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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Beginnings and Painful Endings

I'm finding that becoming deliberately conscious of my life, my choices, my patternings and my situation is very exhausting and painful. I'm reminded of an old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon where they're careening down a hill on a sled and they are choosing not to notice that they are about to crash into a tree..."Ignorance is bliss" Of course that bliss is short lived. The tree hurts.
So, out of my desperate desire to avoid any more close encounters with trees (hugging them aside) I have chosen to wake up and really look at my life with eyes wide open. If I were short-sighted I would conclude that this completely sucks and the ride was a lot more fun when I couldn't see the crash landing. Now I'm seeing trees everywhere. Where on earth did all these hazards come from? Have they really always been there? Was I really that blind? Apparently.
And I'm stubborn. Ridiculously so. I have insisted for years on seeing qualities in my husband (now ex) that either do not exist or exist in such small qualities as to be insignificant. I have romanticized him and our entire relationship to read like a romance, when I was really living something closer to a horror, or at least drama. He's not a villian, or evil, he's just not who I saw, not who I wanted, needed or could live with. It's taken almost 8 years to see this. All the signs were there. My family saw this right off. I'm a smart girl, so people tell me. How did I miss this? How could I see a knight in an alcoholic who prefers playing video games and hanging out at bars above all else? If I'd been looking I could have seen this in his family, his friends, his choice of activities. It wasn't subtle. At all. It was screaming at me from the word "go." Or "I do" as the case may be. Even before then, what little time I allowed before I walked the aisle.
I could not have picked someone more toxic to me if I had made a list and sought out the person most likely to abuse, hurt and abandon me. Nice, huh?
And now, 3 children later and my 20s gone, I'm sitting at my new downsized house in my new downsized life at 4 am wondering why it took me so long to open my bloddy eyes and see the truth. Obviously I didn't want to. I still don't, sort of. But I had to. And I have to continue to. My girls need to be awake. I need me to be awake.
This hurts, a lot. But that's only because I'm feeling all the pain I hadn't allowed myself to feel in full for the last 8 years. I stayed numb, pushing myself to hold a marriage together that was doomed from the start, giving up myself to care for him and our children, sacrficing my needs and desires to make him happy.
This is the warped message women in our culture recieve. Outwordly we say, "No, that's not true at all." But I disagree. The message is insiduous, but it's there. Put others first. Stand by your man. Sacrfice everything to be what others need you to be. Win the bread then fry it up and make sure you clean the kitchen and get the kids to bed when you're done. Men are treated like gods when they do a fraction of what women are expected to do everyday.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we're victims of others. We're choosing this. We're staying blind. I stayed blind. We've bought into the illusion that if we surrender ourselves to make someone else happy, they'll make us happy. Wake up call! We can't make anyone happy no matter what we do. And no one else can make us happy, or complete us. "You complete me" may be a romantic notion that sets our hearts aflutter, but it's bull. If you're not complete in and of yourself, then there's not a man or woman in the world who will get you there.
Trust me, I've learned this the hard way.
So, after years of staying blind and praying that my husband would work as hard to make me happy as I did for him, I've decided it's time to make myself happy. It's time to recognize that I am complete all on my own. I don't need someone else to make me that way.
And in the process of caring for myself, and finding what truly nourishes me, I make myself a better mom, friend, daughter, sister, lover, writer...human being. So, I've downsized my life so that I can grow. I've let go of the man I thought was the love of my life so that I can discover what real love is. I endure the painful endings knowing it is the bridge to glorious new beginnings, without the crash landing!