I have not posted anything in a long time. Here is why. Written early September 2013:
I keep attempting to write a post in which I do not disclose nor discuss my current separation. I want to write something that is authentic, true, funny and relatable but in which I happen to overlook that I am now in a strange marriage limbo, a 6-month separation to gain clarity and to bring a stop the the unrelenting circular patterns we were stuck in.
But here is the problem: nothing authentic can be written without this fact. It permeates everything. It touches every moment of my day, every breath. My separation touches my life more right now than my marriage did, it is that present with me.
I had no idea how many people I knew until I was separated. I still haven’t counted but it feels like a billion people have asked me how I am in the last month. So have I lied to 97% of a billion people. I’m sorry. I am not fine or good, or even ok.
I am sad. And heartbroken. And sorrowful. And relieved. I am light and heavy at the same fucking moment. I feel I have put down a really heavy burden, a sack full of dusty bricks. But contained in the sack of bricks, inseparable from the bricks, the mortar, I also put down 1000 little joys.
And they are both heartbreaking to speak of, think of, and recall in detail. The joys are heartbreaking because those are the moments you share with another human being that are uniquely the two of you together. You can never tell them to another soul and have them get just how special they are. Because on the surface, these are often silly things. Like the cat naming game. This is where you each try to come up with hilarious puns having to do with the cat’s name. They either have to rhyme with the cat’s name or be connected to a part of the cat (ie involving paws or ears or the type of cake pan the cat’s shape reminds you of when she lies in a certain position).
They are also about touch that is available at any moment. It has truly only been a few weeks but my body is starved for touch. My skin would weep if it could.
But just as heartbreaking are the invisible barriers, walls that you can’t see but that are just as palpable as a real brick and mortar house, walls that came between you and the touch of that other person. They are built of resentment and fear and sadness. They are built of words spat out in moments of frustration and rage that makes you want to tear your heart out and tear the other person down at the same time. They are built out of expectations and unmet needs.
If I could go back now, here is what I would do differently:
I would speak up. From the very first moment. I would speak myself alive in the relationship. I would be selfish and greedy and clear about what I need as a human to be fulfilled. I would demand these things from myself first, but also from my partner and from the Universe. I would shout them out instead of being ashamed of having needs in the first place. I would declare myself worthy of care instead of just trying desperately to take care of him first.
I would touch more. I would never stop kissing him hello and goodbye. I would insist upon daily lip and tongue entwining.
But even before all that, I would go back even further and know myself more. I would have unplugged from the noise I used to distract myself, I would identify my weaknesses and my dreams years and eons before we’d even met, so I would know exactly what I was up against in a relationship. I would go back to that summer when I bailed on a prestigious Master’s of Writing summer session because I was so fucking scared I would fail. I would go back and I would gently whisper in my ear before I quit: Do it. I know you are scared, I know that you are actually vomiting a little at the thought of this unknown place and huge challenges, where you may indeed fail, but please: go. Even though you are frozen with terror, move anyway. Pretend you’re not scared. Take the next step. I would whisper how you don’t know this now, but you are at risk here: you are at risk for spending the next decade stepping up so close to what you want that you can reach out and touch it and then shrinking the fuck away. You are at risk of creating a life that doesn’t fit you over and over again. What is at stake here is not a summer session of graduate credits. It’s your heart. It’s your soul. It’s a life that fits you exactly as you are. It is like that favorite pair of jeans paired with that worn t-shirt you love so much with the red cut-out heart stitched on top of your own heart–it is exactly who you are and it is terrifying but god, it is exhilarating too.
But I wasn’t there to tell myself what I needed to hear. So I listened to the fear voices, the icy grip of the anxiety that told me, no really, it is better if you don’t go. You are so tired. You are already overwhelmed. You won’t survive this adventure. Quit. Call and cancel. Cancel NOW.
So I cancelled. I even took the wimpy way with that: I emailed my withdrawal notice. Perhaps I knew inherently that my voice would not support my decision. That the words would get stuck in my throat and I would cry and someone there would know that I was a failure before I even began.
And here I am, a decade later, living out the repercussions of swallowing my voice and my heart down for fear.
So I will live my single-but-not-single separate life as fully as I can. I will wake up every day and ask myself, how can I live authentically today? How can I live from my heart?
I will do this for the sake of myself first, I will meet my own needs.
I will visit my sack of bricks and examine it all. I will cherish the mortar: the joyful spark of love that brought us together in the first place, I will laugh as I think of the perfect cat name, I will treasure many moments and feel the love of them, but I will not neglect the heavy bricks. I will not pretend they are not there out of fear for what they mean for our future. I will bring myself fully to it all.
So if you see me on the street, don’t ask how I am, unless you really want to know. I can’t lie anymore–not to you. Not to myself.
December 2013: I am no longer in limbo. It was decided 2 months in that the bricks were far too heavy.