Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Regarding Stormy Weather

I recently described how music frequently serves as an indicator of my mood. Well, today's post is inspired by our local weather and sponsored by Frank Sinatra's rendition of "Stormy Weather," a phrase that accurately depicts what's been going on for me lately. (While I heard Billie Holiday running through my head as I composed this post, I picked Frank's rendition because the lyrics match the situation.)

If you saw my previous post, it should come as no surprise that my emotions are in high turmoil. As I work through the necessary arrangements, I find myself experiencing ranges of emotion that flare, swirl, and twist. Pain, grief, anger, resentment, betrayal, confusion, jealousy, fear, and despair all rage through me, through my mind, my heart, and even through my soul. It's an inferno, a deluge, a typhoon, and a shockwave; the four classical elements crashing together in a single emotional overload. And lurking underneath is an ever present sense of soul-crushing loneliness and the utter certainty that I am ultimately broken, unloveable, and unwantable. That somehow, I deserve all of this.

All of this has happened before. All of it will happen again.

I know these are natural responses to what's happened. I know these feelings are a form of depression and a part of the grieving process. It'll pass. (I hope it'll pass.) But even knowing all this, it continues to overwhelm me when it demands to be given voice. Several times over the past days, I've found myself lying on the floor in the middle of the room, sobbing uncontrollably. The emotions are so strong and the despair is so deep.

I don't want to bury these emotions. I've done that so many times in my life that it bubbles back at the worst possible time. No, I need to experience this now and deal with it all. That feels like the only chance I have of getting to true healing.

I'm scared I won't be able to handle the finances; the mortgage on the house needs two paychecks and now there's only one. We bought the house in the final throes of the housing bubble, so it's underwater (meaning we, no...I owe more than it would sell for). The numbers work, but barely. I have to literally watch every penny and will be eating very little when neither of the girls are in residence.

DD and Kara are handling the change as well as can be expected. I haven't seen a lot of DD since the announcement, but she has said she wants me to remain a part of her life. JP's moved to a different part of the city, so I don't know how that will work in the long run. I miss having her (DD...and JP, truth be told) around when I come home from work. I miss being able to get cuddles whenever I want. I miss tucking her into bed at night.

When either (or both) of them are around, I put on a brave face. We distract ourselves with activities, TV, and video games. It's hard for me to focus on anything, though, especially when I'm home alone. I try to watch a DVD, but give it up as a bad job after about five minutes because I can't focus on the story. Sleep is, unsurprisingly, fitful and elusive. Rest even more so.

The pets (four cats and Dog) do their best. They know something's changed and they're all trying to provide as much comfort as they can. Dog seems the most confused; he whines a lot and lies as close to me as he can get. He wants more attention than usual.

The cats all respond in their own unique ways. Tramp is the most affectionate. He sits next to me when I'm on the sofa and he sleeps next to me when I'm in bed. He's always been a loving soul, but he's been even more so lately. He nudges me and gives me lots of kitty kisses and licks, something he rarely did before all this broke.

Pouncer and Climber have enjoyed being able to sleep on the bed again. Climber is usually aloof independent, but she's been very solicitous. She winds herself around my legs, sits on her haunches, and gently places a paw on my knee. She looks at me with such concern, as if to say saying, "It'll be OK, Dad. It'll be better soon." I wish I had her faith.

Even Lady is in on the act. She still spends most of her time outside (and still hisses at the other animals most of the time), but when she's eaten and is ready for some affection, she hops up and burrows into my arm with force. Whenever she can, she's on my lap, demanding to comfort me.

But in the end, I can only try to ride out the storm. I'd lash myself to a metaphorical mast, if I could, but my ship is lost and I find myself drowning in a sea of pain, loss, and despair.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Change Happens

And it came to pass that change became necessary.

There's no easy way to say this, so I'm just going to blurt it out and go from there.

JP and I have decided to part ways; we're going to divorce.

There's no blame here. She's a good person, a terrific mother, and a truly giving friend. I'm a good man, a responsible husband, a loving father, and a devoted partner. We each deserve happiness, we each deserve genuine intimacy, and we each deserve partners who are also our devoted friends, confidantes, partners-in-crime, and lovers.

She's at a place in her life where she can no longer commit to trying to make that happen with me. If you've followed her blog, you know that she's been struggling to find her voice, trying to become that fulfilled person that we all long to be. She's been trying to find the path that leads her to self realization and self actualization.

And her path is taking her in a direction that doesn't include me. My path now lies in a different direction from hers.

This is the beginning of a long process, one that will be filled with many tears and much anguish. I expect to go through a lot of anxiety, fear, and soul-searching before it's over. For the moment, there is a small part of me that feels relief. I know what's going to happen. "What if?" has turned into "What is."

The next stage of my journey has begun. I wonder where it will lead. Hopefully...eventually...to my happiness. And if that's true (and I desperately hope it is), then I take my first steps with purpose.

It's true that my dreams are splintered and that my heart is broken. Much of my personal identity is wrapped up in the roles of father, husband, and lover. Not all, but much. There is great comfort in having someone to come home to, no matter how hectic...or complicated...things get.

This will be painful for our children, of course, though I'm quite certain we will work to comfort and support them through this. JP's older children live outside the house, so they're impacted less. DD will not be happy about this at all, but I also know she'll be able to come and go as she wishes and I'm sure there will be great comfort in that. I've already spoken to her other family and they support my desire to continue to be her step-father in spirit, if not in actual fact.

Kara will want to know how this affects her relationship with her "seester." They've really bonded. I know it's been hard for her to bond with JP without feeling like she's betraying her other mother. But, I'll help her through it. Truth be told, she'll probably want to try to help me through this. Ah, to be ten years old again.

I've been through this before, though. I survived. I'll survive this, too.

To our online (and RL) friends, I don't believe either one of us is going to ask you to take sides or to choose between us. I'm sure some of you will naturally gravitate to one or the other, but I also hope that some of you will choose to develop and maintain separate friendships with each of us. For those who'll lean toward her, thank you for allowing me to share, if only for a short time, your journey. I'll miss you.

For those who decide to stick around, thank you. I may not be much fun at cocktail parties for a little while, but I am looking forward to finding my balance and my future. Your help and support will be invaluable.

And, to JP, who I know will read this at some point, I'm sorry we couldn't find that place where we were both commited to the same thing. You know I love you with all my heart. You know how important our family is to me. You know how much I miss our time together. You've taught me much and I truly hope you find what you seek. Adieu, cherie. Adieu.


Photo credit: Sea Turtle


Thursday, March 12, 2009


I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

-- Bene Gesserit Prayer,
as quoted in Dune, by Frank Herbert.

Remember when I recently mentioned that music was a good indicator of what was going on for me? I'm in a strange space tonight. Listen to the music in the video and read the prayer quoted above.

Listen to the full clip, please. The pay off comes at about 6:10. As crazy and frakked up as things are, note where the piece ends.

It explains what I can't put into words tonight.

So say we all.


P.S. The music, by the way, is a cut from the Battlestar Galactica Season 2 soundtrack. It's called "Prelude to War" and was featured in the episodes "Pegasus" and "Resurrection Ship, Parts 1 & 2"

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Not all Who Wander...

"Not all those who wander are lost"
-- J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Fellowship of the Ring"

"Seek and you will find."
-- Matthew 7.7, NIV

"Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."
-- Unknown

The phrase "Not all who wander are lost" is fairly common in our culture. I've heard it used by hippies, feminists, members of the GLBT community, and others. If you think for a moment, there's a corollary: "Not all who are lost wander."

I think we all wander to some extent. I think we all seek...something. A lot of us are seeking...things we've lost. Lost innocence. Lost acceptance. Esteem lost. Love lost. (Paradise?)

It's an exceedingly romantic image, isn't it? Putting yourself out there. Leaving all the baggage and pain behind. Striking out. Seeking just for the sake of discovery. Whether we're seeking to understand ourselves or we're simply seeking what there is to find, there is a comfort in just being able to move, isn't there? In simply being able to experience, to discover, and to marvel.

And I believe there are times when such actions are very appropriate. Healing, even. If that's what it takes for a person to find peace with their individuality and their place in this world, who am I to deny that quest?

We're not just individuals, though, are we? We have responsibilities, ties, and things we must do. The mortgage must be paid, the cat must be fed, and children must be nurtured. Friendships maintained and family supported.

If we seek, we will find. We cannot find the things we've lost if we do not look for them. However, if we only search for what was lost, we may never learn to recognize the treasures that we've already found or recognize new ones lying right in front of us.

The past is over; it's gone. The only real thing you can do with it is honor the experiences that demand respect and learn from those that need to teach. Accept what was, and move on.

The future cannot be stopped. It will come. You may, perhaps, be able to guide where you will be when it gets here, but there's little sense in worrying incessantly about "what may be." You can't control the actions of others.

The present is here...now. This moment. Right now. Sense it. Experience it. Be present. Living in the moment. Feel. Smell. Hear. See. Taste. Sense. Evaluate. Judge. Choose, then act. Accept the consequences. Be responsible for your action.

Where are you now? What are you focusing on? Are you enjoying this? Are you hurting? What can you do to experience the present more fully. What can you do to make the next moment better? How about the one after that?


It's all anyone can do...really.

It is possible to wander responsibly. As you wander for yourself, remember your responsibilities to others. Share your experiences with them, if possible. Help them understand the value you gain from your search. Encourage them to wander their own path and then accept the journey they undertake for themselves.

"There is a time for everything and a season for every activity"
-- Ecclesiastes 3.1, NIV

This post was inspired by this week's Sunday Scribbling's prompt: "Lost."


Photo credit: Holly Usher

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