I had a dream last night that my ex was in. Not just any ex. You know, the ex. I think most of us have (usually) one of these. Whether it was the one who broke your heart the most, the one who made you the craziest, the one who got away, etc., (or perhaps some combination of all of the above). When I was talking to my wife about my dream and my ex’s resurfacing in my subconscious this morning (he has a habit of doing that every once in a while, and I have yet to concretely figure out why), our fourteen year old came and sat down with us. As we were trying to explain why this particular ex was a bigger deal than any of my other exes, my wife seemed to sum it up perfectly.
“He’s like her heroine,” she told our daughter. I’ve talked about this ex -we’ll just call him J here – with my wife in great detail, so she knew exactly what the dream had stirred up for me and a good idea of where my thoughts were wandering.
I sat with that idea for a few minutes and decided it was probably pretty accurate. While it’s true that my “relationship” with J ended almost a decade ago and I like to think I’ve gotten smarter since then, I got stupid around him, just like people do on heroine. Heroine is not one of those drugs that you can try once and only do occasionally. Smart people check themselves into rehab after doing heroine once. I was not smart then. It took me a long time to get smart. One look from him, and I would be gone. I had melted into a puddle on the floor. I paid for witnessing and sharing in the infrequent bursts of brilliance when his true self emerged by letting him play me and treat me poorly. He broke my heart more times than I remember, and I willingly submitted to it until I decided not to anymore. I used to say that he would be amazing if not for that small personality flaw of being an arrogant asshole. Those moments of brilliance were pretty incredible. It took me a little while to realize I was completely in love with him and then it took me even longer to quit him cold turkey. Even after I had, I would know when he was near or in town. I would know shortly before he tried to contact me (which he did several times, despite my having said I never wanted to hear from him again). The connection I had with him was one for which I have few words. And I knew him. I realized years later after I began studying Witchcraft and Paganism that I have known him life times upon life times before. I’m not sure what lessons we were meant to teach each other and help each other learn this time around, but it feels like we still have unfinished business. I will forever be grateful to him for helping me to find my Fire – because it took a shit ton of it for me to be able to leave him and cut myself off.
So when I woke this morning from the dream with visions of his dark, shoulder length wavy hair, turquoise and hazel eyes, broad shoulders, chiseled cheek bones, and heart-shaped lips in my mind, I just shook my head and chuckled. This was an atypical reaction for me. When I’ve dreamt about him in the past, I’ve woken up angry or frustrated or sad (and, of course, horny). But this morning was different. As I sat with the difference, I realized that, Oh, despite all of the shit he’d piled on top of who he truly was and how much he had hurt me, I was still in love with him. And not the “in love with him to the point where I would allow myself to get stupid again” kind because that is not love. It can get tangled up with love, but it’s not the same thing. And I certainly was not, nor am I now, in love with the shit piled on top of his essence. It’s his essence that I will probably always be in love with. And the packaging for that essence this time around just flat does it for me. I’m a total sucker for dark hair and light eyes to begin with but add in the broad shoulders, put some wave in the hair, and toss in some sculpted cheekbones, and I’m done. And in that moment of realization, probably for the first time, I did not try to fight being in love with him. I just accepted it. Accepting didn’t mean I had to contact him, to try to rebuild or recreate some kind of relationship with him on any level. I just sat with it and acknowledged that it was.
After I’d gotten myself coffee, I looked him up on facebook for the first time without feeling guilty or like I was betraying myself. He doesn’t look very different. I did not message him or friend request him, much to the disappointment of our 14 yr old. I don’t remember what I told her when she asked why – that might have been when my wife pointed out he was my heroine. As I drove to work, though, I thought about it. The only reason at the moment I would have for contacting him would be an ambiguous curiosity, and while flirting with the idea of doing so in my head is one thing (and mildly entertaining), I’ve decided without clearer intention than that, the only possible thing I could create from doing so would be a hot mess. I certainly don’t need any of those right now. So instead, I will enjoy this knowing that I am still in love and that I can simply accept it. And I will marvel that I can indeed be in love with two people at once (I hadn’t been sure this was entirely possible for me). And I will enjoy this reignited spark of my sexuality that visions of J stirred up. 😉
I have been itching to get back here the past couple days, but between eating, sleeping, working, and just plain breathing, there hasn’t been the time. So, tonight, I’ve carved some out and voila! Here I be.
The past couple days, I have had moments where I’ve felt some of that old energy (remember – the crap piled on top of me stuff) try to sneak back in. It’s come, at varying times, like a slug doggedly trudging its way across the surface of my Self and leaving behind its toxic residue or like a big bucket of slime got dumped on my head and started seeping into my brain. Not a pleasant experience overall, I will say – either way. Each time, I did not have my Goddess amulet that represented my Future Self on my person. I’ve determined that it is like training wheels as I venture in this process (Momma made sure to point out to me the day I devoured my self that this was not an event, but a process).
Unlike the seemingly myriad times when I’ve attempted this before, the fact that it is a process is not frustrating to me now. It doesn’t lead me to grind my teeth until my jaw is sore or have me pitching fits like a 3 yr old who doesn’t want to take a nap. Instead, it’s more of a comfort. Like when you’re starting to learn something new and exciting that you’re passionate about, each and every little tidbit is a fabulous adventure – even when you fall down once in a while.
In my process of revolutionizing/extreme make-over-ing/transforming/transmuting/etc. my self/Self that I’m adventuring in at the moment, I’ve decided I am tired of all the music I’ve been listening to. I’ve never ventured out into this realm on my own to hunt down new and happy music – I’ve always told someone I’m looking for new material and somebody ends up delivering. This time, though, I wanted to explore this realm for myself; an activity equal parts act of independence and self-discovery. Like most of the juicy goodness life has to offer, I’m learning this is a time-consuming task; but, fortunately for me, it serves up some immediate gratification. I’d like to share one of my new discoveries with you that also is very apt for me at the moment!
Oh, and p.s. I. Love. Her. Hair.
This will be my first north Florida winter. Having grown up in southwestern Pennsylvania, that sounds like an oxymoron. The trees here (you know, the ones that aren’t palm trees) have begun to change colors in earnest. I’m told that supposedly most of them don’t ever participate in that great seasonal strip-tease and truly ever get naked. Somehow, it seems, just as they get ready to unburden themselves from those heavy, now-russet, sunflower, and crimson clothes, new green clothes just take their place. I hope this is not true because it would be sad at me if the trees never got the opportunity to shake off the year of their clothes and get to dance naked in the winter sun and moonlight. I also have a hard time believing this – the mere physics of it baffles me, and the coating of dead leaves that covers the entire lawn of the wooded lot that our little house is nestled into speaks on my behalf. Regardless, I will be sure to report as to whether this seemingly miraculous event takes place.
But I will say that, myriad palm trees be damned, it smells like winter here today. We got our Yule/Christmas tree – and on December 6th, the day of St. Nicholas, to boot which we haven’t been able to do for the past couple years. I’m not sure what kind of tree he is, other than the soft-needled kind, or, according to my wife, the “huggy” kind. I am reveling in the purchase of this kind of tree because when I was growing up, we never got this kind even though it was my favorite. My mom in her neurotic cleanliness didn’t want to clean up all the pine needles that this kind of tree supposedly drop more often than other types of trees. And tonight, we will have a fire in our fireplace, play happy Christmas/Yule music, and dress Giorgio (we named our tree) in fabulous yuletide bobbles and maquillage. It will be splendiferous.
I am writing not really because I can think of anything in particular to say at the moment but because 1) it is a good idea to check in with myself/Self, 2) when I initially check in with myself I find I am feeling a little restless and writing is a good outlet for that, 3) my wife just yelled at (but, you know, not really) our 14 yr old because she hasn’t journaled, and if my wife/Teacher asks if I have journaled, Iwould like to be able to say, ‘yes!’ so I can avoid getting yelled at, and 4) this is a little secret that I have only shared with my immediate family but I am going to be brave and say it here – I want to write novels. Yes, plural, though, of course I’ll start with just one. But in order to do that, I need to find my voice, you know, the one that is unique to just me. And writing is good for that, too. So, here I am.
So, this restlessness I am feeling. It is, I believe, the hallmark of transitioning. I mentioned our 14 yr old, and it is funny to me because there is a part of me that feels adolescent in this moment. After all, it is one of the quintessential times of transition one goes through in life – regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, ethnic background, geography, ability, spiritual affiliation, etc. Everyone that has lived to, according to researchers at this point, 25 has completed this transition and everyone who has at least reached the age of 13 has begun to experience it. And though it is true that currently my face is broken out (which I think should be illegal after one reaches 30), I don’t mean that kind of adolescence. I mean the kind where so much is going on below the surface, like billions of little tornadoes of development just whirling in a frenzy of creation and change inside. And, like I have just bought three different new outfits and a bunch of new makeup and can’t decide what to put on and go out to parade in or perhaps I just want to stay inside and change my clothes and eyeshadow a billion times. And like I have finally admitted to wanting a really amazing gift that I only just got the courage to ask for and now want so desperately that my skin sings with the longing for it AND I was told I could have it…soon, but I need to be patient. And if you’ve ever known an adolescent, you know that, on the whole, they are not the most patient lot.
And while transitions are frequently messy (creation, after all, is a messy process – look at the act of giving birth), there is such beauty in the process. And so, while I am restless, I am also joyful and giddy, even. I think I’ve been giddy before (my wife could probably attest to that), but it has been so long, that it is like a thrilling adventure into a foreign territory. I realize the varying string of analogies might induce a headache for some, but it is so exciting I don’t want to help it. Like an exquisite dish or wine or painting, there are so many flavors and colors and dimensions to describe that to stop wouldn’t do it justice. Ha! See, I did it again. Writing critics be damned, I’ll keep going, too. I am like a young woman awaiting a long-promised lover, except that this time, the lover is Me.
WRO wrote a beautiful post that had me cheering her on and applauding the wisdom she displayed (and that I have lacked when considering or venturing into relationships). See, the pattern I have engaged in with every single relationship is that I sacrifice my identity on the altar of it. Maybe that’s not entirely accurate, because, to be honest, I’m not convinced I ever had possession of my identity to begin with. But, that’s the gist of it. I make myself into who I perceive my partner to need or, in perhaps more often, into a replica of them. The historical result has been, of course, that the other person becomes worshipful or tired of this identity I’ve put on, both of which I grow to resent and a messy break-up has ensued. My wife has been the sole exception to these results. I’m not saying I haven’t made her crazy with my mimicking of her (which I’ve done and it has made her crazy, and she has told me about it) or that she hasn’t gotten tired of it (she most certainly has). Yet, as I said in my previous post, she has the patience of a saint, and she loves me unconditionally – both of which are testaments to her character and don’t have a damn thing to do with me. I just started reading Eat, Pray, Love, by the way, and was a little unnerved by the similarities between myself and Ms. Elizabeth Gilbert – I mean, even down to the speaking French and Russian background bit. Crazy. Anyway, when I read WRO’s post about “marrying her Self,” I was struck with that fabulous and foreign-to-me idea. Lovely!
And in keeping with some concepts from Eat, Pray, Love, I am not going to try to fix or get rid of my giddy, excited, joyful and agitated restlessness. I’m going to just be those things right now and be with them. Though, I think I’ll continue to do that in a bubble bath…
I am currently in a space that I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever been in before. It is a still and quiet space and it is full of emptiness. How can a space be full of emptiness? Honestly, I don’t know how that works either, but I know that it is. Why do we characterize emptiness as a “bad” thing? I know that in my own head (a dangerous place to spend too much time) when I say the word ’empty’, the emotional response that first pops up is sadness, but in a variety of flavors and intensities. And when I step back and observe it non-judgmentally, it is like rice paper. Thin, flimsy, filmy, and a little dingey and dirty. Like an old white t-shirt that the washing machine can no longer restore to its initial brilliance. That tells me that it is not Truth. At least not all the time, and certainly not in this instance. This emptiness is clean and crisp, like a fresh canvas or maybe more accurately, like a fresh bulk of sculpting clay, waiting. And its silence is a music all to itself.
I sit in this white, crisp and clean fresh room/space, and I acknowledge that I – not my True Self, but all the crap I have piled on top of that brilliant and radiant Essence that I know is buried under here somewhere – am making myself miserable; not to mention, I imagine, making the people who love me anyway, crazy. It is a consclusion that I first reached last night. This I – the crap piled on top of Me, I – has sought transformation, half-heartedly, many times. But, again, when I step back, it looks like those attempts have just pasted shiney pieces on top of the crap. But the shiney pieces don’t stay shiney, and soon, they just look like everything else, and no real change has occured. It’s like setting out on a path to an amazing destination, but convincing myself that the directional signs I encounter point the exact opposite way they really do and so I’ve walked around in circles and, of course, end up right where I started. The result is that I feel more confused, disoriented, exhausted, discouraged, and frustrated altogether.
So last night (I think it may have been when I was lying in bed before I fell asleep but I’m not entirely sure), I recognized myself as being right back at that same starting point, except this time, I also recognized that little bit I mentioned above about making myself miserable. Possibly for the first time ever, I admitted that to myself. Always before, I would point to circumstances around and outside of me – people, situations, my bank account balance (a consistent favorite of mine), etc. Events over the past few days had catapaulted that little fact into my consciousness. My response to a gentle and inordinately patient prompt from my wife as to what I needed the other night when I’d thrown a temper tantrum about not having eggs in the house and had come back after having gotten them (I had started to bake chocolate chip cookies and ended up driving out to go get them in an energetically violent huff) was a personality transplant. You mean me, she asked? No – I need one, I had responded, as I journaled the ridiculousness of my outburst so as to not put any of that shit into the cookies I still planned to bake. I am telling you, if we were Roman Catholic, my wife would have been canonized years ago. Her response was to pick up our sea salt grinder and immediately shower me in the stuff. Back to last night, though. After acknowledging that I make me miserable, I informed Momma that I think I might finally be at that point where I am willing to truly and irrevocably change. Not like any of the myriad times before, but completely different. I also told Her that I knew it might be a difficult road, and that I would need Her help to tap into that crazy-oomphy-Divine Will that’s buried somewhere in my core that I struggle to access on a conscious level but seem to be able to do fine when it’s completely unconscious and unintentional. Please, please, please, I begged. Help me to do this. After I’d woken up (not just the physical part of that, but, you know, my brain was awake), and I stopped to breathe a moment, I found myself here. In this white and beautifully empty-filled room.
I did a spiral journey reading with my Goddess amulets revealing my gifts and talents; my childhood wishes; my secrets; my pleasures and treasures; my anger, fear and sadness; my body, mind, and spirit; and, my Future Self. Then I went outside to smoke a cigarette. Outside, I closed my eyes and saw myself in the white room. As I sat there, I don’t remember if I was trying to figure out what my next step needed to be, if I had asked a question. But I saw a vision of myself reaching down and the floor of that space opened as I reached. Vision-me reached for my Self – the one that I’ve buried under all the crap – and an arm came up to grab my arm. My Self’s arm. Vision-me told my Self that I didn’t think I was strong enough to pull Me up from under all the crap. Vision-me didn’t have enough weight or substance to do it. Then I thought that maybe that wasn’t the answer anyway. As soon as I entertained that notion, the idea that this me simply needed to be devoured by Me and then partake in that alchemical process of transmuting all the crap and be the only one left standing. For a moment (probably out of fear that the notion of being devoured inspired), I entertain other possibilities and analogies to get to this same destination. There are none. I know this on a visceral level, more clearly than I know my own name.
All of this I could see happening in this vision in the white room, and where I am now is standing in that white room, starting to bend over. The floor has not yet begun opening up, My arm has not yet reached out toward me, to pull me under and devour me completely. I will because the idea of being consumed in that way by my Self both terrifies me and excites and arouses me on every level imaginable and promises to be ecstatic in a way that I have never experienced before. How could I possible turn down a promise like that? Better yet, why the hell would I? No, I will not turn it down. I simply wanted to pause in this moment, to record this moment as I stand on the precipice of such ecstasy after having inflicted such misery and pain upon myself while it is still pooling around my feet with the sensation of it gripping my ankles with its cold and meely fingers because I know that whatever lies ahead – and for once, I am not attempting to predict it or imagine it, to set an expectation or prepare myself in any way – will be full of the kind of beauty that speaks directly to and of Life. That beauty that a Mother sees and stands in awe of as She watches Her child grow and stumble and make mistakes and get up and learn. The beauty that is so True that the only response is in the language of tears. And I hope that some day, I will look back on this, and I will see that beauty not only in the step I intend to take shortly here, but in the thousands of circular steps that have brought me to where I am now, with all their pain and stubbornness and hardheadedness and determination and folly and arrogance and selfishness and close-mindedness. I honor those steps, as I honor the one I am about to take, and I express gratitude and hope as I lean forward to be devoured by my Self.