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Monday, November 21, 2011

Lessons in Letting Go and Thanksgiving

Some people can stay close friends with their ex's for long periods of time.  Sharing their lives with them, partners new and old, in much the way a glacier keeps with it what is passes over until, one fateful day, heat and exhaustion cause it to let go of one giant pile of stuff, creating fertile farmlands or valleys in the process-- where so much good may grow from all that was.  The other operative word for these people, other than glaciers, would be lesbians.

My relationship with my ex's is somewhat more complex.  Some are simply contacts on facebook, like so many old photos in an album.  Others, most in fact, are more like scars that are visible in just the right light, at just the right angle.  The source of a story that I find the need to share once in awhile, too often with just the wrong person. 

For this reason I do not try to be close friends with them.  Its just too hard.  I think.  It complicates things.  And my crazy analytical Virgo brain too often begs the question.. if we can be friends, then why the hell aren't we still together? Perhaps its a sign of some emotional immaturity on my part, but regardless, its just not me. 

This brings me to breakfast Saturday last.  I can still remember how this ex ended things.  as though it happened this morning at breakfast and not Pride Sunday, June, 2002.  We were supposed to meet for brunch.  He never called, never showed.  Im sure my OCD attempts to reach him (now we have an I-phone app to tell us that maybe we shouldn't dial for the 38th.. 39th... 40th... time.  Or at least we should have an app like that).  It culminated a bit after midnight when I finally saw him at the dance club.  He walked over to me without saying a word, handed me the spare key to my apartment, turned and walked away.  What happened next is too embarrassing to share.  But it became a game-- of chasing, begging, and pleading, and shedding my self respect on that dance floor and many others as I tried to understand, to accept, and, mostly to beg him to come back. 

That bizarre process would go on for over a year.  As I tried to win the love of someone who, never having known love themselves, had no idea what I had wanted or needed, and certainly no idea of what to give me then.  There was no closure.  The lava just cooled eventually, it created an ashen grey rock.  And I was left that way.  Over time I have moved on.  Thankfully.  But this even remains a big one for me.  For many good and bad reasons. 

"I Don't remember doing that".  That was his reply from across the table at breakfast.  After all these years I had finally mustered the courage to talk about it with him.  Address that pile of magma in my relationship history, trying to at least climb over and beyond it but including him in the event.  And he had no idea he had ever done it.  Took me three times of explaining.  I then just gave up.  And at that moment one of Dyer's lessons became crystal clear.  It never is about the other person.  Its about us.  Our reaction.  Our Memory.  Our tired fingers clinging to a hurt, or a memory, or a love that has long moved passed us.  The Glacier gives no thought to the items it drags a long.  Maybe we should be more of the same. 

This is the week of Thanksgiving.  Of saying to God and others and ourselves how happy we are with the good things in our lives.  But at this moment i want to give thanks for the bad ones.  Or at least the ones I thought were bad after they were good.  James; James; Jason; Anthony; Toby; Alex; Steven; Frans-- all of you offer that lesson to me now. Even though you are all mostly light years away.  I thank you for what you showed me, for the times that were magic and for the times that weren't.  And for the lesson I could have never learned otherwise. 

In the words of Julia Kasdorf from the poem First Gestures:

...Think how a particular ridge of hills
from a summer of your childhood grows
in significance, or one hour of light--
late afternoon, say, when thick sun flings
the shadow of Virginia creeper vines
across the wall of a tiny, white room
where a girl makes love for the first time.
Its leaves tremble like small hands
against the screen while she weeps
in the arms of her bewildered lover.
She's too young to see that as we gather
losses, we may also grow in love;
as in passion, the body shudders
and clutches what it must release.

It is the release part that is the hardest, but the most important. I see that now.  More every day.   

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