Processing

One thing I’ve realized this year is that I have done the majority of my processing by myself.

I’m not feeling sorry for myself around it – just thinking about it.

I have some really amazing friends. I have people available, if and when I call on them. There have definitely been occasions when I have shown up on doorsteps in tears, but more often than not, I have dealt with the bulk of this on my own.

Usually I am more dependent on others, more in need of hashing out every detail and getting affirmation from anyone and everyone who was willing to listen, more in want of advice and guidance from those around me.

But not so much this time.

Maybe because the way it all played out felt enough like middle school that I was didn’t want to create more of it. Maybe it’s because I felt alienated from an entire group of friends. Maybe it’s because I’m embarrassed by all of the drama. Maybe because I figure that everyone is sick to death of listening to me. Maybe because I understand that other people also have hard stuff in their worlds and I didn’t necessarily want to be my narcissistic self when others needed support. Maybe I imagined that no one could understand the absolute insanity of all that was happening.

I leaned on different people for different reasons: different pieces of the drama: like the friend whose son is also a felon or the friend who has offered spiritual guidance to help me remain standing.

I’ve written about it, receiving support from my readers, but so much of what has happened I kept under wraps in my writing because it hasn’t been appropriate to make some things public.

And things kept under wraps are things that I process alone.

It doesn’t matter why or why not. What matters is how I’ve done this.

Has it been good for me?

That’s the main question here.

Has it made me stronger or is it that I haven’t fully dealt with my shit?

I live alone. I do most things alone. I go to the desert alone. I don’t talk on the phone.

I am absolutely a classic introvert but I hate saying that because suddenly it’s hip to be socially awkward and avoid people.

I spent most of the year hiding out – avoiding the possibility of running into anyone that I might not want to encounter.

I feel like my trips to Utah have been the saving grace but maybe it’s been a really unhealthy way of isolating myself?

Because sometimes I am really lonely.

But I might be just as lonely if I had leaned on 50 of my best friends every day all year long.

And now I hesitate to reach out because if I am sick and tired of my world of shit, I can’t imagine how sick and tired of it other people are.

I like to think that it’s been really good for me to stand on my own.

I’m at the rambling point now so I’ll stop.

And most likely pack up the truck and head west.

 

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.

 

helping others

back story:

Sometime last fall, in the immediate aftermath of the implosion, I was running errands  and entered a store where a woman who I know works.

*important note: I haven’t seen her in a few years so had no idea that I would see her there.

I don’t know her well, but we’ve had a couple of conversations that involved our hearts and I’ve always enjoyed her.

Anyway, she asked “How are you?” and I lost my shit, and so she closed the store for an hour and sat and listened and offered love.

She was such a gift.

I haven’t seen her since but I’ve thought of her kindness and generosity a million times.

yesterday:

She was in town and came into the cafe to say hello. She told me that she’d been having a really rough day recently and was crying and driving and I crossed the road in front of her.

She said that seeing me gave her strength, made her smile through her tears.

I took it that she meant that I was an inspiration.

But today a friend shared a slightly different perspective:

“She’s just glad that her life isn’t the shitshow that yours has been.”

Oh. Glad I could help.

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.