Splattered Paint

I sit across from ex-husband number 2 at breakfast.

The waiter says ” It’s really cool that you guys get along so well”.

My ex laughs and says ” It wasn’t always like this, there was a time we couldn’t be in the same state as each other”.

I say:  ” And that is when we were married”.  BADA BING

 

I moved back to “our” town, the town I moved to with him six months after we met.  I moved back hoping this town would be big enough for the both of us to live in, when I moved back we were on the once a month speaking terms.  Once a month when either I or him had a ping of a memory and texted it to the other.   Or once a month when I would take his number off BLOCK on my phone.

And here we are three months later having breakfast together , talking about each other’s dates coming up in the future.  It’s surreal and a place I never thought we would be , there was so much anger, regret, sadness, blame.    I had so many feelings where he was concerned I was a never-ending mess of splattered colors on a piece of paper.

What?  What the hell does that mean?

Here is a tutorial :

colors

Within a space of 30 minutes at any given time in the last 4 years my emotions where he was concerned went something like this over spilling cup of colors.

GREEN:  ENVY

YELLOW: HAPPY

RED: LOVE

RED: HATE

PURPLE: COMPASSION

BLUE: SORROW

They slurped over each other in a matter of minutes, and at the end of a memory of him I was a messy blob , a puddle on the floor, unable to decipher any color, shape or form of the solid color I used to be.

Now, we are having breakfast, and laughing and telling each other our deepest darkest secrets like we did when we first met, I don’t know when this happened, it was gradual, him coming over to hang a picture, him stopping over after work for a beer, us going somewhere together, us visiting old friends together.

It’s  the same as it used to be :  but totally different.

We are not married, We don’t own a home together, We don’t live together, We don’t sleep together, We are not intimate.

We have a past, We struggle with trusting each other, We have both hurt each other beyond explanation.

We have nothing solid that holds us together, We have no life ties that force us to communicate, no kids, no home still mutually owned, no shared bills.

I still love this man

I love the way he makes me laugh, I love the way he makes me think outside of the box I usually trap myself in, I love how still after all this hurt and all these scars and all those years I thought I never wanted to see his face again,  that he still brings me comfort.

I love him not as my spouse, but as my dear dear friend.  And I am so thankful I have this place in my heart where he resides the way it is now.

I still struggle

I struggle when we talk about the past, I struggle when we are somewhere in a room together and I look over at him and I remind myself he is not my husband anymore, I still struggle when we talk about dating other people .  But I am suprisingly able to let it go quicker, and to look at the whole picture, instead of the simple frame we are in right now.

Most of it is gone

The Anger, the resentments, the worry, the hurt.

 

 

**************************************************************

The other night we were sitting on my patio drinking a beer and we both commented about how happy we are that we can both be friends,( actually we were honestly just giving each other dating advice, which to most people would be all sorts of weird, but for us it’s who we are and we wouldn’t have it any other way) ….and I said to him.

This, this is all I wanted for the past four years- to somehow get back to a place where we liked each other again, where we trusted each other again, where we laughed together again.  Because as bad as it all got, and it got bad- I always remembered why we fell in love, even when the ugliest of our personalities came out over the past four years, I still remembered how beautiful we used to be.    I can still hear people say we brought out the best in each other.  I wanted us to remember ourselves, the way we used to be as individuals when we felt worthy and good.

And then a cardinal flew by us, the cardinal that shows up every time he is over and flutters past us singing- a sign of his Mother who passed the year after we met.

And we smile and say” Hi Lynn”…..and I sigh, and I think about the lessons this man has taught me, the changes our marriage and the loss of our marriage have made in me.   I think about how we will never be the same, how I will never be the same.

And then the lesson all comes together….all my colors previously splattered all over the floor….all my life lessons up to this point in my life.

 

Fifty years of wondering what it all means, what it will all look like when it all finally teaches me what it was supposed to.   How something so torn and broken and separated can heal, and repair and put itself back together…not the same, because it’s not supposed to be the same, life is supposed to change us.

And I realize

rainbow

 

My messy colors

The branches of my life

Have come together

And I see this picture

 

A rainbow sitting over a tree,  the weathered and torn branches that still somehow hang on, each branch representing  a time when I was broken, frayed, split.

Where the branch stops, that was the end of that particular lesson in my life.

And a new branch forms, supported now by the foundation of the past ones that have stopped growing, and my past takes the brunt of the weight it allows the new branch to reach for the rainbow, to grow upward and onward.  Almost Weightless it reaches out for the sky.

 And part of my life lesson comes in to view

 The pot of gold doesn’t lie at the end of the rainbow, it lies within every color it took to form it.

 

 

 

Moving along part 5- Follow the yellow brick road.

Follow the yellow brick road

You can follow this road from the beginning if you wish by starting here:

Moving along- Part One ” A Gypsy heart”.

Moving along Part 2- Somewhere on a farm in Iowa, hold your breath.

Moving along part 3- Walking to work

Moving along part 4- A new family

 

Follow, Follow, Follow, Follow the yellow brick road.

That was the song my Mom was singing as she held my hand and the hand of my brother that fall as we skipped along in the grass near silver lake.     A huge contrast to the Mother I was forced to leave behind half a year ago…but I was a child at the time, I knew nothing and asked no questions, it just was.   The last time I saw her she was sad and crying and now I have been plopped back in to the life of the Mother I knew best, Outgoing, gregarious, social, funny, beautiful.   I would have followed whatever road she sang about or invited me on as long as she was on it.

skipping.jpg

Continue reading “Moving along part 5- Follow the yellow brick road.”

One cup, then you must leave.

I have almost 30 drafts of pages written or half written that I never published, I go through them sometimes and they spark something…like this very short one did- so I am sharing.

 

It’s been four years next month since I left my husband, it’s been four years of the longest goodbye ever.

I will go months not talking to him, texting him, emailing him, and he will do the same and then when the tide turns, or the moon rises a certain way we reach out from the darkness and connect.   A simple I miss you grazes across my phone and months ago it would put me in to a tail spin for weeks, now I let it enter my heart and leave in one sweep.   I accept it for what it is, a moment of weakness, of vulnerability, those moments we all have when we are breezing through our days and a memory visits us and wants to stay for the afternoon.

I let the memories sit now, invite them for coffee and then tell them kindly they must leave, they don’t live here anymore.

I can’t let them fill the space they used to.

I am preparing for new visitors who are  somewhere out there preparing for me and I must not let the memory’s of us fill my space forever.

 

Moving along part 4- A new family

This is part four from three other ” chapters” of my life, to catch up , start here.

Part One- A Gypsy heart

Part Two- Somewhere on a Farm in Iowa

Part 3- Walking to Work

 

It’s strange when your little and you instantly inherit a new family , it’s also strange when you spend most of your life in a tiny two bedroom apartment with your Brother and your Mother and then you travel to your Father’s house with his ” new family” and they have a real house, like with a real backyard that is only for them , and cars that actually run all the time,   and your step brother and sister have their own bedrooms and when you come to visit another bed gets put in the room for you to share with your sibling…the sibling you just met.

You feel like an outsider , a visitor in your own tiny life, your very young,yet you are still old enough to feel uncomfortable , like you don’t belong.

I don’t know these people I have just been sent to live with while my Mother recovers from this last time the world broke her .   I don’t know my Father – he is gone from sun up until sun down and every weekend working, I basically see him when he picks us up at the beginning of the summer and then again on the four-hour trip home when he drops us off.

I have landed in a house that is un-familiar territory with complete strangers that now expect me to call them ” Mom, sister, brother.”

My foot is broken in a million little pieces, I know there is a darkness with my Mother that we drove away from when we left, I feel lost and afraid, I miss my Mom, I miss my room, I miss my friends.

I don’t want to be here, I want to be back where I feel comfortable, in my own room in our tiny apartment with my Mom and my brother.  But then I remember the darkness with my Mother, the shades all pulled, her sleeping all day, her face under the covers, the way her voice slurs when she speaks.     How I wake up to the smell of coffee and cigarettes and the sound of her crying at the dining room table.

And I start to realize that no matter where I am at this moment , with her or with them, I feel lost and scared and unsure of everything.

I learn to fake happy, push myself to be outgoing, I learn that making people laugh turns your thoughts away from the feelings and re-directs your thoughts on to other people.  Through the years I become very good at this, I lose myself in trying to make others think I am okay, and sometimes I even believe it.

I was pulled out of school only after being there a couple of months this time, moved from one state to another, shared a room with my ” new older sister, who wasn’t really my sister at all.”   And yet really on the surface all I remember from that year are the following things:

My step mother making me vacuum the first day I could walk on my cast

My step brother sleep walking and urinating in the corner of the breezeway

My step mother making us liver and onions and all of us feeding it to our dog Misty under the table, until the dog finally threw up from liver overdose and we were busted….but I didn’t care, I hated that taste, that smell.   My next trick would be to hold as much as I could in the sides of my mouth and then excuse myself to the bathroom, spit that foulness into the toilet and flush.    All the while thinking to my Step Mother- ” you want to make me eat this?  Let me show you how stubborn I can be.

I remember finding bones buried in the back yard, and all of us kids making ourselves believe that they were dead bodies.

I remember the basement of my Dad’s house was used as an in-law apartment to the people who owned it before him, and I remember escaping down there when I couldn’t deal with everything, and pretending…pretending that I was an adult who lived there by myself – how easy it was to just sit with myself and not have to deal with the goings on of the world around me.

I also remember leaving my teacher back in Minnesota, I remember her name- Mrs Fields.  I remember how much I liked her, and I remember how hard she hugged me when I left on what must have been my last day there for the year.   I know now, as a fifty year old that Mrs Fields knew more than I did about what was going on in my life than than I did.   I know now her hug was filled with mercy and compassion , her hug – that hug, I would remember for the rest of my life.

The rest of my memory is cracked and frayed until I get into fourth grade.   I honestly can not remember one single thing again until then, maybe aliens abducted me?  I think someone would have missed me though and they would have told me later in life right?

Or maybe I wouldn’t have been missed at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flowers in a jar…

I remember the days my heart physically hurt, when I thought I could no longer go on.  I remember thinking , I never want to love again because I could not survive this pain again.

But the truth is , I loved all the way through it, and even while love was breaking my heart, it was healing it also.

When my last marriage failed that was it for me, I wanted nothing to do with love again.  I was so ready to swear off love forever and pour concrete in my heart, let it turn to stone.  I was convinced I would never need it again.

And now years later I wake up and the light is back on, the clouds are white and fluffy instead of dark and ominous ,  at the end of the road I see a light calling for me to keep going around the next corner and the next.   No longer do I reach the end of the road and see the dead-end sign.

I have these conversations with myself now, I think I want to love again, hopefully someday I will have the chance ….and then I stop myself and think, ” what the hell are you talking about.”   You have loved and been loved through this entire process.

It’s like your walking along and you walk right past a diamond ring on the ground, you don’t even see it, and years later someone who was walking behind you shows it to you, they tell you they picked it up after you walked right past it, and you think to yourself…Damn, how did I miss something so beautiful when it was right in front of my face.

Now, I look back and I see all these beautiful things that happened to me in moments that were so dark I didn’t notice them really.

All those beautiful things, are the people, my friends and family that picked me up off the ground, brushed me off, put their arm around me and walked with me until I found the light again.   The people who told me over and over again that I was worthy and beautiful.    The people that supported me in more ways than I can mention.   The ones that laughed with me and cried with me, the ones that never told me to shut up when I talked about the same thing over and over again, until one day I had finally purged it from my soul.

Do you have any idea what you did for me?   Imagine each time you gave  me something I needed in the moment, you placed a flower in a jar.

At first I didn’t notice the jar, each time I walked past it I only saw an empty jar…

Until one day I noticed it was spilling over with vibrant, beautiful flowers.  My “jar” had runneth over.

I thought Love had torn me apart, but the truth is, Love had put me back together.

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Thank you friends, I will carry these flowers with me for the rest of my days.

 

 

 

 

I love me this much….

I’m a people pleaser by nature, I used to think that was the way we all need to live, give of ourselves, put others first, always forgive, try to forget, don’t hold a grudge, walk a mile in their shoes, kill them with kindness, you get back what you give.

“When you leave this earth you will be remembered for how you lived your life, not what you have in it or what you did for yourself.”   I grew up hearing all those quotes from my Mother, I watched her live by those words

It was instilled in my head it was the  ” Mother Theresa , Christian, good way to live.”

And so…somehow in all that talk I learned that I was of less importance in this world than everyone else, that I should somehow sacrifice myself to make the lives of others better.

And so I lived that way of life for many years, I stayed in a bad marriage for 17 years because I thought his life and the happiness of his family was more important than mine.  I stayed entangled in bad friendships because of loyalty and time, because I was supposed to be the bigger person, I was not allowed to judge.    I sacrificed all of me for my children.

Sounds like a good person doesn’t it?

You know what you end up with when you marry such a giver?  You end up with an empty shell that has given everything away and has kept nothing for herself.

By teaching my children to live this way, I was teaching them that everyone else came first, that they mattered LAST in their lives.   ( What a horrible lesson to teach my kids).  And only when I started keeping a little reserve for myself as the kids got older do I feel I was truly a good parent.

There is something about reaching mid-life that changes you in many ways, It is the age when all your life lessons collide with this new person that cares less of what people think about them, that realizes that we are not going to please everyone EVER, that sacrificing ourselves,  in the end sacrifices everyone we love and are trying to help because it empty’s us of all our goodness.

I wish I could go back and talk to my younger self and tell her :  it is okay to put yourself first, no it is absolutely necessary to put yourself  first – You are all you have, when you give all of you away, you have nothing left for anyone.

The answer is Balance, we all need it, we all deserve it, we all must find a way to keep it for ourselves.

I still believe in all those core values my Mother taught me, but I believe it is important to pick the people you share your good stuff with, and not waste it on those that will suck the life out of you .

Put energy in to those that give you back the same energy, give love to those that will re-fuel you with love, treat yourself better than you treat ANYONE else and you will have an abundance of everything good to give back .      Pick the people you spend your energy on wisely, there will always be those that are just out to take from you and will drain you, but trust me there are people out there that will give you back as much as you give, choose them.

I don’t feel like I OWE anyone anymore, I choose the people I spend my time and love on, and I choose them wisely, sure there are times I catch myself giving it away to someone who doesn’t deserve it, but I have gotten to a point where I can spot that within myself now, I listen to my gut, I respond to the negative feelings I get in my body, I don’t ignore the signs.

All the love I give now is the best of my love, because I am not spreading it so thin , because I am getting re-fueled, because for the first time in my life I can say ” I am the most important person in my life , I come first and I am in control of my life , my future, my well-being.

Damn, I love getting older.

  It’s a ticket we have earned to stop apologizing for Loving and putting ourselves first.

 

as i began

 

 

 

 

 

We will miss you

Merle Haggard just died…

However, this post isn’t about Merle.

It’s about suicide.

I have heard far too many stories of people taking their own lives in the past couple of weeks, young, vibrant people with their whole lives in front of them , or a good majority of  life in front of them still…and it breaks my heart that someone’s life could be so dark that the last split second before they take their life… something , anything doesn’t enter their mind that brings a moment of something to live for…that at that moment they still decide nothing is worth staying here.

 

That’s a dark moment, the darkest of all – and they aren’t alone, I come from a family riddled with depression and deep seeded anxiety, I bet you do also, in fact chances are whomever is reading this has had the thought of taking their own life enter their minds once or more in their lives, no we didn’t act on it…or maybe we did, but it didn’t work… or maybe we got to that darkest of places and at the last second the light entered and we decided to hold on for one more day, and one more day became months and then  years, and here we are, still here. Continue reading “We will miss you”

The Haunting

I don’t know what it is…..

The fact that it’s been four years for me and I haven’t been able to move on and find someone else?

OR

The fact that you seem to move from woman to woman so seamlessly, as if to brush a fly off your shirt sleeve and welcome the next as she lands there .

OR

The fact that I have spent nights in agony over the death of our marriage and our love, and I bet you haven’t felt more than an uncomfortable sting from time to time in your heart and then poured alcohol over it , first just enough to ease the pain,  then adding another dose to numb it completely.

OR

The fact that you want to be my friend and I can’t quite put my finger on why.  My gut tells me it’s to torture me of my decision to leave for as long as you possibly can,  it’s as if you drop the moon in front of me just long enough for my eyes to adjust and then you throw a blanket over it , making the night sky black and impossible for me to move about freely again.

OR

The fact that every time I start to hear the  music again and want to dance…you tip toe up behind me and sweep your leg under mine…I stumble and sway and eventually fall…then I need to make the decision to stand and start the waltz again, or try to graciously exit center stage.

OR

That I was right all along, that your love is elusive and has never been truly given to anyone, least me..thus the reason I eventually left.   That there is something hidden just beneath your surface that makes it impossible for you to love, that your hiding from yourself…. and the one way to never be seen,  is to always hide behind someone else.

I don’t know what is – but it all haunts me just the same.