he was struggling with being home. Without any forethought, I blurted out, “I want you to come live with me when you come home”. I surprised myself having been a cautious woman for many years. He said he knew I was going to say that for some reason and he was quick to say, “Dear god, yes”. I picked him up from the airport, he looked so handsome in his dress pants and baby blue button down shirt, all wrinkled and buttons askew from the long flight. He smiled at me from way far off as he caught sight of me coming down the escalator. And I stupidly stood and smiled at him. It seemed like an hour before he got to the bottom and we couldn’t get to each other fast enough. It was happening. Our beginning. He asked me to marry him with a baby blue stone because he knows I hate diamonds. Baby blue memories. Baby, baby blues…
I can still see him walking, barefoot, down the middle of our street, while our house burned behind us. I was just standing there watching the fireman struggle with the fire in the roof. I knew the house was going to be lost. I didn’t know one other tangible thing at that moment. I couldn’t grasp onto anything and it felt like I was just floating there. When I turned and saw him, I was utterly entranced by the sight of him, so self-assured, smiling at me with his head cocked to the side and that “Come here baby” look he gave me. He wrapped me up in a blanket and hugged me and said everything was going to be ok. And I believed him.
I have been trying, trying, trying to burn those memories into my mind over the smouldering, putrid aroma of our break up. It is the most insane thing, to love someone and then not know them at all, never see them again, never have the chance to reminisce of these things. It has always felt like the right way to break up was to have a moment where we shared those things that we would remember, those things that made a difference and say “Thank You” for all the good that came. People think I’m crazy when I say that but I’ve done it. And I picture all the people I’ve ever met who had terrible, bitter separations and how different it would look if it was mandatory on the way out to say a few nice things you’ll remember.
But something funny happens to people when they get caught in the face of their bad decisions. There is no last few nice memories to share. It is just a heart tearing open trying to stem the blood with paltry excuses and denial. And you are left sputtering and gasping for air, viciously clawing your way out, trying to save yourself.
There is someone back in my life who has been graciously sharing his love stories with me, assuring me that love does come despite my cynical and protective denial of this for the last 3 years. I am so grateful for this light at the end of the tunnel, the signalling of a certainty that it exists. I am trying to find a way back to love by practising with the ones I already love. By being mindful of myself in close contact with others. By being mindful of the times we hurt each other and rally back any ways. There are examples of it all around me. Relationships I have nurtured and nourished for years that prove my theory wrong…Fairy tales are NOT just for suckas. Given a look into my life, you would be astonished at the calibre of women who have stood by me and raised me from the dead when I had all but given up. It’s not the same thing, humbly I accept that having someone love you as their partner, as their muse is different than your lady friends but it doesn’t overshadow it. On paper, my love life is a disaster but in the bigger picture, it is extraordinary. And if I died tomorrow, no one could say I wasn’t completely wrapped in some serious love. And save for the empty space left by him, I would never have realized by comparison how full the rest of my life really is. That is the way life works, it is in the absence that we appreciate what is present. A gift if you will, when you’re ready to open it.
Ok, I admit it. I have been feeling a little sorry for myself lately. Self loathing is a sneaky little bastard and sometimes it takes a few minutes or days or months to realize you are having tea with him every day.
Something happened the other day, not even a bad something, but it made me think about the past. It started out with some great memories. In fact, I was smiling and humming to myself for a couple of days just thinking about those great memories. Then one day I was driving and I just started to cry. Like bawling. I have an hour drive to work on straight highway and it provides me an awful lot of time to think and somehow all those great memories that had been fueling my smile-fest started triggering some not so great memories. They are of course, embedded together. Like those magnetic kissing monkeys, they attract each other. You think of one, you find the other.
My family has been through a great deal in the last few decades but once upon a time we all lived under the same roof and despite less than ideal conditions I felt very secure in having my family around me. I felt “normal” even when we were all fighting. My family has not been under the same roof again for over 20 years. The thought of this, the fragmentation of my family, the terrible, terrible memories that accompany that reality are deeply married to some of the best memories I have. What a mess in my head trying to sort through them. And of course, those raw memories seem to float to the top much more quickly then the sweet ones.
I know when things are going sideways when I have a hard time waking up and getting out of bed. I am one of those annoying morning people who works out, writes copy for my social media pages, makes breakfast, walks my dogs etc etc before most people are getting up for their regular day. When I open my eyes and everything feels blurry and my body refuses to roll out of bed, I know something is amiss. I ,of course, ignore this for as long a I can. And then one day, I am on the phone with my best friend crying about how worthless my life has become and how could any of this have possibly happened to me???
The incredibly good fortune of this story is the response of said best friend. She gave me a speech akin to Cher’s performance in Moonstruck where she slaps a gentleman and advises him to , “Snap out of it!!”. She gave me permission to feel bad for about 5 minutes and then it was time to move on.
I realized that in my spelunking of the past I had stopped doing a few things:
- Working out – to be fair I have been unbelievably afflicted by several nasty illness in a row but even then I can usually be found walking my dogs or riding a bike. But nope…nada, nothing, zilch. For weeks.
- Meditating – despite how long I have been doing it and how much I preach its merits to others, I still find it very difficult to do and is usually the first thing I shun when I feel bad about myself. This is the dumbest thing I do to myself. Even 10 minutes of breathing will change your whole day.
- Calling my people – I am a spazz. I walk, talk, work out, eat and am in constant contact with my best people. They anchor my flightiness when I simply can’t get my feet on the ground or out of bed. When I stop contacting them, guaranteed you can find me in the bottom of a self pity bottle. Perspective in any form will save your life.
- I stop writing. Yep, go on and look how long it has been since my last post. It takes a lot of energy to hate yourself. Much more than creating. I am grateful that it only takes me a few days instead of a few years to remember this now. Double nod to all the above things.
Just before I went to bed last night I got a post from a place called Action for Happiness – http://www.facebook.com/actionforhappiness
And the post said: Choose to focus on the good stuff. Start by reminding yourself of three good things, big or small, that happened yesterday.
So I did that. But I couldn’t stop at three. It just went on and on and on. And then I remembered. Good lord I have a good life. Sorry I don’t appreciate it as much as I should.
I always add pictures to my blog because as a spazz I never satisfied with just plain text ; ) So today I’m going to add some pictures of things I am grateful for because I’m overdosed on the beauty of it. You might as well be too.
I walked into my room to find my dog HUGGING my scarf. Um…that may be the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. And it’s because she loves the shit out of me.
I spent the better part of the morning here. Seriously just look at that. I can’t even believe I live so close to this.
This girl makes me laugh and cry every day – and I don’t mean regular laughing and crying. Like people are concerned about the intensity of our outbursts. She gave me the proverbial slap on the face, then took me to above beautiful place and proceeded to have what can only be describes as an EPIC evening that Banff will never forget. I kind of hate the word epic so if I’m using it, you can understand it was probably movie script worthy. ; )
My 6’7 son changed a light bulb for me without standing on a chair. I made that. No bigs.
My new cup from Banff. If I am not smiling every morning when I have my tea, that is total bullshit and I will promptly make an appointment for more therapy. This is also one of my other son’s favourite sayings. We are kind of freaks all around here. : )
What are you grateful for today? It’s only noon and I think I’m going to lose my mind with joy already. Now where’s my tea cup….