Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bon gré mal gré - C'est la vie!

Just over three years ago, as I drove my daughter to college, I began a journey deep inside myself that had been long overdue.  I had been on the outside of most everything for some time.  It wasn’t always that way.  I was once, or practically, a rebel, a warrior, a risk-taker, and devil-may-care hellcat, or so I like to imagine or claim.   Not a myth of youth, so much as, a clearly defined being with personality and purpose.  Sometimes a force to be reckoned with, other times a calm and quiet presence, an observer, a thinker, and just as quickly a raucous instigator challenging others to be more, or less of who they were destined to be.  I was more frequently alive and lively.  Realizing, almost at once, that I had been this "someone" so long ago, I started reflecting and examining and analyzing before starting to adjust and alter and maybe soon embrace or at least calmly accept. 

I suppose bringing my daughter to college was symbolic as much as it was monumental and yet still, an ordinary transition in the life cycle of us simply, mortal humans. The depth of the separation caught me slightly off guard just the same. I had 3 years prior released a son out into the wild, or an esteemed college, in any event, and survived unscathed.  With my daughter I saw something else.  As much as I saw the richness and fullness of her life beginning, I also saw how much I had been evading and stifling that fullness in my own life.   The anticipation and expectation of greatness was tangible and all around her.  Something large and possible lie ahead for my daughter, it was palpable. I saw her as ready, but vulnerable, open but inexperienced and accepting of what was to be.  I had great faith in her and knew she would go far if only she wished.  As she does. 

This transition forced me to take a closer look at what was missing in my own life.  It wasn’t hard to identify.  It was me.  I was missing from my own life.  I wondered when and why I had given up or left.  I might have mourned my “self” more than I mourned her parting.  I wanted to feel whole again.  I no longer was able to be the pulled and partitioned parent providing too little to too many and nothing to myself. 

I started to take a closer look at my efforts at evasion.  I struggled to maintain a marriage, knowing it had long ago lost its way.   I was not ready to accept that it likely never had a chance, and so I was never looking directly at it.   It had been built upon deception and illusive assurances.  I suppose the best way to avoid that truth was to embrace it and try to quell it.  I might have tried to hug the love into it.  When that failed, I became combative, and frustratingly ambiguous and finally submissive. 

I can now say, sadly, I helped create this conflicting duality.  This dance that offered rejection and attraction, over and over again.  Repelled and rapt. This self-fulfilling prophesy that has permitted me to gloat in the reality that I cannot trust.  Men.  See.  Again.  I have been playing out a deeply rooted childhood violation, molestation, but never fully.  And so it hasn’t healed.  I haven’t healed.   Instead I get to “imagine” that I am in control of “it”.  This harm that has festered deep within.   I choose men that offer very little and then I get only that much.  Expectant of little and appreciative of less.  See.  Again.  Why would I expect more? 

I am strong.  I am a fighter.  I am smart.  I am funny.  I am attractive.  I am violated.  And so I fight.  I resist.  I submit.  I attract.  I repel.  Anxiously.  Awkwardly.  Uncertainly. And angrily.  Because all that I am that is good didn’t protect or help or save me.  And all that I am that is not so very good did not protect me or help or save me.  And so I can’t trust.  Me.  See?  

In not wanting to believe that there must be something wrong with me to have made this happen I have kept this secret tightly concealed for so very long.   I believed I would not be able to convince others that I did not cause this violation to occur.   I did not stop it.  I did not understand it.  Instead I grew up and believed I could not trust men. Or myself...with...them.  

I have developed some strong, unconventional leanings amidst some regular, ordinary thoughts and desires.  I don’t always “fit”.  I tried to convince myself I mostly don’t want to, or need to, or simply just can't.  But I have tried only so much, and doing so, I have lost a great deal of me.   I have started realizing I am not so very different, or difficult, or dastardly.  I am resilient.  I am strong.  I am a fighter. I am smart.  I am funny.  I am attractive.  I am healing.  I am trying.  I am deserving and desirable. I am ready to trust a little more.  I am ready to expect more.  

Tonight after struggling with the reality that I took a chance and tried out my dating chops and more or less failed miserably (well maybe not that much),  I shared with a friend,  "The worst problem is that I don’t have a clue why it didn't work out”.   It didn’t take very long to reveal that that was really not the worst problem, or even entirely true. There has been this pattern over time:  There is initially BIG attention and attraction directed my way that I find so intimidating and unbelievable.  Rapt and repelled, curious, isn't it?  I question and discard and distrust at the same time that I desperately want to eagerly accept and experience.   I send out, or keep close, unclear cues.  I was even able to imagine a few of my not so appealing traits and features. I briefly attempted to develop this new interest in requesting feedback, as though if I only knew what was not working I might tamp it down and alter who I am.  Still playing out the early violation.  Or maybe just bide for time and explain it away. Imagine that? I’m not really interested in tamping down or submitting or giving up me.  Instead, I am ready to heal and accept and maybe grow and chalk up the experience to the real possibilities that await me and smile at the kindness and gentleness that was shared, if briefly. 

I am attracted to men, and no longer so afraid, ready to trust, finally, and that’s more than ok.  I am complex and wizened and maybe not appealing to every man, or even a man I might find appealing.  So, whether I like it or not,  C’est la vie!  I suppose that's the greatest lesson in being this particular woman in control.  I don't get to decide or determine or alter or fix it all.   My story is still unfolding, I am ready to live fully and find out where I might lead, and follow, and just be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"ginger, probably more than you know, or maybe you do, this life, your life, is the life of so many women . . .but for most - unable to be articulated . . .and then along comes you . . .with lifetimes of thought . . puts into words . . . devises a road map, and shares it. we can't thank you enough."