In his email he said that he was looking for something from me, mainly “sorrow” for time seemingly lost, and part of me cried “Yes, I would love to give that to you.” I felt… feel… that it would have been slightly disingenuous for me to pretend I didn’t know that what he was really asking for was closure… which I don’t believe in. There is sorrow, yes, but not exactly regret.
“For the first time in my life” is a flag phrase. When I hear or read this phrase, alarms go off and I want to run for the hills. So I won’t use it. What I will do is point to not using it, as a way of showing how very close it comes when describing the following: I now see, that I was never devoted to my marriage in the way that I was devoted to my children – which doesn’t mean I didn’t work to become so or wasn’t committed. I am responsible for that knowledge now … responsible to be deeply, personally, consciously, directly available in relationship in a way that I have truly never been.
The desire to “do no harm” is about awareness; the damage we do seldom comes from exposed agenda, and something quite different from hurting feelings by not giving someone what they think they want from us.
Although a blaring pattern woven through so much, few in my life have seen me as “blocked artist.” Incomplete sentences, memory issues, nervous laughter… have been the quirky outward signs of a mostly hidden struggle sapping creative energies, blocking circulation of love, and I think, making me quite ill at times — but I felt that I was coping, and I think that’s what observers would say as well. I’ve been praised for being “grounded” and “together.”
It seemed a right and loving thing to do to section off the past traumas, needs and desires as something insubstantial… to forgive, move on, and let the future be full of clean pages on which to write a new and more beautiful play. It is just that, beauty isn’t quite what I thought it was. There is a lot of messiness in beauty… a great deal of imperfection.
So I am learning not to edit before I write.
As a wise someone once said to me, smiling: “not a bad scheme,” when I described my strategy for being functional, not broken by the things others were broken by. Compartmentalizing was useful for a time, and the crux of why I have been irked by 12 step programs that to me seemed a method of every day standing up and framing oneself anew, as an addict now… sticking oneself in place. I couldn’t see before, that what those in recovery bring to meetings is the addict that will always be, the addict. They are keeping a channel of communication open… giving voice.
This does not mean that “the addict” is all they are. The tragic loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman has brought about wonderful dialogs on this matter, as the public has faced their confusion over someone clean for decades and with channels of expression, remaining so vulnerable to relapse. To me it backs up my claim that there is never really such a thing as closure.
“The addict” may be the silent scream in the dungeon of the subconscious – and not just one’s own subconscious. Addicts are sometimes secret-keepers who can’t ask (for many possible reasons) for what they need to heal, so anesthetize. To attend a 12 Step meeting may be to set apart a time to be on the threshold, listening, but with safeties so it is possible to find one’s way back to a place of perspective and proportion… usually a little more empowered, and often with unexpected treasure.
Ever since the self-help and near-religious psychology movement of the 1980s, there has been a tendency to speak of “the world out there” as not accepting … to see “the world out there” as dangerous to our true natures. And it isn’t that this is untrue: to be gay is less a problem than to express gayness, for instance – if you hide this part of your life you are taking the blame and going along with the program, and are okay to be around the children in the family – okay to work with heterosexuals. If you then develop an addiction, even to something like work or travel, or a quirk of some sort, that can be seen by the culture as result of your gayness… not the result of hiding of it, which was a group decision.
After all, with your actions and hiding of it you have admitted the deviancy… taken the blame. It is your “problem.”
These are the things that create a fictional rift: we are not “other” than the world we live in. Our world isn’t “out there.”Like water, the work can be held back only so long, and long before it bursts its bounds entirely it eeks and seeks out other ways to be, to exist…
In some sense, I feel my own inner work ‘done’, but not accomplished – I am available to myself – but in being available to myself also can’t continue to squelch the expressions coming forward… not even for those I love. There is less control, but there is a lot of trust. My heart wish and desire is to include everyone I love, though … to give opportunities to face things and to relate directly – not just pretend to.
To stop hiding so much.
That’s also what he said: that I didn’t walk – I ran, and not just ran, but hid. He’s right – I hid, and estranged myself – but it wasn’t “from him.” As leaked out in a previous post, I estranged myself, from myself… nearly strangled her entirely with an odd weapon of choice.
I wrote “facade” at first… which was right? I don’t know.
Some in my life feel assaulted by deviating from script even slightly … they experience a tsunami as coming for them out of nowhere, quickly and forcefully washing away half a lifetime’s progress of burying the past. So I try to move slowly, making what feel to be very small gestures to draw new boundaries, uncover new possibilities, because I understand how terribly overwhelming it must feel, and how such process can be felt as rejection. What needs to be known is that it is not a choice for me:
“Ring the bells, that still can ring. Forget, your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen