Life can be beautifully poignant and excruciating sometimes. A couple of days ago I felt like my heart was being wrung out like a dishrag because someone I love is going through something I can’t help with. I can’t fix it or hug it away, I can’t lift their burden. I can only watch and feel and it’s kind of devastating, but oddly beautiful.
What they are going through together is such an elemental and heartbreaking part of life.
Their story is not mine to tell, but it involves life and loss and a different kind of “ending”. I’m am experiencing an ending of my own, one that is confusing and difficult and poignant in it’s own way. My loving and loyal husband of 22 years has discovered that he may be gay, and after struggling for a VERY long time to try and keep his promises and NOT hurt me, he has finally realized he needs to find himself and his happiness.
I kind of wish he was just an asshole, so I could hate him and move on. But he’s not. He’s just a normal person, going through normal things, trying to save himself from an existence that had been kind of crushing his soul.
What he is going through, what my friends are going through…what I am going through – all of is has been affecting me profoundly, and yet today I sat down to write, and had nothing. How can I have NOTHING??? Just look at my friggin’ LIFE…there’s something everywhere I look!
Yet, my emotions feel very far away – like I’m swimming through muck trying to get to the surface just to breathe. It’s as if they are trapped in the River Styx, ghosts beneath the surface, flowing with the current but inaccessible to me. I can’t decide if I prefer this to the times when I feel like I am being drowned by them.
I’m pretty sure neither option is my optimal state of being!
It feels ominous, though, this emptiness. Like at any moment I’ll be pulled under. I hear the beating of a drum in the distance and the sounds of wolves howling…a signal of impending doom.
OH, wait – that’s just my cat at the door, trying to get in. brb…
OK – that’s taken care of. He just huffed at me and is now curled up on my bed facing the wall, as if my neglect has wounded him to his very core. He doesn’t give a shit about MY feelings or my drama, because there is a patch of sun on the bed and a spot on the wall to investigate. He’s living in the moment…free.
Back to the overly dramatic emptiness that has taken root in my soul.
Such Pedestrian Drama
The big drama in my life right now is all so… … … NORMAL. I keep catching myself realizing that I’m going through something practically everyone has gone through – there is nothing unique or unusual about being left by your spouse. It’s so mundane…so pedestrian.
My situation is only slightly more interesting due to the added “spice” of his shift in sexual orientation…but still. Regardless of the reasons, people split up all the time, and the aftershock in MY life is abysmally dull.
The short version is that I’m broke and currently unable to fend for myself. I am experiencing “financial distress” after being a wife that became financially dependent for too long.
It’s more than that, however. I am discovering how MUCH I compromised my “self” (he did too – I get that). I am realizing that so much of our dynamic that seemed so loving and devoted was actually really unhealthy for both of us. We thought we were so special, that our way of being together was SO unique. In reality, we were codependent as hell and were in HUGE denial about that.
Well, Hell…I Guess We Are Just Like Everybody Else
It’s all just so regular. Somehow that is part of what’s hard about it – the knowledge that we were not so special after all. I think many of us might think that OUR love is unique, special, inviolate and epic and something nobody else can comprehend. So the disappointment in finding out that we are just like everybody else…hell, that feeling is probably pretty normal, too.
Or not. I don’t know…right now I’m questioning a lot of things I used to think I knew. Oh my gawd – THAT is probably really normal TOO!
I’m so depressingly average, after all. Nothing to see here, folks, move along…
Life and Death Lessons
What my friend is going through, as heartbreaking as it is, and what I am going through – these are things people all over the planet experience literally every day. Life and death, love and loss…dreams ending, futures irrevocably changed in an instant.
A few words – that moment when something unknown becomes known. That is how fast change can happen. If anyone ever tells you that it takes a long time and a lot of effort to make a change, it’s bunk.
Change can happen in an instant…
Everything else is just dealing with the fallout. There is that pivotal moment when we jump the tracks and find ourselves veering off in a direction we might never have imagined. Those moments happen alot…because no matter how hard we try, life is just not as predictable as we’d like.
We can’t control the future. We can TRY – we can plan, and be “smart”, and save our money and have back up plans. We can elicit promises and believe.
Except people often make promises about things they can’t control. Every time a parent promises their child that “everything will be ok”, or we promise one another that we will “always be there”…we are lying.
Let Go Of Promises
I can hear the whispers of promises being made all around the globe. Lies igniting hope in the hearts of young people, old people…dogs.
Dogs are just so loyal…and gullible…and optimistic! I love them – I’m pretty sure a dog won’t discover he’s gay and leave me to find his happiness elsewhere. But dogs die – unexpectedly sometimes, way before their time. So you can’t really count on a future with them, either.
I know – SUPER uplifting and hopeful, right??? I thought I should throw a dog in there, because I talked about my cat up above, but then I remembered that my dog up and DIED on me way before his time, and that was pretty traumatizing because I thought I had a lot more time with him. This happened a really long time ago…but apparently it still hurts. Anyway – it’s possible I’m seeing the world through a rather negative filter right now. Just sayin’ – maybe take all of what I’m currently spouting as “learning” and “wisdom” and “truth”…with a teensy bit of salt.
OK – Where Was I???
Right…So, I’m going through something really normal – something most adults have experienced in one form or another. The end of a relationship…the end of one particular future. The end of that particular hope. The realization that all of the promises were lies.
“I’ll never hurt you.” “I’ll never leave you.” “Together forever.” These are promises that no one should make, and no one should believe. We simply cannot KNOW, for certain, because change happens, death happens…life is fluid.
The tectonic plates at the foundation of my “promised” future have shifted, and created a different landscape. Everybody has experienced that in one form or another.
“I’ll always be there for you” is a promise that NO ONE can keep. No parent can ALWAYS be there for their child, and no lover can promise that life…or death…won’t sweep them away.
My lesson, in both what my friend is going through, and what I am going through…is to look at today and stop relying on promises of a future that may never come. I want to learn and grow from this – this incredibly mundane and normal and painfully human experience. I want to come through it a better, stronger, smarter and more adaptable person.
I choose to stop believing in promises, of any kind, from anyone. I choose to focus on making today as worthwhile as possible, because I can’t know what tomorrow will bring. It’s a cliche – but it’s also true.
Plans are useful but promises are lies. My plan? To stop promising things. It doesn’t matter how much I might want to deliver on a promise, or how hard I “believe”…if I make a promise I am offering a guarantee about something over which I have no control – the future.
I also won’t be eliciting or even accepting promises from anyone else. Ever again. Nope – there be dragons there!
Actually, I would genuinely love to meet a dragon, and my hope is that they are actually old, wise, magical creatures that would free me rather than eating me. But let’s face it, if they existed, they’d be at the top of the food chain and we’d all just be yummy “people poppers” – they’d just dip us in a little ketchup and have a nice snack.
Hope and Dream AND Live in the Moment
Make plans, state your intentions, dream of potential futures. Those are all great – but stop BELIEVING in any of it. Allow yourself the flexibility to go with the flow a bit, because that flow is LIFE, and no one can control or predict life, no matter how much they might want to.
Letting go of belief, letting go of promises – this can be a really GOOD thing. It doesn’t mean you have to let go of hope. It simply means that you are prepared to surf the wave that shows up – whether or not it is the one you expected.
Peace OUT – I’m going surfing with my imaginary dog while my very real cat stares at that spot on the wall, waiting for it to move.