I have been struggling for quite some time (just a mere couple of decades, really) with an unresolved issue with someone who has played a rather large role in my distant past, who had a huge effect on my relationship with my son as well as with his father. I’m sure most of you who know the backstory of my life know exactly who I’m speaking of; my ex-husband’s second and current wife. Now I’m not going to drag you back through the sands of time and re-hash the entire tale (wait for the book!) but I will say that our relationship has been one of difficult mountain passes, bridges washed out by flash floods and miles and miles of quicksand relieved by the occasional minefield. There was a moment of an oasis of peace; we connected, shared a few tidbits of deeply personal information and then back to the Hard Road. At times I felt as though I just wanted her out of my life altogether and even though I knew she wasn’t in my LIFE so much as in my HEAD, I just kept wishing she’d just disappear. I just raged like I do so well, with many colorful words and phrases and deep flights of fancy about how I would indulge the vicious, primal need of the Ego. Hours of endless entertainment, encouraging a tiny paper cut to fester until it became a ravenous cancer, eating away at any sense of empathy, understanding and above all else, compassion. Just feeding the Rage Monster, painting a target and launching all my missiles of dissatisfaction, regret and unhappiness in her general direction and unloading the sorrow of dreams that have yet to die but are still unrealized, which is akin to a nuclear bomb as far as feelings go.
Needless to say, she was not the Anti-Christ, Cruella de Ville or any of the traditional Bad trope we are used to relating to (notice no politicial mention, as I believe I covered that with the A-C title) but I had made her all of those and thrown in the Joker, Hannibal Lector and Judas, just as a shoutout to the nuns at St. Philomene School – Bad Guys, Roman Catholic edition, circa mid-70’s.
I was not ready nor willing to do the Deep Dive and go inside myself to see why this particular person and I had such incredibly messy, emotionally charged but undeniable connection and why was I so certain she was the cause of all my unhappiness? Who knows? Not me, probably not her and definitely not you, I’m guessing. If I’m wrong and you do have thoughts on that, please let me know! Maybe I’ll never know and twenty some years later, I’m on the road to being okay with that.
I wrote her a letter and said a lot of things I wanted to say long ago (not the hurtful stuff, the honest, owning up to my shortcomings and my childish behavior) and I had to wait to mail it until I didn’t feel like I was invested in the outcome of it, only that the message had been written with care and great thought and once I drop it in that mailbox, I have no control over whether she dumps it unopened into the garbage or she holds onto it for a while before reading it or whether (this is my favorite) she reads it, sets it down and reads it again. There’s a lot to unpack in that letter and I know she’s got a life, too. This is 2020 after all, so if anything, I know that shit is going sideways everywhere in every possible way. Kind of like a toddler eating an entire bottle of ExLax; it’s not going to be pretty and it’ll take a while to clean it up and even longer to recover from the experience; you, as much as the toddler.
***DISCLAIMER*** I know that a toddler (or anyone for that matter) would more than likely suffer severe gastrointestinal effects and it could potentially be lethal and that I do not mention this as a suggestion for others to try with their toddlers or any other toddlers, named or unnamed. I myself have never given nor taken an entire bottle of ExLax, so this is a complete and total piece of fiction. I do not recommend nor encourage the abuse of ExLax or any other substance by toddlers, especially.
At any rate, I have made my effort at making amends. I cannot force her to wish to hear me about, I cannot assume that she’s in a place where she can even do that, nor can I assume anything really other than it’s 2020 and she’s human. The rest of it pretty much auto-fills.
I’ve been at my new job for a while now and I have made some really good friends; these ladies are really warm and wonderful and I am astounded at how fortunate I’ve been in my work life to have found and kept so many incredible people, all so amazing and exceptional in their own ways. I used to think I hated people and there are times when I am deeply saddened and disappointed in humanity but there are those times when I am uplifted and encouraged by the kindness and selflessness that I see. Many times the greatest contributor to the goodness of life chooses to forsake the spotlight and do their good deeds without fanfare, without posting it on social media in an effort to call more attention to this “selfless good deed” to another. It doesn’t discount whatever positive effect was experienced by the receipient, but it does call into question the motive. Do the ends justify the means? Does it make it any less a charitable act because the Ego was in the driver’s seat when it happened? I have had to revise my belief systems many times over the course of my life to date and people always have me going between total and complete isolation to detox from them or pining away for someone thousands of miles away that I couldn’t appreciate when they were right in front of me, so let’s just call it a work in progress because isn’t everything a work in progress?
I’ve also moved up into the land of tall trees and (currently) exceptionally smoky skies. Yes, the west coast is on fire and my heart aches for everyone who has been impacted by this, which means the entire states of California, Oregon and Washington with all of the loved ones of those living here holding their collective breath to see if their loved ones will make it out alive, with or without their homes and all their worldly possessions. Certainly without their sense of security, of safety and knowledge of what their future will look like. I have been effected only by the air quality, which is nothing compared to the loss of life and the devastation of homes and communities and forests and all souls who called it home. I cannot pray hard enough, cannot send out enough love and enough light to begin to touch the heartache that I feel but I will try.
Another interesting thing that has happened is I feel like I’m getting very close to being able to have enough space for love in my life, in my heart and in my Cupboard of Possibilities. That’s where I put all the things, events, situations and Life Events that I wish for when I blow out the candles on my birthday cake, or when I’m crying myself silly over some heartache, but I don’t want to give up on that dream. I had that cupboard boarded up, padlocked and was holding a match, ready to set that mother on fire but something whispered to me to hold out a flicker of hope and the flame that I really sought, the flame of love, self-love and shared love, was the only fire I really needed. Now I have worked hard enough that I have unchained and unlocked that cupboard and started filling it once again with my hopes and dreams and yes, even my ambitions. I have those again; my passions are rising up as my need to “protect myself” from the world wanes.
Why the big shift in view of love? Like many things, it’s complicated in a way that only humans can complicate something incredibly simple and beautiful; the past isn’t resting in peace just yet and it may never, but I know that I’m worthy of love. It’s been a really long road to get to saying those few words and even typing it now, it fills my eyes with big, fat, emotional tears of
YESSSS GIRL!!! YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE!!! SAY IT LOUD – SHOUT IT OUT!!!
The truth is pure and carries emotions that cannot be silenced, cannot be muted or turned off. They drive through the fog of confusion, of uncertainty and like a well placed arrow by an excellent archer, land dead center in the middle of your heart. This is what I love; the feeling of knowing it’s right for me and I’ve found my North Star to guide me on my journey. Should I meet someone and their soul sings to me, I’ll make room and invite them along.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but also with the belief that the journey is worth the effort and the walker is worthy of the challenge and the reward.