“And in the End, The Love You Take is Equal to the Love You Make”
My family has been a bit overwhelmed of late with some sweet highs and awful lows. In the midst of it all, a few of them have broached, ever so gently, a subject that I’ve spent a fair amount of time kickin’ round my cabeza but haven’t really spoken or written that much about;
Do I miss exFiance?
The answer is both “yes” and “no”. It’s more complicated than any one syllable can really convey, and I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how I’d explain it when I finally got around to writing this post. It was as elusive as…well…something really elusive. I will now, in three acts, give you the breakdown.
I. No, I Don’t Miss Her At All
The fact of the matter is that I’ve come to terms with the reality that she did the right thing not just for her, but for us. However, there are lots of things about the way it went and the timing that have left a bad taste in my mouth. Those “things” exist in self professed aspects of her personality that she never liked, that I never thought would apply to me, but from which I feel like I caught a backhanded bitch slap. That feeling has made it easier for me to say that not only was it all for the best, but that I’m in a better place than I would have been a year from now.
Had we married, we’d have divorced…and what a God awful realization that was, let me tell you. It’s like looking over a roller coaster, declaring it to be not only safe, but fun for the whole family, only to watch it come apart at the seams mid ride. At first it made me feel sick. Physically ill. For awhile I was doing one hell of a job of saying “What the fuck was WRONG with me?! How could I NOT see that coming?” (No one can beat me up better than I can, believe me.)
Really, I’d love to tell you that I’ve come up with an answer, but I haven’t. Much like the engineer standing on the wreckage and double checking his math only to realize that the numbers were right…
It just makes no sense. And because it makes no sense, I feel lucky that someone hit the eject button before it hit the ground. That someone was her, the plane was our relationship, and the avoided crash would have been a divorce.
II. I Miss Her Every Day
The shocker of the past few months hasn’t been that I got dumped…my ego has taken some pretty stiff shots before, and it’s more malleable than you’d believe. The real shocker…the thing that my life from St. Patrick’s Day through today has shown me that I didn’t realize, is how much I opened up to exFiance. I don’t say this as a lament…I say it as a simple statement of fact.
I haven’t ever been that vulnerable in front of anyone. There were huge chunks of my life, of the stuff that makes me who I am that existed in a lock box. It was an off limits kitchen that you didn’t go in to for any reason. I didn’t talk about those aspects of me with anyone that wasn’t charging $150 an hour to listen to it or who wasn’t named “Kid Brother”. But with her, I allowed myself to unburden my soul in ways that I didn’t think I had in me.
And some of you reading right now are thinking “Awww…” and you’re right to think that. It’s a feeling of relief and of safety, of belonging and acceptance, and that just doesn’t come along every day. We should all aspire to that sort of connection. That is a great thing. Maybe the greatest thing.
Until it’s gone.
When it’s gone, it feels like a violation. Like you’d been a fool…tricked and duped in to showing where the trap doors and secret stair cases of the house that is your soul are…and the typical male response to that feeling? It’s rage…and I’m not too ashamed of myself to admit that I felt a great deal of that rage…I’d even written about it before I’d identified it. It would get triggered every time that I’d see something that I’d want to share with her…every time one of the little inside jokes we’d developed between us over the years would come along and I’d turn to say the punchline only to realize…
But what I’ve now come to realize is that feeling, that anger? It wasn’t born of betrayal. (which is so often where we stop questioning why we’re feeling so pissed off.) It’s not that I was lied to or jerked along…and I’m really pretty happy about the fact that I didn’t just get to that point and STOP. Because if I had allowed myself to stay on that base assesment, I’d have missed the real point, the actual reason; it’s that I miss having that connection that makes me feel so fucking angry. That I had someone that I trusted enough to say “I’m scared”, or share the secrets that I’d kept bottled up inside of me for so long that I thought they were physically trying to tear their way out of me…and now, I don’t.
So whenever I see something that makes me remember where I’d existed for the last 3 years, you bet I miss her. And how often does that happen? All the time. It just gets easier when you realize what it is that you’re really feeling, instead of accepting the first reaction that comes out of it.
III. What I’ve Taken From All of This
This one is easy, really. It’s a lesson I thought I knew well, but relearned completely.
Love is heady stuff folks. Much like fortune it favors the bold…but that doesn’t mean you just have to leap in order to fly. It doesn’t work that way. Being bold means being exposed, and being exposed means you are open to all sorts of possibilities. Some good, some spectacular, and some just truly awful.
Love is risk, and often times, many times, it’s risk without reward. And it doesn’t owe you a God damned thing. There is no “I deserve”. You don’t deserve anymore than anyone else does, and everyone deserves it. Everyone. And in the end? There’s really only “I am willing to work, to try, to risk”…and even that just brings up that there are no guarantees. You can work, and you can try, and you can still come home to an empty apartment and a note.
So what makes this a game even worth playing? Why bother? Because the only thing worse than the feeling of loss is the feeling of never having held. exFiance taught me that. See, she used to work with the elderly. She had done quite a bit of work in retirement homes, and she said to me that the reason she was so drawn to it was this;
At the end of a life, no matter what the people she’d seen through their last days had done with their earlier ones, what they recalled was always the same; the love they’d had in their lives. It was the great equalizer. She said whether you were a Nazi or you were a school teacher, that was where the road lead you…to the love you’d felt in your life.
I always loved it when she’d talk about that.
Take the risk. Take the plunge in to the icy waters and see what it does to you. I honestly think that no matter what, you come out ahead. I know that I’ll give it another go someday. I’ll risk feeling this way again once I’ve licked my wounds and made my peace. I think that it’s the karmic currency of the soul, really. What else is there? What else could there be?
I just have to believe that it’s better to shed a few tears now than to wonder why you’re so broke at the end of the road.