Tonight I called my mom. Because eventually, when all else fails, that’s what I do. Because she’s been married for 41 years and knows some stuff. And knows me. I know my parents’ relationship wasn’t always easy, that there were years where they were split and the divorce papers nearly signed, and I also know that they are so in love with each other. They are happy. Happy people. Happy together. It’s not a fairy tale, but in a time when the divorce rate is over 50% and where people between the ages of 18 and 29 are mostly single (just 16% married, and 14% living with a partner…. Yes, I know I’m fucking 37 but I’ll update these stats with more relevant ones later), it seems like a fairy tale. And in relation to my own string of crappy serially monogamous and sometimes polyamorous because hey I was giving it a shot and didn’t know what else to do relationships, it feels like something beyond even a fairy tale. It seems like a fantasy. Like a Unicorn. Like the ending of Princess Bride, or Snow White or whatever Disney movies we were spoon fed growing up. It seems like a miracle.
We talked about my current relationship. I asked her the burning question that’s been on my mind ever since my on again off again partner threw a Hail Mary and told me that he wanted to stop all the back and forth and go all in. Ever since I didn’t give him a straight answer but let his offer sit, and watched him carefully to see if he would do all the things he said he would. Watched like a hawk, and struck with perfect righteous precision anytime I saw a glimmer of him stepping out of line.
This relationship has had problems. Major ones. I am not discounting them, but will write about them some other time. The focus of this entry is different. It’s the question: Is it just me, have I become perpetually unhappy and closed off, or is it that this relationship is just shit.
Since the Hail Mary, I’ve been watching. And I’ve been seething with rage. Actually that’s not true. The rage started earlier, in my previous relationship. Before that I was “spiritual” and could never admit any negativity, especially within myself, and sugar coated everything and kept my feelings of being hurt or downright trampled at a distance. Everything was always my fault, and that was self-imposed. If only I could be a better person, then bad things wouldn’t happen to me. It was deep denial and if that previous relationship gave me nothing else it did give me my anger. It beat me down so low I had no choice but to push back. I finally pushed my way out of it, and the guy was gone, but the anger stuck. Never again would that happen to me. I got in the habit of being angry and blaming everything on everyone else. Somehow in the process of pulling myself out of the shitty relationship, I became a huge victim. Everything that happened could be blamed on someone else. The pendulum had swung too far in the other direction. Yes, my ex did terrible things to me. But it felt so good to have a righteous reason to blame someone else that I just kept doing it. I strengthened and polished my Cancerian shell and made it so that anyone who wanted in had to figure out the secret entry. And fuck them if they didn’t know the password. Not my problem, not my fault.
I got into the habit of being really fucking righteously pissed off.
There is a fine line between standing up for myself, not taking any shit on the one hand, and being a princess who only ever gets shit thrust upon her and how could this happen to me, I’m so good and so sweet and if anyone could just see that and treat me well enough then they would get that version of me and until then they can go fuck themselves.
The anger was necessary. Is necessary. I never in my life had let myself be angry. It is useful. It is powerful. It is righteous, and there is a place for that. I’m grateful for it.
I told my mom all of this. I told her the good stuff and the bad stuff. About my anger and where it comes from and that it is valid at times, but that lately I just feel mean. And punishing. And that I am terrified that if I don’t find a way out of my anger and hardened self that I will never be able to be happy. How I feel like this is the moment in my life to choose between being open hearted or closed off. That those things felt separate but intertwined with the relationship itself. I wanted to tell her what my horoscope recently said… Cancer, when you refuse access to your heart, no amount of crying or processing will ever soothe you. And the strength you feel inside your armor will be a temporary strength borne by isolation. When you open the door and let your loved ones in, you will find that you let yourself in, you get closer to yourself. (Galactic Rabbit, always brilliant). These are the things she said to me (in her words and my own):
You need to figure out what it is that you really want. What you are willing to concede and what you are not. And then you need to say it to him. That’s your responsibility.
If you do decide to try to make the relationship work, you need to allow yourself to be vulnerable. You can’t build a relationship behind a wall. If you decide you don’t want the relationship, you don’t want to try, that’s fine too. That means you need to end it.
And the anger? The finger pointing and fighting and blaming? You both need to cut that out. You need to decide. It’s a choice. It’s easy to hit below the belt. Don’t take shit, either. Say what you need to say, but without the heat. You’re adults.
Everything can’t be his fault (quoting her journal, talking about my dad during a rough patch they were having).
And finally, if it doesn’t work, you need to get out. If you’re not smiling and happy you need to move on. Don’t stay miserable.
When I was 23 I got married in a stone circle in Scotland. My ex husband and I wrote our own vows, and the ceremony was witnessed by a few close friends and family. Aware of the magnitude of making a vow in an ancient fucking stone circle in Scotland where I had probably stood before in a past life, and warned to be careful about what was said there by my psychic friend because my words would carry power that would echo throughout my life, I said only, carefully, “I vow to always honor Love.” That means I must acknowledge and express my true desires, I must allow my soft underbelly to show, I must not use my anger as a weapon (sharp and satisfying as it is), I must take responsibility for my side of things, and I must get out and release us both if the love is gone.