I’m feeling better, more at ease and at peace with who I am. This past week, I don’t know the exact moment it happened, it wasn’t sudden–it’s been something I’ve been working towards for a few years now. I was finally able to (feel) and see, and therefore free to leave behind a few false ideas, or parts of myself–that have felt so real–that I’ve been carrying around with me for over thirty-seven years. These are the things in me that have been holding on to her, the reasons why I couldn’t let go, and the interesting piece is that my inability to release her–even though she has left my life–didn’t have much to do with her after all.
( However, I can thank her for being the conduit for the intense unearthing of my core issues that got me here. She was able to reach, and provoke me in places no other person has been able to access, even I haven’t been successful at allowing myself to go there.)
I’m a little hesitant to even write about this, I’m not ready to re-live the type of desolation I went through right now. I’m in a good spot, I feel light, happy, and clear-headed. However, I do want to tell this story, so I’m going to focus on viewing it from the light–the only way that feels good to me–by tuning in the positive, which will help me with the process of sorting through everything. Writing from here will also help me keep things in perspective–my perspective which means taking responsibility for my thoughts, and actions, the only things I can speak to-me.
(If I try blaming her I lose my focus, and then I don’t get the opportunity to grow.)
Over the past six weeks or so I read into her words, some of my interpretations were honest mistakes made possible by one-dimensional text messaging. I read her lines, “I love you deeply, Maybe even tragic deep,” and “I miss you on many levels. Love isn’t what stands between us” to mean something more than they did. I wanted those words to represent a possible reconciliation between us. I wanted them to mean that she still loves me and wants to be with me. I was wrong. I was too afraid to ask her what she meant. Maybe somewhere deep down I knew what she was saying wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but either way I took her words and do what I do best: I built a story, as much I as tried to be honest with myself, I lied.
I wrote about this struggle for a few weeks. I talked about how she wanted a friendship, and to “process” the relationship with me. I resisted this idea for a while thinking it would be too painful for me since I hadn’t really moved forward. I decided that perhaps I wasn’t able to let go because it ended, for me, in such an abrupt way. There was never any big, “Falling out” and we hadn’t had any real conversation since the break. I thought maybe it was what I needed in order to move forward, or maybe even a way for us to get back together so I made the decision to stop resisting the idea. I knew that either way I would get something, and that I was stuck without it, but yet I was fearful of whatever it was.
After being apart for almost five months I came to realize that I would rather have her, the way she is–without my expectations–than not have her at all. It was all I had left, my only fighting chance at being with her. But it was/is also true. For so long I wanted her to be a certain way so that I could feel the type of love I wanted as opposed to receiving the love that was right in front of me. My life’s experiences didn’t allow me to see it, and her life–the relationships she keeps, and how she goes about things–only triggered my insecurities. I couldn’t get away from them, it was never her, it was always my stuff.
I wanted to tell her these things. It was my intentions to explain to her that I wanted to try loving her without limits, without my expectations and parameters. That the pain of not being in a relationship with her became greater than the discomfort of being with her–and all the things about it that ignited my deep feelings of being unlovable, and rejected–when I realized that I would rather have her the way she is than not at all.
So I decided to reach out to her to set up a meeting of sorts. I didn’t know what would come of it, be it more closure or a reconciliation between us. We chatted a bit, I told her I had many things to say, and that I wanted to tell her my part. I also admitted to her that I was still in love with her and that I was willing to jump high hurdles for her. I said, “I’m willing to do the work.” She agreed to meet and said she wanted to hear me out.
I sent her an email a few days later to arrange a meeting, and also to go over the things we had talked about. I reiterated my feelings for her, telling her, ” You either have a drop of hope left for us, and are open to hearing me out or you aren’t. Either way I can say I gave it my all. For me, I have to be able to say my truth, humble myself in front of you, and show you my light–the fight that’s still burning inside–before I can walk away with some sense of peace.
I know in those few months before our break I wasn’t trying too hard. I was relying on you to do all the work, and that wasn’t fair of me. You have been right about so many things all along–from the beginning even–and now I want to (for the first time ever in our relationship) really own my part/parts. This is all I have left. I have to give this to you for either closure on our romantic relationship, (and the beginnings of a friendship of sorts) or hopefully the start of something more authentic, honest, beautiful, loving, and stronger than we had before. And I have hope.
Like I’ve said before, I’m still in love with you. I will do my part if you let me. Love isn’t something that can be repaired, or solved, and we have the love. What stands between us CAN be fixed, (already is) and I am the solution to the parts that I can control-me. (I never really understood this the way I do now.)
I can honestly say that I’m grateful for our break. It’s what got me here, even though it was THE hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life–it was my bottom–but I’m still standing. It is for sure the thing, for me, and my part alone that can save (US) if you allow it. I am better person for loving you, and for our break, regardless of the outcome. I’m thankful for you, and everything you’ve taught me.”
I didn’t hear back from her for a few days. This was hard for me. I guess I was clinging more to us getting back together than to a friendship. When she did respond she mentioned wanting to tell me what she had learned about herself too, and that She wanted for us to work on having a friendship first. She said, “We used to have such amazing talks. I need that from you. I miss you. I’m not ready for a relationship other than that right now.”
So what did I do with this information? I told myself yet another lie. At first her note stung which is why I crated a story to alleviate the burning sensation. I focused in on that last part, “right now.” For me, there was hope in that statement. My hope was this: Right Now we will re-build our friendship and hopefully it will grow into a romantic relationship again, but deep down I really wanted it turn into that versus a friendship. I knew I wasn’t ready to be her friend. My feelings were/are still too strong.
I responded to her note by saying,”Ok, lets give it a try.” Again,I didn’t hear back for a while. My stomach started sinking.
The next day I went to Piedmont park with the kids to go riding on the Belt Line.(I was partially worried about running into her, and at the same time sort of hoping I would see her there) however I did go to the opposite side of the park, away from her stomping ground. I pulled up to park, and immediately saw R, the other woman I had been seeing. She just so happened to be standing right near where I was parking. It was the strangest thing. She was meeting her sister’s there. She had just parked her car. I waved her over. She helped me unload the bikes and got to meet my kid’s for the first time. It was really organic and natural.
The kids and I rode off on our bikes. As I pedaled the Belt-line I started crying. My instincts told me that it was over between my ex and me. Something about seeing R was symbolic of it being over with the fire. It was the second time that day I had heard that message coming from within. I blogged about it in my last post, “Looking Thru The Eyes Of Love.”
We returned from our bike ride and sort-of met up with R and sisters’. The kids were playing ball, I sat up our picnic-nest and took out my phone. There was a message from her. It all seemed blurry to me, none of the words mattered. The only words I saw were, “You say you’re still in love with me. I can’t say the same back.” I wanted to fall into the earth, hide beneath the grass, and under the dirt. I wanted to scream, pound my fists, my heart was rushing. I turned and there was R. I told her what happened. She just listened. God put her there for me. I needed her support that day. She helped me load the bikes. I was crumbling inside, yet it wasn’t a surprise. She squeezed me tight.
I got home and sent the kids out to play. I re-read the email. She said something like she wasn’t ready to be friends yet.That we needed more time to heal, in addition to the rest. I felt so confused, nothing made sense to me. I was tired of the texts and the emails. I just needed her to fucking talk to me. In that moment I felt like she had lead me on for weeks with her pleads to process with me and her love language. But I know that wasn’t the case. I misinterpreted it to mean what I wanted it to say, but in that moment I was boiling with anger towards her.
I called and asked her flat-out, “Just so I’m clear, what you’re saying is that you’re not in love with me anymore?” She replied, Yes, that’s right, I’m not in love with you anymore. I just can’t do it. I tried.” I said, “Do you have anything left for me?” “No,” she said. I tried everything.” I couldn’t accept what she was saying, I had to ask again, “So what you’re saying is that you’re not in love with me anymore and that you’re at zero?” She said, My love for you is deeper than that. I want to always have you in my life. I don’t want to mess things up with you by trying to be your friend yet. I’m still vulnerable. I will always love you, no matter if you’re good or bad. I just love you. I want you in my life forever.” It didn’t make any sense to me I had to ask her a few more times, “Let me get this straight, you’re at zero? You have nothing left, you’re not in love with me anymore? Is that correct?” “Yes,” she said. “I have nothing left.” I didn’t want to believe it. Nothing over the last six weeks leading up to this moment, in my mind, other than that tiny voice-the one that knows the truth-the one I pushed down–was clear to me, it just didn’t seem logical. I felt so confused.
It didn’t add up because denial never does, it just keeps lying to cover the lies, and to avoid the truth. Denial does everything to prevent pain and suffering. It serves an extraordinary purpose. It’s my way of dealing with my core-hurt—feelings of worthlessness, neglect, abuse, and abandonment–the type of pain that scares me so much because it makes me feel like dying. My denial protects me from old trauma; it shields me from unbearable wounds, memories and flashbacks that accompany them.
Addiction, like alcoholism is what they say in recovery, “Cunning and Baffling. It robs us of our loved ones. It’s a thief, an insidious disease.” I’m a second hand drunk, which for me means I’m even more intoxicated than my offender-my mother.
I’m drunker than she because I’m fucked up on thoughts and lies. I was dirtied like fresh linens by the second hand devastation of addiction. This break-up has caused me to become intoxicated on my own denial, it has sent me round and round, running in circles trying to chase something that doesn’t exist. The same way I tried to get my mother’s love and attention when she didn’t have it to give because the pills didn’t make room for me. I have been affected by addiction in a radical way. Growing up with an addict was so agonizing that I learned to master self-lies. It protected me from the chaos and destruction caused by the disease. It stole my mother. It prevented her from caring for me in the ways I needed to feel safe, loved, cherished, and secure. The effects of growing up with addiction make themselves known over time. I brought my gift of denial into my adult life. I also still shoulder the pain of losing my mother to the claws of a mysterious disease.
This is who I am today, and why it’s so hard for me to say goodbye to love. For me it means something else. It spews lies that say, I’m unlovable, and that if only she would love me than I will be ok, healed, cured of this disease.
And I’m not alone in this altered way of thinking. I received this email from someone regarding my last post:
“Hi, Just wanted to tell you that I think that us lucky people who had a parent leave our lives by choice and or not be there (I have an alcoholic Father) have a very difficult time when people leave our lives. We are still attached to, or feel the loss and pain of the parent not being there. At least this is my experience, my heart. I used to cling to love and any guy that I really loved so tightly that it actually sent them running the other way. Somehow I lucked out and got my sweet husband who puts up with all my crap, even though I am still damaged a bit. But anyhow, I just wanted to tell you that I relate 100% to so much you write about. I do believe that love is everywhere and we always have enough: our kids, our family, and our friends. We have to learn to lean on and appreciate these things. And know that we are not to blame for people who come and go, we are made perfect in God’s sight; and his love is always enough. I have found attitude is everything and by focusing on giving love to others, and God’s light, that I always have enough. Just wanted to wish you the best! I cannot wait for you to get past this season, I know you will be better, and ultimately find the right person for you, who will never chose to leave you no matter how crazy you are! Like me! Ha! Because we are all perfectly crazy in our own way!
I read this email the night after my truth-facing phone conversation with my ex. It rattled and shook me down to my toes. It made me scream and call out for my mother, “I want my momma. I just want my momma. Why can’t she be here for me God, why? What do you want from me? What is the lesson here for me? How can ______ turn away from my love? How can she disregard someone who is willing to battle all the elements for her love? Why God, why? Why did mother neglect me? I just want my momma. Please God, help me.”
I cried and poured my heart out. The pain of losing my mother surfaced like a dead body rising from murky waters. The sensation felt too overwhelming. I flashed back to a little version of me. I was in my room sitting in the dark, brown, straight hair hanging down my back. My sweet shoulders were curled in towards my face. The cotton texture of my white nightgown felt real. I wanted to melt into the walls, just disappear forever. I was hiding from her, afraid of the darkness that had taken her. I was small and it was too much for me. I escaped reality. I wasn’t there. I went away, and I never came back.
I saw this image in my mind. I pictured myself walking up to this child and touching her innocence. I placed my hand on the girl’s shoulder and told her that it was going to be ok. That I was there for her. That she wasn’t alone. God was this a dark hour for me. I wanted to retreat. I wanted to run away from the image but I knew the little girl needed me. I stayed with her, knowing it was my only way out. I begged God to take us to the light, to shine the brightness of love on anything dank and ugly.
I cried hard and put myself to sleep. Gradually over the next fews days I have started to feel better. I know now why I clung so hard to my ex. She represented the love I never got, I put it on her to fix something in me that was broken long ago. I don’t need her anymore. I still love her, but I know she can’t save me. I’m the only one who can really give myself the type of love I’m missing. I’m the one who knows what that little girl wants most of all. _____ was a catalyst in getting me here, and for this I will love her forever. She has helped me to sober up from the events of my childhood. And now I can let her go. In my mind’s eye I picture us in white, I leap towards the light and she’s there beside me. Our journey together is timeless, our love is limitless, and with this knowing I can say goodbye.
I’m sending you all love and light, hope and faith.
From the most authentic and sincere version of me-the little girl inside, thank you for hearing my story.