I was waiting today at the offices at PHS, and there were only ancient magazines to read. I can’t stand all the celebrity hype, so there was no way I was going to read two-year-old People magazines. I picked up something about women’s health from 2008. I didn’t think there would be much relevant and indeed, the first article I saw touted the benefits of vitamin D–theories that have now been debunked. But I did find a bit of useful information. One such item was a recipe for a sugar scrub–the sort you’d get in a spa. The other was an article called Joy from Sadness.
It’s beginning to sink in now. Trey* and I have both changed our relationship status on Facebook to “single.” I don’t like the decision that I made, but it seemed there was nothing else to be done except to make that decision. Unfortunately, when one is in a relationship, she is only half that equation, and it takes two to cha-cha.
So the article. It begins, “Live long enough and you’ll eventually hear the well-intentioned but thoughtless comment, ‘Well, you’ll just have to get over it and get on with it.’ We say these things when people have experienced loss, tragedy or even just a bad day.” Isn’t that the truth? I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me to look on the bright side or to be grateful when I just wasn’t there yet. In mediation, we’re taught to meet people where they are. Too few of us do that these days. We want to rush people on to a happy place. It’s good to want our friends in a better place, but have you ever wondered why we’re so uncomfortable with others’ pain?
This article says something that I’ve long believed–“Experts are advocating grace for the grieving–time to wade through sadness for those who have experienced any kind of loss, especially as rushing people to joy may actually rob them of real happiness in the long run.” What I didn’t know is that those who can examine what might have been and be mindfully present to their negative feelings are more likely to mature through that loss and obtain a different kind of happiness. Laura King, a psychologist and researcher at the University of Missouri in Columbia, writes that her seven-year study proves that women who stop to think about their losses are more likely to both mature and to achieve a more durable sense of happiness. King discovered that the key to lasting happiness is focusing on the goals that are still available, even in changed circumstances.
“People change after traumatic events; it’s unrealistic to think that you can go right back to the way you were,” she says. “It’s best to try to make meaning out of what has happened and start a new life tied to what you have learned from the change.”
I saw that and thought perhaps I could apply it to my situation, over time. I guess perhaps the first step in doing so would be to say what Trey meant to me. Only by ascertaining a loved one’s value in your life can you begin to assess the hole their departure creates. I really hate showing my vulnerability. It’s so much easier to be angry than it is to be hurt. But once the anger abates all you’re left with is the hurt.
The odd part is, I really don’t know what happened. For four months, he was the most loving, caring, open individual you can imagine. He was interested in my life. He was never afraid to say how he felt about me. We had a couple of rows, but I couldn’t even tell you what they were about. He made sure he told me every day that he loved me. We spent hours on the phone. We have very similar world views so it was always fun to talk to him about everything. I was more open with him than I’ve been with anyone in my life, including my therapist, to some extent. We laughed a lot. He sent me text messages that said things like, “You’ll never lose me,” and “Awwww, don’t cry baby, please!!! I just love you so much & want to be with you so badly!! But we just have to be patient, I guess. The wait will be worth it!. I love you!” There was little we disagreed about, but when we did we agreed to disagree. He came to see me and we had a really great time.
I’m absolutely head over heels in love with Tracy and in so many ways, he’s raised the bar for anyone who might come after him. Thoughtful, kind, loving, caring, he has a lot of integrity, substance, and compassion. He’s gorgeous and sexy and has beautiful skin and kind eyes. There are superficial things about him that I love, like he can put a sentence together properly and he’s a good speller, he’s very helpful when it comes to crossword puzzles. He’s like me in that we never meet a stranger, we can chat up anyone.
I’ve dated a lot of assholes in my time. Seriously. Trey is the first guy in years and years and years that I was proud to introduce to my friends (pathetic of me, I know). I had hoped to build a life with him. I could see living every day ordinary life with him without it feeling ordinary. He’s the first man in a long time that I actually wanted to sleep with, and I don’t mean the euphemism. I’m generally uncomfortable falling asleep with men in my bed. They toss and turn or steal the blankets or take up all the room. I really thought we could be happy together and build a life of which we could be proud.
He left here after visiting me and things were never the same again. He became someone I didn’t know–not opposite of what he was but absent. It was like everything that was no longer existed. Conversations became painful because I was missing the person he had been. I can only guess at what happened, and I don’t think that’s a valuable use of my time.
I ended it twice, we reconciled twice, and finally this weekend I just couldn’t take anymore. I didn’t want to take anymore. Time to lick my wounds of the past month and allow myself to see the world in shades of blue and grey. The weather has been cooperating with me on that front–it’s been overcast for days and it even sprinkled a bit today.
I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to learn from this. There’s a whole contingent of people out there that believe that things happen for a reason. I’m not one of them. I don’t believe there’s a mystical force in the world that ordains things must happen a certain way, and it’s up to us to divine the meaning. I believe things happen. Good things, mediocre things, crappy things. One takes whatever lessons one can from them and applies them to one’s life. Period.
I’ll be thinking in the coming weeks of what lessons there are to be learned from this experience. And grieving. And thinking about what has changed in my life and what hasn’t. Continuing to work towards my goals and using the time previously spent with Trey differently. And undoubtedly shedding many many tears. I hope that someday I have my happy ending. I’d hoped to have it with Trey. That’s the way of the world, sometimes. It doesn’t always give us what we want.
1.) For my children, always. May they be lucky in love (when they get to date at age 30).
2.) For Dr. M. who undoubtedly will hear a lot about this ongoing process.
3.) For Lady and Pennie, who will spend a lot of time at my side consoling me.
4.) For chick flicks, because you can bawl when you watch them and nobody finds it particularly odd.
5.) For the broken-hearted everywhere.
“Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning.”