Friday, June 21, 2013

Poetry versus Prose

Where to begin. So many thoughts as I'm flying to LAX to meet up with my girlfriends to head to Mexico.
Slept just an hour and thirty minutes last night, not because I couldn't sleep but because I had too much to do still in preparation for the trip.

I still have a a whirlwind of thoughts from yesterday's therapy session I want to get down... But I'll work backwards. I got in the car to go to the airport at 4AM and decided to put my music on shuffle to see what would come up. What's the theme of the day I thought, mostly joking. Of the hundreds, maybe thousands of potential songs that could have popped up, it was The Cave by Mumford and Sons, my theme song from the first few weeks after his departure. That song spoke to me so powerfully in that first week. It still does, but I just don't find myself needing that kind of defiant confirmation of my strength and affirmation that I will move through this experience towards a better place as I desperately needed then. I still need it, just not like needing food. I lived on that song for awhile. I feel like every word of it so perfectly describes the situation. How could it have been written about my life?  How did they know?

"The Cave"

It's empty in the valley of your heart
The sun, it rises slowly as you walk
Away from all the fears
And all the faults you've left behind

His heart is empty, like a sieve. He doesn't know how to feel the love that was surrounding him. He is walking away from his faults and fears rather than wrestling with them. He is willing to give up all this, destroy our lives without trying. Of course, he says he tried, but he didn't. Didn't read a single book, didn't write more than two pages in a journal (that I know of), wasn't willing to try exploring issues with me, or even really with himself.  He just chose the easy path out.  In fact he doesn't even have to deal with moving out of his house. I've been doing most of that for him. I've always thought if we had to move it would be a nightmare to sort and deal with all the stuff that has collected and been dumped in our enormous house and the basement that I've called "manland," not to mention two garages. Now it's indeed all my nightmare. He doesn't even really see why he needs to get his stuff out and separate it. This will be a topic to cover with the mediator next week for sure, including the feral cat living in the basement that I'm still caring for. But I digress.

The harvest left no food for you to eat

You cannibal, you meat-eater, you see

But I have seen the same
I know the shame in your defeat

I love this line about the harvest. He had a beautiful life. Perfect, no, but beautiful, and it left him un satisfied. He was so unable to feel love that despite a loving wife and family, loving in-laws, and a whole community thinking he was an upstanding mensch (except all those that have told me since that they didn't really like him), that he felt so unsupported and hungry for love that he turned to another woman for confirmation.

But I will hold on hope

And I won't let you choke

On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain

And I will change my ways

I'll know my name as it's called again

I held onto hope until the bitter end. It wasn't even hope so much as an inability to see any outcome other than a hopeful one. How could he walk away with a love like mine?  So willing to conquer this rocky territory with him, to emerge into a better place. But after he left, I knew that I had to hold onto a new hope. That I would indeed emerge in a better place and that I wouldn't have to feel like the noose around his neck. He was "dying in this marriage."  I take that line rather sarcastically, fine, walk away, I wouldn't want you to die from this life sentence with me. Instead, I'll gain that strength from pain. (Which is what I need to reflect more about after yesterday's therapy session, but that will have to wait, I want to get the thoughts down about this song because it's been so pivotal for me.) So, only by accepting my new reality can I move forward so that I know my name when it's called again. To me that means that I need to heal myself and cherish myself, which he hasn't been doing for quite sometime, so that when the time is right love can renter my life. It's hard to fathom now, but when it does come, I want it to be someone who truly understands and values me and is ready to reach out for me assertively cherishing me for what I bring into his life, rather than depending on me in a co-dependent way. (All this is summed up in the idea of my name being called.  Ahh, the power of poetry over prose sometimes.)

Cause I have other things to fill my time

You take what is yours and I'll take mine

Now let me at the truth
Which will refresh my broken mind

Other things to fill my time, yes, a defiant, screw you tone here, but I needed someone to sing that for me as it was too hard to say or even think on my own. But I do. I have a beautiful life to live and I can do so fully and with satisfaction without his misery infecting my every day. If this is what he wants, I'll not just accept it, but damn if I don't find moments to embrace it emphatically.

And then there's the line about dividing up stuff. Obviously for me, so related to splitting up a life together. You take the living room furniture, I want to stay in the house, etc. etc.

Let me at the truth... The past three and a half months have allowed me to see with new eyes just how dysfunctional our relationship was. Of course, I see it differently than he does, but I see it now where I was unwilling to focus on it before. Just how resistant to growth he has been. The passive aggressiveness, the unwillingness to really bend at all for me, the lack of support in parenting, the narcissism, oh, the narcissism. I've read a bit about that diagnosis in the last few months and I have a new and more nuanced understanding of it. It's not just being full of yourself (my previous working definition). Indeed he never acted very full of himself, but many of his traits do indeed bear the mark of a narcissist. So, armed with this new truth, I feel released in a sense. I tried so hard, but there's nothing I could have done. He was a ticking time bomb. He had so many unresolved issues and they just kept festering until he saw no choice but to implode, crumbling his family with him.

So tie me to a post and block my ears

I can see widows and orphans through my tears

I know my call despite my faults
And despite my growing fears

This verse resonated with me in two ways. On one hand I felt like I was joining a modern community of widows and orphans. Not in the literal sense as he's very much still here, but in grieving the loss of my husband and interacting with my children's father in the same way as before. It's an enormous grief. In many ways I believe it would be easier to have lost him physically. I feel horrible saying it, but at times I just wished he would have died instead. Then we could have celebrated all that was good in him, held on to that and moved forward. There would be no wrestling with parenting plans and whatnot. I wouldn't have to put on a happy face for my boys and pretend that I think their father is a nice person just to save them from the truth. The other interpretation that kept coming to me is that I can see pain around me. Yes, I'm highly optimistic and positive by nature, but I'm not blind to the pain and suffering around me either. He doesn't have the corner market on sadness. And in fact, he's been so consumed with his own sadness and insecurities, I believe it has limited him to see both the pain and the beauty in life.

I do know my call. I do know what I need to do. I'm scared. I'm far from perfect, but I will accept this as my journey and God knows I will tackle it with gusto, doing the best I can.

But I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain

And I will change my ways

I'll know my name as it's called again

So come out of your cave walking on your hands

And see the world hanging upside down

You can understand dependence
When you know the maker's hand

The cave reminds me of Plato's allegory. We can't possibly understand that which we have no experience with.  That, combined with the idea of seeing the Maker's land makes me think of how I look at the world versus how he generally looks at the world. I see beauty. I see God in our lives and all the inner connections. He feels so alone and only sees suffering, mostly (but not just) his own. I feel like he needs to emerge from his cave and become more fully actualized as a human being. To see how he's connected to life around him in a beautiful albeit challenging way.

So make your siren's call

And sing all you want

I will not hear what you have to say

Siren's call. I was trying to find the strength to know that even if he came back and said, "I'm so sorry, I messed up, let's give it a try," that I wouldn't just fall back into the same problems. I wouldn't listen to it. I know in my heart that even if he asked me today, I would give it a try. I don't know that it would be possible to get back to enough of what we had and forward to enough of what we were missing to satisfy me, but how could I not try?  

Cause I need freedom now

And I need to know how

To live my life as it's meant to be

But of course he hasn't asked. So I don't really need the moral support that comes from these lines as much anymore, but in those first weeks, I needs to know that I was strong enough to set the course for my happiness even if he tried to manipulate the situation again. He wasn't going to win me back simply because I was weak. I do need freedom now. I need freedom from his emotional dysfunction. I need to start taking care of my own needs, rather than being constantly wrapped up in trying to see things from his perspective.  I feel like I've been doing emotional gymnastics for him for a long time.

And I will hold on hope

And I won't let you choke

On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain

And I will change my ways

I'll know my name as it's called again

So that was the first song that can on. And then the second was Like I Love You by Amy Grant. The first verse is so painful, I nearly turned it off. 

Why do lovers drift apart
How does love fade away
When do pieces of a broken heart mend again
You've been crying in the dark
And you've been feeling alone
Don't be scared of what you'll find
When you turn the light on

Since March I've been skipping these types of songs; they're just too painful now, but I decided to listen to it this time. This time I took it as a confirmation of all that I tried and all that is good in me rather than in what didn't work. He was crying in the dark. He was scared and alone, even though I was trying so hard to be there for him. I was so willing to try harder and harder to figure out what he needed to feel loved. Though I did also recognize that he had a cup that I couldn't seem to fill. It feel like his cup had holes in it.

Why do lovers drift apart?  Ouch. When will my broken heart mend?  The questions are too hard.
I know that Amy Grant wrote this song while she was still with her first husband. I don't know much about the lives of stars. I don't follow such news, but I remember learning this way back long ago in my old life when I used to love Amy Grant music, 20 years ago. According to memory of the media at the time, she tried really hard to make a marriage work with her Christian music, drug-addicted husband, but eventually she called it quits and married some other Christian music singer. That's about all I remember. I hadn't listened to any of her music in a decade or more, but a couple of months ago I pulled out a couple of her CDs that I still had (long forgotten about in the back of a closet). So many of her songs from that era so perfectly expressed what I was feeling from November to March. "I love you, this is hard, we'll get through this, etc. etc."  I didn't even let it stress me out to remember that she wrote all these songs and then her marriage didn't make it after all. I couldn't see that at the time. The songs just represented someone so willing to love and try. That rang true for me.

I shared this at some point with him (my STBEX). Told him that the songs really spoke to me at this point and he made me feel like crap about the fact that I was listening to Amy Grant. Actually, it was the other order. He came home to hear it on the stereo and turned it off with some slight disparaging remark. Then I told home that I knew he wasn't an Amy Grant fan, but that the songs held a lot of meaning for me right now, and I'd like him to know how they represented my feelings so accurately, but he made no effort to understand that or showed no interest. At one point I even put all the lyrics in a word document and was writing about how I felt, but when he didn't show any interest after a couple conversations, I never shared it with him.

Ain't nobody gonna say goodbye
Ain't nobody gonna walk away
This time, baby, I'm learning how to love you, love you
Ain't nobody gonna make you cry
Ain't nobody ever really tried to love
Like I love you

What sad memory of yesterday
What terrible scar
Keeps you gathering pieces of
Your shattered heart
There was once upon a time
When hope was living within
I know there will come a time
When you can believe again

How long have you been feeling lost and lonely
How long have you been sad and blue

This time, baby, I'm learning how to love you, love you
Ain't nobody gonna make you cry
Ain't nobody ever really tried to love
Like I love you

This time, baby, I'm learning how to love you, love you
Let me love you, like I love you

I would have done anything (anything that was productive and healthy that is) to salvage our marriage.  I have to know that in my core. Nothing can take that away from me.

Thank goodness I was headed to Puerto Vallarta to spend some precious time with my college girlfriends.  The best thing about it... I don't have to feel guilty about leaving Cary with the boys while I go off and play now.  Of course I still feel guilty, because I'm missing the boys a lot and it's so hard having just been away from them for four days, to turn around and be separated again.  I would have never timed it like this if I had know how things would be.  But, they'll survive, and hopefully in the end they won't hate me for being gone for 5 days.    

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