On dead things, and anger, and boats.

He said to me, “our marriage is dead.”

And, I agree; three weeks ago, I cut the head off.

In truth, our marriage had been a ghost of an idea for a long while, and I had exhausted myself being the one to propel us in whatever direction we could go.  He was a ghost of man; an invisible husband whom I recognized every now and then when we shared funny things, or when he would fly off the handle at something.  Mostly though, he was unrecognizable underneath his shroud of bitterness and resentment.  It was so heavy, it burdened both of us.  I tried for years to help him exorcise it but he seemed determined to hold on tight.  As if letting go would expose him, would force him to see outside of himself and thereby, see who he was on the inside.  Perhaps he was afraid of who he might discover?

But, I was tired; I couldn’t carry him, or us any longer and I let him go from my heart.  I didn’t know what to expect when I went home that day to tell him that I was unhappy, and that I wanted to leave.  Had no expectations for the future except that I knew I didn’t want to be in this union anymore.

He will crumble and wither away, and I will be the cause of it, I thought. Seeing him weep in front of me, alternately wishing to hug me and push me away, was horrible.  I didn’t know how to help him.  I only knew that this was the path I had chosen and I was resolute in my decision.  That first week was incredibly painful for both of us – sleepless nights, tearful talks.  I cried so hard that I thought I might puke, and I knew I was crying for the loss; it felt like grief, the sudden first stage when all you feel is heartache and sorrow, and all you can do is stand in the grocery store wondering what the fuck you went down this aisle for.

We both started seeing a counselor separately (ironically, and I think now, universally intentionally, the same one) during the second week.

My resoluteness remained.  I had clarity and peace of mind, and I attended the first two sessions with a sense of “I know what I’m doing, so why am I here?”

Then something happened to him that I was not prepared for; he discarded the shroud. After the initial flood of emotion had subsided, he saw clearly, and for the first time how he had been living his life.  And, how it had affected me and our marriage.  He talked, he wrote, he opened his heart and his eyes.  Within these three weeks, he has almost made a 360 within himself.

At first, I was glad for him.  After all, I had tried many, many times to remove that fucking shroud myself.  I had suggested, cajoled, tried to help find ways for him to be who he really was meant to be.  But my efforts had been fruitless, and I knew that only he could do it for himself.  So, yes, I was happy to see this man emerge, become brighter, happier – in just three weeks.

Yes, as he grew, I felt myself deflate.

I went away by myself for a weekend in the mountains to hike, and to contemplate…things.  But it didn’t go as planned.  On the Saturday, I got sick and ended up unable to move from the bed or the couch.  I was quiet all day.  I stared out of the window at distant bare branches and trees writhing in the wind; it was a gloomy day, reflective of my mood, and I thought nothing at all.  I missed my family, I knew that.  Not necessarily him, but my kids definitely.

The next day, I came home and felt no leap for him when I saw him in the driveway.  And, it wasn’t until we were alone that I felt absolute sadness again.  I cried and cried, thinking I was grieving still, but the words that came to mind were filled with the disbelief that we’d gotten things wrong for so long.  How could I have spent the last fifteen years like this?  How could we?

Since coming home this Sunday, I have been skating a well of tears.  Every act of kindness he shows me, every thing he says, everything that proves he had discovered his truth, pushes me over the edge and I couldn’t figure out why.  Until today.

My session began before she even opened the door because I sat in the waiting room in tears.  Here he is, my husband, becoming the man I’ve always wished him to be, and I am angry.  I am so angry that this didn’t happen sooner.  That he didn’t hear me all these years.  That he didn’t have the strength to do this before I let my love for him go.

I know quite firmly that this could not have happened any sooner; I wasn’t prepared to make the choice, and he wouldn’t have been prepared to deal with the fallout.  It would have been contentious and ugly.

So, what do I do with this anger?  I have to let it go, too.

I don’t know how yet.  And I don’t need to know yet.

What will become of our marriage now that the old way no longer works?

I don’t know yet.  And I don’t need to know yet.

My heart is sore.  My eyes prickle with tears a lot.

I have set my boat afloat.  It was a bit rocky at first whilst it found stability, but now I’m on open water.  I need to learn how to sail by myself, and how to judge my environment before I plot a course.

Where will I go?  I don’t know.  And I don’t need to know yet.

 

 

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Beautiful Dysfunctionality

Allowing this morning’s counseling session to sink in raises my awareness level, and that feels wonderful.

Unless you’re a deadbeat parent, the need to mother, to nurture, and to care for is like a flower that instantly blossoms.  It’s natural and totally one-sided, and that’s ok because that’s what you do as a parent.  Your kid takes and you give, and hopefully you find some morsel of time to replenish so that the well never dries completely.

Things go awry when adults materialize beside the same water source, and now it becomes an unconscious giving.  You love them too, and they need you to care for them for unseen, unrealized reasons, so you dish out for the adult.  Oftentimes, it’s not even a conscious thought; you just do because you have to.  Because this is what you are supposed to do.

You might have the opportunity to restock but you know that if you step away, the one person you have been supporting might crumble, and with it, the life you know. It’s not the best life for you, you know it deep down somewhere, but you daren’t let go because he needs you to be strong, to be the source, to be in his pocket.

Eventually, and inevitably, the well will dry up for him.  Not for the kids, because really their supply is unending and unconditionally always there.  But for him, that well is just a parched, dark brick round reaching down into nowhere.  You stand up; the world tilts for a while as you process what has been happening and finally, with the help of an impartial spirit, you realize what it is  you have been doing.

For a few weeks, he and I have been treading our own paths; seeking our own truths.  It is lovely to see him shed some of the weight that he swore he’d never be able to put down. He is stepping out to investigate and discover about himself and I’m glad for him.  He is learning that it’s ok to drink from his own well, and for my part, I am learning that I don’t need to mother him.

That said, the woman who was part of this union, is but a dried up, withered spirit.  I don’t know if there is life in her because I am not her anymore.  And, I don’t know if who I truly am can ever be part of it again.

It’s been a beautiful awakening for me.  After years of struggle and spiritually backbreaking work, I can now stand up straight.  I can see how strong and powerful I really am. How free I am to breathe, and be, and give as needed.  To give for the want of it and not for the sacrifice.

Welcome home.

lost_soul_evolurtion_by_nataly1st-d34sqs9The thing I loved to do became a burden. It was time to push it behind for a while, let it curl up like a tired cat to sleep. In time, it will have been rejuvenated, will have shorn its tiresome aura, its toxicity, and I will be able to love it once more.

Now I can focus on the spirits that matter. I can support, and be there. It’s coming home and it’s most welcome.

I brought out my cushion (which is actually a giant stuffed monkey) and got down into myself for the first time in a very long while.  Almost immediately after the timer bell rang, fat words drifted up to say Hello and the smile on my face stretched from ear to ear.  It was wonderful, and so reassuring to confirm that I am always there even if the ego drags me this way and that.

“This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies. All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginningless time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave goodbye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Death, No Fear

My husband says I am an enigma. He looks at me quizzically. “You’re intelligent,” he says, “and yet, you believe in chakras and stuff.” I love him; he is the practical, realistic one. I am the intuitive one, and a believer of the teachings of many spiritual guides. We balance each other, my husband and me. Eleven years of mawwage tomorrow and how fucking wonderful it is to be right where we are with each other. After the rocky slopes; the slippery slopes, and the glaciers of silence, we are the most connected right now.

Welcome home.

Friday Fictioneers: Love

Photo courtesy:  Bjorn Rudberg

Photo courtesy: Bjorn Rudberg

 

Love

Word count:  97

It has been too long since she and I have been somewhere warm without the children. The curves of her body underneath a filmy red dress, so well acquainted, provoke desire which has never faded throughout the years. She is feeling heady, and amorous. I watch her, watching the musicians. She slides me a knowing look upon hearing the familiar strains of Chan-Chan.

She rises, and I with her. Finding room to embrace, and sway in time to the melody, we share love and passion without word or deed. I am the luckiest man in the world.

Friday Fictioneers – Dick and Nora

Photo courtesy - Kent Bonham

Photo courtesy – Kent Bonham

Dick and Nora

Word count:  102

She wanted to go to the marketplace, and how could he deny her? Thankfully, the ascent wasn’t too steep but it sure looked like it went on forever. Dick swung Nora’s wheelchair to face the path. He leaned around and his heart melted; she was smiling. She rarely smiled; only did so when they had company back home. He stifled regret at the passing of time, and the bitter hand that life had dealt them.

Dick pushed his ailing wife slowly, so that she could enjoy the surroundings. His heart ached; this would be their last holiday together.

He would miss Nora.

 

Ten

Our tenth wedding anniversary approaches. We’ve been through some very tough times, I think to myself frequently. I also say it out loud a lot. Perhaps to remind myself just how far we’ve come. Verbalizing the memories brings a crack to my voice, and tears are apt to fill my eyes. On the heels of the statement, like flapping coattails, I also know that many, many couples go through hard times in their relationships – illness, financial worries, death, uncertainty, knocks from left and right, rugs pulled so swiftly as to leave a couple knocked onto their asses.

Sometimes it’s unthinkable the things that happen.

I spent many years assigning blame; pointing fingers at family members (one of which I’m not sad to admit, is probably broken beyond repair), my husband included. I always tried to divert the pointing away from him because I knew how hard he was working and how he suffered for our little family but it was there all the same, shouting into the vast silences, or picking and niggling out of my mouth without any remorse.

At our lowest, at our most far apart, and when he left for work, often it felt as blank as closing the door on an empty house. In another room, I would become aware of his leaving, and feel floundered but at the same time I didn’t care. We could be in the same room but the balance of our relationship had shifted so that we couldn’t relate to one another. We didn’t know how to navigate the waters together so we stumbled angry, haughty, and defensive through the turmoil. Each of us aware of the other but too stubborn, or we didn’t know how, or just didn’t want to make the effort, to reach out and tap the other on that cold shoulder. Fearing rejection? Fearing taking the first step? Fearing the hard battle to right things?cebc9807e533ca803f1ad0072b52ccc4

Visually speaking, I see the journey like a scab, which isn’t appealing but then again, marriage has its hard, dark side. The deeply wounded part of our journey; stuck and welting red under the hardened skin I could liken to our worst four years. As the scab gets better around the outside, the sore becomes lighter and stronger. The skin is thin, and tenuous but pinker. As the edges spread, the scab is no longer needed because the skin has become firmer, more solid.

These have become good years. We still struggle somewhat, but there’s an honesty and humor that wasn’t there before. It appears that we have sailed the storm, both with the same destination and we have arrived together to sunnier shores.

I love my husband with all my heart and I have no regrets about anything I have done or said in the last six years (and I have done and said some not-so-good things) because without all the experiences, the challenges, the hardship, the sadness, the shame, the silence,  we would still be skating on the surface. Holding hands and smiling, sure, but without the deep knowledge that can be seen in the quickest of glances.

That said, I would not want to relive it!

Friday Fictioneers: Shady Painting

Photo courtesy - Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Photo courtesy – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Shady Painting

Word count:  99

She had told him not to rest the keys on the wall. He had replied, “yes dear” and done it anyway. He knew how long it had taken to paint the room, and she hadn’t given up despite the color not drying the olive green she wanted. It was the principle of the thing! He hadn’t listened! Just like always… She sighed angrily, reached out to lift the keys away, and saw no marks. She paused, replaced them and pressed hard back and forth, quickly, purposefully. He entered the room. She jerked back.

“Look! Now I have to repaint!”