Intimacy: Larger Than Life

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How can it be that this magnificent ocean be so vast yet incredibly intimate at the same time? The beach, its sounds, fragrance, still my sanctuary, the place where my healing continues.

My fears of what I felt in the past slowly dissolve as I come to terms with who I am. And to say such a thing, I grapple with the selfish insinuation of this statement. “Who I am” – as if I’m nothing more than a teen in angst. This is not so. This is me. This is my life. We all have the opportunity to allow for growth and self-introspection. I am doing so with the purpose of giving back in ways not yet discovered.

Why is intimacy within ourselves so painful. The reality of who we were need not be marred by who we are today. I am learning to define myself based on nothing but merely me – a lone, single individual. No longer a wife, a stay-at-home mother, the loss of who I was, no longer there. Loss of my mom, my father-in-law, marriage, estrangement of children, safety of suburbia, everything I sought to for safety, to feel needed and appreciated….gone.

This is my truth, my reality. It is not an end, it’s my new beginning. And no longer marred by fear – the fear of disapproval from others, my motivation now based on the belief I am solid, a worthwhile person.

The journey continues, as does writing. I hope to reopen my blog again soon – to share my story for those who need comfort, solace, peace. Divorce, the most painful decision of my life, also, the beauty of discovery for without the pain there can be no joy. My joy, as my pain is mine to keep. They are a part of me, who I am.

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New Realities, New Growth

I am not certain which hurts more: no contact with my kids or my ex-husband’s disinterest in helping me. My own new realities are coming to light about the man I was married to. He, I’m sure, must feel the same. His trust, the entire core of who he is, destroyed by my actions. I continue surrendering this, though have come to a place where I can only take responsibility for my contribution to my marriage, the positive, the negative. There is a new kind of pain I feel, one which is separate from the estrangement with my children. It is more deep than I realized.

What has come to my attention most of all is his lack of compassion. Or perhaps, the kind of compassion I need. Then again, I find myself still justifying his character, diminishing my own feelings. Kids, do not try this at home. I’m still learning…

Having compassion does not require one to forget hurt, pain that is caused. It is putting oneself in the other’s shoes. I have done this many times. Still not enough. The more compassion I feel for him, especially my girls, I am better able to forgive myself. I had hoped he could do the same. He loved me as best as he could. He is hurt and angry. I am hurt by his lack of care or concern, his dismissal of me. And this is my truth. He has argued this point before and I’ve allowed myself to feel as if it is my problem, all in my head, though it is not. It is my heart that is filled with sorrow, as I did not realize this until recently.

Why am I continually stunned by this? It is not to say he was unloving our entire relationship. Nor was he always distant. All of what happens in a long-term marriage is gradual, an extension of previous behaviors and patterns. I see now that the last three or four years of my marriage were the beginning of what would then become our downfall.

This is not about us, this is about our them, our children.

Time moves forward. My love for my kids grows ever so deeply despite the distance between us. I strive to work together, a new-found partnership with the father of my kids. They are our children. We have raised them as the beautiful people they have become. If I felt I could not approach him for help when married, how am I to approach him now?  We are not able to work together for the benefit of them, working to heal a fragmented family left with deep emotional wounds. I can not force his help. He must want to work with me. If not, nothing I can do. I am, however, viewing my life from new perspectives, willing to continually look at myself, eyes, heart and mind wide open. Below is an excerpt of something I came upon that speaks directly to what I feel….an incredibly profound lesson. Grateful to find this:

“Some marriages do not recover from affairs.  There are scores of couples who realize that the reasons that led to the affair, or the affair itself is too much for the marriage to tolerate.  Divorce happens.  It is a harsh reality.  This by no means serves as an excuse to neglect the emotional well-being of the child(ren) involved.  Regardless if a marriage ends or not, the adult relationship should still be strengthened when children are involved.   Parenting is a partnership.  Even when parents divorce, they are not divorcing the children.   They both still have a commitment to their children that should be fulfilled regardless of the marital status.

The third and probably most important thing that parents can do after an affair is work together for the benefit of the child(ren).   Whether or not parents stay married they still have a relationship; a parenting relationship.  In these cases when divorce is imminent, the cheated on spouse may have difficulty getting beyond their own hurt and sometimes the spouse who cheated does not make this any easier.  If there was ever a time to becomes less self-absorbed it is when children are hurting.  That is not the time to focus on one’s ego.  This is possibly the hardest lesson that any couple healing from an affair has to face.  Their pain plays second to the pain of their children.”  Kirsten Person-Ramey 

 

Navigating the Push and Pull of Estrangement

It’s been over six months since we’ve been under the same roof. No longer toddlers, their growth not physically apparent, I think about their emotional development, what that might look like; their perspectives, opinions, insights. Most of all, I simply miss them.

With each step forward, feelings of hope and optimism heighten, my strength gathers momentum and I am certain to reunite with my kids at some point.

Coping with estrangement, the most painful experience ever felt, one can not describe the kind of emptiness inside. They are young adults. Most assuredly, they lives are evolving regardless of dissolution of their parents’ marriage. Talking with a friend of mine today, she shared her own natural evolution with her young adult children, new roles replacing more familiar ones. Different needs between mother and daughter, once just that, now as friends, more as peers. There are no specific time tables in which one should follow – these relationships have their own rhythm created by their own specific beat.

Despite better days, set-backs occur and I fall back, hollow space inside which can never be fulfilled with anything other than them. Thus, I have decided to seek help, to talk and connect with several therapists, reaching out, asking for help. What I truly seek is one of an advocate. One who believes in the healing process, the power of what healing can bring to a family, a person, a soul. There is a great deal of isolation that comes with estrangement. Loving friends, family, all so supportive, it is not easy to comfort one in my situation. “They’ll (the kids) eventually come around.” “They just need time, they’re very hurt and angry.” And my favorite, “You’re still their Mom.”

Well meaning, I understand this sentiment. It is the believing I struggle with. But as said before, this is not about me. I continue to understand what is best for them, search and gain insight – what they need from me. Not today, tomorrow, or even next year. My life moves forward; my friends, family, my own happiness no longer put on hold, I have made deliberate and mindful decisions which will allow the clarity needed in doing just this. There is no ease in the healing process. The rewards are gained intrinsically. Reconciling with my kids is the most tantamount issue in my life. Other than caring for myself, nothing is more important, takes precedent. I am gauging a new path to reunification. 

Closing a year, marriage…a new life opens.

Married: 1985
Divorced: 2012

The anticipation of such another major threshold as complete dissolution can not be ignored. Nor can it be completely embraced as one must come to their own finality, whether it be a single date, moment or one’s personal life event. No one can make that decision otherwise. Reflection and time are a mixed-breed, one aids the other, each joined in tandem as progress is made. For me, it is not so dramatic: a single date does not dictate an emotional response, it merely defines time, not how I feel at that moment. Knowing that WWll began in 1941and ended in ’45 is not the same as understanding the reasons, meaning and historical perspective of such an event far outweighs specific dates. The numbers are only a gage of when something happens, they are not the event itself.

The symbolism, particular dates, though significant, I am learning to move beyond these moments of time, concentrating more on the bigger picture, how the fragments are now coming together, more fluidity in their motion. I allow myself to move along with the changes happening, doing my best to not fight what makes me happy.

For the upcoming year, a renewed sense of self, of giving to others as a whole person, there is much to look forward to. Here’s to the blissfulness of life despite sorrow and pain. There is always room to grow, to heed solitude and peace. And in doing so, I am content.

The Death of Marriage, The Life of Individuality

Dissolution, a most appropriate term for the demise of a marriage.

Unlike a fierce explosion, each segment, part of a bigger puzzle, slowly, in constant motion, the pieces flow away; the erosion of coupledom, dissolving; the morphing of two complete and separate individuals. And the finality, near end, tidying up cell phone transfers, automobile insurance and pick slips, one less day of Mrs, one more closer to Miss, Ms. or more important – simply me.

The anticipation, it stings a bit. Settlement now pending, soon a draft finalized, ready for court and judgement.

Why is it that numbers and words have such a greater impact on a piece of paper? I imagine where I’ll be sitting, mediator’s office, pen in hand, signatures in tact. And then…and then, I am divorced. Just like that. Twenty-seven years behind me; the parties, holidays, date-nights, mortgages, bathing kids, picnics and baseball games, childproof cabinets, long car drives, family getaways, checking accounts, memories, hopes, dreams – the surreal still married to reality, I anticipate those two will part ways as well.

Reality, my reality, ever clearer each day, here, by myself. Living alone, an experience of its own, my life is now becoming that: my life. With my children still at bay, their distance propels my longing to continue on with grace, integrity, humility and strength. My love for them prevails, despite dissolution. Nothing can ever sever that. So for this moment, new discoveries to be had – in myself, the individuality of me.

 

Soulful Mediation

Where to  begin? 

With discoveries anew, each mediation session proves once again, this shit ain’t nothing like I thought it would be. 

Insomuch one finds divorce ordinary, au contraire, much of divorce is that of extraordinary experiences. Perception takes its cozy place in the back seat, replaced with the gusto of reality, all within a tiny office space where three people meet, their intention of walking away not so much winners or losers; rather, to adhere this experience with a level of clarity, consciousness, compromise. This is my perception, this is who I am.  There are no monetary values of such and I remain baffled at what’s right and what’s wrong during the entire process of divorce; another blog post in the near future.

The handwriting is on the wall. Or in  this case, in a soon-to-be draft, the finality, the dissolution of a marriage through mediation, a journey of unexpected consequences, perceptions, isolation, self-propelled advocacy.

Living in the state of California, whereupon community property to be split in half, I leave my marriage of twenty-seven years, a more complete and whole person, embracing and reclaiming a life I’ve desired. To what extent I am not certain, only that my passion for living, merely an indication of what’s to come: the purest, loveliest, abundance of joy, a future of possibility garnered with self-respect, acceptance and the cleanest, deepest of breaths ever felt. I have yet to truly derive a freedom of great proportions and I am grateful for I am on the precipice of life beyond divorce. Self-discovery is mine to hold; the goodness, the frailties, the strengths, the imperfections, the beauty of a person’s soul, I am here.

Retrospect, Demise & the Connectedness of Texting

I’m convinced if texting were invented when I first married, my husband and I would be in ever-wedded communication bliss, simply by texting, the preferred venue of choice, best we’re able to converse with each other. Thanks to our respective iPhones, our novels, plenty of gigabytes, megabytes, whatever-bytes..for reasons that baffle, our way of reaching out, attempting to understand each other. Our texting of late, I am more open, at ease, with HIM, with myself. That said, the disconnect, always present and accounted for. 

As he and I come to closer to closure to settlement, questions, the “why’s” of our demise rise to the occasion, retrospect, our choice of emotional connection, grasping the what the fuck happened to an otherwise decent and loving 27 year marriage?

And yet, texting does not make a marriage..the disconnect abides, ever-present, more so than ever. Not willing or able to hear me, his defenses appear once again and I am reminded how I got here. His use of the word, “tragic” sucks the life out of me, as I refuse to believe the depth of such tragedy…it is too soon to make such judgements, how “tragic” the demise of our marriage is. Sadness, sorrowful, all of this, though how this plays out for us both has yet to be determined. Our differences evident, profound, even today.

My text to him:

If we were to have figured all of these subtleties out (intimacy, lack of emotional connectedness) then what? How to have foreseen this? Are we to change who we are for the betterment of another? To say it is tragic equals no possibility of hope. I believe you would not connect with me in ways you need…As it is, I’m looking at medical insurance plans…anywhere from $750 to $889 for individual coverage in my age bracket. This is the reality of divorce. I am moving beyond affairs, the validation of others, especially from men, now seeking peace within myself. I have come to terms with the depth of my insecurities, unable to truly understand the level of pain instilled until this experience, my journey over the last two years. That pain continues dissipating and slowly, I become more real, genuine, the most honest I’ve ever been. I share with you as I learn myself. So difficult not to share though not certain its purpose other than to reveal more of my true self with you. 

His response:

First, I don’t think the demise of our marriage was limited to just these two factors (intimacy issues, lack of emotional connectedness) There were and are many others, but these are two biggies. Second, using the word “tragic” doesn’t imply that both of us have no hope of ever having a healthy happy relationship with someone. However, in our case it is tragic in terms of the amount of time, effort & money we put into our relationship over the years & yet even with all  that good will and collective energy, it’s over. That’s what I meant.

Retrospect, demise, the end, it’s over. Healing continues for both of us. And soon…a time to begin anew, with purpose, with hope, fresh perspective. And those texts? Gotta feeling those shall remain as they are – a safe way of connecting our respectful disconnectedness. Welcome to the new world of divorce: conversing through texting, 2012.

What Is Easy, What Is Hard?

Nobody Said Life Was Easy, Nobody Said Life Was Hard

IF I had stayed, IF I had accepted my marriage for what it was, the ease of familiarity, ease of the already-known, life, in many ways, would be so much easier at this moment. Financial worries, living arrangements, social acceptance, grocery shopping, Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas yule tides – each in their tidy spot, its predictability, a comfort of ease. One who used to balk at such convention at times, I truly understand the importance of EASE, what that entails. At the same time, I am learning my own sense of ease,  outside the norm of what I think it should be; conflicting, my own doing as I move forward.

My husband, dammit, I care about him. Even now, today, nasty emails, hurtful words, betrayal of affairs, prolonged distance and lack of emotional connectedness, I do love him. I love him in a way I shall never love another. He is the father of my children, who once was my very best friend. It is me who changed, me who I must now deal with. Had I stayed, the comfort of predictability diminished by the continued, continuity of dissonance within myself each day….

So… now what?

Bottom line, LIFE is fucking hard. Married, single, with lovers, without. It just is. One will always have more struggles than another. Some may cope better, than those of others. We are all not so different as we’d like to think. And I think, in my own naiveté, I am realizing this, I am no different from anyone else. Just one, who perhaps, questions more than seeks  answers. Just every now and then, sure would be nice to have at least one on occasion. Where is that old Magic 8Ball when I need it?  When in doubt, find an answer here.  Ask the Magic Eight Ball  Please, go on, it’s not hard, it’s really rather easy.

I am Woman, Hear me Roar. Or Don’t.

Helen Reddy, I am not. 

Reddy’s proclamation for women’s individuality, her words, though understood, even as an eleven year old, never quite knocked me off my feet.  While appreciating the song’s symbiotic nature and no disrespect to her, closest I came to excitement over the songs’ message was how great those lyrics ran together and that she and I sang in the same key.

“….you can bend but never break me, cause they only serve to make me more determined to achieve my final goal…” “yes I am wise, but it’s wisdom for the pain, yes I’ve paid the price, but look how much I’ve gained, I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman..”  

To celebrate womanhood is to celebrate manhood. I grew up with a very liberal mother. Divorced herself, she embraced her womanhood, though not merely because she was a woman;  more than that, she saw reason to celebrate humanity itself. Yet the virtues of womanhood are not to be underestimated. Now almost divorced, my principles, my virtue, opportunity arises, time to ponder, wonder what exactly those are.

Individuality, my own portrayal, is not that of as just a woman, it is more. It is as a human being. I do not place too much precedence on my womanhood this way, as that itself, is part of an identity I too, wish to shed. It is more about the one self; it has no gender, role, convention. Self is all of us, women and men. Quite happy as a woman, happiest as my own individual self most. This is how I see it.

The Timing of Now

Just try to change behaviors after many, MANY years, in a very, VERY short period of time…yeah, good luck with that. 

 

The influence of others, while inspired, can also distract without a sound,  an awareness not known, that is, until one finally wakes up.

So is me. A very nice, warm-hearted woman, always loving, caring, now at a point in her life, upon the ending of a decades long marriage, she finds herself wanting so to begin to think for herself. This new-found freedom, though free to think, now closer than ever, change not happening as rapidly as she once thought would be.

Loving someone, though magnificent in so many ways, this too, can be a distraction. Influence comes in a myriad of ways. I am learning this on a daily basis.

Losing my husband, a relationship at one time, quite loving, I am grieving. Like any sort of grieving process, it takes time, our own ways, our own time. We learn to let go, each part of our journey, must be felt in order for growth. Grieving – days go by, I am grateful for the process of divorce, mediation, knowing this is the best decision I’ve ever made for myself. Then, reality – smacks me in the face;  all of this time, experience, now coming to a close. It is an ending, a beginning, a loss, a discovery.

I am angry, sad, happy, peaceful, all of the above. I want to wake up and feel as myself, each and every day. And I am doing so. But I want more. What that means, I don’t recognize just yet. I will soon for my determination shall carry me to places I’ve yet to realize. Timing is not what we always wish for. It is what we have right now. Make it count. Make it matter. Embrace the timing of now.