Do you have a situation that causes you pain, but that you can't put away? I think you probably do. I do, too. If you're like me, you are able to pretty easily brush it away for 99% of the time (unless you're living it day to day) but when that 1% comes back ... Jesus. It takes your legs out. I'd be willing to bet that you, like me, are dealing with some kind of catastrophic loss. One that is permanent, or one that feels to be so. I think it's the permanence of the situation that ramps up the pain because, at least in our current mind, there's no way to fix it. I've always lived by the credo that as long as there is breath in my body, I will try to fix what I can in an effort to make things better. What is confusing, sometimes, is whether that effort is even the best way to proceed.
Some may know, but when my daughter was three, my husband and I split up. There were good reasons, but not it wasn't handled in the best way. I sure didn't handle it well, nor did I do my best for my little girl. She was all I had, or so I thought, and I treated her as an adult. That was a mistake. But, as a result of the break up, her Dad decided that he was leaving both of us, not just me. And so for a long, long time, my daughter didn't have access to her father. He just didn't. This is one of the situations I failed at by trying to fix. I did everything I could to bring them together, including some ambush visits. It was a disaster. Now, my child lives with whatever she lives with (she shares little about this) and my husband is gone - a victim of suicide. So, there is little to be done, and I live with the mistakes of trying to fix things that perhaps shouldn't be fixed.
In the past few years I've walked away from some serious friendships. The whole Trump thing served as a litmus test, I think. People I've known my whole life showed sides of themselves that I would never have guessed. And some of those sides were not things I could live with. I don't believe in racism, never will. I am likely a small percentage racist and always will be because I was not born black. Or Asian. Or Jewish. Or whatever. But I will always try to understand what I'm being told and I will always try to respect differences. I had friends of longstanding who did not share my views. To me, it was a no brainer. But, in my defense, I didn't just walk away. I told them, as diplomatically as I could, that because of our differences on this matter, I couldn't subject them or myself to a friendship that was based on superficiality. If we didn't share basic morals, it was not really a friendship. It was hard. And it left me feeling like I had some kind of God complex. I strugged with accusing myself of being ego driven. But in the end, all any of us can do is live with ourselves. And I couldn't live with myself if I valued folks who couldn't value others because they were different.
One of the reasons that I felt compelled to let people know why I was walking away is that I was walked away from a year or so ago by four people for whom I had the greatest respect. And from whom I never, ever got a reason for being dismissed. And this is where I'm coming from in this post. To this day I think of these folks. I genuinely liked them. I enjoyed their company. I loved talking with them because they challenged me and taught me. And then one day, just like that ... I was wrenched out of their orbit without explanation.
To this day, as I'm sure some of you know, I still search for that explanation. I wonder if they were given information about me that wasn't true. I wonder if I forgot to thank them for something, or to reinforce how much they meant to me. I wonder what, if anything, I did that could be so egregious as to cause them to lock and bolt the door without explanation. I have nothing. And this causes me that 1% of pain I reference above because this feels so permanent.
I do have breath left in my body, and normally I would (for right or wrong) try to fix this. But the stunning severing of this relationship has left me unable to try. And that hurts so very much. I wish I knew. That would make it tolerable, I think. But to just be shut out without explanation was painful. I wish I'd handled it better. I thrashed around trying to figure out what was going on and was not at my best. But that was my fear and hurt storming the walls. So, no answer is coming and I know that, though I wish with all I am that that was different.
But, as life teaches us, there are lessons to be learned from everything. And this lesson I took forward with me with respect to ending relationships with others. It's tough to tell people that you no longer want to be friends. Especially people who you've known your entire life. But sometimes, it's just necessary. It's tough to hear, I know. But it's certainly better than saying nothing and ignoring until people just go away. I think that's very cruel.
Maybe I'm wrong about all of this. Maybe I should have just faded away from these relationships. Plenty of folks have faded from my life of their own volition. Oddly, I don't miss them. Well. Except for the one significant group that I'll never reconcile from being "unfriended" in it's broadest sense. And no matter how often I tell myself that the Universe doesn't put us places we're not supposed to be, I just can't let it go. It hurts my heart too much. Even now. Hopefully someday I'll have an answer, but if I don't, I'll never give up hope. Not for as long as there's breath in my body.
I wish you all love.
I honestly can't believe that it's May already. I'm not even kidding about that. January and February just dragged for me because I was so keyed up about my surgery. Once again I over-anticipated things and the Universe dropped a Tower moment on me. Despite all of my plans, despite all of my safeguards for Dave, despite it ALL - he fell thirty minutes after my arrival home and broke his hip. That meant that the contingency I thought I had armed myself against happening, had happened. I basically wasted two months of gray cells trying to outguess the Universe. Well, that'll teach me.
I'm not even sure where my propensity for extensive planning has come from. I think I can say with confidence that it wasn't there 40 years ago. Perhaps it began, subtly, in the mother duties after my kids were born. The learning to look ahead, to try to anticipate what hurts or danger might lurk and head them off. Maybe spending thirty plus years doing legal work, where a misspelled word or badly misplaced comma can mean the actual difference between a happy and an angry client, drove me into some kind of space that I created to protect myself from error. I honestly don't know. I only know that coming up on my surgery, I'd done everything I knew to do to make my six weeks of being off my feet as easy and safe for both Dave and I as possible. And wow. What a singular waste of time. The Universe would have its own way with me, and it wouldn't be at ALL what I expected.
If ever there was a fortuitous "accident" then this was it. I don't wish ill on anyone, especially not my own husband (ok, maybe a little here and there) ... so to say that what happened was a good thing is not true. But. If it HAD to happen, it happened at the best time ever. Dave was in a place where his breathing and hip issues could be treated easily, and I was in a place where I could rest as prescribed (ok, maybe not as much as prescribed) and both of us could heal. And we did. And then we came back together at the tail end of our recoveries, and it has been a joy to have him back home. Life is different, no doubt. Before surgery, I struggled to stay on my feet for more than an hour because of the escalating pain to the right foot. Now, I have NO pain and I am more mobile than I have been in years it seems. Dave is now somewhat more limited in movement, but with my ability to move easier, I can help him more. So ... win/win if you will. We have both been totally vaccinated, and I am starting to move around outside the house a bit more confidently. During the convalescent period, I was able to accomplish much in the way of emptying the house of tons of "junk", and my whole being feels lighter as a result.
I also jettisoned my publishing company. I set out with a noble goal, I thought, of helping new authors get their books published without the hassle or cost that mainstream companies did. And ... I did that. Not only did I publish Holly, but she has now peeled off on her own, opening her own publishing company dedicated to the same principles I held at Churchill. I am exceptionally proud of her. Because I rarely do anything with grace, my decision to separate from her/Churchill was abrupt. While it was a bit of shock for her, she rebounded and is now blissfully happy calling her own shots. In addition, she has written two very, VERY good novels. Pretty big accomplishments for your mid-twenties, don't you think? I'm so proud.
Having Churchill Publishing off my plate added to my feelings of emancipation. I had been struggling with it for some time. It was a conundrum. The more successful it became, the less I wanted to deal with it. It had become an albatross and more than anything, it prevented me from having all that room in my brain (if such a thing exists) for making up and writing stories. I felt bound and tethered to reality, and honestly ... I've had enough of that. I want to close my eyes and picture lords and ladies, kings and queens, princes and princesses. I want to be able to go to England and touch thousand year old walls and feel the vibrations of the centuries of folks who also touched them. I want to sit by the Thames and picture the barges traveling between Hampton Court and Westminster, or ... to the Tower where who knows what fate may await. I couldn't do that anymore. I couldn't see myself doing it anymore. And that was a fate worse than death for me.
When I started shedding, I started winning. When I started paying attention to the knot in my stomach at the thought at certain things I needed to do, I started winning. When I realized, or began to anyway, that my world was MY world and no one else's, I no longer felt as though I needed validation, and I started winning. And I mean validation from anyone. About anything. I just needed to be free. To be free to do what I love and what makes me happy. Not at anyone's expense, mind you. Most certainly not at MY expense. And that's not selfish. It's being kind and true to yourself. It doesn't involve lofty goals, unless you want to make them. It doesn't involve perceiving yourself through anyone else's eyes. It doesn't require approval from anyone but you.
So yes, I am winning - at last. And I'm winning by not playing at any game other than those that mean something deep to me. I have gotten rid of so much stuff - and I don't just mean the VERY empty basement of our house. But the stuff that caused me to constantly need to plan, even when I didn't have to. The stuff that made me worried for no reason. The stuff that I no longer need. All gone. Out the door, and out of my head.
And yes, I'm winning. You can too. Trust me. It's easier than you think to just let go and clean it all out. There were things in the basement I've not seen or touched in 18 years. Given that, I didn't bother to go through the stuff. Just take it all. If I need to replace something, I will. But give me a wide open vista that I can relax in without clutter, and I'm your huckleberry.
What an incredible feeling.
I wish you all love.