Day 93 - Solitary Islands, Bridges & Hiking to a New Perspective.
So I left off yesterday with me building a bridge out of my marriage and onto a new life that is totally and completely mine. As I look back, I marvel at my architectural abilities and how much courage it took to step out on the experimental construction that I needed to make my exit. It was a shaky start and I was unsure the newborn construction would hold my weight and the weight of my new life. But like everything else in life, I took one step at a time and by the time I was halfway across I knew I would never turn back. I could not turn back. The time for self delusion and betrayal over. I would no longer allow myself to participate in something so dishonest. I knew that moving forward I would have to tell the sometimes inconvenient truth, this would be required to preserve the new found freedom that I worked so hard for...
So I have been on my solitary island now for almost five years. I have allowed a couple of others to build a bridge onto my rocky shores. I have attempted to assist in one construction project, wholly committed to its completion. However, this project was abandoned two years in and is now quite the eyesore on the coastline of my life. I will fully admit that I have walked that forsaken bridge so many times, walked strong emotions out and back. I am coming to see this lost cause as another bridge to freedom for me. It has taken a long time but I can see how much this particular bridge was needed in my life, even though I would often prefer that it looked different and was a completed endeavor. I no longer see it as a blight on my coastline.
I was hiking with a friend yesterday, we shall call him John. We have both left hard marriages to retreat to islands of our own creation. As we hiked, we discussed out current topography, how we shaped this new habitat and our feelings around sharing said land conservancy with others. He feeling that his whole purpose in the reshaping of his landscape designed to accommodate a partner. He, so sure that he is ready for love and commitment and a willingness to share his stake in his landscaped life. I listened to him as he reviewed and relived his past failures. What he learned from them, how he was unclear what to do differently. A man seemingly caught in the nice guys finish last syndrome. He wanting more than anything to find a woman to love and pour his attention upon and have her love him in return. I heard his frustration at giving all that he had to the last relationship, only to be told that he gave too much, not in the right way, and to have ended up holding the proverbial bag when she just left one day.
As I listened to him, I felt sorry for his plight. Sure that there were many men that might say the same thing about me. That I was hard to please. That no matter what they did, they could never get it right. Some of them would be right, there was nothing they could have done that would have made me happy because my unhappiness was a direct result of my own inner unresolved turmoil. I tried to explain to him that likely this was what was wrong with this woman too. I am not sure he heard me. Sometimes, you can be perfect but because the person you are giving your love to is broken, their heart and love receptor inoperable, it doesn’t matter what you give, how much you give it, it will never, ever be enough or the right kind or at the right time.
This caused me to think about what I wrote yesterday. Was my ex-husband set up? If he would have really appreciated me from the beginning would that have really changed things? Of course, it would have but I am not sure it would have saved the marriage. We both were broken in ways that loving someone, cherishing another was not possible. I thought about how much my ex would likely say that I was never satisfied. I thought about how much I would say that wasn’t true. It made me sad to realize how much two people who did love each other could totally fuck something up. How we could be in such close proximity to each other and completely miss each other.
This caused me to review my current occupation of my landscape. Was I really so hard to please? Was I beyond the reach of a loving gesture? Have I so isolated myself in my life that I am outside the sphere of loving influence and grace?
I shared some of these thoughts with John as we hiked. Him confident that he is ready for his final relationship, me concerned that perhaps my final relationship will be with myself. I admired his grit and determination to find another. Totally committed to spending his time, money and energy to partner again. Me, I feel still wandering around my island sanctuary, completely lost in the landscape. I feel isolated but protected. I feel whole and complete in my aloneness. So much so that it is hard for me to imagine sharing it with another. Not because I don’t want to, but because I think my last failure completely decimated my ability to lie to myself anymore. And maybe lying is a required ingredient for a lasting relationship. Truth being a hard reconciler.
So as the sun faded yesterday, John and I walked the trails of my mountain getaway. He sure and committed, me unsure and uncommitted in another way. His path requiring another to walk with him for his own salvation. Mine a looming question that feels often that my path too narrow for another to walk with me. Maybe I am hard to please. Maybe I can only please myself. Maybe I am meant to walk to the end alone.
What I noticed was that John’s current landscape lacked something that mine did not. His path requiring the presence of another while mine was open and more expansive. I wondered which one of us was wrong....which one of misguided in the course set. I realized that it didn’t matter what course we set. Life, the great equalizer, would bring what she would bring to each of us in our own time. I felt comforted by this thought. That my only job is to walk my path and welcome those that I come across along the way. Having abandoned the pursuit of others on other paths, I felt content and at home in the wild. Open to walking in the evening dusk with a friend as much as I was to walking the setting sun alone. I realized I am ok either way and that has to count for something.