I Let The Chapter End
I arrive at my desk at work deliberately. It’s an act of will, of choice, of necessity. It gives me a direction to point my bike every morning, otherwise I’d simply just keep on riding. Hollowed out.
It’s a government job, and due to political gamesmanship- I (along with 10,000 other state employees) was the recipient of a layoff notice on June 1st. It’s been informally rescinded as of today, but the damage is done. All of us spent eight weeks having to prepare for the worst, being the pawn in a childish spat between legislators. It’s just the icing on the terrible cake that is these past two years.
* * *
A year and a half ago, my best friend and I divorced after a decade of partnership. Then I spent a year sorting my mental shit and in that process, addressed every single issue that broke us. I’d like to say that my best friend did the same. It doesn’t appear to be the case, but I wouldn’t know- there’s really no unsolicited communication about the relationship. At all. Vague?
Truth is, there is no such thing as closure. Life is too dynamic, too big, too ridiculous for that concept to even work. There is just a messy amalgam of honest appraisal, reflection, try-hard, do-good, and for the love of all that’s sacred: LetTheChapterEnd. That last bit? Is where I break.
Things I’ve learned the hard way this year: I can’t make someone love me. It also turns out, I can’t tell when they’ve stopped being in love with me and just begun going through the motions. For years. I am a storyteller by trade, and when silence ruled the land of communication- I chose the story I wanted, perhaps not the one that truly existed. I squinted my eyes, twisted my head and blessed my life with reckless hope.
This ‘vacant endurance’ is no gift. This relentless inability to let go is not special and wonderful. It’s the tread marks of being run over by the Struggle Bus every damn day and laying right back down in the road for more.
I wanted More… and when it came, it wouldn’t have me in whole or in part.
I wrote a poem to that effect years ago- it’s lost, along with the rest of the website contents (hacked, destroyed). The words, the soul-music, the life that I shared… it’s fragmented all over the floor of my current reality.
This is why I don’t talk about… this stuff. It’s so relentlessly inelegant.
I believe in love. I believe in curiosity, gentle fascination, unfolding wonder that grows with time and years and experiences shared. I believe in holding hands, in cradling a face and memorizing it. Every morning. I believe in magic. Espresso, perfectly brewed… and shared. I believe in laughter. In touching you because you’re amazing and I can’t help myself. I believe in More. In sharing our philosophy of life and what makes us who we are, we learn each other. I think that’s incredibly good.
I believe in simplicity. In saying what you mean and actually using words to share your thoughts. Every day. I believe in affection, given freely… not doled out sparingly, not meted out as a reward.
I believe that I’m worth loving, worth talking to, worth endless hugs and… most of all… being passionately wanted. For exactly who I am.
I’ve given all this and much, much more… until I realized that I couldn’t give enough (in my recent relationship) to overcome the lack of response, the silence and withdrawal of someone who doesn’t even know what they want in life.
If sheer force of human willpower could overcome that obstacle, surely there would be no one better suited to the task than a woman named Titanium. But you already know how the story ends.
I had to let the chapter end.
Standing at that threshold, I’m kind of a wreck at the moment. Doing the right thing doesn’t usually feel good. Or even survivable. Learning life lessons is supposed to suck, I think. It’s how they remind you to NOT make poor decisions.
I can honestly say that I divorced my best friend a year and a half ago and the friendship survived the divorce and the subsequent unfinished business that followed. I have zero regrets. I gave everything I had, I put all my cards on the table. I went all-in, balls-out, no holds barred. It was and is the most honest, authentic, soul-ripping experience that I never want to go through again. You know what I learned? I learned me. I learned that I can trust myself, that I can count on myself, that I will follow through, that I don’t give up or back down or let go simply because something is beyond difficult. I also learned that I have boundaries, that I have self-respect, that I know what I want in life and I’m willing to give all my effort to grow in that direction.
In the end, I can look at myself in the mirror and be totally okay with what I see. (well, except for the fact that I’m due for a haircut and I desperately need my eyebrows waxed)
* * *
For the Time of Necessary Decision
The mind of time is hard to read.
We can never predict what it will bring,
Nor even from all that is already gone
Can we say what form it finally takes;
For time gathers its moments secretly.
Often we only know it’s time to change
When a force has built inside the heart
That leaves us uneasy as we are.
Perhaps the work we do has lost its soul
Or the love where we once belonged
Calls nothing alive in us anymore.
We drift through this gray, increasing
Until we stand before a threshold we know
We have to cross to come alive once more.
May we have the courage to take the step
Into the unknown that beckons us;
Trust that a richer life awaits us there,
That we will lose nothing
But what has already died;
Feel the deeper knowing in us sure
Of all that is about to be born beyond
The pale frames where we stayed confined,
Not realizing how such vacant endurance
Was bleaching our soul’s desire.
-John O’Donohue, To Bless The Space Between Us
Endings seem to lie in wait. Absorbed in our experience we forget that an ending might be approaching. Consequently, when the ending signals its arrival, we can feel ambushed. Perhaps there is an instinctive survival mechanism in us that distracts us from the inevitability of ending, thus enabling us to live in the present with innocence and whole-heartedness. […] Experience has its own secret structuring. Endings are natural. Often what alarms us as an ending can in fact be the opening of a new journey – a new beginning that we could never have anticipated; one that engages forgotten parts of the heart. Due to the current overlay of therapy terminology in our language, everyone now seems to wish for “closure.” This word is unfortunate: it is not faithful to the open-ended rhythm of experience. Creatures made of clay with porous skins and porous minds are quite incapable of the hermetic sealing that the strategy of “closure” seems to imply. The word completion is a truer word. Each experience has within it a dynamic of unfolding and a narrative of emergence. Oscar Wilde once said, “The supreme vice is shallowness. Whatever is realized is right.” When a person manages to trust experience and be open to it, the experience finds its own way to realization. Though such an ending may be awkward and painful, there is a sense of wholesomeness and authenticity about it. Then the heart will gradually find that this stage has run its course and the ending is substantial and true. Eventually the person emerges with a deeper sense of freedom, certainty, and integration. The nature of calendar time is linear; it is made up of durations that begin and end. The Celtic imagination always sensed that beneath time there was eternal depth. This offers us a completely different way of relating to time. It relieves time of the finality of ending. While something may come to an ending on the surface of time, its presence, meaning, and effect continue to be held into the eternal. This is how spirit unfolds and deepens. In this sense, eternal time is intimate; it is where the unfolding narrative of individual life is gathered and woven. –John O’Donohue, from “To Bless the Space Between Us”