Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Salt


I cannot shake this feeling of being lost.

And loss.

A year after my divorce from MathMan and my physical, and, if I'm even going to attempt to truth tell here, the emotional separation from my children, I am finally grieving.

No longer busy with a move or rediscovering old friends and old places or launching new relationships or learning a new line of work, I am finally forced to sit with my feelings.

Dangerous territory indeed.

I spent 365 days being mostly impermeable. Mostly. Oh, the trips from Georgia were punctuated with tears and internal raging, but I could stay anesthetized. If my mind skittered too close to the reality of what I'd willingly given up, I'd force it to glance off that first seizure of pain and focus, focus, focus on the matter at hand. The song. The audio book. The old comedy, tinny and silly, coming from the radio.

Things did get through, of course. My armor, while comprised mostly of mega-strength bullshit, self-deception and denial, had its chinks. I couldn't ignore the changes I'd wrought, the ways I'd reshaped my family and markedly changed all of our futures.

It wasn't the tears of my children or the pleadings from MathMan that I once again return to the family home, that got to me. Note, of course, that those things did not happen. These people are so vaccinated against my insanity that they aren't giving away much. If they were feeling the loss of a mother and companion, they didn't let it show much.

What got to me was the knowledge that they were all doing quite well without me. And not only that, but they seemed happier, calmer, and closer than ever before.

Now that I'm here in Georgia and must revisit my old life briefly as I pick up and drop off Sophia at her father's house, my former home, I am confronted with the consequences of my actions every weekend. This is harder than I expected it to be. But then, I don't know what I expected.

It became clear to me that I am squarely on the outside. Alone. Getting acquainted with loss like a head-on collision.

That's when it happened.

I let myself cry. I let go and the tears came. I cried. And cried. And then I worried that I couldn't stop crying.

Interspersed with the ugly crying was berating and name calling. Lisa on Lisa violence.

I cried while I ate dinner alone. I literally cried into my beer. I wept until the front of my tee shirt felt soggy. I sniffled at my reflection in the mirror as I brushed my teeth. I learned that flossing while all crybaby and snotty isn't easy. I sobbed as I wrote another email of apology and explanation to MathMan. I went to bed in tears and tasted the salt, felt the liquid pooling in my ears. I woke up in tears, furious that I had to be awake. I cried in the shower. I tried to put on mascara while bawling. That was fun.

I cried as I drove to work, the red taillights more of a blur than usual. I cried in my parked car because I didn't want to go into the office. My coworker stopped to say hello and I cried behind a wadded up tissue. I went to the bathroom and, you guessed it. More tears.

I tried to stay busy at work but that wasn't foolproof. At one point I stopped crying to hiccup "this is ridiculous" before I went back to quiet weeping.

365 days worth of tears all in a day. It was exhausting. And cleansing. Just like I'd always heard it would be.

Today I only cried a couple of times, both quite briefly, and only once in front of someone. Good thing, too, because I was starting to get a little too comfortable crying in front of people.

Tomorrow maybe I won't cry at all. I don't expect to be cried out, but at least I can feel the corner coming. I'm about to turn it. All those tears were some kind of purge. The dam broke, the flood came and now the waters will recede.

It had to happen. I know this now. Because until I finally let myself feel those things, I was never going to get off of this square of self-loathing and rage. And finally, I can see that this is how the healing begins.

14 comments:

  1. Oh Lisa, it had to happen eventually. Tears are the way we cleanse poisons - both mental and physical - from our bodies. It really is a purge indeed. Hugs to you.

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    1. It did have to happen. But boy did I fight it. Thank you, Mauigirl. I'll take that hug.

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  2. Lisa, you are so brave to strike out on your own; to be the person, live the life you know in your heart is right for you, no matter how bumpy the road. There is such a feeling of loss in walking away from what and who is familiar, even if there are smiles all around. So how much worse when there are tears and questions? But so often, the alternative to leaving is suffocating slowly, frozen, no life spark, finally dying inside. That's no good for anyone. So yes, salty tears. So many buckets full you can't imagine that much water can flow from eyes... And then, finally it stops, wounds heal, and it really only hurts when you go and poke that spot to see if it's still tender. And it always will be, because the people affected were your beloveds, and you are a good-hearted person who cares about them. It's such a walk... Big hugs, lots of good wishes in support of you.

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    1. Thank you, Maureen. I'm still looking back and trying to remember what it was that was so bad that I wanted out. I know we well all be okay, but right now it's hard because mostly, I still don't know what I want.

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  3. It was as hard to read this as I'm sure it was a difficult post for you to write. Every feeling has a purpose that relates to our survival. You can’t hope to change your loss because, for good or bad, it’s become part of your life. Because you’re a strong, smart, capable person, you’ll find ways to make this new direction meaningful for you. To make up for what you lost by gaining something equally important in the aftermath, whether it’s a new understanding of your strengths, a new idea of who you want to be, or a new opportunity to try again as a wiser person. You are beautiful, Lisa.

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    1. susan, you're right. This was hard to write. But so necessary. On our 25th wedding anniversary/divorce anniversary I got a text from MathMan saying "Happy Divorceaversary." It was at that moment the reality hit me. That was weeks ago. Thank you for always being here even if I don't reach out as often as I think to. xoxo

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  4. Hang in there. I'm sure it must be an emotional roller-coaster, but it sounds like you did the best thing for you and that's all you can do.

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    1. Thank you, Professor Chaos. I'm not sure it was best, but it's done. Now I have to regroup and move forward and so do my loved ones. The fact that we will do that separately is what hurts most, but this is what I chose so here I am. Things will get better.

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  5. I left a comment this morning but it clearly got eaten. Hmph. I hope you can forgive yourself. We all do our best, and we all fuck up and hurt others and ourselves. Your family still loves you tremendously; I think perhaps they just don't trust you not to hurt them again. You hurt and you purge and you start to heal. Be good to yourself, please.

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    1. You are exactly right, Lisa. They can't ever trust me again not to hurt them. It seems I have always been leaving. Now I have to figure out how to reframe myself so that I can be okay with me and be okay with them, for them, and safe for them to love. I know that you understand intimately what it's like to love someone who always seems to be leaving and I appreciate your comment so much.

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  6. It's always tempting to second guess ourselves, especially when the new life is hard work but trust the Lisa who left. She had good reasons - You had good reasons. You're a writer, write them down. The reasons would show up again even if you could have that life back again. You have done something amazing, even if it wasn't your intent: you've been left with no way back, only a way forward into the rest of your life. I always find the more honestly I share my lows, the less low they are and suddenly I'm swooping up again. I hope the same for you!

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  7. Oh, I feel you so much here. This past summer was the worst after 4 years out of my marriage. His drinking was a huge problem and surely I brought my own pleasantries, but he went and got sober and married someone else this past summer. In fact, he married a friend and former co-worker of mine who never even said a word to me personally about their dating, engagement and now marriage and my sons are living with her half of their lives. The whole thing just feels like a slap, especially not telling me about the date of the wedding until the week before on accident from my sons to. I was so jealous for a time and then very angry, but now I am seeing the ways things are between them that I am not jealous of at all. I want something better for me, to be with someone I can connect with without all the negativity that was there. Seeing what he wants with her helps me to see how I am not what he wanted at all, which was always at the crux of my dissatisfaction-- not feeling wanted enough. I have read that grief is what is beyond the anger, which is where I am now, too. xoxo

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