Sunday, November 16, 2014
Editor's note: Yes, this is a fishing blog (not that I've given it the maintenance or the TLC it truly deserves of late--and perhaps this post will explain that), but sometimes it's wise to focus on life behind the fishing. The reality. Fishing is an escape for some and for others, like me, it's a God-damned necessity. But reality... the life we live when the fish aren't watching... sometimes it deserves a good examination. So here goes:
I remember sitting across the room from my therapist. She had listened to me--to us--for some time, and I could tell something was different about this visit. She was finally going to pull it out of me. I was going to have to be honest with her. And with myself. It had been months in the works, honestly. But it was also the moment when a decision went from "Good grief, am I going to this?" to "I don't think I have a choice." We had talked about communicating more clearly. Being more thoughtful. Being better parents. We talked about how we fought... how we argued. How we hurt one another.
We talked a lot about overcoming a loss of trust... betrayal. Full-on Biblical "Thou shalt not..." Ten Commandments shit.
But now, it was just the two of us. Me and the therapist. Her diplomas declaring her eligibility to help me with this heady shit suddenly made sense to me. She looked me right in the eyes and made a profound statement.
"Sometimes, we're just done."
Then she leaned in. With her forefinger, she slipped a wisp of hair from her face and tucked it behind her ear. She exhaled, looked at the floor, and then lifted her eyes to mine once again. She seemed almost as uncomfortable as I felt.
"Are you done?"
That was about 18 months ago. It seems like an eternity, now, but it's not, really. My "post-married" life really began right there in that 10-by-10 cluttered office of a very thoughtful, very compassionate woman who, in reality, awarded me with a second chance. And today, I see it as an award. A fucking trophy. Pin that medal on my chest, baby. I earned it.
"Yeah," I said. "I'm done."
And then I sobbed. I put my face in my hands, and I let the tears flow. I grieved for my lost love, and pulled the plug on 20 years.
Since that day, I've come to value the love of my children more than I knew was possible. I've come appreciate the difficulty of having to do things without the traditional help a partner often brings to the table, and I truly wonder at the generosity of those who come to my rescue because they see that I am worthy of rescuing. Perhaps most importantly, I've come to realize that I'm no shoo-in for Father of the Year. Some of my long-standing, long-held opinions of myself faded quickly and I realized that this decision to move on ... to be done... had far-reaching impacts of the nuclear variety. My kids survived the blast, but the shockwaves have been noticeable, palpable. They hurt because of what I decided to do, but they both understand. Happiness is a work in progress, and sometimes, shedding the anger and the resentment that comes at the tail end of a failed marriage... well, that's the necessary evil. To feel better eventually sometimes means you have to feel pretty shitty in the short-term.
But then it was exciting. I learned that I was desirable. Attractive. I regained some of my lost confidence. I found a tenuous grip on my mojo, and I held onto it. No, I'm not perfect... I'm no "catch," so to speak. But I'm someone worth getting to know. I got lost in the simple maintenance of a ruse. A farce. A façade. And now, I'm real. A little raw, perhaps a bit unrefined. I still think fart jokes are funny, and occasionally, I'll piss on the rim. I might be a "fixer-upper," but I have a strong foundation and a good frame.
Today, it all makes sense. Today... this day... I know that being "done" is truly liberating. That the Kryptonite doesn't work any longer. That I'm impenetrable. That no matter how hurtful the words and the deeds, I am immune to derisive resentment and unfiltered anger.
The insanity of what I once did because I thought I had to--not because it made sense--is gone. I have clarity. Understanding. The cosmic "meaning of life," while still unknown, doesn't seem like it might always be so. And I have people who love me spotting me. It's been a tough lift at times, but I haven't dropped the bar yet.
I am OK. And I'm going to be just fine, damn it. Just fine.