I really did feel like everything I did was about 50%. I didn't want it to be that way, and I really tried putting 100% into everything, but as long I kept feeling let down no matter what kind of effort I was putting in, I knew something wasn't sitting right.
It wasn't as though I wanted these things to happen. It is, though, that I didn't make the decisions for something else to happen. I was, in part, looking for somewhere else to throw the blame if something went wrong. When I finally thought about what kind of decision I should have made, could make, and consequently did make, it was almost too much to bear. At first it was unthinkable. Then it was necessary. And it's like my dad told me (which I all-too-inconveniently forgot): If you don't make a decision, someone will make it for you. I let people make decisions for me for years without even realizing I had gotten in the habit of it. I did not realize it exactly like that. It explains so much. A puzzle piece in the big jigsaw of life. But then the other part to Dad's piece of advice is to make the decision and execute it. If it was right, then move forward, if it was wrong, make it right. Seems so simple, doesn't it. That's how easy it is for us to complicate things. Even as a woman who was raised to think like a guy and reconciled with the woman I really am, this makes sense. I complicated things ALL the time, unnecessarily. And why? Because I was too busy trying to "prove" something, to make it look good, all the while not investing with my whole heart. In a phrase: I was lying to myself.
And how bitter that seems!! How terribly raucous it is to put my life and the tremendous sorrow I have for the hurt I caused people into a simple paragraph! This was not an easy conclusion to come to. Not for one second. The elaboration of which I'll have to save for another entry, but suffice to say for this entry, it comes with heavy, heavy consequence and the duress of a summation of approximately 13 years. However, I am still not bitter.
And I was thinking about love. What it means. How we say it. How it is true. Most of all, in terms of myself and how my life has led me to really give it a good, hard look; and how it still means something, now more than ever. The other day, I was sitting on the bench outside staring at the supporting post of the balcony above, and the words "love" and "not enough" breeched my thoughts. Never in my wildest dreams did I think about my non-choice way of living exactly like that for a really long time, or that finally taking responsibility for my life, myself, and my actions (finally!) would bring me here, but neither did I think my life would unfold the way it did; and it occurred to me that sometimes, love just isn't enough.
Proper communication (learning how to speak the other person's language and giving it importance), matched fundamental values, short term goals, long term goals, and a solid base of all these things IS what's "enough", it's what sets the tone to the degree of compatibility, but most of the world gets automatically bored with the idea, especially because the advanced stages of love are not being taught--the crucial, underlying truths of what love can be. (There are marriage preparation-type courses for a reason! And yet we all cry that divorce is as easy as changing our snow tires.) The world is (and even I was, to a surprising degree) lacking in the concept of building a foundation, fundamental to the core of a relationship. Everyone gets to the point where they are at a loss for what to do after the "ohmygod I think I'm in love" love (or whatever version of thought gets us into the state of fundamentally unhappy couples) fades into something else. Here's a hint: it's supposed to mature. It becomes a decision then, an action, and it is love like that which supports the structure built on afore-mentioned foundation like layers of a pyramid: likes, dislikes, common interests. It is love that can sustain the soul during conflict of the initial layers and it grows from there, if nurtured, but it does not generally shake the foundation. Love grows, but it also transforms. Most of all, it is an action. Love is an action that requires sacrifice, but sacrifice comes in all forms--but usually means letting go of our pride, allowing our walls of defense to be softly penetrated, and when done right is the most tender, precious thing in the entire world, here or thereafter.
Things Not Allowed in Love: bitterness, lukewarmness, indifference, lack of action, blandness. That's what I think, anyway. Even intense negativity is better than absolute lack of participation, because at least it's dedicated in some way (although it doesn't have a good place in a relationship.)
Now. Here's the thing. None. Of. These. Things. Are. New to me. Not once, ever, in my existence as a wife of a cancer victim, or as a mother of two, or as a woman exposed to the attrocities of the world, or as a person whose sense of emotional awareness/perception was her own flogging, or as a person whose made a bazillion minor-to-major grave errors in her whole life, did I not live these things as best as I could. I knew, even if I struggled like an s.o.b. with knowing better, what love was supposed to be. How, exactly I can't describe, but it was always something intrinsically inscribed on the walls my soul. Perhaps taught to me through the faith my parents transcribed unto me, perhaps acquired through years of observations watching them miss the mark with each other every time they opened their mouths, watching other couples, watching the nuances and inconsistencies that created hardship and strife, but most of all, living exactly as I have lived, eff-ups and all. It has only become all the richer now...
Lest I become a sermon from on high, let me be perfectly clear that I am among the generalizations I have made. I have no more place to mention these things than say, a criminal or banished sinner. I am just, in a word, sharing.
...to be continued...