A Few Words on Words

words

Words….

I have been accused of being too wordy, by some. Funny, my ex-husband, in his pre-alcholic days, disliked my reticence. I learned to keep my mouth shut around him, so he’d have nothing to get fired up about, nothing to twist into some crazy attack on him, nothing to make me defend myself against.

I once told his mother, who was calling him at 8 AM, that he’d call her back when he got out of the shower. OMG, the tongue lashing I got for telling her he was in the shower at 8 AM. Geezus. When you live with someone like that for almost 40 years, you learn that the less you say, the less he knows, the better off you are. (Why I stayed is another story, in fact a book, but abusers are good at making us shoulder the blame for their anger.)

When I left him, I gradually found my voice, and my words, and I vowed no one would ever silence me again. Much to the chagrin of at least one other man.

But what else do we have, to express ourselves? Rolling of our eyes? Hand signals? Hanging up the phone? Withholding in bed?  I’m sure I use the first 3 of those, in combination with the words.  The last?  Not really my style….

All that stuff….may communicate pleasure or displeasure, but it doesn’t let someone in. Some people don’t want anyone in. Fear. Afraid if someone gets in they might get hurt. We all probably have that fear at times.

My greater fear is that no one will ever get in. That forever, I’d be alone with my thoughts that I didn’t have the courage to be vulnerable enough to say out loud.

I can say “I love you” if that’s how I feel. There could be a million reasons why it’s not said back. But there also might be a reason to say it. Like, it’s just how a person feels. Maybe me saying it first takes away the fear of saying it back. Maybe not. But maybe. And it may be worth the risk to me.  The bigger gamble for me would be to spend my days wondering “What if I’d said it?  Would he still be here if he knew?”

I like the truth out on the table. I like things to happen based on the truth. Not on games that people want to play. Not on being manipulated into a position. I know who I am. There is kindness underlying my truth, most of the time. Unless I sense injustice. I hate injustice.

But words, written words in particular…have taken me from the dark days of an abusive marriage, they enabled me to help my son to climb out of that same dark cave. The words brought me through an intense affair that ended in terrible betrayal, to the joy I feel in this moment, because the words have allowed me to be true to myself. They have allowed me to tell my story, to form relationships with like-minded people, all over the world. They let me see what is in my head, and decide if what I was thinking, and what I’m saying is actually true.  I have discovered, along the way, that the truth rings.  If it’s not ringing in my head, it’s most likely not true.  At least for me.

Just some thoughts on words.

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Trying to Find My Courage

courage vs comfort

I have so much to say this morning, and feel like I should just not say a lot of it, at least not right now.  Talking to Scott dredged up a lot of old stuff, that I’m hoping will settle back down where it was.  Not longing, but anger, disappointment, confusion.  My head is spinning, my emotions are a little raw again.  And I don’t want to write anything that can be taken wrong, that might cause pain to Betty, that will fuel a divide that is already huge.

He said that Betty told him I was still in love with him.  It sounded as though she said it not in a jealous way, but kind of as a revelation.  I told him, well that’s not news Scott.  I told you I will always love you, and I will.  But that doesn’t mean I can be with you, or accept your behavior, or would ever trust you.

He asked me what I wanted from him now.  I thought about it….but nothing.  I want nothing.  I want to move on, I want to fall in love with someone who can love me back as passionately as I can love.  I am happy that we talked, even though it came to no good end yesterday.  I hate cutting off communication with anyone, I don’t think that refusing to communicate ever eases anything. Not that I want to be communicating with him the way we used to, constantly.  It is just easier to know we can communicate, than thinking that  we can never talk.   Especially with this frigging connection that we have, or at least that I have with him.  Sometimes I feel compelled to let him know what I’m feeling, and it’s nice to know I can, especially when it has to do with his health.

I have to talk and write, to work things out.  I had to stay silent in my marriage for so many years, just to stay safe, just to keep the sleeping dogs sleeping.  If they woke they were vicious.  I refuse to do that ever again.  It almost killed me then, really. When I left that marriage I was diabetic, way overweight (I’ve lost about 40 lbs since then) and my heart was beating irregularly, pounding in my chest.  I prayed every night, literally, “Please God, don’t let me have a heart attack while I sleep.  I can’t leave my son with his father as his only parent.”  Thankfully, that prayer was answered night after night.  When I moved out, it stopped the very first night I was alone, and it’s never come back.

I started writing during that time.  I started writing down what I was living with because I just thought, “I have to write this down.  No one will ever believe this.”  I discovered the therapeutic benefits of writing it out.  My ex didn’t know I did this, though the journals weren’t hidden.  He went through my room a number of times, to see if I was hiding money, because once he found $85 I had squirreled away.  He had to see the journals when he rifled through my drawers and closets, but ignored them, because for whatever reason, he was not interested in my thoughts.  Until I brought them to court, and the judge showed an interest.  Whatever.  I wrote them for me, but they had a bigger benefit than I ever imagined they would.

I won’t go there again.  I’ve learned to have the hard conversations.  Scott asked what he could do now,now that he’s done all this damage.  And he apologized.  I thanked him for that, I told him it was a good first step for him to recognize and feel remorse for the damage he did.  But what could he do now?  He seemed genuine, as if he wanted to know.  I said, “next time you have a choice to tell a hard truth or a pretty lie, choose the hard truth.  Just choose the truth.  Practice it.”

I’d like to tell him to journal his day, to look back and observe his behavior, to see where he was selfish, and where he stood up for something.  But that’s my method, it’s not his.  Even though, I’ve read bits of things he’s written and he’s very talented.

All of this pain, every bit of it, could have been avoided by the truth.  Well, ok, I still would have been hurt and sad to lose him, but I wouldn’t have had all the other emotions around it.  I would have gotten past it, through it.  All of Betty’s pain, and his current pain, would be non-existent.  I acknowledge that the pain I would have had, I could have just looked at myself, and taken responsibility for it, because I dismissed 100 red flags because I didn’t want them to be true.  I loved being in love, I loved him beyond reason, and refused to accept anything that said to me, “NO, not now, Deb, not this time.  Don’t do it. Stop…..”  Because I thought he just wanted to be alone, and work things out, I thought too, that someday he’d not want to be alone.  If I’d known he was in love with Betty, I would have let go.  Quickly.  It’s the one boundary I will not cross.  It’s the only one I ever set.

Yes I’m a little fixated, as was said in a comment to me on my apology blog.  I need complete understanding to let go of things, or as much as I can get.  And really, I had it, I will have it again, I will gain clarity again, once all this stuff that was dredged up settles back down.  I have been moving away from it, in small, but steady steps.

I am looking forward to my lunch date today.  We’re going to a new Mexican restaurant.  It will be fun to meet this man that I’ve been talking to all week.  I have no expectation though.  It has been nice, so far.  Sometimes meeting in person makes it better, sometimes you find out there’s no connection.  But it’s a brave thing to do, to put myself out there again.  It’s a step in the right direction, toward where I want to go.  Brene Brown says that making yourself vulnerable is the most courageous thing you can do.  I think she’s right.

Love and light.

Adder:  My date is off.  It’s fine.  He had a what appears to be a valid reason, and said maybe we can meet after work one day next week.  But I knew when Scott’s energy got thrown back into my life that this date might not happen, it’s just the way it is.  I was not focused on meeting a new man, I’ve been, obviously, focused on still working my way out of this old relationship.  That’s the way the energy ripples out.  I have some work to do still, and until I get it done, nothing will work out the way I dream about.

 

Which Will You Be?

strength acourage

Strength

Measured in lies

Measured in pain caused

Measured in lives destroyed

Is weakness.

Is less than zero.

 

Strength

Measured in open hearts

Measured in joy given

Measured in lives connected

Is power.

Is heaven on earth.

 

Courage

Measured in willingness to lie

Measured in willingness to deceive

Measured in willingness to devastate

To crush, to harm

Isn’t courage.

It’s cheap cowardice.

It’s emptiness of a soul.

 

Courage

Measured in Willingness to to be honest

Measured in willingness to trust

Measured in willingness to show oneself

And be seen, truly be seen

Is courage.

It is wealth of spirit,

It is fullness of soul.

 

Which have you been

The weak morally bankrupt coward?

Or the courageous, powerful rich spirit?

 

Which are you?

 

Which will you be?

MANIFESTO OF THE BRAVE AND BROKENHEARTED

Brene Brown ended her interview with Oprah with this manifesto, which is at the end of her book, Rising Strong.  I know that there are many of us who have just gone through this, many more that have gone through it at some point, and many more who will.  So, I googled it, and thought I’d share it here.  Because I feel like I have finally risen from the floor of the arena, and I’m ready to go in again.

MANIFESTO OF THE BRAVE
AND BROKENHEARTED
There is no greater threat to the critics
and cynics and fearmongers
Than those of us who are willing to fall
Because we have learned how to rise.
~~~~~~
With skinned knees and bruised hearts;
We choose owning our stories of struggle,
Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.
~~~~~~
When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we run from struggle, we are never free.
So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye.
~~~~~~
We will not be characters in our stories.
Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.
~~~~~~~
We are the authors of our lives.
We write our own daring endings.
~~~~~~
We craft love from heartbreak,
Compassion from shame,
Grace from disappointment,
Courage from failure.
~~~~~~
Showing up is our power.
Story is our way home. Truth is our song.
We are the brave and brokenhearted.
We are rising strong

Courage

"Courage starts with showing up" by Brene Brown:

BE VULNERABLE.

Vulnerability – the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome – is our greatest measure of courage. Vulnerability is at the core of difficult emotions like fear, grief and disappointment, but it’s also the birthplace of love, belonging, innovation, and creativity – the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives. –  Brene Brown

For me, it’s simply a matter of wanting to experience the latter (love, belonging, innovation, and creativity) more than I fear the former ( fear, grief and disappointment).  Even having experienced devastating grief and disappointment, and fear….I would not ever give up the joy that being vulnerable can bring.

Just sharing a few more thoughts.  🙂

Courage

How can we ever experience real love, if we let no one know who we really are?

My friend A said to me the other day, “I see all your flaws.  And I love each and every one.”  He says that, knowing we will never be together, for many reasons.  But he loves me, unconditionally, and I love him deeply for the good friend that he is.  This is because we have both showed up, we have both loved someone hard enough, and fallen, and gotten hurt beyond words, and gotten back up, and still not given up our ability to be vulnerable, to show up and be seen.

A is better at it than me.  I disappeared from him more than once, and he welcomed me back with open arms when I reached out.  Throughout this S thing, he has been steady, concerned about me.  From 2000 miles away, i felt more care and concern from him than I ever felt from S.  I can tell him anything, and he doesn’t judge, he acknowledges, and listens and offers advice if any is needed.

This is what I hope to find, when I begin dating again.  Someone with whom I can be myself, who never makes me doubt myself, or them, or their love, care and affection.  Someone who will be my rock.  Someone who can love the way I love, and for whom I will always be there too.  I will choose better next time.  A always says, “I hope you find someone who adores you.”  I wish the same for him.

Show up, be seen, get into the arena, get knocked down, get back up.  If you’re going to stand on the sidelines, like Brene says, I don’t want to hear from you.  I’ll be looking for someone whose intensity can match mine.