Sunday, August 5, 2012

Romantic Recovery: Crashed and Burned

Between stimulus and response there is a space….. Viktor E. Frankl

In the process of Post Divorce Romantic Recovery there are several stages.  I am currently moving past phase 2 of Stage 1 in which I have gone through stun and grief, or I gave up and jumped into wild reawakening, and now I'm moving towards, OK let's just remember who we are here....or Stage 2.

I came across this quote and couldn’t help realizing that I stumbled upon something pretty meaningful and significant to me.  And maybe to some people that have had the unpleasant experience of my response in relation to their stimulus.  Only now, I think maybe there might have been more than a couple of occasions recently that my response came so quickly, and perhaps a tad largely, that I wasn’t even giving enough time to entirely understand the point or purpose of their stimuli, I had already jumped into response mode all big and crazy like.  And I might add, I’m not sure if I have ever had this space, but I think it would be pretty useful to cultivate, somehow, quickly. 

This stimulus-response quagmire seems to be heightened lately.  I’m inpatient and agitated and more than a little ANGRY from time to time.  Not always.  Not even mostly.  But certainly in direct correlation with the reality that my timeline for moving on in my life is not in abidance by the Universe.  Or the legal system and the long-drawn out process of divorce.  Or some super-sized concept of being whole and ready and willing and desperately needing to put this all back into place.  You know pedal to the medal and all that.  My life has been in upheaval mode for more than I can tolerate, to put it mildly and I am wanting for some predictability and pleasure.   

I have been wanting to jump into the relationship arena so badly, for so many bad reasons.  I don’t want to stop and take some much needed time to heal and mend.   I am afraid I will miss this window of opportunity that isn’t even in full view yet. I want to prove that I can, only I seem to be proving that I can’t with such force and flare, I’ll be lucky if I don’t have to join some reverse witness protection program soon and have to relocate, to a small farming community in say, East Timor.   But alas, in some ways, it turns out, this is all perfectly normal, in a bit of a crazed and maybe scary, over the top way.  A little, maybe, with my own personal spin on it of course.

I have been working really hard to avoid any self-help articles or books that discuss divorce, post divorce, or middle aged upheavals of any sort.  I’m on this quest of just accepting things and not giving a darn-tooting hoot about the why or how.  Or, well, that’s another super-sized concept of what I would like to put into effect, and I remember being this way a very long time ago, like around 32 years ago, all care-free and in a drugged-like calm without the drugs or the burden of responsibility.  It's a great deal easier to be care-free when you don't have any cares in the world..….And I have this annoying tendency to read these articles and books and somehow add my own exaggerated sense of intuition and therapeutic wherewithal and spread it to the masses.  Or mostly just feel smug in the knowledge and think myself healed.  Dangerously so.

So the space, the stimulus, the response, the Universe….somehow they were all aligned briefly today, and I fell upon a few articles that seem to be making me out to be the poster-child, OK fine, the poster-middle-aged divorcing woman for going through the predictable phases of post divorce dating.  Theo Pauline Nestor, writes about the three phases of romantic recovery post divorce.   The second phase is where I have run into all sorts of chaos and lost sight of myself.  She discusses the sense of being unmoored and untethered, (check) about being somewhat confused about your identity, comparing the day job as responsible Mom (or Dad) and the desire and attempts to dance the night away (check) She warns, “But, as you’re trying out your new shiny self in the world, don’t be too surprised if all this heady new freedom sends you into a freefall of social vertigo. You may feel a little shaky about the rules of the dating world, and you wonder how much things have changed since you were out there last. Should you call? Do you give out your phone number or email? Sometimes, you feel as clueless as you did in junior high (check) and at others, like a wild party animal (check). Expect a lot of up and downs; one day you may be depressed; the next—excited about the possibilities of your new life.”  (check).

I have moved through the first phase of isolation and grieving and fear-struck stun, the second phase with my inner wild-child swinging through the jungle ready to conquer and slay. Umm, well that’s the phase, I didn’t create it, but I have taken to it with gusto and a crash and burn propensity.   I hope it’s over.  Although I haven’t had any success here, I think I’m good to go. I have been trying way to hard, and I barely recognized myself in this.  I'm not sure what I might have accomplished had I been successful, anyone that was attracted to what I was presenting, would have been pretty frightening once I awoke from the phase.  

I have felt all sorts of too far out of my own skin in some interactions, and happily enjoyed the opportunity to consider some freer thoughts, even if they weren’t realized and put into action.  There’s time, lots of time….I hope I am moving out of this phase, into calm and tethered.  I would like to get through it intact with a little integrity left or with the new attitude of just accepting things and not giving a darn-tooting hoot about the why or how.   I wouldn't mind erasing the memories of a few over the top interactions. I think I was hoping to reinvent myself in an effort to ensure that I not recreate all that I wish to leave behind.  I also have taken on this larger than life, I-am-not-tolerating-any nonsense-approach, only I haven't stopped long enough to recognize nonsense, I have just pounced on the slightest smell of it. Only, I missed that it might have been body-odor emanating from the nonsense I am perpetuating. 

I am going to try to see if I can work in that “space” that I have been missing.  I’m going to try to determine what I need and what I am willing to compromise on.  I’m going to lay off searching or attempting to capture or flag down or lure some big hunk of fabulousness my way.  I might even give in to the Universe and breathe and heal and mend.  But, if the Universe should want me to dance the night away, I do have more than a few great outfits to throw on in a split second….and I can be ready in a jiff, or I can somehow retrofit that area between stimulus and response and measure out dimensions for time and space and calm…..

....In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Viktor E. Frankl

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