Relief and Grief
There is pleasure in the pathless woods- Lord Byron
I've alluded to the break up that I went through at the very beginning of 2015 a few times in this blog, but I decided today to delve into it more deeply. So much of the personal growth I am navigating stems from that experience.
To sum it up, the break up was sudden and shocking to me. I had been with my boyfriend for a year and I thought that we would maybe get married. At least, that is the path it seemed to be on. Admittedly, we had hit a rough patch towards the end of 2014. Outside factors had played a part in creating friction between us (isn't it always the outside factors that can wreak havoc?!), but it seemed like we had crossed the divide and were moving forward, or so I thought/hoped.
Despite this hope, I couldn't help but notice he seemed moody, dark, distant. I ignored it, until I couldn't ignore it any more. You know that feeling, I'm sure... when you are trying to pretend you aren't seeing the truth until you can't hide from it any longer cause it is right up in your face. I very timidly stated one morning, "I'm not really feeling the affection in the relationship right now." I hadn't intended to start a break up convo, but he immediately took it there. He responded, "Yea, I've been giving it some thought and I don't think we'll make it in the long run. I love you but I think we are too different from each other and in the end that will cause a lack of empathy."
I listened to his view of our relationship. It was confusing and hurtful. What was very clear was he wanted out. I said little, didn't put up much of a fight. At one point he asked me, "But what do you think?" My response was, "I do believe we have what it takes to make it in the long run, but we have to be on the same page and we are not." A few minutes later he ushered me to the door (we were at his place) and I left.
As I rode the subway home, I felt something unexpected- relief. I felt unburdened from his problems and issues. I was tired, worn out, and I felt like finally I could rest. Our relationship had been simultaneously wonderful and taxing. During our break up conversation, I felt a calm come over me. I think back and wonder if that is the moment my intuition came back to me. In the weeks after breaking up, I lived in both numbness and relief.
The grief did come however. It started with a few tearful phone calls to tell friends and family the relationship had ended. I started to feel it when I left work to go home. I felt it on the weekends. Just sadness and tears.
To be honest, I sometimes still feel sad about the break up even though it has been a while now. When I was in that relationship, life felt easier even if the relationship itself was complicated. I seemingly had the answer to some of my big life questions- will I get married (yes, probably to this guy), where will I live (probably in the New York area), will I have a kid (probably), what will I do with my life (be married, have a family, and all the things that come along with that). Life seemed to be falling into place and when we broke up, things got very muddled for me. The grief was in losing the path. I cried partly because I was/am scared. The break up forced me to ask myself what I wanted out of life. Initially the answer to that question was- I don't know. That unknown is very scary and I cry when I am scared.
I have examined every area of my life since that break up and have come up with some answers to that question- what do I want... To put myself first, to be a better friend, to learn to use my voice, to be seen, I need purpose in life, I want spontaneity, adventure, joy. Some of the logistics have been confusing- what type of career do I want? How do I make a living? Do I want to have children? Where do I want to live? I won't know the answer to these questions without action. Fear resides in that place between thought and action and I am in that gap. Again, I cry when I'm scared.
It has been perplexing, confusing, beautiful to see how I could hold the hands of both relief and grief to navigate me while I continue to ask myself what I want out of life. I've also learned that a 20 minute conversation can completely redirect your life in major ways... heck even a split second can cause a re-orbit. I'll continue to share all my quandaries on this blog because the other thing I've learned is that we are all in life together figuring it out.