Settling

A few more back-posts, written in my journal in a different time.  It’s been good to go back through some of the thoughts and feelings I experienced as reflection isn’t just something we do in the moment or immediately following said moment.  I’m almost caught up to real time, so please bear with these remaining entries as a way to share the progression of my story. 

I wrote this particular piece back in December.  

Two days until settlement, until the hardest part of this leg is over.  The house has always been a metaphor for our marriage – something that felt absolutely right, but never actually worked out for us.  It continues to play its part well.  Now it is just a shell and we have to leave to move forward.

For two years I felt more alone than I do now.  Holding onto my secret and trying to put the pieces back together even though they’d been shattered.  It all got to be too much.  But now, facing it, some of that loneliness has been replaced by pain.  I try not to fault myself for not seeing the growing signs and I make an effort to see the positives laid out before me in starting fresh.  Yet that can only be half the story, and it ignores the full truth.  That this was 10 years of my life and my first and only love, first and only lots of things.

It has been three months since I moved out, and I’m finding that hard to believe both for the speed and the crawl.  How much has changed and how little really does.  How it has felt to rediscover my own strength and joy.  How long I was able to tolerate so much hurt.  Even the dog seems different, calmer.  I can never decide if she appreciates the change or is just mirroring my adjusted energy.  Either way, I suppose it’s working out for both of us.

***

Now I’m sitting in the nearly empty structure that once held so much possibility, waiting for someone to come buy our furniture.  The heat hasn’t been on for days, so it’s cold and there’s barely a hum of the few appliances still plugged into the walls.

There’s some closure in selling off what once brought a sort of homey feeling to this place.  Taking minimal cash just to be rid of things.  Wondering if either of us feels any real value in them at all.

But it’s almost over.  Tomorrow they come for donations and on Friday I give up my key.  In a way it’s a relief.  I won’t have to go back inside anymore.

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It’s Time

I’m taking a break from retracing previously journaled writing to share something that poured out of me while watching a lacrosse game last night.

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The time has really come to go. I can feel the shift in the air, in me. Walking around campus brings back so many memories and simultaneously feels like a time machine has escorted me back to try again.

I love watching them play. Being at Franklin Field with all these people cheering. Seeing the stairs I hated to run. The windows of the locker room where I first felt I’d made it to some special place. The field is different. The uniforms are too. There definitely weren’t as many Ivy Championship banners when I once stepped on this turf. In fact, I’m fairly certain there weren’t any. How far the team has come. How far I have.

But this is not my team now. I will always love the red & the blue, but I have a new mission. I need to leave this city. Need to make my own way without regretting the past or wondering what could have been. Did I waste my four years? At the time it didn’t seem that way, but now the feeling within me is entirely unsettled. Could I have met someone else? Gotten more involved with the team, the sorority, anything?  As I come back to something prior, what did I really accomplish here?

And that’s a horrible way to view four years. I’ve changed, my life has changed, and Penn is part of that. I wouldn’t be me without it. But I need to have some distance. Need to find myself again and rediscover the memories that are just mine. Maybe Georgia will help that happen. Maybe it won’t come until I’m secure in my new life. Being here makes me smile, but it makes my heart ache too. My soul is waiting for the next chapter and it’s time to turn the page.

P.S. After a great game, and a one goal win in OT, I couldn’t help but beam.  I will always feel at home on this campus and always feel pride for these teams.  Not to mention, I got to see an amazing trajectory of building something that reflects all your hard work.  Just because the journey isn’t easy doesn’t mean success isn’t possible. 

Auto-Pilot

Sometimes we move through the world doing what we’re supposed to because it seems so natural.  Or we do what we think we have to do in order to keep moving forward.  But that’s auto-pilot.  It’s an excuse to go unexamined while life happens.  It’s a way to ignore who we are and to avoid questions.  And when childhood is good, that all works out…seems to be just the way things are. 

Becoming an adult is never so simple.  We can follow, or mirror, or mimic that which we think is our path.  But those paths belong to others and we must instead forge ahead on our own.  There comes a time when auto-pilot drives you head on into a wall. 

This is the hardest thing I have ever encountered.  I am relieved, but terrified.  I see the possibilities, but hesitate at the change.  People talk about “the devil you know”, but the truth is that devil is us.  What we do reflects who we are.  Our words, our choices, our friends, our lovers, all of it is us.  Our projection on the world.  

I’ve always felt confident, but I don’t think I have any idea who I am.  What I want.  Because when I think about the life I’ve led, look into my own eyes staring back from old photos, I realize I’ve never known.  With each attempt, I listened to the doubters.  I felt swayed by reason and rationale, and I put the deepest parts of myself aside for that which others thought I was best suited. 

I love my family, tremendously.  But they are my roots, my past, and I cannot build for myself on them.  They will always support me, but they are not me.  I like being a jock, a writer, a dreamer, a thinker.  I like that I’m learning to own these parts of me, rather than mask them.  Of course my path will be hard, might never get me back to where I started.  But whose does?  I sold my soul for a life in the ‘burbs and found there was much more I sought. 

I don’t know where I’m going, but I don’t need to just now.  All I need to demand of myself is keeping an ear and eye open to my heart, and doing the best I can to follow it.  The world will come back to me in kind.  I can already feel it in my bones. 

Rhythms

You can gauge a lot about people by sitting and watching.  Their clothes tell the story they want, their gaits what they can’t hide.  Who we are travels down our spines and our legs and hips bear the message.  How world beaten some seem.  How others convey their calculations or pride. 

It’s no wonder the slow walk gets so much attention.  That a simple, languid glide expresses a type of confidence found deep within.  A lack of general concern or burden.  Slow walkers make the trouble.  Draw others in while noticing none of them. 

That’s not to say slow walkers are without doubts.  But those are perception doubts, not soul ones.  It makes me smile when I see it; finding a moment of relief in the sea of crazy washing by me. 

What really gets me is watching the rhythms.  How people move, the beat they follow.  To think that all of these people have sex…or want to.  How most have no idea about their own energy. 

The jazz on the speakers overhead reminds me of this and helps me wander all at the same time.  That the prescribed still contains a great deal of freedom.  That “The Way” is an onus if it is not multi-faceted.  Watching boy scouts and some-kind-of-wannabes, prima donnas and second-guessing-beauties.  Do people really believe they are who they project to be?  Do they know I can see their truth?  Can they see it?  Do they want to? 

It has been a week since I moved out.  Took ownership of my life and myself to walk back into the great unknown.  I am fully terrified, but in so many ways free.  And I know those parts are fighting to the death, I can feel it deep into my bones.  The type of exhaustion that can’t be mended by sleep; sleep won’t come.  The overwhelming tiredness that tells you that you can stand up to anything.  That in spite of yourself, you are strong.  That facing this battle, staring it in the face, is your strength.  We are all afraid, but we cannot be paralyzed.