I sat in the filthy gym bathroom stall and cried today. It was the first time I have cried about my divorce, the first time I have felt anything beyond palpable relief and a sense of having escaped an angry rhino.
It might have been the yoga class- blame it on the tadasanas and the soothing south asian chanting, or the hot room and smell of primal human energy. In any case, I left deeply sad. I felt the loss of what was. I felt the loss, and my responsibility for that loss.
Its easy to look at our former partner, whose familiarity so often accompanies contempt- that mouth breathing sloth, good for nothing drunken wastrel. Angry, sex obsessed, selfish beast who you married, fucked, and once laughed with and loved. How he became such a bag of shit is for another post entirely.
Or maybe not. Maybe how he became such a bag of shit is entirely the point of this post. Because, just maybe, he’s not actually a bag of shit. Maybe he is the same good person that you chose, who is badly wounded from years of neglect, pain, and fear.
Yes, he acts like a bag of shit. No, you don’t want to be married to him anymore- there are too many betrayals for that. Too much sleeping with your best friend, perhaps. Too many angry words, too much blaming you for his drinking problem. One too many slammed doors.
He is responsible for all of his damaging, unhinged, unboundaried juvenile behaviors. He is responsible for a hell of a lot more as well, lets just be very clear. There are no beauty queens in this shitshow.
There are no excuses, but there is always room for examination.
Speaking of examinations, I got a brazilian wax yesterday. It was my first time, and as I lay, butterflied on the examining table, while a ham fisted waxer cheerfully ripped my twat hairs out by the root- bloody stumps decorating pale pink strips of hotwax- I thought how apropos to be examined and flayed, ritualistically. Raw, and open, and vulnerable.
Dating now, I see how carefully I treat men. I see the empathy I show, the affection, the love, and lust and all the beauty that comes with true intimacy as it buds slowly over the months with a new person. There are no years of tears and damage- it is all fresh and new, trustworthy and beautiful and clean. Just like at the waxing bar, there is vulnerability, and there is trust.
Trust is key.
Trust says, “You like me, and that is enough”, “We have fun together, and that is enough”, “I am enough”.
Trust ebbs slowly. We damage each other over years of neglect. We build up walls, and push each other away. We avoid pain, and hide, and self medicate. We lie, insinuate, castigate.
We become too much, and not enough for each other. We see the cracks, the damage, and insurmountable hurts and anger, and we are sad.
I look back, at the close of my marital journey, and I cry a little bit. Secretly, every now and then, in the filthy bathroom stalls of life. It is the end of a chapter. No, the end of a book, really. And sometimes when we finish a book, we cry. Even if we never want to read that book again.