Part 1, Becoming Me: Hiding publicly

This post series may be a bit difficult for some of you to read…or stomach…or even believe. I’m even going to preface this series with a disclaimer: there is absolutely no disrespect, ill-will, or anything else intended to be deliberately disparaging in it towards my ex. He is happy now as am I, and I joyfully want that to continue. I will touch on some issues we had as a couple, and perhaps he (if he actually reads this), will accept this as an “exit interview” and take some of the observations in the spirit intended…as my own personal views and interpretations. No one else’s. Now on with the show…

 

Unless you’ve been under a virtual rock, or had a life, or are new to the blog, or [insert any one of a million valid reasons], then you’re aware that I am at a real crossroads in my life, and a very happy place that is to travel. When the ex and I officially separated in January 2014, it was a complete “non-event”: no wailing and howling or dish-throwing. True, tons of glares exchanged lines of sight, but that was about it. But I made a decision in an instant, that from that day forward I was going to be myself, own my feelings, be unapologetic for my beliefs, and do what made me happy. To some this may sound wholly selfish; for me, it was a matter of reclaiming myself.

 

One of the first things I started doing was writing again; it’s been one of the best decisions I could have made for me. I had an outlet for my creativity, in addition to the candle making, and it felt wonderful to put “fingers to keyboard” so to speak. This was more than a diary or a journal; this was a sharing of my soul at times…perhaps a bit exhibitionist one may believe, but let’s be honest, without that bit of narcissistic belief that someone other than ourselves is interested in what we have to say, there would be no books ever written. There is something that drives a writer to publicly commit their thoughts, ideas, dreams, fears to a public airing and open themselves to criticism. Perhaps we are gluttons for punishment and pain, as it is painful to hear/read that someone judges our heart’s blood to be…heaven forbid…drivel. After all, “it” meant enough to us to agonize over a single phrasing of a sentence for hours or days before releasing it for public consumption; how dare someone else proclaim it unworthy of a read much less a second thought? But, as surely as there is cream and sugar in my coffee, I will continue to write and put my thoughts out there for your review. No longer do I have a fear of rejection of this part of me, regardless of what views I express, when I sit down with the keyboard in my lap. The only agony connected to my writing now is in reigning myself in sufficiently to avoid using the real names of those characters who now write my life’s scripts. I love them all, and it is my choice to not bring their true identities into the telling of my tales.

 

Case in point. I’ve skirted around many of the details surrounding the relationship between “Bruce” and I, and will continue to do so; I may share some of our conversations, but more in the manner of sharing things we have learned or believe in the spirit of hoping that it may encourage someone else in their journey. For a bit, I was annoyed that “Bruce” didn’t want to make us “Facebook Official”, meaning, changing our respective statuses to read “In a relationship with…”. My old self-esteem immediately assumed he was hiding something, such as me or another girlfriend(s). I was ready to share my joy with anyone dumb enough to be in earshot or visual range as the case may be. But in his calm, unflappable manner, he took my face in both his hands for a sweet kiss, hugged me tight, then explained,

 

“I want this to be about us right now. No one else’s opinions or suggestions or comments. Just us. If something happens and we decide to back up the U-Haul*, people would feel the need to take sides, and I don’t think either of us want that.”

*backing up the U-Haul: our phrase for going our separate ways

 

We still comment and like each other’s posts on Facebook, but we don’t directly say we are dating each other. We have had a bit of fun with my status, changing it from “single” to “It’s complicated”, as in, he is a fan of American football, and me a fan of real football (a.k.a. soccer). Or complicated because he is “Bruce Wayne”…just plain silliness bourne out of my need to call him something. I’m sure we’ll make a quiet status change to real names before much longer, but for now, this has been a bit of fun.

 

I finally understood his need for privacy on social media was in a manner of speaking, a showing of respect and protection of “us”. We have since allowed a select group of friends in on our secret. They’ve been very respectful of our wishes. We’ve met each other’s family, visit with his folks regularly, hung out with our kids together, and even had our parents join us together for a relaxed dinner out while my dad was in town. I was very fortunate to have loved my ex’s parents while they were still alive, and I am equally fortunate to adore Bruce’s parents. Lovely, lovely people…as is apparently everyone related to Bruce. Amazing folks. But what I find so refreshing with Bruce is his attentiveness to me in the presence of our friends and family…yes, even in front of my lovingly intimidating and protective father! For me, this was missing from my marriage, and it’s partially my fault for not speaking up more clearly perhaps that I needed this: this public acknowledgement that yes, we are together, yes, there is a bond here, and yes, the man with me feels lovingly protective and proud of me enough to put his arm around me or give me a quick public kiss. Nothing mushy or sloppy or hugely demonstrative…just a quick “I love you and I’m glad to be with you.”

I had another “yes, this is going good places” moment this morning along those lines when we passed an elderly couple walking on the side of the road, holding hands. At the same moment, we both sighed and let out an “Awww”. I once told my ex upon seeing an exceptionally older couple, in their 80’s perhaps, out for a stroll holding hands, “That. That’s what I want.” He had no reply or comment at all at the time, but after our split, he brought up that moment, and said his heart dropped when I said that while watching the sweet pair walk along the water, hand in hand, heads bent together laughing over a shared memory perhaps. Might have been my hair standing on end though that amused them, who knows. He said almost sadly I think, that he just couldn’t do that. As I told Bruce this story, I confessed that the night of our first date, when I “accidentally” brushed his arm and he reached out to take my hand, that the accidental klutzy move was really a “test”. Had he pulled away, it would have been a deal breaker. Then and there. I will never spend my time investing in a relationship with someone who is afraid I might have cooties. I never expected him to actually reach out and take my hand and heart in his in that one split second, three hours into our first date, but he did.

 

He hasn’t let go yet, and it is the most amazing feeling.

 

Coming in Part 2, Becoming me: what is intimacy?

Advertisements

New Beginnings….

As you may have surmised, I’ve restarted this blog…again….

This time though, it comes at perhaps the most critical life event I’ve experienced to date: the end of my 29 year marriage.  I’ve written bits and bobs about my life married to a Brit, but in the end, it is that story that will shape the rest of my destination.  I’m not bitter any more; in fact, if I’m painfully honest, it is a relief.  For both of us in fact.  I couldn’t give him what he needed, and I no longer even knew what that was.  He was brutally honest when he said he couldn’t give me what I needed.  Here we separate the “wants” from the “needs”.  For me, “wants” are those things we would like to have, but can live without.  “Needs” on the other hand, are what give us life…what keep us together and let us hold our heads and hearts high when the road gets bumpy.

I needed a partner in life and love, not a companion to bounce business ideas around with.  I needed someone to kiss my forehead and tell me I was beautiful, even when I was dripping sweat from cutting the grass.  I needed someone to laugh with me as I stopped to look at something silly in a shop window, rather than laugh at me.  I needed someone to understand that I am at heart, a very simple country girl, who needs nothing more than her friends and family around her to make her life full.  I needed someone to let me take care of them: cook, pamper, and spoil, but who was excited to return the gift.  In other words, I needed what he couldn’t give.  I know he has needs too, but it is his personal business to ever list those shortcomings, not mine.  I can only own and share what is wholly mine.  He wasn’t a bad person, but he had his faults that were in the end, deal breakers for me.  It just took me 5 long years to accept it, face them, and learn to hold my head up, confident in knowing what I needed to do in order to move forward on my journey.

I’ve now hit the 6 month mark where my divorce can be made official in VA (since all the kids are adults), but this marriage has been emotionally over for 5 years, and I’m ready to share what has transpired in those years to get me where I am today. I hope you will join me as I set off on this new adventure.  I’m sure we will laugh a lot, cry some, pray together, and share coffee and chocolate over these pages.

Namaste, and let the journey begin anew…..

Kim

Snow and Solice February 13, 2014 at 8:25pm

I’m including the dates these posts were originally published on Facebook to avoid confusion.  This particular post was written a month following the end of my marriage.

Thanks for reading!

K

 

This time in my life has been full of changes: exciting, terrifying, lonely, loved.  But above all, it has been characterized by hopefulness and confidence.  While I’ve not shed a tear over the separation, I’ve chosen to reflect on the good times we had as a family and the acknowledgement that we, in all honesty, have been friends who consulted on business matters yet avoided the closeness that comes from sharing one’s heart, hopes, fears, joy and dreams with another. I’m not bitter or resentful though. I am thankful for the ability to self-reflect…to see where I am, envision where I want to go, and dream and plan how to get there.

 

The snowfall last night and today, was hypnotic.  I spent some time staring out the window or finding excuses to stand in it, face upturned, and catch snowflakes on my tongue like a carefree child.  I truly felt…at least for a little while… childlike, and I chose to follow that feeling.  I’m not wearing blinders: I have money concerns, swear at the car when the back door gets stuck again, and get annoyed when someone cuts me off in traffic. But I stood in the pure whiteness and looked down towards the back of the subdivision where I rent.  From my house, you can’t see the end of the street, and in the closing daylight the end of the street tapered to a fuzzy gray.  Not black. Just gray.  It was an incredibly powerful moment.  I stood planted under a street light surrounded by the ice-covered trees and gracefully bowing limbs of a magnolia that were blanketed in snow: bitter cold, yet thick as my grandmother’s down quilt.

The silence was stark.

Standing at the corner of a busy road, and I knew where I was, right here and right now. I don’t mean, at the corner of Oak and Elm, say, but rather I knew for certain where I was in my life in that moment.  I looked ahead and could imagine what lay at the end of the road, but I couldn’t see it clearly.  The only way to know for certain, would be to go there, one step at a time.

 

I set off, one heavy boot in front of the other towards the end of the road.  I was cold, my face catching the snowflakes blowing straight into my face.  Two blocks down, I nearly turned back, but a feeling stopped me briefly in my tracks.  I still couldn’t see the end of the street, but the path was not as gray.  I refocused my attention from what lay down the road, to what was immediately upon me. Yet again, I was under a street light, and I could see around me.  But even more apparent, was the sound of laughter coming from a yard ahead. I recognized them as a father and daughter, building a very professional looking snowman. It was as if I were looking back at times with my own children, playing in the snow, coming in breathless and red cheeked…stripping down in the kitchen to wrap up in towels and fix cocoa, ending up in a pile on the floor to watch a movie.  And I smiled.

Then I stepped forward.

A half a block later, a new sensation replaced the cold.  My hands.  My hands felt warm, as if my small hands were being held in someone else’s larger ones.  Completely yet gently enveloped. True, I knew that in reality, my hands were reacting to the cold by swelling and becoming inflamed, but that wasn’t what I felt.  Walking down the middle of the road, my heart knew that I was feeling the hand of a friend, letting me know that I was not alone on my journey.  The hand holding mine was not pulling, but just holding.  Not releasing, but just being there without making demands.  I knew in that moment for certain, that while I may be by myself, I was not alone.  That I may not have a partner waiting impatiently with me on the morning coffee, but that I was not alone.  That I didn’t have warm arms pulling me in close at night as a child would embrace a favorite cuddle toy, but that I was not alone.  That it was going to be alright, and that I would continue on my journey.  I don’t know what lies at the end of the road still, but I know I will get there one day.

And that I will not be alone.

 

2/13/14