55: Try This Again Shall We?

The Job

You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.

Brene Brown

I quit my job.

For a variety of reasons this job wasn’t going anywhere for me. There was no profit for me to stay and keep trying to push someone else’s rock up the hill.

I did that for someone else once, I’ll not do it again.

I genuinely like these people but this was never the life I wanted. In reality, this is the job I fell into as my life fell apart. It provided me what I needed.

From another contract I have a good income from an independent sales position that allows me to travel extensively.

The Apartment

Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are.

Brene Brown

I gave up my apartment.

I’ve been staying in a fantastic AirBnB right on the Ohio River outside of Pittsburgh in Coraopolis. It’s a one bedroom ranch fifty feet from the banks of the Ohio River with off the street parking and something resembling a dock.

I’m surrounded by the river and railroads. CSX trains rumble past twenty times a day two blocks away. Across the river, Norfolk-Southern’s train whistles echo off the hillside and across the river.

Barges make way past my dock daily.

I love it.

I’ll be hard pressed to find anything close to this in the region again for what I am paying.

Like the job though, this is where I found myself, not where I wanted to be.

I love this area but like the job, it doesn’t benefit me to stay here.

The Old Plan

I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.

Brene Brown

There was a time not to long ago I had a partner that I thought wanted the same things as me: to collect experiences and art, to love each other and life, and live with lots of dancing.

The original plan was to build ©’s business, do some side gigs, and partner with my her to push Our rock up Our hill. We were going to buy a motorhome travel the country, sell her art, and write my book and shoot travel videos.

Maybe restore vintage campers.

Eventually, we would settle down in an old rivertown, buy a historic building, live upstairs, have an art gallery down, drink, dance, smoke pot, fuck, and watch her kids and grandkids grow up.

I loved that plan. I believed in the plan. I was committed to that plan.

But as they say, “If you want to make a god laugh tell Her your plans and then sleep with another woman and feel forced to keep secrets and cover up with an escalating series of lies because a lack of boundaries and overdeveloped sense of accountability for other people caused you to do things you knew were bad for your Love, life, and self.”

Or something like that…

I made a series of mistakes that resulted in failure. That plan is dead.

My commitment to that plan is why I went to such great lengths to cover my behaviors. My life with me C mattered to me. I convinced myself lying and keeping secrets was protecting our life and her feelings.

It was…but it was also covering my shame and protecting my pride. It was also avoiding conflict, intimacy, and vulnerability. It was emotionally rigid, lacking agility and integrity. It was bound to fail.

As C said to me, “You promised to keep me safe and you didn’t.” I did what I knew.

Whether accurate or not, what I thought was Our plan was really me just paying 95% of the bills, promoting her art work, being the heavy with her kids, guessing at her intentions and playing manservant, sherpa, and driver…and angrily and resentfully sleeping with my ex-wife.

As C told someone, “I was looking to end the relationship anyway.”

And by someone, I mean C told someone other than me. Lots of others. All she told me was to take responsibility and keep paying the bills.

Nonetheless, I allowed myself to imagine a life with my ex and then made choices that created a catastrophic, non-recoverable failure. No amount of manipulation or cover-up would have fixed this mess without her help.

She was never going to help. It isn’t her way. She made choices too that wounded our relationship but I can only own my things.

Although outsiders and monkeys will, and have, second guessed the truth it won’t change the truth: I never wanted to be anywhere else than with her.

But things change.

And another truth is I sacrificed emotionally, financially, personally, and professionally towards Our plan while she hid assets, nursed resentments, and emotionally sandbagged.

However, to the absolutist none of it will matter because along with many, many other things, I sacrificed my integrity to the Alter of Pride, and protecting the status quo.

Although it is true I betrayed her, it is equally true I also loved her. However, I’ve come to recognize a new truth: she wasn’t the one.

If she was the one, she would have spoken to me and we would be exploring what her feelings meant to her, what my behavior meant, what Et Al meant to us sexually, and what it meant to be free of other people’s expectations, social constraints, and the pressure of conformity.

If she were the one, we would be exploring what is possible, meeting the pain with curiosity.

I cannot coerce my ex into exploring anything with me. The only right we have with others is to leave – a truth I remind myself of whenever I find myself absentmindedly romancing Hope.

I spent the first ten months following discovery thinking my ex would revenge fuck some men but eventually we have a conversation because we were “special together.” What I discovered is that just as I have a pattern, so does she.

As a friend that knows us both said last night, “She needs and wants something different and now you know you do too.”

Whatever it is is I hope she finds it. I want her to find what she needs.

In truth I spent everyday since the day we met, thinking that a life with her is what I wanted and needed. Sometimes I still do…but in the middle of the night, as I listen to the surf on the lake, I know the reality: my needs and wants are my responsibility.

As such, The Plan, like my relationship with my ex, is dead and I find myself, for the first time in a long while, left to discover what is possible alone.

The Current Plan

When I see people stand fully in their truth, or when I see someone fall down, get back up, and say, ‘Damn. That really hurt, but this is important to me and I’m going in again’—my gut reaction is, ‘What a badass.’

Brene Brown

I’m going to wander. I’m going to explore.

I’m going to write. I’m going to create. I’m going to own what I need and want. I’m going to own my truth. And I’m going to embrace the conflict because that is the only vehicle to growth.

I’m going to meet my life with continued curiosity, vulnerability, and compassion. Even when it hurts.

One of the aspects of my current life that wears on me is the lack of travel. I’m 51 and my place at this time in life is different than my peers: I’m not married, I don’t have a family, and I have almost no debt.

Instead, I find myself not living the life I wanted because I struggled with vulnerability and intimacy and made a series of unskillful choices resulting in me wounding the woman I love, damaging myself, and injuring my life.

It is time do something different. Failure is feedback, not prophesy.

This is my rock now. I’ll go push it alone.

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