Tuesday, November 6, 2012

swinging and bending, part 1.

{image found here}

i was walking up to the parking lot, when i spotted him.  i could immediately tell something was wrong from his posture; his head down, his shoulders slumped, his eyes staring at the cracks in the pavement.  

when i reached him i stopped, and wrapped an arm around him as i crouched to his eye level.

"everything okay, buddy?"  i asked softly so that others standing close wouldn't hear if he didn't want them to. i know my son, and he is easily embarrassed when something is wrong.

with my touch, his face crumpled.  

"we were playing ball and i accidentally hit him in the face!  i said i was sorry but he told me he didn't forgive me and that he was telling on me!"  tears streamed down his face as he choked out the words.

"well if it was an accident, and you said you were sorry, then that's all you can do.  it's okay if he needs some space for a while, and time to calm down. he'll come back, he knows you love him and he loves you.  you did the best you can do,"  i wrapped my arm tighter around his small frame as i spoke.

then i heard him whisper,

"but my best isn't good enough."

at that comment, i raised his face to mine and stared straight into his beautiful, 7-year-old hazel eyes.

"no caleb, that's not true.  your best is good enough, and if he chooses not to forgive you when you've sincerely asked for it, then the mistake is now his.  you can't control his reaction, or his forgiveness.  so if he wants to stay angry with you, the only way to feel peace in your heart in this situation is to walk away and let it go.  it is now his to carry."

i knew then that what i was telling him was heavy, and had a moment of wondering if i was speaking too far above his level of comprehension.  but he said, "okay," wiped his eyes and a couple of minutes later was smiling and laughing again, free from his previous burden.


i have been asked several times, what happened after the beginning of seeing my Truth.  the Truth that involved abuse, which in turn created a girl who didn't know who she was.  just how does someone change after that realization, and after three decades of being one way--how do i tear down most of who i used to be and rebuild who i wanted to become?

i was something different, to almost everyone i suspect.  i wanted to be, because i ached to be the person that everyone liked--that everyone trusted--that everyone felt close to--that everyone thought was, well...good enough.

codependency sprang easily from my personality, who was born a lover not a fighter.  i shriveled around contention, could not confront another to save my life, lived with constant guilt about all of the things i was not and had not done enough of, felt absolutely internally tortured if i ever found out i had offended anyone, and grew up believing i had been created for the purpose of being one who could always put another's needs above my own--even if those needs inflicted pain upon me.  many times i felt that those who were searching for another person to take advantage of only had to simply put their nose up in the air, inhale deeply, and sniff me out.  

growing up, i had a very clear idea of who i did not want to be. the road had been paved before me with characteristics that not only terrified me, but caused the internal pendulum of my personality to swing as far to the other side of those characteristics as i possibly could. but the swinging pendulum is such a dangerous game.  by being victorious in not becoming that person, it caused me to end up in relationships with those who possessed the very characteristics i feared.  they sniffed the air, and called, and i followed.

3 years ago i wrote about the time when ben came along, in the midst of the realization that my swinging pendulum was only continuing the cycle that had been set before me.  i was in a very lonely, self-loathing place, where i knew that something was wrong....and wrong enough to take a serious break from dating anyone, though i was at the peak of the dating period of my life.

so when he walked into my path, with his easygoing, fun personality and kind heart, i felt the concerns fade, though i was wary and careful.  here was someone who was more like me than anyone i had met.  we talked about how we shared similar weaknesses and strengths, and considered it a bond we had both been searching for.  i knew that he was safe for me in the way that he would not take advantage of the soft pieces of me.  i knew deep down that he was the place i could heal my previous wounds, and felt my pendulum swing more to where, years later, it would eventually find its middle; its balance.

but finding someone who is so similar to yourself can also be tricky.  if there are two explosive tempers, it can be deadly.  two addictive personalities and it can be destructive.  fortunately, neither ben nor myself had much of either one of those; in fact, we had the opposite.  we were so concerned with confrontation or contention, we each learned to stuff any of those "unattractive" feelings down, hoping they would never resurface.  our marriage was a peaceful one, right from the start.  we couldn't relate to friends who spoke of those "rough, first couple of years" as a married couple.  we got along so well, didn't argue, loved spending every waking minute together.  in a way, i think we were each other's respite from the choppy waves of our own rocky and tumultuous oceans of the past.

our individual pendulums had not yet found their balance. during those first two years, were we truly happy?  yes, we were.  but we were also two naive codependents, trying to brave a storm full of circumstances beyond our control, circumstances that would threaten to break apart our interlocking fingers with its whiplash.

looking back now, i can see the dark and heavy clouds gathering around us.

{think it's probably a bad idea for my randomly-blogging self to post a part 1?  based on my past history of struggling to finish these part-blogs, i do too.  but it's too long to write all in one night, so i'm going with it anyway.  fingers crossed i finish it before 5 years has passed!}


Nana said...

I LOVE your post. I'm so there with you. But you are learning about yourself sooner than I have. I still fall into those traps. You have a beautiful way of expressing yourself and I love to read your perspective.
I feel for your sweet Caleb. I think small ones are more resilient and forgiving. It's wonderful you can teach him what it took you years to learn. Sending lots of hugs your way!

ClancyPants said...

Can't wait to meet you in real life and talk the night away. I have a feeling we'll have a lot to talk about. Not to mention laugh about. :)

Lauren said...

Looking back is hard, but I'm proud of you for doing it. It's the only way we see clearly where we've been, and can plot a better path for where we want to go. Keep it up, my love.


suezq said...

You have done such a great job to gain perspective on the parts of your life you love and the parts you want to change. Your words are so wise and I love reading them.