If we actually sit and think, really sit with our thoughts, and actions, do we condone our own behavior.
I have the above italicized words written on a note, but I didn’t write down who said them? Maybe Pema Chodron? I do remember me typing in the words around it though. Embracing Mindfulness and No Excuses. I tried googling the other words, but came up with nothing substantive. I was going through all my notes on my phone, deleting everything that was outdated, looking for a recipe I had jotted down there when I ran across the quote.
Ironically, the recipe I was looking for was buried in another note with this quote from Cheryl Strayed’s ‘Wild… ‘
It seemed to me the way it must feel to people who cut themselves on purpose. Not pretty, not clean. Not good, but void of regret. I was trying to heal. Trying to get the bad out of my system so I could be good again. To cure me of myself.
I had to sit down. I don’t remember typing in that quote (where has my memory gone, potentially menopause is eating it little by little… ) but I can see why I did. My sister is a cutter from adolescence. She never had any regret for the cutting, but there was shame there that she was trying to release. I likewise never had any regret associated with my self harm. NONE. People tried to convince me that I did, but I didn’t. I did what I did at the time because I thought I needed it to survive, not die, SURVIVE. Although the big kerfuffle with Blue Eyes and the therapists revolved around how it made Blue Eyes feel, more scared than anything, I think, I was much more concerned with how it made me feel: ALIVE. Blue Eyes had stolen me from me. Betrayal does that. We can belittle the whole thing… people cheat, people divorce, blah, blah, blah, but I have never taken betrayal lightly. And this betrayal is about my best friend pulling my reality right out from under me and me spiraling into a place I had never been. A place where I didn’t know who or what to trust. Where I actually felt bad about MYSELF. This was about thirty years of lies. My husband was not who I thought he was.
Thank you Cheryl Strayed for getting me and my need to rid me of the poison that had been administered to me without my knowledge.
Back to mindfulness. I’m at the beach house alone. Blue Eyes came over with me this past Saturday, and actually, we drove separate cars as he had to be back home Monday morning for some intense mediation. I opted out. I like to come to the beach house with no real plans of when I must go back to the city. It helps me feel free.
The weather was gorgeous here on the Oregon Coast for the first few days. Pictures will be forthcoming in a separate post because it was that beautiful and I totally want to share. This blog has become my venue of choice for journaling and also writing out the thoughts that go with my photos. I post pics on Instagram and Facebook, but this is where my feelings are truly shared. I have always thought of this spot as my personal journal.
Besides my art, I am starting to believe there is a novel or two swirling around in my head and I know this beach house is where the thoughts will spill out. I’ll save those feelings for another day.
Instead I am going to recount a conversation between me and Blue Eyes this past Sunday afternoon. We were sitting on our deliciously comfortable leather sofa in the beach house great room. I have been a little out of it lately on some days with a sinus infection and hot flashes and so I was just vegging, looking out at the sea. It is like the west side of our house is a big movie screen playing the pacific ocean all day. It doesn’t always even feel real. I keep looking for Truman and his boat. I picked up my phone and noticed a blogger friend had accepted my request to follow her on social media. I started perusing her photos and wondering if she had the same feelings I had had when looking back. Post dday, I went back through all the photos in and around the acting out periods. Pain shopping is what some would call it. I called it my new reality. Those days are past me now, but looking at the beautiful shots of the betrayed wife and her sex addict husband, looking at their smiling faces, I showed the picture to Blue Eyes and said, “this is a shot of them well before dday, look at that happy couple.” Truth be told, they look just as happy in the photos after dday because that is what we do, we pretend for the camera. I understand that, but I also understand how painful it is to look back once we know the truth.
Blue Eyes looked out to the sea for a while then he turned around with tears in his eyes and said, “I cheated on you.”
I didn’t say anything. I just looked at him. It was like he was finally realizing what he had done, in the master scheme of things, what most people think they will never do, betray their best friend. He wasn’t thinking like a broken down little boy, or rationalizing like an addict, or talking it out while protecting his emotions like a barely recovering addict… he was sitting squarely in the thoughts of what he had done, in a human and vulnerable way, and saying it out loud.
I was dumbfounded, speechless even. He whispered “I can’t believe I cheated on you,” and eventually I said, “yeah, you did, and I can’t believe it either.” What a strange experience this was. I didn’t shed a tear. I didn’t make a big deal of it. I let him sit in his own thoughts.
We have this really awesome Sonos sound system at the beach house with speakers on the deck and spread throughout the house. Really great speakers. We can parse out a certain room and play music just in one space, or play different music in different spaces. I love it. Anyway, I am sitting here listening to the Jim Croce Pandora Station and The Eagle’s Desperado is playing… everything means something different now.
Your prison is walking through this world all alone
It may be rainin’, but there’s a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you, before it’s too late
I’m not implying everyone needs a mate. Absolutely not. I’m saying Blue Eyes was walking through life surrounded by people who love him, but living a very lonely and destructive existence inside his head. He may not have been literally running away, but inside, he was trying to escape his past, his present, and his future.
I now realize that because his deepest self was unavailable to me, I was also alone.
He cheated on me. It’s awful, it’s heartbreaking, it’s life changing, but it’s not the end of my world. This is what year four looks like.