40: A Moment of Truth

Through the Wall of Flame

As a frightened man in a burning boat has only one way to the rest of his life, we must move with courage through the wall of flame into the greater sea.

Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

At 18 months to the day I went to sleep longing for C.

The longing left me ashamed and once again shattered and confused.

I shouldn’t care. I shouldn’t think of her. I shouldn’t give her consideration. I shouldn’t admit I am struggling. I shouldn’t feel for her. I shouldn’t care about her success. I shouldn’t express my feelings to anyone. I shouldn’t miss her.

I shouldn’t be jealous.

I should ignore the past. I should be indignant. I should erase every image is us together. I should treat her the way she treated me. I should out her shames and secrets. I should demand my things back. I should hurt her back the way she hurt me and I hurt her and she hurt me and I hurt her and she hurt me…

I should erase her from my heart and simply replace her with another.

These are the stories Shame whispers at me when I am least prepared.

Longing for C isn’t the problem.

Seven years together with someone I envisioned spending the rest of my life with wandering Route 66, the Mississippi River valleys and the world resulted in her echo tattooed to my soul. Pretending these things meant nothing would mean something else entirely about my emotional life.

If after seven years I could turn it off, move on, and pretend she doesn’t exist that would reveal something far darker and dangerous about my psyche.

She was the one. I knew she was always the one I waited my whole life to find. The meaningful lesson is I didn’t honor my truth. For this loss of integrity Karma brought consequences so I could reorient and find my center.

As such, this morning I took my Shame to breakfast and over homemade blueberry pancakes I reminded Her that I am courageous enough to admit I care and to own the loss and the lessons while knowing I could flee my pain, fight a winless and meaningless war, or freeze and whither in the face of the judgemental and sanctimonious.

There is no shame in owning what is true.

I thanked Shame for trying to protect Us from the hard feelings. I reminded Her, that forging my passion, memories, and experiences into arrows in an attempt to drive me, and others, off so We are unhurt is one more way Shame sabotages Our life and hurts people We love, and love Us. I recognize Shame’s attempts to protect Us, but through these actions She makes Us unsafe, insecure, and boundaryless and as a result We remain alone and isolated. I needed to remind Shame those passion, memories, and experiences are in fact flowers showing Us where We have lived and loved. Those flowers represent what is best about Us when We allow Our truths to bloom.

As such, when the longing unexpectedly blooms for C, I need not fear the sting from the hidden bee but remember that alongside C my life blossomed and flowed into a new season. Though the season has passed, what I reap in this season is based on the lessons of what We sowed in the last.

I won’t be Shamed because I care. Setting aside all the psychology, psychobabble, poetry, reason, logic, and insight, I still long for, and love this woman. She is always welcome here. There is always space for her in my heart without diminishing my life or relationships today.

Owning these passions, and admitting the truth in the face of judgement and criticism, is one more way I reclaim my integrity and my life.

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