Sunday, February 7, 2010

Up From the Ashes

Have you ever felt like something BIG is around the corner? I conversely love and hate that feeling. I'm an impatient person. When I feel impending "something" I want it to HAPPEN. Now. Like, do the pee-pee dance NOW. Yet at the same time I savor the mystery and adventure of the anticipation. While I've never been one to peek at the last page of a book first, I have, on occasion, raced over extraneous paragraphs in my haste to get the whole story – BAM! Demmit!

But life is different. There's no skimming forward to get the next best thing any faster than it's gonna get there. HG Wells tried to convince us that's possible, but it's not. Whatever "IT" is is gonna happen in it's own time. Not mine. There's just no creating a 23 hour day. Holy mother of gawd, it's such an annoying revelation that I'm just not that powerful.

So, what's weird is a couple years ago I had a similarly overwhelming sense of change. I knew to the core of my bones that a large unknown hovered in the near future. I was in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship. I prayed my misery would end, constantly yelled at my husband to leave, and was close to just checking out. I had given up on love because I knew when real love – love that is binding and restorative – exists, people don't talk to or treat each other the way we did. Our relationship had morphed into an obligatory stay-together for our kids, sweet but old vows, and an over-priced mortgage. Yet somewhere in that sad and dense blackness I held on to the notion of change. It was a primal knowing, kind of like smelling rain in the autumnal air after a long and bitterly arid summer.

Six months after blogging about "something's gonna happen," we separated.

Looking back I realize I began my personal healing process long before our split. At some point I was compelled to unpack some old, dusty boxes of belongings. I rediscovered items which had long-standing emotional and spiritual connections with me. Seeing, feeling and even smelling these small and precious artifacts seemed to jolt my spirit awake.

Slowly I resolved the fears that trapped me: I could not do anything more to save my marriage when I was the only one willing to try. My kids needed two happy parents and that wouldn't occur if we kept on like we were. I became ok with "sharing" my kids with my husband partly because I acknowledged my guilty secret of needing some time for myself (do you know how hard that is as a mother to admit???). And I finally realized our house wasn't a home, but a building where we unhappily existed.

My world became engulfed in flames. What I didn't realize was that I wasn't going to be destroyed by the fire; I was merely being prepared to rise from the ashes a better and stronger woman. I was in a Phoenix-phase and barely able to comprehend the enormity of the metamorphosis awaiting me.

After we separated, I resolutely stepped onto the excruciatingly painful road of recovering my soul, my humanity and my sanity. I slowly remembered I wasn't 1) crazy, 2) stupid, 3) embarrassing, or, 4) a piece of shit. All these things had been drilled into my head for years (and not just by him). I remembered I was pretty, I was smart, I was funny, I was worthy...and gosh-dern it people liked me.

It was like being Sally Field and Stuart Smalley's love-child.

Those memories trickled to the forefront of my mind and filtered into the fibers of my body. They took hold of the grains of my pulverized soul and reconstruction ensued. Lots of spiritual glue, duct tape, sweat and tears began re-forming my sense of self.

I remembered God. I remembered prayer. I remembered the power of writing and friendship. Once I looked at the stark nakedness of right where I was in my life, I could finally laugh about it. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I'm thinking I should be able to carry a small country by now. What doesn't kill you also makes you stranger. Thank GOD my friends get my humor.

So here I am two years to the day almost and feeling that change is coming again. But this time I have a sense of adventure and excitement. It's a different feel than before. Maybe because I've worked hard to change and it's time to reap what I've sown? I pissed away 40 years of my life with fear, anger and sorrow. Today I embrace life. I love laughter. I cherish adventure!! I am bolder, and am learning how to allow myself to take emotional risks. I don't want to live my life afraid of dying. I'm understanding beliefs CAN be changed, that we're NOT hand-cuffed into a singular way of thinking and living life. I can change anytime I choose to. The trick is in the choosing.

Today I'm done with talkers. And I don't much cotton to misery addicts. Been there done it. All you little emos can go cry me a river in your poetry journal and shove it up your collective ass. When my head's on right, I choose not to wither in darkness but bloom in light. I crave action. Platitudes mean nothing to me; I've talked too much and I've had too many yahoos yak up impotent storms in my face for too long.

What's more, I finally accept I'm merely human, and even better, so is everyone else. That alone is a huge weight off my shoulders. I'm no longer trying out for role of Super Martyr Saint Girl. There are times I choose to kick the ground pouting but they are few and far between. When they do come around, acknowledgment of the pain and consequences of that behaviour come mercifully fast; hence I'm compelled to fix the broken cog in my mental machinery a hell of a lot sooner to get out of my "Bitch Committee" (aka my head).

Miracle of miracles, my ex and I are on good terms. We are healing (in our own ways) and are friends. We work together for our girls and put aside as best as possible our differences for them. We love each other in a way that was once there but stagnated because it was so choked by boredom, resentment and immaturity. Ergo, we grew apart. – the dream didn't quite come true and that's ok. It's amazingly ok. There was a time when I thought the death of that dream was the end of life. And now I realize it was...but also the beginning of a new and amazing life.

Would I have preferred we stayed married and worked it out? Up until our divorce was finalized the answer was yes because I tried to the end, it was very 0ne-for-the-Gipper-esque. But once the judge finalized the divorce I knew it was the right thing to do.

Today I'm happier than I have been in my entire life, even in my "off-times". And that's a damned true story. The fact is, if it was supposed to be any other way, it would be. FUCK. You could go cross-eyed trying to analyze that statement. My mind just exploded a little because it absolutely needs to make everything more complex. Simplicity and I don't naturally mix. But when we do mesh, it's sweet.

So what's coming? Sometimes I shiver with anticipation, kind of like a little kid counting down to Christmas. Whatever it is, I know in my gut it involves happiness, love and adventure. Because life has changed exponentially for the better since I emerged from the wreckage. This phoenix is flying and singing. And LAUGHING. The kind of freedom I have been given is profound. Life is simply good.


  1. Terrific, Kris, and have a great trip. Follow your dream!! We'll expect a full set of Twitter posts, Facebook notes, and lots of pictures for all of us stuck back here in OC. Somewhere way back when I'm sure we're related -- Connaught and Sweden are fine places where my own ancestors called home -- and not Charlemagne, the supposed common ancestor for all the Brits. Be well and see you soon.


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