Thoughts on Mark Nepo and the Snappening


Never having been betrayed sets up poor preconditions for remaining faithful. Evolving into genuinely more loyal people requires us to suffer through some properly innoculative episodes, in which we feel for a time limitlessly panicked, violated and on the edge of collapse. Only then can the injunction not to betray our spouses evolve from a bland bromide into a permanently vivid moral imperative.

Alain de Botton, The Course of Love

I’m not having the best day.

Today, I am feeling the entire weight of my xp’s snappening.

As Mark Nepo writes below, “rejection and opposition are painful, but being treated as if you don’t exist is quietly devastating.”

I feel as if I am stranded in Pittsburgh right now. I know no one and the energy it takes me, as an introvert, to create new relationships is staggeringly steep. However, considering how isolating this year has been for me, being alone can often, but not always, be unhealthy.

Even here, I feel like I don’t exist. It isn’t depression but sadness. It isn’t rumination but simply the process of grieving and finding acceptance.

I know feelings are not reality. I know I am making a life. I am moving forward. I am doing what needs to be done but…

…but there are days like today when even the smallest of tasks seem overwhelming. Where the guilt and awareness of what I have done weigh down my heart. I hurt. I miss my home. My true friends. Rigsby. Sir Bark Alot. Our cats. The routines. Our life. The sky. The air. The quiet. The snow. The art. My life. Our family. Our life.

Her, her laughter, and her beautiful body.

Don’t ask, “Why?” because it doesn’t matter “why.” It’s enough to know I simply am.

I also don’t need to be reminded about her rumormongering, the splitters, flying monkeys, silence, entitlement, the lack of generosity, simmering hostility, and roiling fury.

I’ve lived with her choices and my consequences for over a year. The “why” I shouldn’t care is well documented.

None of this matters at the moment.

I was taken to my xp so completely, deeply, unconditionally, passionately, enthusiastically, and at my essence, even the scream of logic, and reason are lost into the vacuum where my heart hides. I have no idea why I give myself this way to my xp but couldn’t to my ex-wife. I simply have.

And because of those reasons or lack of, I still grieve the death of the relationship, her love, her trust, and our future. I know she needs to write me out of her heart’s existence. This is how she protects herself from hurt…this is how she grieves.

In reality, my betrayal et al changed the paradigm of my life and all my pain, suffering, & anguish is a result of trying to move it back to a place of emotional and mental comfort. I tried to move it towards an ideal of a life that never actually existed.

As I read Mark Nepo today this entire pages speaks to my experience. However, these two sentences speak to my essence:

  • “Somehow our need for love gives tremendous power to the opinions of others, and so, we are required to guard against turning our lives over to the expectations of others.”
  • “Even if no one sees or understands, you are irreplaceable.”

This page reminds me: I matter, I’m important. I have value. Who acknowledges these truths doesn’t matter. What matters is if I can see it too.

Pronounce a lover ‘perfect’ can only be a sign that we have failed to understand them. We can claim to have begun to know someone only when they have substantially disappointed us.

― Alain de Botton, The Course of Love

I do want to make one last remark on this to all of you reading my writing, and sharing vulnerably with me: You matter. You are important. You have value. You too are irreplaceable. You exist even if someone you love doesn’t see you.

This Ugly thing we call betrayal is powered by secrecy. It only has power when we hide. Find someone to talk with. Someone that listens and doesn’t judge, offer advice or shames you or your partner. There is no wrong answer just bad advice.

There isn’t only one right thing. People change. People grow. Don’t let yourself be all one thing because that is what others expect you to be. As de Botton writes, ‘love is a skill, not just an enthusiasm.”

Skills are learnable and it is never too late to learn. I’m doing it, so can you.


December 15th

The sun doesn’t stop shining because people are blind.

Mark Nepo

It is a hard challenge to stay true to ourselves in the face of indifference. Rejection and opposition are painful, but being treated as if you don’t exist is quietly devastating. This soft puncture is particularly human. Eagles soar and glide for hours in canyon air, and the fact that no one knows does not lessen their ability to fly. But for us there is a constant elusive heroism in being who we are, especially when we are misunderstood, judged, or ignored. Somehow our need for love gives tremendous power to the opinions of others, and so, we are required to guard against turning our lives over to the expectations of others.

A great example of hearing one’s deeper self is the Spanish painter Goya. Writing about Goya, Andre Malraux tells us that after going deaf in 1792, the painter understood that “to allow his genius to become a parent to himself it was necessary that he should dare to give up aiming to please.” it is both touching and instructive that Gloria couldn’t fully realize his god-given gifts until he was deaf to the demands of those around him.

One of the saddest examples of being ignored is the novelist Herman Melville. Having survived many years at sea against his will, Melville had authored several best-selling sea adventures. But when he opened his soul and wrote Moby Dick, two things happened: one of the greatest novels ever written by an American was birthed, and the American public laughed at the great white whale and its maker. He was ridiculed and dismissed.

This deep and sensitive man was so wounded by this that he painfully withdrew, and at the age of 32, at the height of his powers, he virtually stopped writing for nearly 40 years. Tragically, he extinguished his inner voice because those around him couldn’t hear.

I carry both Goya and Melville around with me as reminders of how precious and unique each of our gifts is. No one can really know what you are called to or what you are capable of but you. Even if no one sees or understands, you are irreplaceable.