today’s the day

Today’s the day — the day that five years ago I publicly chose Jean-Guy. This day has snuck up on me and the week that’s preceded it has been hard in some very unexpected ways, and easier than I expected, too. In the collapse of my marriage, there is so much I have learned about what it means to be married that I wouldn’t have otherwise, not to mention what I’ve learned about myself and life in general.

I’m still sorting out the life lessons I’ll ultimately pull from the last 8 years. Maybe I’ll have something presentable or otherwise sensible by the time the divorce goes through at the end of the month, but for now, this set of lyrics speaks volumes:

You see I wanted to love you baby
But neither you nor I’d been loved before
I thought I could change the world if I just held you high enough
The truth is I couldn’t hold you up at all

I couldn’t hold you up
I couldn’t hold you up
And I sure ain’t gonna hold you down

One thing I have been able to accomplish this week is to put together a playlist that I feel encapsulates our relationship. It’s super weird to listen to. It’s weird to listen to songs that so early in our relationship were so woven into our experiences together, and to be able to fully feel myself enmeshed in the fabric of who we were and the circumstances that surrounded us, and to also feel simultaneous sorrow and relief. Truly bizarre. It’s interesting, too, to listen to the songs I played over and over again in anguish early this spring and to be able to tap those raw feelings of hurt and abandonment and feel the contrast between then and now and the strength I’ve found within myself that’s truly my own.

Life’s a journey. And the only closure you ever get is what you make for yourself: it’s up to you to make the things that happen to you, good and bad, mean something worthwhile. No one else can do that for you.

“Cause nothing in this life is good or bad
It’s we who dress it up as happy or sad
And no one in this life is sinner or saint
It’s just energy running up the stream
Or down the drain
And nothing in this life is a sheer must
Yet in living and loving indeed we trust
indeed we trust

Hey brother stranger you know we shall sail
Even if even if only to fail
’cause winning and losing keep journey amusing
Down down down
Your destiny trail”
— We Shall Sail; Gogol Bordello

This is your becoming

“And for your entire life you will be doing, on some level, the opposite of not only what you are doing but of what you think you are. That is just going to go on. And what you need to do is to honor that. To understand it. To unearth it. To listen to this other voice. You have, which is a rare thing, the ability and the responsibility to listen to the dissent in yourself. To at least give it the floor. Because it is the key, not only to consciousness, but to real growth. To accept duality is to earn identity, and identity is something that you are constantly earning. It is not just “who you are,” it is a process that you must be active in. And it’s not parroting your parents or even the thoughts of your learned teachers, it is, now more than ever, about understanding yourself so you can become yourself.”
— Joss Whedon

I’m a big fan of Mad Men. The show is certainly not for everyone. It’s not very plot driven, there’s not a lot, seemingly, that happens. If you want to enjoy the show and get a lot out of it, you have to watch closely and pay a lot of attention to the characters and their own subtexts. This show is pretty much entirely character and psychology driven, which is why I find it most fascinating. A lot of the buzz around the internet as the series draws near to its close is how it seems to be, at its heart, a show about whether or not people can really change.

I hadn’t really thought about that specifically until the beginning of this seventh season, and at first it made me uncomfortable. Of course people can change! Of course people can grow!

But as the first part of season unfolded and I thought about it more in the context of the show and my own life, I understand more that change and growth are not necessarily the same thing.

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