NOTE: For some reason, WordPress keeps deleting the images that I have put in this post. I will try to reupload later because this is driving me crazy………..Later: Seems to be a Ghostery problem…………
“After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It’s better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.” ~ Sophia Loren
Sunday afternoon. Cloudy and humid. Pending storms. High 70’s.
Very strange day emotionally. I have had an epiphany, a very unwanted epiphany: I have closed off my heart. I did not realize just how much until today. I mean, I knew that I was deliberately not allowing myself to feel things so as to not let myself become too wounded by Corey’s absence, but then I realized that in so doing, I have put up a wall. I can only hope that it is a wall that I can take down as easily as I erected it.
I have done this before, of course, put up walls so as not to get hurt. I know that before Corey and after the ex, in that in-between time, I deliberately did not let myself feel too much, which is why I was taken quite by surprise when I began to feel emotions towards Corey.
Part of me thinks that my efforts not to feel too much have arisen in part because he is so emotional right now—an attempt at balance in the universe, I suppose. However, that rationale only goes so far.
I don’t like feeling like this, or rather, feeling little if anything too keenly. It’s a very hollow sort of state in which to find myself.
“Can you understand being alone so long
you would go out in the middle of the night
and put a bucket into the well
so you could feel something down there
tug at the other end of the rope?” ~ Jack Gilbert, “The Abandoned Valley”
Don’t misunderstand. This feeling nothing does not meal that I don’t feel anything. Rather, I am trying to feel only the minimal, as if my heart is rationing just how much it can hold in this interim between his going and coming. Did I send my heart with him when he left? Possibly. If only it were that simple or that obtuse.
If I revert to that state in which I placed my emotions in a kind of stasis, if I go back to that state in which I cloaked myself in a kind of thick emotional armor, will I be able to make it through, and more importantly, will I be able to discard this armor upon his return?
After my ex and I separated, at first I was in a state of hyper emotions, fancying myself in love with anyone who paid me passing attention. It was a very manic phase, which I realize now. I wasn’t in love with anyone, but I was starved, completely starved for attention, so I made bad decisions in my attempts to sate that hunger. It was a short-lived, temporary state, and I was able to pull myself out of it mostly because I worked all of the time and had very little time for personal reflection. I was in survival mode: single parenting, working 60 hours a week, split in so many directions that looking for any kind of balm for my heart was only done wistfully and with little to no effort.
What was the point?
So I muddled along alone except for my children and my friends, and I was fine. I had no desire for personal complications, having made my life far too complicated once upon a time.
And then he came along, and everything changed, and I had to let go of my fear and let down my guard. A line from Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You” (my anthem) immediately comes to mind: “So afraid to love you, more afraid to lose, clinging to a past that doesn’t let me choose.” It might seem trite, but it is so accurate.
“And I should mention the light
which falls through the big windows this time of day
italicizing everything it touches . . .” ~ Billy Collins, from “Ballistics”
So today I came to the realization that my heart it cocooned? Asleep? Bereft? All of them?
The last time he was gone, I counted the days. This time, I have deliberately not paid attention to the calendar. I don’t know how many days he has been gone, and I only know that he will be back in port here some time at the end of the month. It’s September, and August is a complete blur. I honestly don’t remember the date on which he departed.
But why does it have to be this way? Why must I be too keenly aware or unaware, one or the other? Stasis. Now that’s a concept with which I am totally unfamiliar.
Okay, let’s back up.
I have known for most of my life that I exist between two poles: high or low. I have never been able to coast comfortably in the middle. Never, and I mean never. Even as a child it was one or the other. But as a child, it was much simpler. If I was in a lull, I would simply stay inside and read. The headaches hadn’t appeared yet, and I could read and read and read and simply close out everything else.
I have a keen memory of being in high school psychology, and the teacher was talking about manic depression (the old term for bipolar), and I thought to myself, “Wow. That’s me. That’s completely me. Happy one minute, and crying the next.” Now I know that a lot of people hear about a disease or disorder and immediately have the symptoms. That’s not what I’m talking about here. When I heard about this psychological disorder, I felt such a sense of relief. Other people felt this way too. It wasn’t just me, and it wasn’t just growing pains. There was a name for what was wrong with me.
But of course, mine was not a home in which such things were discussed, at least not then, and I hid this knowledge from my mother and father. It wasn’t until I was an undergraduate that I actually approached the idea of counseling, and then it was at the free counseling center on campus. Real treatment did not come until years later. I lived with my extreme highs and lows, and I did it while married to a man who cannot abide any kind of illness, viewing it as a weakness.
“This is the moment in which we live. Alienated, unmoored, we seek our salvation, one by one, from the artist who brings us the comforting news: I see you. I weep when you weep. The mystery, and the miracle, is that you exist.” ~ Francine Prose
And I survived, but only just.
Then the long trial with medication began, and it took years to finally find one that actually helped, that allowed me to be more even, to sleep, to have my mind not racing all night long. But even with medication, then and now, the highs and lows still came, only more controlled, less acute, allowing me to have a life that was on a more even keel, even if I did list one way or the other at times.
Have I ever told you that I thought about dropping out of college when I was a sophomore? Yep, actually considered it as a real life choice. Stopped going to classes for a few weeks. Made all C’s one semester. I cannot remember why I thought this was the right things for me, just remember it happening. Why mention this?
Only because it is yet one more indicator of how my life has gone from one extreme to another.
How did I get here, in life, in this post? Hell if I know. It seems that I have been searching forever—searching for the right career, the right person, the right time, the right major, the right circumstances—to do what exactly? Go to graduate school? Apply for a job? Move? End my marriage? Date again? Remarry? Have another child? Get my doctorate? Write that book? Write that book? Write that book?
You get the point.
“Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances . . .
There are moments when the body is as numinous
as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.” ~ Robert Hass, from “Meditation at Lagunitas”
So many questions, so few answers.
I need . . . mountain air, a running stream, the smell of fallen leaves and loam. I need not to be here, not to feel this way, not to always be wondering.
Another moment of truth: I’ve been waiting for the right time to move, and now I don’t know if it will ever come. Now that Olivia is here, can I leave here? How can I not leave here and still be true to myself? Of course, the desire to move is purely selfish, but I just don’t want to spend the rest of my life in this house, in this city, in this state, even in this country. I still want to spend some time in Ireland, some time in Australia or New Zealand, some time in Oregon.
The means to travel, wouldn’t that be nice? The wherewithal to make a plan and stick with it, wouldn’t that be a change?
Waiting, still waiting, mostly for myself, for my soul to finally say, “Enough! Enough of this blathering. Do something, already.”
Veronica, I know what your mean about mojo. Mine has taken an extended holiday.
More later. Peace.
Music by Radiohead, “Street Spirit”
for women who are difficult to love
you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.