Episode 48: Souls With Eyes
It's Brunch somewhere! Brunch is not entirely dependent on your time zone. Personal bedtimes, weekend plans...or work schedules. If one wakes at 11 a.m., brunch could be at 2:00. New Zealanders could eat brunch for dinner. All to say that my timing is a bit off this morning. Er, afternoon. Despite my imbalance, let's clink a cheers to a bit of connection between work, notices and ads in your inbox. Written with a wonky Bridgerton accent in my head. Reading with an accent is completely your next best decision.
I went to dinner this week with many of my family.
I am always amazed to have that opportunity.
As the universe would have it, I sat between my adult son and my little niece.
We'll call her Marie 2.
Not to be confused with her stuffed cat toy, Marie.
This little girl, full of her own child brain wisdom, asked me about my son:
Is he your husband?
No, he's my son. I'm his mother.
Does he live with you?
No, he moved out for college.
Does your husband and daughter live with you?
No, they both moved out too.
So you live alone?
Yes. I do.
My sister across from me said, "But they live really close by." She made eye contact with me, and we smiled at each other.
I was surrounded by family: part of the one I created with a marriage and my uterus, and the one I was adopted into twenty-nine years ago.
I watched all of them supporting and loving me and each other.
It was several snapshots of BEING over plates of pasta, chicken and cheesecake.
So many thoughts.
These siblings are mine because they were born to a couple.
A couple who got married and had five children, and adopted me.
Two humans chose to have a family, and have chosen each day to stay together.
I was surrounded by commitment and loyalty and devotion.
The conversations were easy, but also grew from trying to understand each other.
We leaned in a little for selfies, with gentle support.
But when this tiny niece, this perfectly whole human, looked at me with her wise little eyes, I felt a hole.
I sensed a missing piece.
I thought I had it.
But maybe I was pretending. Hoping I had connection, love and support in my own little circle of family, leaking out to the bigger fam and into the world.
It was there sometimes, wasn't it?
Do my adult children ask these same questions?
Was there just enough to keep us together?
There was some support, some connection.
There still is a little bit of that.
Truth: I was looking to him (and others) to fill this space, and was not filling it myself.
And that was never his job.
Imagine two people, filling their own needs, and SHARING time and space and fun with each other.
Similar to my family dinner. Entirely BEING, then SHARING.
Is this what people naturally do? Or is it the work?
I had a decision to make this week.
I started therapy three months ago, waist-deep in stages of grief and thirsty to be 'fixed.'
Recently, I committed to decide, Will I continue or stop?
I am feeling better, stronger, and diligently practicing love for myself.
In the past, I quit therapy when I got too close to the underlying issues.
I'd feel lighter, more clear and happy-ish after cleaning up the outskirts.
We'd edge nearer the little suitcase of pain deep in my chest, and I'd quit.
I was, after all, feeling better.
But not fixed.
I'd build some more months and years on top of the darkness.
Build relationships. Splash on some education, add additional roles. Volunteer. Lead.
Ice cream toppings on chocolate doodoo.
My first thought this week: If I planned on being in a relationship, if I wanted that at all, I would keep therapy going. Because the dark schmear affects the partner, affects the WE.
But I don't want to Share, due to trouble with the basic of Being.
So I can quit, again.
With a little coaching from a strong, compassionate friend, I could finally see, after all these decades, that I have a relationship with myself. I'm with Me all the time.
And this unshuffled stack of poo affects my relationship with Me.
Jane Fonda, at sixty, divorced her husband.
She was scared and didn't know what the future would look like.
Explaining it now, at 82 years old, she said she somehow knew that she could not fill all the empty parts of her, and stay married to him.
If mine came back and wanted to reunite, what would I say?
I have to ask this question.
Not just because my friends and family ask me.
I am practicing: how do I want to show up in different situations? How do I feel about this, in advance?
To be clear: I do not think marriage prevents personal growth.
But it can if we let it. For both partners.
Here we are. I look at my watch. Ground myself to reality.
So now what?
Today Deep Breath: here's a practical juju nugget, a collective Next Best Decision.
We all have taken shots from people, as kids and adults.
The most conscientious parents cannot prevent it.
Pellets of snark, spitballs of poo are flung both passively and aggressively.
Gas bubbles in cheeses cause "eyes" to form: large ones in Swiss and tiny ones in colby jack.
This is how I imagine my soul's heart to be.
I could spackle-in those bubbles for the benefit of someone else, maybe.
History says otherwise.
How about doing it for me?
Even if there is no one else.
Loved ones visit but leave, always there, but not.
Affectionate pets will pass.
Friends, always, but rotating.
I'm still here. I will stay with me and we'll heal the cheesy heart together.
What or who have you lost?
What do you miss about them?
This week, I'm all about stitching those sores together, and wrapping that blanket around our cold shoulders.