Every now and again, my Facebook feed magically shows up with a quote I need to read. Right time, right place, right words. And isn’t it weird that we might have read those same words many times before but on this particular day they just jump off the screen and resonate? And don’t you think that if those lovely words are going to go to the trouble of finally jumping and resonating you should maybe also go to the trouble of taking a second look and figuring out why?
Yeah. Me too.
Today it’s Toni Morrison. Author. Theorist. Woman with lots of really good words. These are my favourite –
“If you wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”
Hmmm. Ya think?
And yeah I’m feeling pretty plump these days and that plumpness is highly unpleasant. Kinda like when your favourite jeans no longer zip up or that dress you’re dying to wear can’t even be saved by Spanx.
So now I start thinking – what exactly is it that is weighing me down? What exactly is preventing full flight? Why am I constantly feeling the pull and drag of the shit that weighs me down? Where the heck are my wings?
And the answer comes in a whoosh of realization. My past is weighing me down. My guilt. My desire for forgiveness, love and harmony. I am weighed down wishing for forgiveness and acceptance from people who are feeling neither loving nor harmonious. I keep trying and asking and begging and trying some more and then that weight just multiplies to the point that I can hardly crawl, much less fly. But I don’t give up. Round and round I go, boulder firmly affixed to my spine, thinking one day my endless, optimistic, boundless love will prevail.
But it never does. It is never enough to create the outcome I so long to create. It’s not even enough to foster some small modicum of forgiveness.
So I start contemplating what Toni wrote and I think okay, enough is enough. I’m tired of feeling fat. Let’s first address this forgiveness issue. Yes, think I, the human kind would be nice but I reckon I’ll have bigger fish to fry one day so maybe I should abandon that desire altogether? I’ll just forgive myself, thank you very much, and keep walking. Good start because at least I’m not crawling anymore.
I decide this is a very good start to my diet. So what’s next? I know it’s gonna be big, as in way bigger than giving up chocolate, but I also know it is one that I need to embrace. Because I want to fly.
So what does this new diet involve?
A big fat life-altering, Vickie-defining, heart-wrenching yet realistic decision. I am officially giving up on ever being loving friends with my ex-husband.
There. It’s official.
I know I have said in the past that B and I were the poster couple for amicable divorce and perhaps twelve years ago we were, mostly because I gave him everything he wanted and asked for very little in return, realizing even then that more than financial freedom I wanted the opportunity to forge a new kind of love without him but also with him. Honest. Authentic. Starting from a place of full disclosure and blossoming into whatever we could imagine and most importantly always rooted in love of family and each other.
Because even though I could no longer live with him in love I never stopped loving him, even for a moment. So my new dream was always inclusive of our new partners. But now I see that after more than twelve years (one new partner for him, a few more for me) not only can he not do it, it would appear he really doesn’t want to, never wanted to, will never want to, and that is just that. It would also appear that now that our son is 23 we can’t even have a loving conversation about him anymore. The last time I tried all I got was a constant stream of “I dunno.” And when I pushed harder I got “You’re drinking wine right? You’re always too emotional when you drink wine.”
I’m not going to argue that point. I will however stipulate that his assertion suggests that he still knows me. And I can assure you he does not. Because as another eloquent Facebook quote (author unknown) pointed out “You don’t know this new me. I put back the pieces differently.” And that is the absolute biggest truth B will never understand. Vickie today isn’t even close to Vickie-when-we-were-married.
It just seems the longer we are apart the angrier he is at me. Or maybe I am overestimating my importance and perhaps dear B just doesn’t give a shit. I hate to admit I am that unimportant but I fear it may well be the bitter truth. Mother of his only child or not, he is busy with his new life and I am now old news. Kind of like the woman who calls her ex “sperm donor”. Except I guess I was “womb lender”.
So as of today, my diet involves no more worrying about my (non) relationship with B. I will no longer invite him to family functions. I will no longer pretend civility when we meet up at “events”. That’s not to say I’ll be rude. I am just done pretending we give a shit. If my family asks me if he and his partner can be included in our family occasions I will say no thanks. His presence ruined both my niece and nephew’s wedding for me. Magnanimous as I was trying to be, he and his new cha-cha partner were having a high old time dancing while I was weeping in my mother’s hotel room. I don’t have any more nieces and nephews so I don’t think weddings will be an issue (until our son gets married and can we just save that one for another blog?) but there will be no more invitations period. I’m done.
I know this sounds like a No More Mrs. Nice Guy thing and I hate that. Because I think I am a nice guy. But I have to let this shit go. It’s a battle I cannot win and one that is exhausting me. I can’t be exhausted if I want to fly. And yes, I want to fly more than I want to hang on to unachievable dreams. Especially dreams involving a man who never bothered to understand me when we were married, so why would I expect more when we are not? My pieces have been painstakingly (emphasis on pain) put back together differently. I’m not sure about his. But whether it’s because he’s angry, busy or just disinterested, I have spent way too many hours on a person who has very few minutes for me.
So I will let old baggage go. Bye-bye guilt and bye-bye longing. Bye-bye victims, martyrs, saints and sinners. Bye-bye hair shirt. Bye-bye dead and immovable weight.
This for me is an extremely difficult parting because it goes against my firm belief that love can always win in the end. And maybe it can? But maybe at this time my love for me has to be stronger than my love for … love.
I feel lighter already. And I may not be quite ready to fly, but I’m on my way to the airport …