When I started this blog, I was inspired by Glennon Doyle (OBVIOUSLY because I quote her in most of my posts…and really I’m holding back by not quoting her as much as I would like to). She said that when she started her blog (momastery.com) she used the prompt, “What is it like to be me in the world today?” I had been considering starting a blog but I had concerns about people in my life who might read it and might learn the truth about me. I’m in the middle of a long, non-amicable divorce. I’m a professional who needs to hold some semblance of professionalism in my day job. Yet I really want to be seen. I lived in hiding for a lot of years. What I mean, is that I was trying to be who I thought I should be or who others want me to be or who God wants me to be…and that’s a lot of things to a lot of people. So there wasn’t much room left for me to be me. I want to emphasize that I was GOOD at living this way. Most people would describe me as laid back and even-keel. I actually think I AM that way but when I was doing it for everyone else, I was like a glassy river with a raging current just below the smooth surface.
So when I learned about Glennon’s prompt, I thought, “Okay, that sounds doable. I just have to tell the truth. It doesn’t even have to be good–it just has to be honest.” And this is what I’ve set out to do. I like what I’ve written so far but I feel like I have been holding back. I’ve been giving myself reasons for this, like, “I’ll wait until the divorce is final” and, “I’m finding my voice.” But as that date keeps getting pushed farther in the future, I can’t resist the opportunity to find a more honest voice. So I’m going to push myself to honor the prompt that inspired me and to be one of the truth-tellers, to live in the light. And here is my next-step, earnest, unfettered attempt at that.
Today I am angry. I don’t do angry well. It’s something that I largely ignored as soon as I emerged from adolescence. So it would only occur when all of the other repressed feelings bubbled up from under the tightly fitted lid of the pot I usually contained them in. But, as you can tell from my previous posts, I am trying to stay in it and feel my feelings as they come. I could tell you all of the frustrating particulars of my day (two pairs of pooped in underwear…emotionally nurturing/disciplining a 2-almost-3-year-old who has all of the feelings and none of the filter…hearing him try to make sense of why his dad and I aren’t together anymore as he brings out his baby photo album again and trying to figure out if my impulse to hide that book is therapeutic or not…sitting in traffic driving him to his dad’s and hating the fear that inspired me to agree to do all of the driving, wondering how I’m going to get those hours of my life back—not the ones from the past but the ones in the future that I’ve already committed to). I mention all of this, not to garner sympathy, but in the hope that there is a voice out there who can reply, “Me too! I’m with you, sister.”
And if searching for the right way to parent through this weren’t enough, I have my own emotions to contend with which brings me to rage. I’m absolutely furious and betrayed and grief-stricken and I don’t know how to wear it. I’m furious that I completely lost myself for years at a time in my marriage, after a cancer diagnosis which might have taught me to live each day to the fullest. I grieve for the life I lost, for the time I spent betraying the voice inside me that knew there was a better life for me. I’m enraged by the obligation I felt to try EVERYTHING before I could let go of my marriage, the time and soul-sucking energy that it required. I have contempt for the institutions and cultural expectations that made me believe it was ok for me to sacrifice my own joy and fulfillment in preservation of that relationship, to the point that at its end, my spirit was thread-bare.
And even as I’m writing and feeling this rage, I’m crying because beneath my rage is a deep, deep sadness. Claire Messud wrote, “Above all, in my anger, I was sad. Isn’t that always the way, that at the heart of the fire is a frozen kernel of sorrow that the fire is trying — valiantly, fruitlessly — to eradicate.” Today my sorrow is for what I’ve lost, for being at a loss for how to go forward. Because what I really want is not available. I want a partner. I want someone who will be honest with me and with himself. I want energy and attraction. I want someone who has done the work, or at least is willing to do the work, to be available. I want someone who can embrace the light and dark and the grey. I want someone who sees me…because I’ve never had that, maybe because I’ve never let myself be seen.