“Promise me you gon’ shut the fuck up and recognize what you holdin’ ain’t really broken.”
I know I’m slipping when I start to point fingers. When I make up excuses. Tell myself life would be different if only this or that. Little structures are built up in my head and I cannot move around them. Can’t seem to move forward. Make progress. Focus my time and energy the way I want to. It’s just because work, relationships, sleep. There are hundreds of people, activities I can peg my shortcomings to, but eventually it has to come back to me.
So I take a step back and tell myself honestly what it is I’ve made important. And I ask myself if it’s the right things. The things I want to be a vital part of me. Priorities are so often created without any input from my logical self. Without any input from me at all. They seem to conjure themselves out of a few days of bad habits and a poor night’s sleep. Before I even started paying attention to what was happening I hadn’t been exercising regularly for close to a year. Hadn’t even gone grocery shopping this month. I found myself floating again. Living unintentionally.
There are few things as frustrating as realizing you haven’t been paying attention to your existence. Fell asleep on the couch and woke up with the upholstery imprinted on your face, drool down your cheek, and no idea what day is it. What happened to me? How is September over halfway over already? It’s almost Q4 and I haven’t made real progress toward anything. And it’s not because I’m heartbroken. And it’s not because I don’t have time. And it’s not because I’m tired and in love and devastated and vibrant all at once. It’s just because I failed to notice my life in front of me.
My life is not a disaster. I am not broken. This is not what treading water looks like. This is simply letting go of the steering wheel and seeing what will happen. We never accidentally turn into the people we want to be.
Stop pointing fingers. Stop blaming a lack of forward motion on anything or anybody but that person you haven’t been paying attention to in the mirror. She still wants the same things she did before and she’s really starting to wonder why the fuck you’re not listening.
Photo courtesy of Hannu-Pekka Peuranen.
Knitting yarn, stringing beads.
We create and teardown simultaneously.
I slept until noon on Monday.
Haven’t done that since…
I can’t remember when.
Nadine said I must have needed it,
but my headache disagreed.
I skipped showering two days in a row.
Planned the next four months, but did mostly nothing.
Ate M&Ms and finished watching Breaking Bad again.
Let myself take it easy.
Forgot the idea I have to earn downtime.
We shared a dinner and played a game of rummy.
Family time has taken on new meaning and
I curl up into it.
Wrap it around me like the scarf he’s making.
Wear it like the jewelry I created.
I go to bed before Andrew, but
he joins me.
Gently climbs in and pulls me to him.
All arms and legs and sheets.
The world is softening around me.
Rose petals peeling back and
revealing smells of sweetness.
When pollen tickles our noses
we all feel the same thing.
And I’m surprised when I’m not afraid of it.
When I let it climb over me.
Photo courtesy of Jared Doyle.
We go back to places we remember. Try to nestle back into the space between tree trunks we grew with, but we no longer fit there. The moss, the roots have overtaken everything. This is not the place we once frequented. That space does not exist.
Visiting with arms I’d forgotten, comfort and safety and memory. A reflection of something I wanted, but never had. A promise unkept. Not made by the person who could keep it, but the one who needed it. People do not become other people by you envisioning a spark and hoping. What you see if what you get, so make sure you’re paying attention.
Nadine reminds me that I almost ended up in a psych ward a year ago. Tells me I am a fire that he extinguished. Tells me how she’s never seen me happier than I am now. Tells me I deserve it. I earned it. Tells me I’m worth it. She tells me, “This is like drinking. You have to just cut him out.”
Inhaling sharp I realize I’ve been one foot in and one foot out. Half-hoping there would be a reconciliation with a man who is only living in my imagination. The one I thought I married, but never actually met. With passion. With emotion. With an unapologetic lust for the relationship. Those attributes did not exist in him and so I thought they didn’t exist at all. Thought I wasn’t the type of person who deserved them. Thought I had to find a way back into a relationship that was not what I wanted, but was as close as I was going to get.
But fuck that.
I broke down the night before and Andrew drove to my house and carried me inside. Put me in bed and wrapped his arms around me even though it was so hot we stuck together like a mother’s skirt and a little kid. He rubbed my shaved head and told me I’m perfect. That he loves every messy inch of me, even as I sobbed and told him I was broken. He told me he trusts me and he knows me and he’s unafraid of what may be coming. And I believed him. And my breath slowed and I relaxed. He’s uncovered the part of me that can be comforted, that can be calmed. That is open to being loved and loving fearlessly.
So when I got back from coffee with my ex-husband I did not sit down and write the email I was thinking about. I did not tell Mason I couldn’t do this, that I need him. Instead of giving up on the idea that I deserve happiness and passion, I drove to Andrew’s work and left a note on his windshield. Too many words to say something as simple as, “I love you. Let’s do this. I’m all in.”
Photo courtesy of Loic Djim.