My father used to tell me
About a dog who couldn’t see too well.
He was crossin’ a railroad track one day
When a train cut off a piece of his tail.
You know that dog turned around.
He didn’t even stop to look up and down the rail.
You know that dog lost his whole head
Tryin’ to find a little piece of tail.
I have never in my entire lifetime felt so bonded to anyone the way I felt bonded to C. It was incredible and amazing and overwhelming and terrifying and Powerful. I’ve never had that experience.
And I have never screwed anything up so badly in my entire existence.
C didn’t break my heart. I broke it. I broke it thoroughly, completely, and brutally. It needed to be broken to be reshaped into something better.
I broke her heart too. Probably. Maybe. It’s also possible my betrayal et al really did give her the excuse to do what she wanted to do anyway so with me being gone she is very happy.
Fuck. I’ll never know.
I luv that C did what needed to be done for her, me, and Us. I’ve decided reading the betrayed and the betrayers there cannot be meaningful change without pain and consequences. Else why change?
I listen and read Mark Nepo, Stan Tatkin, Brene Brown, Tara Brach, Esther Perel and others and I’ve come to realize pain is not a feeling or consequence to be avoided. It is neither good or bad. It certainly isn’t permanent unless we avoid it – then pain just drags on and on.
Just like joy, what I do with the pain is what matters. At this moment, today, I am grateful for the pain – even as I hate it. More than one thing can be true at a time. Recognizing this truth I’ve tried to avoid in my intimate relationships is a sign of growth and maturity.
Embracing of maturity is why I haven’t run from the pain and buried myself angst in pussy or liquor. Although, clearly doughnuts and chocolate are still a bit of a problem.
Instead, I write and talk about it in an attempt to understand the pain, love it, and even embrace it. Only through death can pain be avoided and I luv my life too much for that to be the option. Pain allows me to see myself – and live – more fully. Avoiding pain is what created a lifetime of intimate relationship chaos.
C’s commitment to ending the relationship with me is one of the qualities I admire and respect in her. I can luv this about her and still hate it. I can know these things and still hurt over the loss. I can hurt for myself and still hurt for what I did to her, me and Us. I’ve never felt this depth of pain and loss before. I’m drowning on dry land.
I hurt as badly today as I did when she asked me to leave eight months ago. I hurt as deeply now as I did two years ago when I was in the middle of my self-made trap. I hurt as much now when I first broke my vows to her three years and eight months ago. That is a long time to live in terror knowing what is going to happen and doing everything to avoid this exact outcome.
I hurt more and I’m so tired of hurting. I just fake it better than before but there is no less a sense of loss and remorse. I just hide it better. I feel rudderless. As if I’ve run aground. Even if that isn’t what has happened. Even if I haven’t run aground. Even if I am still making headway across a sea of heartache.
I was so intent on making my love for C work that I betrayed everything that I wanted: my future, my life, my integrity, and the first woman I passionately and deeply and completely loved.
All because I went along to get along, and didn’t want to face the conflict of ending things with K. All because I didn’t want to be responsible for hurting another person. All because I was avoiding the pain, risk, and uncertainty. All because I didn’t know how to be vulnerable to the woman I love.
And in the end I hurt them all.
I read the optimistic upbeat “letting it go” and “moving on” approach of other people and I think and feel that I’m doing something wrong. I asked myself, “Why? Why do I still care? Why do I keep trying?” Why humble myself over and over and over again to someone that no longer cares and seeks actively to hurt me through silence and rumormongering?
After nearly 25 hours and 1500 miles over three days, hours upon hours of insightful and positive podcasts, positive music, interesting stops, and a convertible on a beautiful week why does just a moment of silence cause me to think of her. Why does the pain of thinking of her make me want to drive the car off the bluff and into the St Croix River? Anything to avoid the loss and pain.
Multiple friends say to me:
“It was seven years, and you know what you did. Your relationships with C brought out the best and worst of you. She matters to you and you hurt the one you love. Despite your screw-up, that didn’t mean that you didn’t love her and care. We watched you two as you explored so many moments and stories and created so many experiences that you cherished with her, that were unique to that relationship and life, no wonder you grieve still.“
I’m doing the shit I need to do, not because I hold any illusions of reconciliation, this relationship is dead. There is no going back. I cannot unring the bell. I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward. I can’t make her see me or talk to me. This is who she is. This is what she does.
No, I’m doing this hard and painful shit I need to do, because whatever happens next, and whoever it happens with, is going to get a hell of a man. It wasn’t all shit with C. I loved her well in a thousand ways.
I also fucked up what mattered.
We are all more than one thing.
As I drive, crossing bridge after bridge, and explore my life I often think of her. I wonder how and where she is. I miss her here beside me to share in my life and to share in hers. That is the loss that hurts and knowing I caused the loss is the pain.
The pain will never go away. I will only find perspective for the pain. It is a part of me now. To hate the pain is to hate myself; to love myself is to love my pain.