A very, very close friend is trying to show me how much I take on the pain of others, and help me learn I don’t need to do that. I bore my mother’s when Jim died, I bore my high school girlfriend’s when she was kicked out of various foster homes and raped by her sister’s boyfriend. I took on my wife’s when she was under the continuing psychological abuse of her mother and when she miscarried and when her father died. I took on my beautiful artist’s as she dealt with her own childhood traumas and her senses of inadequacy to take care of her own children. This very, very close friend sees that I manifested her — someone who does not need my help — so that I can start to learn and see and grow and change. And so I try.
Yet I am more emotional then ever. A moment ago I was suddenly overcome with grief and gratitude thinking about my ex-wife’s second husband, who died unexpectedly a couple years ago. Grief because she continues to grieve and is in such pain. Gratitude because if we recognize that we actually write our own scripts and that this life was sort of planned out, then that good man chose to spend his last few years with my children’s mother and I am just so grateful for that, grateful to the point of tears. But she doesn’t see it that way and I therefore grieve for her, whether or not I mean to.
Not long before that, half an hour maybe, I was suddenly overcome with grief and loss and fear for my recent ex-partner who is struggling so hard and whose dreams I still can’t help share. We built or tried to build something beautiful and that effort continues, albeit in a modified form, and it still isn’t working out, not quite, though it is getting measurably better. I’m just suddenly filled sometimes with her struggle.
Well, it isn’t mine. It’s hers. Same for my other ex’s. I don’t own any of that shit. Indeed I sacrificed and gave a great deal so they could have a shot at happiness. I didn’t succeed, of course, because no one can make anyone happy. But I put myself into the shit giving it my best shot, and the connections don’t just go away. So I still carry their pain and I still have to learn somehow not to do that.
Love is everywhere. Maybe I attract it because I give it. That’s a nice thought. But my “very, very close friend” loves me and if I were in a place where it made sense to settle down like a hobbit with a happy fat wife and tend to my garden she’d be a top choice. I am not, however. I’m still in love with my artist, as much as I usually deny that (and my wonderfully curvaceous (not fat) friend knows that), and I still carry my kids’ mother’s pain, and I’m still restless. Just last night I was at a party and garnered a lot of admiration from women present (I know that’s comically egotistical but I don’t know how to convince you it’s simply true and I’m not going to describe what it looks like) as well as what you’d have to call real love from a couple of them I’ve had time to become friends with over the past few years. None of that is sexual, strictly speaking, so cut that out. Love seems to fill my life and yet when I’m alone I feel very alone and a day doesn’t pass when I’m not suddenly grieving, I mean ugly-crying, over some damn thing to do with the pain the women I’ve been closest to are still in.
That I couldn’t fix. Imagine that. Pain and trauma and fear aren’t things you can heroically ride in and fix. Who knew?
Anyway, I just remembered my point in starting this was that these sudden crying jags might very well be my way of processing and actually getting rid of these close unhealthy ties. They’re actually part of my healing. I am actually healing. Imagine that. Healing is almost always uncomfortable and we have a tendency to avoid it. It’s easier and less painful in the short term to repeat patterns (especially in relationships, since little else really matters) than it is to somehow heal from our own pain and trauma and break the patterns and move on, so we avoid doing that. But I can be thankful that I’m not avoiding it, if in fact I’m not, and am instead grieving and feeling through my and others’ pain and dare I say it, growing more towards the much better place where I’m meant to be. We’ll see. I might be spouting bullshit. But I’m not sitting still, not at all, so there’s that.