I have been weathering the winter of conditions, change, and physical trauma. My mental state has been precarious these past months. It is not as though I am afraid to write during such times. In fact, most of my best writing has occurred during times of complete mental chaos. But I don’t want my blog to have a theme of continual effigy to mental illness. It is there. It is a part of my life in the same way I am short, have blue eyes, and wear a size 8 shoe. But I decided long ago, once I had a taste of balance, that I could no longer indulge the montage of mental malfunction that I deal with as much as rising and setting suns, breathing in and out, and all the other continuum items on my life roster.
So...I have taken a breather. These days I would rather do a recap than real time experience. I have been working through recovering from physical meltdown resultant of major surgery that I was led to believe would be a fairly simple situation. Not so. And how stupid of me to think that such physical alteration would not impact mental stability. So, depression has been alive and well this past spring. And in the midst of it all, I have been wrapping up a doctorate that I have thought, on a regular basis, would never end. The result of this past spring has left me with a couple of letters at the front of my name, three at the back, and an overarching sense of the surreal.
But I am fine. At the end of the day, the month, the year...I am just fine. It seems my hubby and I ride one wave of trauma after another, and we hang on to each other through each one. I told him the other day that it is a good thing we are both people who have lived lives of adversity, because whatever hits us does not break us apart. He has dreams of winning the lottery, and I have dreams of the gypsy ways I embraced before agoraphobia made an entrance. He may win the lottery, and I step out my front door on a daily basis, so those dreams are not impossible. But in the interim, I have to think about the daily little things. I have to remember what I am thankful for and learn from what has been lost.
I have been pondering the concept of forgiveness recently. I have written about it before, so I won’t go down the same road, but every time I think I understand the concept, something happens in my life that stretches me beyond my finite understanding. Being part of the academic world and having a well-developed intellect opens doors for arrogance; this idea that one has it all figured out if it can be rationalized or written down neatly on paper with bullet points, but I have been reminded recently that I don’t really have any answers. Yet again I am humbled by my stupidity and my inability to rise to the occasion with grace and wisdom.
I am not a person who has lots of relationships. I make long-term friendships. I don’t have a lot of stamina for many deep and meaningful relationships. It is a shortcoming of mine and no reflection on the other person. I have a few friends I have known for 20 years or more, and I have family in whom I invest my energies. As a very introverted person, I am not able to maintain many relationships at that level. So, when I begin to feel resentful about my role in a relationship, I am required to take stock and determine what is going on and whether it is necessary to make decisions that may be painful.
It is difficult to look at someone you love and make the decision to no longer invest. When things become imbalanced and exhaustion is the main experience that occurs from one person doing all the reaching out while the other person sits and awaits communication like royalty addressing the serfs, a change has to be made, especially if one of the parties is not okay with being a serf. When I was single, I had more energy to invest with little or no return, but now that I am married and am raising a child, I simply am unable. It is painful to think that someone you love is not interested enough in you to want to know about your life, what you are doing, and who you are becoming. I have hung on to a couple of people who are just no longer interested in being a part of my life. It is so painful to think that they will no longer be in my life. But have they really been anyway? Impartiality is a way of living that I refuse to embrace. I am very partial to those in my life. I value them, every aspect, and I am humbled and so very blessed to think that they want a piece of my little world. So, in fairness to those who want an authentic part of me and to me, I made the painful choice this spring to cut loose some of the ties that have bound me.
Love remains, will always remain, but moving on is what I am about. I am not interested in remaining in the past. I am not interested in allowing what has occurred to define what will be, and if flying is on the agenda, weighted kite strings must become a thing of the past as well. What is difficult is remembering what was and wondering how two people could just let go of so much history, so much journey. We only really have so many people in our lives who know our story. I hate to give up on anyone who knows mine, not because it is so amazing or important, but because they help me remember...often who I am, where I have been, and what I have overcome.
At some point after the heartbreak does not overshadow perspective, I think I will be able to let go completely. I am a big proponent of boundaries. I have advocated for women for many years who do not know how to set boundaries, but I know how difficult it is to implement, and every so often, I have to make deliberate choices that protect my heart and protect my ability to trust others. Trust is such a hard thing to give, and the idea that love conquers all is naïve. Love and a whole lotta work conquer all. Trust is at the foundation of my willingness to keep working on loving, and when it is gone with one or more parties unwilling to bring it back, well, then, it’s time to move on.
So, on the precipice of a new career, I am cleaning out old habits that died some time ago, and I have just been unwilling to look at them. I’m not saying to give up on relationships that are challenging. What I AM saying is that when someone is no longer interested in communicating, in responding, in asking, in loving me the way I know is healthy to love, then it is time to pull the plug before what is hurting in one situation begins to spread like a virus into other areas that are healthy. So on this Memorial Day, I will be laying to rest heartbreak, resentment, and loss. I will remember what was good, but I will not let it pull me back toward something that I know to be unhealthy for me. It is my hope that what I lay down will rest in peace.