Dilemma

I have a piece of artwork that has got me in a quandary.

It’s a painting, done by a friend, that is beautiful, that is huge.

And that is so connected to him; he gave it to me in the woo-ing me back stage. I had mentioned once in passing that she was an amazing artist and that she had done this one…

And we all know what happened after that.

There’s some additional history to this gift that I won’t get into, but suffice it to say there’s a second one out there too.

So I hung it on my wall here because the space screamed for an extra-large piece of art.

But in the process of getting over him, I took it down.

And now it’s propped up against the wall in my house while I ponder on hanging on to it even though I have nowhere truly safe to store it.

But I do love it so.

For now, though, I I walk by it and think, “Oh yeah, there’s that fucking painting.”

Too little too late

Still in the thick of the anniversary month, but it’s coming to a close.

To celebrate, I’ve broken my foot, received a notice that I might owe my ex-husband $4000, and, got an email from MXB offering to talk.

A year ago, I repeatedly tried to get him to talk to me about why he was treating us the way that he was. What happened to make him turn his back on us as if we’d never existed? How could he justify moving on immediately with one of my closest friends? Why did he tear us apart instead of handling things with integrity and compassion.

I’ve tried a few times over the last year also – when things came up.

You know, like finding out about him hitting on our married friend.

Anyway, this is not to rehash.

So the other day I get, totally out of the blue “Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, but I am open to talking now.”

Sorry it took so long? It’s been a fucking year.

And, “I am open to talking,” not “I would like to talk.”

Big difference there

God how I have wanted to hear what happened, wanted to hear that he really did love me, loved my family. I’ve wanted a gut level apology for the shitty way that I was treated.

And yet, with this email came an unexpected reaction – I don’t care any more.

I realize that I’m not going to get what I want, what I need. And even if I do, what good is it going to do me?

And do I still need or want it?

Not really.

And I question, isn’t the timing a little coincidental – he and that good friend of mine just split.

What a surprise that didn’t work out (she says with deep sarcasm.)

So I thought, is there anything that he could say that would make any difference?

Nope.

Is there anything that he could say that I would even believe?

Is he still a chicken shit?

So I wrote back that the time for and my interest in having that particular conversation have passed.

And with the push of the button marked Send, I freed my heart.

 

what I found out

he fucking propositioned one of our friends, who is married, while we were together, in a drunken stupor, because he thought they should have babies together

he said that I would be okay, her husband would be okay, and our community wouldn’t mind

thank god we’re not together any more

no wonder this breakup was such a shit show

 

what are my dreams telling me

I keep dreaming about sex: sex with the wrong people.

On the surface I’d say that my libido has reawakened.

But what about the wrong people bit?

Is it lack of options? Lack of imagination?

After what I had and what I lost in terms of a relationship, I’m not really interested in casual sex.

I kind of gave that a go early on – phone sex with an old lover – it didn’t do it for me.

I’ve had several offers (one that I seriously considered), but I’ve declined.

I think about waking up with someone in my tiny home and I can’t imagine it.

Then I try to imagine waking up in someone else’s home and that’s just ridiculous. I haven’t woken up in someone else’s bed since he and I moved in together years ago.

This is a tricky spot to find myself in at 52.

Do I want a relationship right now? Am I wishing that I had a boyfriend or a girlfriend? Casual sex – no strings attached? Long distance lover? One night stand?

I’m thoroughly enjoying being alone, having complete freedom and independence; I like being able to do whatever I want whenever I want.

I love the time that I am spending with friends – something I lost in the last 7 years. The friends that I hung out with then are the friends that were also his.

And many of those friends turned out to be not-friends.

I missed out on a lot of other amazing people – people who are real friends.

I know that’s what often occurs in a relationship, so I’m making up for it now.

I’m really happy and am in no rush whatsoever to be “in partnership.”

God how that expression makes me cringe – I hate the lack of articles in today’s language.

I can’t really see casual sex with anyone that I know (although my dreams are telling me something else.)

But there seem to be stirrings.

My devastated heart is healing.

so fun

I love scoring cool dishes in thrift stores.

I love dishes period.

Tableware, serving platters, teapots, even though I don’t drink tea, all thrill me. Large bowls really rev my engines.

Generally everything I have in my hutch is “one of a kind.”

And I do have a few items that truly are one of a kind.

Occasionally I will pick up two or three of the same kind in a thrift store, but they have to be something really fantastic.

And, I won’t be the shopper who fucks up a complete set.

Anyway, the added bonus to my mismatched dinnerware is that it’s not the Ducks Unlimited stuff that I used in my past life.

My dishes now are a bit more reflective of me.

At some point I picked up these killer lunchtime plates – 4 of them, unchipped.DSCN0761

Tonight, I was cooking dinner with one hand and holding one of these cheery cherry plates in the other and I flipped it over to read the back:DSCN0762

So I decided to look it up.

And lo and behold, there’s a whole story that goes with them and people seriously collect these.

To eat off of, not to hang on the walls.

Websites, auction sites, Wikipedia, a fan club.

This pottery was made in Tennessee at some point between 1930 and 1957.

The company shut down in ’57 because they could no longer compete with plastic dishes.

My particular pattern is called Cherry Bounce.

It’s hand painted.

Isn’t all that just fantastic.

Closure?

I looked up the word “closure” in relationship to relationships and this is what the dictionary gave me…

“a sense of resolution or conclusion at the end of an artistic work”

Would we call a failed relationship an artistic work?

That’s kind of pushing it.

So I hit up the Urban Dictionary and here’s what I got…

closure

1. To attempt to ‘move on’ following the termination of a relationship with another individual.
2. When used in a sentence, insinuates that the individual using the word is the same individual who was the target of the ‘break-up’.
3. A word used by overly-emotional, self-centered ‘drama queens’ (mostly women and gay men).
4. Individuals using this word generally will utter the word ‘chapter’ during their often one-sided conversations.
5. A word created during the 90’s which was borne out of individuals unable to cope with relationship failure.
6. Individuals using this word insinuate that the more stable party is responsible for all of the ‘closured’ individual’s problems, as well as the War in Iraq, airbag safety issues, the Democratic National Convention, dustless chalk, nipples on men, PMS, and bad-hair days.

So where am I going with this? Why did I feel the need to look this up in the dictionary? Was it because I have wanted some sort of closure for the last seven months?

Right? I’m not a gay man and I would never use the word “chapter.”

Nope.

In light of the above, I embarrassingly admit that yes, I did want closure. I didn’t need to clarify why we had split – that was very clear. But I wanted to understand what the fuck happened in the aftermath?
Things that he did, or didn’t do, were so fucked up and cruel and hurtful and careless that I honestly just couldn’t believe they were happening.
But I actually didn’t need him to explain it. I have plenty of language for that going on in my head.
What I honestly needed was a chance to say all of the tens of thousands of things that have spun through my head in the last 7 months, to him, not to my friends, my therapist, and random strangers.
And they needed to be spoken, not screamed.
I ran into him yesterday. I saw him and thought that I’d blow by with a quick “hi,” but that’s not how it turned out.
It was only the second time I’ve seen him since last autumn and the first time amounted to “How’s the weather” in terms of depth or content.
We talked about the fact that we had never actually talked after things shook out. There was never a final anything. We “broke up,” and then, within days, the shit started hitting the fan with the litany of cruelties that took me down.
And down and down and down.
And it just became a mess.
Being a woman of words, I have this belief that if I say something well, the other person will understand and show some compassion and maybe even remorse.
If they don’t then I just keep talking, thinking that they will finally see the light, but really, the other person just tunes out and shuts down.
I often (almost always) walk away from conversations involving my hurt heart, with a lot of self-doubt, regrets, frustrations, and 52 reasons to spin out about every detail of the interaction.
And 52 million things that I wish I had said because, in hindsight, if I had just said ____________ then he would have understood and regretted hurting me.
So we had this lengthy chat and I walked away, went back to work and began to hyperventilate; loud, body-wracking sobs and tears that didn’t stop running into the dishwater all afternoon.
I didn’t want to talk about the details with anyone – I just wanted to sit with it while I cooked. I know that I need to feel this incredible sadness and grieve what I haven’t yet grieved.
Did I get what I needed?
I did receive some valuable bits.
He was kind and respectful.
He listened.
He saw one big piece from my perspective and admitted that it was “fucked up.”
I didn’t yell.  I said everything that I needed to say without going on ad nauseam. I didn’t try to hold him accountable for other’s actions. I wasn’t sarcastic or condescending or demeaning. I didn’t barely swore. I was calm and rational and very very clear.
And I didn’t fall apart.
(All things I do more often than not.)
I owned and apologized for some really shitty things that I had done.
In other words, not only did I maintain my dignity, but as I ruminate on the exchange a day later, I am satisfied with it.
I’m not wishing that I had said things differently or said more. When I think of things that I would have liked to add, I am thankful that they weren’t included because they are the things that would have made me look small or petty or pathetic or bat shit crazy.
I’m not cringing in hindsight.
I was able to try to set things right from my end. It takes two to tango as we all know.
That which he apologized for…it was what I wanted, and I appreciate it, and I also realize that it’s not the apologies that I need. The remorse can’t begin to undo what has been done.
What I needed was to be heard and maybe understood a little bit better.
To speak my peace.
To say, “You destroyed a family that loved you.”
Without expecting anything much in return.
I needed an opportunity to regain my dignity which I, maybe not lost, but definitely compromised in my unhinged moments.
And regain it I did.
The sadness that I am feeling today is deep. I am exhausted. And yet, I understand that this is part of the process and that I will eventually feel some relief.
And I don’t have to beat myself up for one more mismanaged moment.
So did I get the elusive “closure”?
I don’t know.
But I think I can probably go to the coffee shop now without fear, without ending up on the floor of the kitchen having a full-blown anxiety attack.
And that’s worth a whole awful lot these days.