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Effortlessly Average

Sort of half-heartedly leading the charge into mediocrity since, oh, let's say around 1987 or so.

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Location: Roaming (additional charges may apply), Argentina

Proof that with internet access and a powerful laxative, even insipid people will blog; the place where your excellence and my mediocrity collide; where my Karma whips ass on your dogma.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Three Things

I received this in my inbox today and, considering our situation, thought it fitting.

Three things in life that, once gone, never come back
1. Time
2. Words
3. Opportunity

Three things in life that can destroy a person
1. Anger
2. Pride
3. Unforgiveness

Three things in life that you should never lose
1. Hope
2. Peace
3. Honesty

Three things in life that are never certain
1. Fortune
2. Success
3. Dreams

Three things that make a person
1. Commitment
2. Sincerity
3. Hard work

Three things in life that are most valuable
1. Love
2. Family & Friends
3. Kindness

I suppose that sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own pain, our own uncertainty, that we forget that much of who we are and wish to be is dependent upon how well we remember these Three Things.

Oh, and I ran across this blog yesterday and just couldn't stop reading her. Take special note, should you decide to throw caution to the wind and click that link, of her philosophy and why it's all "pink" in this entry.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Profound Thought

"Seldom or never does a marriage develop into a lasting relationship smoothly without crisis. There is no birth of consciousness without pain." -C. G. Jung

I can think of nothing more descriptive of both what I'm feeling lately and what I hope for the future. I feel as if I'm traveling blind down a dark road, at the end of which may be the gates of Heaven... or perhaps the entrance to Hell.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"We Two Form A Multitude" - Ovid

Sometimes I'm afraid to even hope anymore, and I hate the fragmented feeling that gives me, as if I'm unable to move forward alone because she may want to return but unable to move forward together because she may not. And it's worse when I feel as if everything I do - or don't do - is another step in the wrong direction. When am I allowed to start hoping again?

"Perfect love means to love anyway, the one through whom one became unhappy." - Soren Kierkegaard

Monday, July 02, 2007

Baby Steps...

Originally posted on the FreeRangeFamily blog on 6/27, but moved here.

Ya know, I’ve begun several times to write this post, and just keep deleting every attempt. So I’m going to shoot from the hip, just to get my thoughts on the page and see where it takes me, even though I’m sure it’ll end up far longer than I want it to be.

BuddhaWife’s now in her own place and the house, especially our closet, seems entirely too empty now. Frankly, I don’t really even want to live here anymore, but her being gone isn’t the only reason why (a story for another time) and I’ve decided that a scenery change is in my not too distant future. I’m also trying to get used to having so much space to myself in the bed and moving about my day when everywhere I look is a ghost of her. My counseling is going very well, though, and I’ve come to realize a great deal already about not only what's goind on, but who I am, who she is, and more importantly why we are the way we are. I've started to identify things that are either my fault and I can correct or are not my fault but for which I’ve both tried to compensate or take responsibility for.

For my part, I’ve acted like an idiot over this last handful of weeks. But before I travel down the road toward self-abuse (a historical habit I’ve recently broken), I should note that BW and I have been together so long that the last time I was confronted with anything like this experience I was still a veritable child. Back then, few of us really even know what love is, let alone how to handle feelings of rejection or abandonment. When I started to feel her drift away, I played in my mind the events from back then and acted the way that child would have acted. Not good. But what is good is that I’ve been able to realize that while it may have been sophomoric and certainly not something I ever care to repeat, it’s also water under the bridge and all I can do going forward, now that I have the tools (and am learning how to use them properly), is continue to nurture this far more productive means of understanding and expressing my hurt feelings.

Isn’t it both tragic and ironic that often the most meaningful growth comes on the heals of the most painful experiences? I remember a calligraphy card my grandmother had on her fridge for years following the death of one of my cousins that read “what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.” At the time I misread “stronger” to be “stranger.” I guess either could be true depending on the person and circumstances, huh? Anyway, my reaction to this situation hasn’t been what I’d call stellar. Fear and pain have driven me to a place I don’t enjoy being. Not all the time and not every day, mind you, but too often. Sometimes I’ve been ok, other times not. I’ve never physically lashed out at her; I never have and never would do that. But sometimes reactions to situations we can’t control cause our feelings to get the best of us. And when the uncertainty and pain tried to overwhelm me, I found it hard to cling to the joy I feel inside over finally knowing where I want to be in life, over finally having let go the past without trying to shoulder the weight of every screw-up I’ve ever made.

I suppose you could say I was “watching the tree,” which to me can be summed up by imagining driving on a deserted road when suddenly your car slides out of control and you become aware that you’re headed straight for the only freaking tree you’ve seen anywhere on the stupid road. As your eyes lock onto it, your car makes a beeline right for it. And because that’s where your focus is, that’s where your unconscious actions (steering, braking, screaming “oh my God we’re gonna die!”, whatever) will take you. Instead I should have been paying more attention to where I wanted to go. I suppose it’s normal that in moments of panic or unusual stress we fixate, too often, on the worst case scenario. I’ve done too much of that this last month; I’ve been watching the tree.

Well, I have discovered that sometimes words are pretty weak vessels for saying I’m sorry and for my part, I have three things I need to continue to work on.

I haven’t given her enough of a voice. This stems from my occasional insecurity (itself rooted in a belief that I didn’t “matter” if I didn’t have financial means) and it has made me force her to avoid talking or joking about subjects I didn't want to face. If we're to have a strong marriage, she needs to be able to speak her mind, even if it’s about something I don’t enjoy hearing. That’s a partnership, that’s a mutual respect. Silencing her is not.

I have to listen to her more, not just hear her talking so I can respond. I'm a man, which means I want to fix things. When she talked, I would search for buttons to push or levers to pull that would make it all ok. If things still seemed broken, I’d return to the same conversations and questions in a search to discover why my "fixes" didn't fix anything, which just frustrates her more.

Finally, I need to trust her. I've been hurt before. And when those people left they made very personal, very cruel statements that cut deeply enough that I've never allowed the wounds to heal completely. When this all blew up on BW and me, I returned to those painful memories and tried to fit those results into this experience. If we're to make this work, I need to trust that she's trying to come together again. I need to be serious about it and not repeat the same patterns that helped lead us here. Yeah, she's got work to do as well, but that's her. All I can do is work on me and hope she recognizes that I am a man she can be happy with for another two decades. She’s told me more than once that her doing this is not a means to escape our marriage, but a means to determine how we can be married and still feel that she has a connected, healthy individuality. Whereas I’ve been watching the tree. And it’s caused us to be afraid to be around each other because we’re both afraid of not knowing what we’ll get from the other when we’re close together.

She's my Family, so no, I don’t want to go forward without her. But I understand that I can’t make her stay. More importantly, I don’t want to make her stay. I want her to be happy. Yes, I want her to be happy with me, but I want her to be happy regardless. I don’t want to enjoy my new-found perspective on life alone and I firmly believe we have far more reason to stay together than be apart, but that’s really neither here nor there is it? Because I will enjoy it regardless of what she decides, even if it may not feel like it in the beginning.

My focus now is living the life of the man I feel I’m becoming and allowing BW to be the woman I fell in love with all those years ago. I want my life to mean more than just what I can acquire. I want to do things. That much has been a part of me for the last few years. What is different is that I no longer begrudge those who "acquire." What’s different is that I no longer loathe myself for my past mistakes. And I don’t feel the need to hate those who’ve hurt me in the past. I accept that there will be times when my inner critic will try to assert itself, sure. But I know what to do to defeat him and it gets easier every week. Liberating? Absolutely. But also a little sad that it took this to force that final step. Oh well, also neither here nor there. At least it’s done.

What we need is time to heal. Our union cannot survive as long as that fear between us exists because eventually the only path that will feel sane, for either of us, is divorce. We need to stop feeling as if we have to eggshell around each other just to be in the same room so that we can begin to remember why we love each other so much.. Without healing, there can’t be any compassion. Without compassion, no understanding. And without that… how can anyone move forward together? And that right there – healing, compassion, understanding – has been the piece that’s been missing for me. And I have wonderful friends who have helped me see that. I wonder how I ever got so lucky to have friends like you. You’ve helped me see that sometimes the most profound, truest testament to loving someone is the one that scares you the most.

That being said, I’m submitting myself totally to her will. As someone else dear to me recently put it, tongue in cheek, she’s “the boss.” I haven’t trusted BW enough in this, despite her having never given me a reason not to, even now. She's made it clear numerous times that divorce is not the goal, even if it is a possibility. I need to stop making it a greater possibility by stopping myself from being so nervous around her and just giving her space. I'm convinced that's one reason she left. Even the mere anticipation of being around each other caused our emotions to amp up to the point where we're depressed just to come home and I didn’t leave her alone enough when we were together. So she got her own place to act as a sanctuary, not as a means to escape our marriage. It is what it is. Only time will make that better. She doesn’t have to return; she doesn’t have to stay. Yes, it will be a new and uncertain future without her by my side, but I want her to be at my side because she wants to be, not out of obligation.

"I have embarked on a wide ocean, boundless in it's opportunities, but in which, perhaps, no safe harbor is to be found." -George Washington, 1775

Sunday, July 01, 2007

One Toe in the Water...

Things here are tough, on both of us. I know we still very much love each other. But the feelings are too raw to maintain perspective when we're orbiting each other every day. She needs space; I need a chance to evaluate where I fit into this big universe.

This last several weeks has been torture. I have felt helpless that one of the most wonderful people I've ever been blessed to know appears to be drifting away from me. I have been scared. I have felt insecure. And it has made me feel insignificant and abandoned and act in ways I'm not proud of.

But through it all I've also come to realize things about myself that I was never willing to face before. All I can say is I am coming to grips with how to handle my emotions when I'm hurt, but it takes time; time that I hope and pray she's still willing to grant. Most times I feel stronger, and for the first time I can recall, I finally know where my solid ground lies.

We've been through a lot, she and I. She has inspired me to challenge my conventional ways of thinking; to open my eyes to the greater world around me. But something always seemed to be missing. I felt as if I'd gone 8/10ths of the way there, yet just couldn't make that final step. BW once posted on our travel site that she had finally found her "church;" that in the process of the most mundane task her epiphany came and she knew where she fit into the universe. I was happy for her and a bit envious because while I felt significant and worthwhile, I didn't feel that I mattered.

So it is now that I realize what wonderful friends I have found over the last few years, some of whom have stood where I stand now. I don't know how I got lucky enough to have the friends I do; friends I didn't even realize I love so much until this last month. I wish I had them here every day to hug and laugh with. They all mean more to me than I'm able to articulate here and I hope they understand when I see them this weekend if I hug them just a little longer than I used to.

From their thoughts and heartfelt affirmations of support I have found comfort and hope that BW and I are not over yet. In the words of one:

"...I have always enjoyed the beauty of how different you and [BW] are and yet how perfectly you fit together. It is a falsehood and a lie that either of you would be better off without the other. There is hope for your situation brother…it may not look like it to either of you right now, but seeing your situation from the outside, I assure you there is hope!"

Clearly the way I've dealt with my feelings is not productive. I have learned so much already but I need to continue to learn how to silence my inner critic who just loves to fill in the gaps and write his own endings to the things BW doesn't say. As another dear friend advised:

"...Are you being true to yourself? Are you willing to work for this, even if it means coming out of your comfort zone to the point of complete breakdown of all your thoughts on how this is, should be, or would be? It's hard to cry, think, share, and go through the emotions if you are not able to be in a space where you can be authentic. It's a most selfless act to stand by someone's side like that. And it's a gift of love, respect, and courage for one to support another like that. It's not giving up or a final decision. It's space."

And she's right. I have not been true to myself. I've let my fear and insecurity command my actions. Sometimes I've been in control of them; other times they spiral right out of control again. But changing that isn't a one-time event. You can't weed your garden once and expect it to stay weed free. It'll take time; it'll take work on my part. But in the interim I need to remember that some of the hope I have can come from what BW has not said. She hasn't said she wants a divorce. As a matter of fact, she's said "that's not what I want" when the subject has come up. Yes, we both accept that it's a possibility, but there are so many other things that would have to happen (or not happen) in between now and that step. I know there are no guarantees, but I choose to believe this is not the end of us. She is my best friend. She makes me laugh.

She is my Family. I choose to support her, even in this, even if it sometimes
makes me want to cry myself into a coma over fear that it's another step toward
never waking up next to her again.

She told me once not long ago that I was making this a bigger deal than it really is. I think we both agree it's serious and she's pulled no punches in saying there's a chance it won't work out. But at the same time we both know there are many reasons to stay together; it just has to be happily together, because neither of us likes the person she becomes when she feels disconnected from those she loves or the person I become when I feel like I don't matter to her.

It's just space. It doesn't have to end in divorce, but I do understand that she's been dealing with her issues too long to just accept that on faith. I'm going to have to show her I'm serious about being true to myself and letting her be who she is because I do not want to change her. I married her for who she is, not to change her into someone
else. And that means I have to deal with my own insecurities, on my own. And
when I think about it pragmatically, she's not acting like someone who wants to
escape me forever; she's acting like someone who's tired of the same conversations and just wants her own space and time to figure things out. As she said yesterday, it'll be just one toe in the water with me for a time. I think if I focus on the positive and try to understand not only how she feels but how I interpret and react to both our emotions, we have a chance to continue forward together.

So I accept that the heartache of this change, challenge, and grief, is NORMAL. That I must embrace every feeling as an accomplishment to healing. I know now that it's the storm within that allows for the calm to come. If it were not for this, how is growth measured? What would we have for those that need our experience in the future? This time is something that should not be minimized or thrown away. We allow, we grieve, we conquer, and then we share for those that need it later.

So I ask.....What is good? That can be the daily question to build upon. For me, today, it is my final understanding that I have a place in the universe that doesn't hinge on my ability to be envied by others for who I am or what I own. It is an allowance for the love I have for my son and daughter in continuing to build upon that new found security. There are people in my life that look to me for their growth and with that I choose to grow myself. I finally see a change in the way I view the world that I find
exciting. I am alive, and I have choices, dreams, ambitions, goofiness, and laughter. I will continue to love, honor, and cherish my wife. She's not perfect; neither am I. But she's what I want. And more than that, I want us to be happy together.

- The Number of People Stunned by My Mediocrity