Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Not for the Faint of Heart.

"Oh, Gigi. You deserve so much better than all of this."

My best friend of twelve years sits across from me on top of the built-in bar in the backyard. Cross-legged, she tilts her head and tries to make eye contact. We are doing what we do best; drinking a vodka drink and smoking a cigarette and talking about the difficult hurdles in our lives. We've learned over the past twelve years that problems shared with each other mean half the load... we have built a solid relationship while we shoulder each other's burdens. We loan money. We show up even when the other says not to, because we know they're lying. We bring coffees and babysitters and a scrub brush. Spreadsheets and computer software. We scrape each other off the floor. Help move furniture and clean out Grandma's house. Say I love you and I'm here for you and you don't owe me a thing.

At the moment, we're discussing my life.

The last four months have kicked my ass. More than once I didn't know how I was going to make it. I've eaten Xanax. I've gone through boxes of Kleenex. I've sat at my desk at work with tears streaming down my cheeks, thankful that only two people can see me while I sit here and die. I've lost 15 pounds because I stopped caring about food. I've called people I haven't talked to in months or years, trying to get some perspective. I've asked people who love me to write a list of my flaws, so I can try to see myself from another set of eyes. I've cried every day for months. There have been several reprieves, times when it looks like the devastating circumstances I couldn't seem to handle were lessening... and then it turns out they weren't lessening and it's actually worse than I thought and it's even harder to handle because I thought it was getting better and I can't stand to be in my own skin anymore.

The beautiful souls who are closest to me had the agony of watching this, living this. I would show up at their houses, red swollen eyes, shaking as I tried not to sob. I would ask to stay for dinner, or to help clean the kitchen, just so I could be busy and surrounded by love. They wanted to help, they wanted to hurt the one who hurt me, they wanted to support me even when they didn't agree, and so I would take advantage of their kindness and stay as long as I could, in the safety of a house that wasn't mine.

I've always identified with being strong. My name means strength. I have the Hebrew word "chavil" tattooed on the inside of my right wrist (the word for strength used in Proverbs 31:25, which is the chapter that describes a woman of virtue). I tell my kids every day before they leave for work or school, "Be strong and courageous!". I have survived two divorces. Two restraining orders on a husband. Three bouts of single mama-ness. Yet, these last four months, I have been anything but strong. I did manage to go to the office every day, and for the most part keep my personal turmoil to myself; I did get out of bed every morning and get dressed, just to prove I still could... but I rarely did it with grace or dignity.

"Oh, Gigi. You deserve so much better than all of this."

I've been thinking about the ensuing conversation since it happened a week ago. My best friend meant those words to me with the most sincere of intentions. She was extending me love and kindness and grace and acceptance. She was telling me that this isn't right and it's horrible to watch.


Do I deserve better than this?

I hurt my ex-husband. Cut him to the core. For the last several years we were together, he had a constant look of pain in his eyes, right up until the beer finally numbed enough of it. He loved me without abandon; and while there are many reasons why that relationship didn't last and he must own his fair share of responsibility, I hurt him. Devastated him.

I am sometimes too quick with my words, and my eyerolls. I am judgemental towards people I have no right to pass judgement upon. I dig my heels in and fight back for no reason, other than to prove that I can. (I'm independant! I'm self-reliant! I'm an adult! Don't tell me to get some rest or be more consistent or think of your feelings; I do what I want!) I sometimes care little for the consequences as long as I get what I want today. I make excuses. I hurt people too.

I am not justifying any actions, of my own or the other party in these last four months of agony. If there was wrongdoing, it was wrong. But there was a pause today, wondering if I have ever caused anyone to hurt like I am hurting.

The situation has finally come to a point where resolution is in sight; there will be a definite answer to all of this heartache soon. But at this crossroads, there is no clear intuition about which way I will travel. I have already thrown my chips on the table, laid down my cards, and am now sitting back biting my nails hoping for the best. And then, in the next moment, I wonder if I can survive the best. Can I forgive and move on from this brokenness? Can I be understanding and patient? Can I have conversations about horrible subjects without attacking and using my words as weapons? And what if I do, and then I'm vulnerable to pain all over? I cannot live this out again. Can I trust anyone anymore? Maybe it's best to remove myself, to shut the door, to close myself off.

But everything in me screams that's not the right thing to do.

This is obviously gonna be an AWESOME life lesson, whichever way it ends. Only the things that cut like knives really ever teach me anything. I have a feeling I will never be the same.

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. I love you and I am so proud of you. How very very blessed I am to be your family. xo