My divorce is a whole topic unto itself. Needless to say, it wasn’t a surprise in any shape, form, or fashion. As a matter of fact, it was actively courted, flirted with and made welcome by me for reasons I won’t bother with here. I was miserable, miserable, miserable. The harder I tried to be happy living against myself, the more bitchy and miserable I became. And when mom’s miserable, the whole house is miserable. My favorite daydream was of at least six months of complete solitude. I pined and yearned for it. I noticed that as a family we seemed so much happier when we had less stuff to keep up with, less money to care about. Ironically, in retrospect I can see it had not a thing to do with money or stuff so much as the pain of my refusal to follow my internal compass – which in no way pointed to frequent spending to fill spiritual holes. A funny thing, perhaps the funniest, about the majority of the advice I was given from Christian advisors (who I felt never really listened/paid attention to me): there were regular homilies railing against trying to fill “that God-shaped void” with material things. Yet in practice, anyone married trying to engage in a deeper spiritual life that whiffed even slightly of mystic or monastic leanings was actively discouraged from doing so and redirected to modern American living. I think it’s primarily due to a faulty understanding of what it means to live a deeply spiritual life.
I sit here these past few days rediscovering that bright eyed young woman, realizing she has always been with me. She simply remained quiet, safely tucked away in my pack, likely as not sewn into the lining. Six months post-divorce as I go through my traveling gear, tossing what no longer serves, rotting food thrown to the compost, repairing the useful but broken, I encountered her, still bright and shining like a softly sparkling jewel, delighted to once again be seen and appreciated. And loved. There are many tears. Some of sorrow, for I shall never again be that bright little one I call Bright Eyes and I wonder what life would have been like for me had I continued that path. “What ifs” are impossibilities, though. I am and always have been myself and thus I did follow her path, just not the one that seemed most obvious. Time is a spiral; we’ve encountered each other often along the way, even when I did not recognize her. Most tears are of joy and relief at discovering this part of myself long hidden, yet still fully functioning in the background. She is the part of me that railed against the rampant hiding of my pain behind various material things: animals, children, more things than I can even recount. Some use drugs or food or shopping. I numbed my pain with first children, then with animals. It was easy and pretty much undetected by any but me – unless I told you. I’ve always been an animal lover and a care taker, so it was a natural thing to focus on healing others instead of seeing my own self denial and tending to my own healing. No one was the wiser (unless you lived with me) because it all looked so normal and logical.
Here I am, returning to that place on the spiral that has yet again brought me home. I think I’ll stay awhile this time. Lay my bundles in a corner, start a fire, sweep out the cobwebs, set the kettle on for tea. It’s time I sat in my comfy chair, put my feet up and had a chat with myself while I rest. We have met once again on this journey, Bright Eyes and I. I hold her gently cradled in my hands, smiling at her and wondering if I might try on her clothing. Some will fit perfectly, others will need alterations and yet others will need to be lovingly packed into treasure boxes. This remerging of Self requires everything I have. That is the price she requires this time. All or nothing. All of me, heart, mind, body and soul. No holding back. All in or pack her away again for a later time. I can’t pack her away again, though. She won’t fit my pack anymore. She has become too heavy for concealed carry. I don’t want to hide anymore. I’m tired. To myself I surrender.