Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Time of Mourning, or On Really Hard Tears (first draft)

Reading this quote now is healing and cathartic, though the tears are long past. Yesterday marked one year since the official split, which is still impossible to write about in any kind of genuine detail. Vague is still the preferred route in navigating through. I have sat down 365 times to start a true sentence of healing, but somehow the anger would take over, or the grief. The sense of multiple losses was overwhelming and a certain aspect of denial felt really good. Therapy saved me. I'm not crying anymore, not of the same tears anyway, but I cried more tears every waking moment from April 25-around August 25, than I ever cried in my entire life (or ever will). But I still feel awful and guilty and penitent and a certain sense of betrayal. I wonder if the guilt will ever really go away, or if it will latch on, like a little girl holding tightly to the long string of her red balloon at the fair.

I wonder if releasing the guilt/red balloon is important, or if there is more to be learned as the guilt festers. I know it's important to let things go. I know it still hurts because my writing feels stalled. Stagnant. Aesthetically pleasing, when what I'm going for is raw and vulnerable. Writing that will make you cringe. Is it possible to still feel the emotions, to still experience the guilt, and to be able to accurately write about it? I'm not going back to that desperate crying stage that I lived in for 4 months. I've moved beyond the desperate tears to peaceful acceptance. Loving understanding. Unconditional love and gratitude to the good times, but also the really bad times. The gut-wrenching times when the floor is the only comfort and the Psalms have withered and shriveled.

But the tears sure felt amazing. When I read this quote on Pinterest it just clicked. Something in the language resonated, especially the bit about overwhelming grief and unspeakable love. That should be in a hymn somewhere. And probably is.

The grief stage lasted forever and a day. "A time to mourn" became a time to morph. The longing is still there but has changed form. The original longing was for a return to the same, a resistance to change. To move back to the city, even to the same neighborhood. The longing to live with a friend and experience the nearness. It felt like that's what would bring the desires back, and we'd realize that future was coming upon us and we should embrace the inevitable forever. Let it wash over.

But you can't embrace something that is turned away from you. Or someone, rather. The saddest part is I would have. I would have devoured him in a sweet embrace, his face turned away, his shoulders square and resistant. His locked jaw and my open mouth, rooting. His demeanor painfully stoic. I still would have longed and yearned. Did long and yearn.

Then over the past 7 months the longing slowly turned into the quest for independence, forging a new path, surprising introductions, and altogether, newness in multiple forms. A new job, a new friend, a new fascination. Fascination which turned into possibility.

That's when the distance became healing. There needed to be a time of a thousand tears. That kind of pain will never truly be experienced again. The racing suicidal thoughts. The clinging on to anyone who would hold. The rampant self-loathing, self-hatred, self-abolishing. The dozens of phone calls. The begging. I would have done anything, and did.

Evolving out of a co-dependent lifestyle, out of toxicity, out of stagnancy, into rawness, into anger, into grief, into sadness, and now, acceptance, understanding, fueled by little and big rebellions alike. The wonder is where the self will finally reside. When the grace will kick in. Gratitude feels abundant. Still judging the self-loathing in others feels like a necessary step backward. Necessary steps forward will come. Time will still pass. Tears of grief no longer fall. A time to rejoice is coming.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Months ago my therapist, B, and I were grappling over the subject of what else, love. The theme of the year. Well, I was grappling and furrowing my brows. He was most likely closing his eyes in a zen state, focusing on his breath, meditating, and generally being the calm Buddha that he is. B is for Brave Buddhist.

I was a MESS. Starting over in every way, in more ways than one, square one, blank slate. New beginning. I was anxious, my heart would race, I'd launch into pessimism and trash-talking of self. B urged me to beware the present tense. That didn't compute. Beware? Present tense? Yes, he urged, beware what you say in the present tense. When I put myself and my actions down, he'd remind me to force that into the past. "I don't know how to have healthy relationships" became "I haven't known how to have a healthy relationship in the past" which evolved into "I haven't learned how to have a healthy relationship." This is all paraphrased. I want to write down everything B says, but it's rude to pull out a notebook and besides, we're focusing on our breath and being in the moment. In the time it would take me to rifle through my canvas maps of Paris bag, find my notebook and a pen that works, and open to a fresh page where I left off, the moment would have passed. And with my memory, I'd have forgotten the reason why I went searching for the notebook in the first place.

It was B who saved me from my depression and self-torturing, but he'd be humble and say it was the universe unfolding in love. And I am open to the universe and I am recognizing my relationship with the divine. He'd close his eyes and then look at his hand and then smile the smile that only B seems to have, one radiant with joy and peace and assurance. A smile that reaches his eyes.

Disclaimer: I am not a Buddhist. I was raised a Christian, but lately I've been grappling even with that. Everything Buddhist makes perfect sense. I'm all about inclusiveness and shunning exclusivity. Buddhist quotes and teachings have started resonating with me and I thought it was through B's presence in my life for about a year now, starting serendipitously with the week of the split, but the more I read past writings and journals, the more I realize it was in me all along. There was a liberal living inside of that troubled teen. She came out during college, thankfully, and my soul felt free to soar. Could I be a closet Buddhist? No. I accepted Christ at 14, and I'm sure of it. Granted, I went through a lot of the motions. I got saved. I know I did. I was baptized. I felt changed. I went to the summer camps. Hard as it was to be an introvert at Christian camp (that's an essay idea!), I bunked with 10 other strangers, 4 counselors, went down the crazy water slides in the middle of central Floridian summer, praised and worshipped, prayed and practiced penitence. I still wear the cross (as well as the peace sign). I grapple over wearing the cross and being a pro-choice, gay rights advocate liberal but do anyways. Went to Christian college. Was an RA at said Christian college. Used to attend church religiously. But somewhere along the line the message became watered down to me. It didn't register with my authentic heart. Shun exclusivity? The Christian faith is entirely exclusive. One God. His one son.

I took a good hard look in the mirror the other day and asked my 30 year old people-pleasing face, "Are you doing this because you really want to, or because you're scared to live truth?" My truth would certainly not line up with my parents and their church (that I just joined). And when I come to realize and accept that that's ok, I'll be ready to embrace my authentic self. Luckily she will be waiting patiently as I catch up to her on this journey.