She was walking across the parking lot this woman, my ideal physical type. (Perhaps more of a cultural archetype) Tall, model-thin, dark hair, dark skin, and slightly disheveled. And an alcoholic.
How do I know? She was heading into an AA meeting, at 9:30 am, on a Wednesday morning.
What is it about the devilishly distraught woman that calls to our hero hearts? What caregiver gene is responsible for this longing for the vacant and damaged woman? There must be something in my past that causes me to reach out, even if only in my mind, for this waife in distress.
Ah, I got it.
She is my sister. My sister who was ten-years-old when I was born. My sister to raised me like her child, or doll, or “baby buddha brother,” as she used to call me. Ah, that hurts.
My sister committed suicide when she was in her early thirties. She was so brilliant and beautiful, though. And so creative, talented, and loving. When she threw herself from the bridge on Christmas day, our whole family grieved on so many levels. We’re still uncovering them today.
Like today, I didn’t see my sister walking across the parking lot. I saw a metaphor. A cliché. I saw a fractured woman, who was also strikingly attractive, with an undertow. It was that undertow that I’ve become leery of. If the attraction is too visceral… If I want her just a tad too much, I have to go back to the drawing board and try to understand what is going on inside me that is calling out such a strong emotional reaction.
I long to fall in love. I crave the free fall. But I know that often this euphoria is more like a drug that an actual signal for the beginning of a healthy relationship. Crap. I don’t want to worry about healthy relationships. I want heat. I want magic. I want the drug.
There was nothing beyond her beauty today, that triggered this response in me. Well, that and my loneliness for companionship. Okay, maybe I miss my sister. Sure. Maybe that’s the love someone is supposed to feel for their moms. Well, my “mom” was really my sister. My singing, dancing, gypsy sister.
I’m not sad talking about her. I’m sad understanding that my soul still craves something that is missing of her love. Some closeness, and openness, that I have never experienced again. Something that I saw in my first relationship post-divorce. Some part of her that could just adore me for being me. Nothing to deliver. No expectations. Just love.
What is pure love? We understand it sometimes in terms of how we feel about our pets. They are pure love, because they love us unconditionally. They are dependant on us, and wait for us to reappear in their lives when we are gone.
Somehow, today, I realised I am still waiting for my sister to reappear. Not in physical form (holy cow, that’s either zombie talk, or ghost talk, and I’m not a fan of either) but in feeling. I’m hungry for someone to love, to love with an unhinged abandon. I’m ready to fall.
And even noticing this tendency towards the edge, towards someone who I know would be toxic, given my history, I can still feel the pull towards this woman as she meanders into the halls of recovery. I am not actually craving her, or even her body type. I’ve grown more aware, recently of how programmed we have become by the fashion and marketing industries to crave the Victoria’s Secret image. I don’t. I don’t any more. I used to. I still feel the rise and pull. But I can walk away from that trap, with the same firmness I continue to my car and drive back to my office.
See, I was in my own therapy this morning. I’m in my own recovery. Not from drugs or alcohol, but from something that might make those addictions much easier. This morning I was in counselling for my own health and welfare. Almost like a coach. But I don’t have a life coach. Almost like an AA meeting, but I don’t have an addition, unless you call this proclivity towards unavailable women, an addiction.
I’m getting better on all fronts. I’m healing, day by day. And, in some ways, I’m still healing from the loss of my loving sister. She comes out in my unhealthy desire for the fractured soul of the dishevelled woman.
Let’s leave that dishevelment alone. In our relationships lets not look for a person who needs our help, and not a person who can help us, either. Let us look for happy, healthy, and balanced. Everything within reason, right?
Today, I salute my sister and her beauty. And I salute Victoria’s Secret models and the woman crossing the parking lot to attend to her own healing.
I’d prefer something a little less dangerous, and perhaps a little less racy.
The Off Parent
< back to The Hard Stuff
- Terms of Surrender: Our Divorce Papers
- Losing Everything In Divorce; Learning to Carry On
- Depression is No Joke: Suicide is Not the Answer to Any Problem
- Losing Touch In the Off Times
- Check Engine Light: How Long Until Repairs Are Forced By a Breakdown?
image: screengrab of Martin Stranka portfolio, creative commons usage
Step 4 of AA: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Today is a day of reflection. I am examining what I’m doing here on The Off Parent. Assessing the damage and progress of my self-observation, self-obsession, self-centered divorce blog. Let’s see if we can get to the heart of the matter.
- Strive to cut deep into the pain and healing of divorce recovery.
- Express anger and hurt without blaming the other person.
- Eliminate cynicism.
- Always go for the truth, my truth, the painful truth.
- Protect the innocent through anonymity and discretion.
- Write for my own personal journey and healing, if there is a reader that’s fine, but I am not writing for anyone but myself.
- Lift my psychology out of the hurt and sadness of depression and towards the healing and recovery for all the members of my family.
- Do no harm.
- Take on no more shame.
- Leave this discussion behind in favor of the next love and romance in my life.
Those are my goals. I’m not sure if I hit the mark with 100% of what is left here, but that was (is) my intention. I have progressed from a confused and angry soon-to-be-ex-husband to a hopeful and romantic single father. That’s the ultimate goal, and for that I give thanks.
Writing is therapy.
For me, when I write down an experience, I begin to understand it in new ways. I find common threads with other experiences in my life. I hear echoes of past hurts. I recognise the hopeful little boy who survived a crappy divorce and has now grown into a divorce and family of my own. And here on these pages, sometimes, I process the hard stuff, I leave behind puddles of blood and anger that I no longer need. I am discarding these stories as fast as I can write them. Discharging the energy they might still hold on my emotional life, by putting down the bones of truth, as I remember it.
I am not writing for you.
I am glad you are here. I have gotten a lot of support and love through the four years that I have been writing this blog. I have been amazed by some of the comments, troubled by some of the misunderstandings, and encouraged to keep digging for gold. Digging for the heart of joy that is still inside that needs encouragement to hope and dream of loving again.
And I have found the language for that love again. I am writing aspirational love poems. There are still a few divorce poems, but for the most part, this blog has transformed from angry/divorce/rant to relationship/love/discovery. Sure, there will always be flares of anger and sadness when managing the ongoing life of a single parent, but there are also great wins and joys that I am determined to celebrate here, right along side the struggle.
As I continue to change and challenge myself in the coming years, I hope this blog will continue to evolve with me. As I do find that next relationship, I hope that I can write with care and tenderness as “we” this woman and I, journey down the next road of our lives together. Or maybe that will be a different blog. I don’t know. And I’m not trying to get too far ahead of myself, here, or in my relationships.
As I grow and parent this blog will still be the rally point for my emotional triumphs and struggles. And as I struggle with depression, or employment difficulties, I will also try to pull back the armor and release the dragons that still loom ahead for me.
In all cases, I thank you for coming along for the journey thus far. I encourage you to start with the INDEX and read chronologically from the beginning. Or jump to any subject or thread that interests you at this time in your life. And if you have a comment, I value the feedback of my readers more than you can imagine. So tell me.
I hope you find love along your journey through whatever challenges you are facing. We can live through this shit together. And I will continue to light the way along my path so that you might learn from my trespasses and mistakes.
Final note: Why why why write about this painful stuff? My kids were 5 and 7 when my then-wife decided for all of us that she was done with this marriage and wanted to move on to some other configuration. We’re still reeling from the fallout. Not all of it has been bad, but all of it has been transformative. I give thanks that she had the courage to step into the unknown and make the choice she thought was right for her and thus for all of us. Whatever the motivation or past, we are now a family in divorce. We have commitments and connections that will never cease between all of us. And in my attempts to heal myself I hope to continue to be a positive influence in my kids and ex’s lives. We’re in this together. Let’s evolve to a higher discussion.
The Off Parent
- About The Off Parent page
- The Hard Stuff < selection of the angrier and edgier posts
- Waiting for the Other Person to Change
- Love, War, Divorce: Why I’m Not Fighting My Ex-Wife About Custody
- Divorce is Not About What’s Fair, Let’s Get That Straight
- Getting Angry, Reaching Forgiveness, and Moving On After Divorce
references: The 12-Steps of AA – wikipedia
image: practice, fabio bruna, creative commons usage