Holy love! I had already written a post for today, but had to add this part. I feel completely wrapped up in love, prayers, sweet memories, high vibes and helpful recommendations. I have a fierce tribe of supporters and I cannot thank you enough for taking a moment to share your heart with me. Words can’t do my feelings justice, so accept my most sincere gratitude as a token of how deeply moved I am.
I almost didn’t post this as blog #2. All that delicious love and support made me want to repay you with a sparkly, peppy post about all the optimism I have (old habits die hard). And I do have optimism. And this post is messy without a clean ending. Not messy like the last one. Messy like it might make some people angry, uncomfortable, depressed. Honest? Yes. But oh so messy. So, thank you and I love you for continuing on this journey with me as I muddle through.
Now, onto our regularly scheduled program:
“I learned that things don’t always turn out the way you planned, or the way you think they should. And I’ve learned that there are things that go wrong that don’t always get fixed or get put back together the way they were before. I’ve learned that some broken things stay broken, and I’ve learned that you can get through bad times and keep looking for better ones, as long as you have people who love you.” Jennifer Weiner
There is no easy way to pull off a band-aid when its attached to a very sensitive spot. So, I’m just going to yank it off. Andrew and I are not together right now. In both physical proximity and relationship status. My decision, not his. Even as I write this, I want to press the delete button to erase this secret. But honesty is a demanding friend, and this truth isn’t about comfort. It’s about courage.
At this point, I’m making up the stories that you are telling yourselves now. “Sweet Jesus, she’s gone off the deep end, did the cancer go to the smart part of her brain?” “Courage? Ha! More like cold-hearted stupidity!” Now, these stories that I make up are an entire post on its own, but suffice to say, my imagination knows no bounds. To make it through this post, I am going to turn down the volume on the make-believe conversations that are probably not happening anyway and try to explain as best as I can.
Basically, I sunk my own lifeboat. I was spending more time shoveling out the water that was streaming through all the many holes that I pretended not to see. All that expended energy trying to keep it afloat finally became too much. So, I jumped overboard and let the damn thing sink. It was messy and ugly, heartbreaking and unavoidable.
So, why go through such pain? Because stage 4 is no joke. My body was literally screaming at me to look at something. “What?!? What do you want?? What do you need??” I desperately asked it. And once I starting asking, I wished I could find internal earplugs.
“Dump it all,” my body said. “Dump your entire life out. Every relationship, every habit, every controlling issue, every supplement, every stress, every pattern, every security, every comfort, every single thing.”
“Right, I can dump most of that stuff. Obviously, you don’t mean EVERYTHING? I mean, kids and husband and healthy eating and stuff like that. You mean everything but those…right?”
“Dump everything,” my body said kindly, but firmly.
“Ok, but I’m sure you mean to dump it all but my family…right? I mean, how insane is it to throw out your family?!?” I asked, laughing uneasily. I’m a quick cookie, but as you can tell, this wasn’t sinking in.
In one of the scariest moments of my life, I dumped everything. I dumped EVERYTHING. And I sat there, holding onto nothing. All those things that defined me, all those labels I gave myself, all those distractions and comforts that kept me from seeing me as just me.
“Now, if you want to survive, you are only allowed to add those things in your life that bring lightness and joy. And each light and joy will have a shadow. Familiarize yourself with their dark sides, know and love them too. But do not put anything back into your life that is broken, heavy, unbalanced. Hold each piece in your hand, feel its weight, feel its energy and ask yourself if this is worth having in your life.” Life wouldn’t take any arguments, and survival is my goal, so I tried it.
My girls were the first thing to be added. Those little light bringers are two of my biggest teachers, and while the honest part of me wishes I could have a nanny to take care of them during dinner and bath time, they will always be one of my biggest sources of joy.
Next came my relationships. Family, friends and acquaintances all got a thorough inspection. Many of you know Andrew. My husband of 11 years, father to my girls and the unofficial mayor of Laguna Beach. You all know him as a jolly, golden soul who can make anyone laugh. He shares his incredible music with the local masses and is always a good time. What you see is true. He is that guy. This isn’t the part where I scar your view of him by sharing some bipolar side no one sees. But who we are out there isn’t always who we are when the curtain goes down. Behind that curtain, we hit some bumps that never got smoothed out. Those bumps became deeply rooted patterns that felt nearly impossible to dislodge from. This blog will not be my platform for airing dirty laundry about our personal relationship. But he has given his blessing for me to be honest about us.
So, I asked him for some separation time. My request shocked even me, but it came from a place that was too deep to deny. Our relationship has been broken for a while now. And in true Brita fashion, I had ignored the holes and kept shoveling water out of the boat. And once I came to terms with my body being broken, I knew I couldn’t fix two major broken things at once.
I don’t know how pitch black could get darker, but it did after this decision. I now was holding a broken body and a broken life and it just seemed like too much. Some might wonder why I couldn’t just make it work so I could have that spousal support during this crazy time. I ached to find the easy way, but I had used up all my get out of jail free cards. This time, I had to do hard time and there were no shortcuts. And for one of the first times in my life, I was having to choose me over everyone and everything else (not a small feat for an over-people pleaser).
Is this the right move? No idea, but I can tell you there is some strange comfort that comes over me when I feel like I’m at my breaking point, making these big, grownup decisions. I can only describe it as a warm blanket that soothes me. It doesn’t answer my questions or fix the problems, but it comes alongside me. God, angels, my higher self; I don’t know what it is. All I know is it allows me to breath and helps me realize that I am still standing.
The honest and unfair part of it all is that Andrew never pretended to be anything other than what he is. I did. I molded myself to fit into his life, becoming something that wasn’t true to me. And with a broken heart, I have to admit that I wasn’t happy with that life. I tried and tried and tried even harder, but no amount of trying could make me fit. I played happy because all the other emotions scared the crap out of me. But inside, I was so tired. And that exhaustion eventually overtook me.
*Small side note: This is only one slice of our lives together. Was I miserable all the time? Of course not. Do I still love him? Yes. Did we have fun times and laugh and was it genuine? Yes. Did this fix all the broken bits? No. Confusing? You bet your ass it is.
Am I done with my marriage? I’m not. How could I be when I am just now figuring out who I am? Are we going to get back together as soon as I’m healed? I don’t know. I now know that my body has some serious boundary lines drawn when it comes to compromising my happiness. And I will not cross my body anymore. Once I feel like I am able to work on our relationship, I will. But for now, my body is asking that I focus on my healing first.
So, where does this leave me? Exactly where I left off in my last post. I have taken a massive gamble and ditched all my securities and comfort zones for the dream that a healthier and more beautiful life is waiting for me. As many rabbit holes go, you’re never quite sure where you’ll come out. But I’ve got faith. Faith and a pretty big story.