Sunday, April 11, 2010

Give Yourself a Year

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could remove the unseemly parts of our personality as easily as we pluck an extra-thick hair from a mole? If refraining from taking our bad days out on our friends and loved ones (and even strangers) was as easy as brushing plaque from our teeth? Some bad breath is impossible to take care of with normal flossing and brushing, so offensive it requires a special visit to a dentist wielding a long tool for deep tongue cleaning. Some people are so unhappy with what God and / or genetics gave them - or what time is doing to them - that they visit plastic surgeons to make them more acceptable to themselves.

I’ve always hated my impatience. My divorce cured it from being my default setting. But real growth leaves scars, like the ones on my hips from gaining most of my height in one summer. There is no quick solution. I’m a better person for this experience and I will continue to improve, but lord how it hurts sometimes.

I looked back through my Mindpissings journal because I’ve been in a funk lately. I thought maybe my perspective has been skewed, that hindsight painted my love for Andi in rose-colored hues. I thought reading about past doubts, longings, and marital gripes would bring these negative emotions to the surface, that I could rid myself of them as easily as one might squeeze pus from a pimple.

Last spring, before I knew that openly discussing straying from our marriage was only cathartic for one of us, I was up to my elbows in South Beach Wine and Food Festival, and then the Bottega Challenge. Here are a few samples from my journal during this period:

2/10/09: “I wouldn’t trade my wife for anyone or anything. Maybe that’s a type of prison, but only if she doesn’t feel the same. If she does, it’s the most wonderful thing in the world. If she doesn’t, it is beyond repellent, and a bit sad.”

2/21/09 – 3/12/09: “Easily one of the greatest weekends of my life…”

“Holy shit, I am the luckiest man ever…”

“Having to have a job sucks; we should get a Macarthur Genius Grant for fucking.”

“I thought of my ‘midlife puberty’ and realized I don’t need another woman, or other women, I just needed to rediscover Andi. And we have, again. 16 years after the fact. I can’t even explain how that happens.”

“Ten years of marriage. It’s been lovely. Great. Wonderful, even.”

Now I see I was the one feeling over-the-moon in love; she was trying her damnedest to be in love with me and failing. I looked back hoping to find doubt, not validation that my old life fell apart so quickly. Or gradually, then suddenly, as Hemingway's Mike Campbell says.

I also looked back to find the exact date of our split. A wise woman told me to wait a year after my accident for full recovery. I’m giving myself a year from hearing the phrase I think we should separate. If I’m still wallowing…well, I’ll jump off that bridge when I come to it.

Metaphorically, of course.

No comments:

Post a Comment