Explorations of mind, paths, and life

How He Found Me, How I Lost Myself

Posted on June 3, 2010 - Filed Under anger, autobiography, crossroads, fear, feelings



I sit, rain slamming and tapping over the noise of a busy cafe. I smother butter all over a piece of whole grain bread and chomp with lurid agitation at the poppy-seed dressing doused on a perfect salad, despite my smiling request for dressing on the side. I wriggle in my seat, because it is cold, and so damp that the cold requests a sweater that I don’t have. Something inside me pops and I am sitting across from myself in my mind, wondering why I always hold back and live so carefully. I am aware of how all this careful living is causing the clock to rip through time and throw me into 40, fearful and yet so blatantly independent. And under that I see a hidden scowl on my brow, rolling around under a few wet curls, deciding whether or not to make a permanent appearance. I acknowledge, gently, to myself, just how angry I am.

Frankly, the procrastination I have had about filing papers for divorce has been elusive… it refuses to tell me the truth about why it exists. Every time I open the folder labeled “2010 Divorce” my stomach lurches and I am stunned by an angry swarm of anxiety. I bat it away frantically and retreat into more pleasant things, like staring at the ceiling, or reading, or working, or clipping away at the edges of my fingernails with a shiny silver clipper… “let’s just snip a little deeper and get rid of that rough edge there…”

Truth is, I love him dearly and deeply. We connected immediately back in High School, when he was shy, and I was naive. I was swooned by the romantic white handkerchief he carried in his pocket, and the tiny map of the NYC transit system he produced whenever we took to adventuring during college. He romanticized me with little Calvin & Hobbes scenes, laying on our bellies, laughing. He was generous, handsome, and wonderfully playful. His eyes blew my mind, a color of blue that was almost angelic. I could overlook everything in that state of blissful affection, because he was this unmarred, funny, adventurous, and affectionate boy who thought every breath I took was a song. As was my world view at the time, I was the most screwed up person on the planet, and no one else could have possibly been as ridiculously messy, or as needy, as I was. And there he was, loving me just as messy as I was. I couldn’t have been loved better than that… but then my world got darker and more confused as I battled a sense of worldly vigilance, jarred by childhood beliefs and fear… and I stepped away and disappeared, as did he.

By the time we reconnected I was an independent single mom, house and car in tow, career packaged and running. I knew, from that unearthly connection we had, that we would reconnect someday, whether friend, lover, or supporter, but I expected the timeline to be further out… into my 40’s. Instead, we were 10 years younger, and with unconditional acceptance we married and I packed my life into an 18-foot U-Haul and planted myself in Florida. At that place in my life I had good control of my world. I knew what I was doing, my teaching career had 8 years of experience crowning my resume, and my soon to be 4 year old son danced and giggled my life into a state of ongoing content. And life carried itself out with all the lessons one has in marriage, in family, in being connected. No regrets, because it was an awesome ride… and, in all of that something else spoke to me. A piece of me, who controlled my world with vigilant awareness, allowed that vigilance to leak into a passive, conflict-free, reticent stance that ultimately became my own unraveling. I quieted myself, when I should have pushed harder. I stood fearful of conflict because conflict in my world had always been violent and ugly. So, I began to throw up my hands and accept how our lives were organized, and slowly found that dark disassociation moving back into my being as I carried the world (believing if I let go of anything, the world would dissolve). The more I didn’t listen to myself, the darker and more worn my life began to feel… and I became lost… and the relationship felt oppressive with all its needs and dependence.

The last year and a half has been full of rediscovery, and some conflict, and new modes of self expression. It has also tasted a weathered sort of self-censorship.  As my world quietly unravels, I let the rest of the world believe my existence is ” fine & dandy.” I find myself frustrated at being in public limbo because I don’t talk about what is going on other than a few “necessary disclosures” or in the environment of a few close relationships. Something about my self-censorship leaves me feeling angry… out of integrity with my real life right now… while fearful of the change that happens by opening up and admitting where I am at. My silence is the same fearful quiet that I hold on to, so that I know what the world looks like at all times, because “talking” CHANGES things. Anything different and it seems frightful, despite that wise voice that tells me it is all good, it is all just choices, just trust the process, don’t resist… Regardless, I GRIND my heals into the ground, and grasp at the very fibers of existence, to be left alone with the world that is familiar.

So, I was asked, “How are those papers coming along?” and I am again thrust into the swarm of angry anxiety that my life is changing. I asked for this change… took a bold step and even begged for this change… and now I don’t want to move through it. I have to come up with new stories that feed my lectures, and new ways to see the world that don’t include him… and what if I don’t have any? What if everyone gets mad? Why do people want all the reasons for what I am doing in my life right now? Making choices about this process takes me out of my bubble to face things…. and makes me MOVE ON… but move on to what?

It seems my ideas of “what” are all mixed in with the fear, and the anxiety, and the dreams, and the opportunities, and the potential… so much that it is one bubbling, churning, wind-blown, slicing-rain kinda thing that feels like uncontrollable weather, and I am not sure if I have the right sized umbrella to keep my head from getting wet, or the right galoshes to keep my feet dry. But then again, when has life ever been lived without getting a little messy, and maybe I should skip the umbrella and just roll around in the mud a bit, then I won’t have to worry about getting dirty!

And so, I can’t keep pretending that life is the same right now when it’s not. I am not happy smiling at people when they tell me to pass on a message to someone I don’t see everyday. I don’t know what to do with the pleasant view people have of us that doesn’t match what we are right now… and the disappointed looks that follow if I actually shift up reality and share the truth of where we are.  On top of that, it makes no sense to others that we aren’t fighting, or ugly, or that either of us “did something” to make this all happen, or even that we workout at the gym 2 days a week, and sometimes go boogie-boarding at the beach. I still love getting hugs, encompassing hugs, because he is still safe and familiar. Why can’t we live differently, in order for us to find ourselves – in order for ME to find myself, to heal, to learn, to live up to my potential in ways I wasn’t. Is it all that crazy? It is harder to live pretending it isn’t raining.

I am not willing to let that scowl take up residence on my forehead. I am working hard to navigate towards being brave. I know I have yet to feel all the grief behind my discouraged heart when it comes to loving so much and yet not loving the relationships the way it has been. I am clearly scared, and cautious, and uncertain. But I am also brave, and tenacious about evolving, and even a little excited about what exists outside of this… and THIS won’t be the last storm to get through, and THIS does not define me.

She Packed her Potential...

And So She Packed her Potential...

Problems provide opportunities to participate in life – Becoming A Master Student


One Response to “How He Found Me, How I Lost Myself”

  1. Jamie Martinson on June 12th, 2010 8:51 pm

    “I bat it away frantically and retreat into more pleasant things…” Your writing is wonderful. I see you and feel you and admire you. You are bold, and it is brave to be walking and doing and moving into your genuine self…