It often astonishes me when suddenly as if struck by a bolt of lightning, the little bulb goes on and you have one of those “holy shit” moments. You know, the ones where it is as if the skies opened up and the sun spilled down and the murk of twilight want dissipates and you dive into clarity.
Of course, me being me, I find even those revelatory moments suspect, particularly in view of my experiences over the past six years during which my entire life turned out to be a farrago of illusion and deceit. In that relatively short time period, I watched every inner belief and conviction I thought inviolate and immutable, crumble and fall to dust, leaving me thrashing and gasping for breath in the detritus of folly and trust misplaced.
Out of the debris, I’ve tried to muster some semblance of normalcy and balance, and worked hard not to sink into reproach and despair; although my success to date is questionable. Most important, and something I work diligently at is the sometimes improbable goal of avoiding bitterness – the sourness of being bitter is by far more toxic to the holder than to its intended target.
But it is, I admit, an uphill battle – good thing I’m from good Celtic warrior (or if you’re British, terrorist) stock – because it is indeed an ongoing effort to avoid turning all harsh and astringent, particularly in hindsight about the men in my life, who pretty well entirely and, in some respects, thoroughly managed to spectacularly destroy any faith I might have had in professed love and regard, leading me at times to consider the merits of same sex relationships (but truth, the lack of a penis is definitely on the red side of the ledger and so far, is a deal-breaker – and yes, this IS sarcasm).
Certainly, I’ve had some revelatory moments which have provided a smidgeon of positive energy and in the knowledge, given me some tools to which I might otherwise not have had access.
And while I have specifically labelled the men in my life as my greatest adversaries at times, I do not place the blame all on their shoulders. For anyone who reads me will discover fairly quickly that one of the single most important guiding principles of my existence is my unshaken belief in taking responsibility for your own damn actions.
And thus I suffer the result of MY choices.
And while in hindsight I wonder if I would make a lot of those choices again, given foreknowledge of the outcome, I accept that it is MY choices that lead me to where I am now. For to even entertain the thought of someone outside myself controlling MY choices leaves me appalled. Damn it, my life may be fucked up, but no one fucked it up except me.
But with all the chaos engendered by many years now of an existence lived on quicksand, I’ve been offered a few salutary insights which have again, lead to me making some conscious decisions about my behaviour and the direction I take with respect to certain issues.
For instance, I recognized some time ago that I am attracted to broken people (http://seafoamselkie.blogspot.com/2008/08/you-just-cant.html) and in my arrogance, thought I could fix them or at least alleviate some of their agony. If sharing that agony is alleviating their own pain, then perhaps to a very limited extent, I did. But in reality, I realized that each of us must seek our own balm for our pain, that it is only through our belief in our own abilities and the desire and then decisiveness to follow that path, in which something broken can heal. All that I got from my efforts, in most cases, is pain and disillusionment.
Internalizing this of course, is different from recognizing the veracity of it, but I felt a moderate thrill of success as over the past few years, I’ve set limits with certain friends, slowly and as kindly as possible (but decisively) severed the threads of unhealthy needy relationships and tried to find a balance between retaining some degree of autonomy as selkie while retaining the essence of who I am.
But, despite the evidence (which if I had stepped back and tried to perceive the situation rationally would have been obvious), my most important relationship and primary cause of my agony remained elusive as a source of my greatest pain.
While I could clearly see that a particular friend for instance, had been sucking me dry for years, that her narcissistic, self-absorption was leaching me of energy, hope and optimism, I only very recently recognized those self-same traits in someone who I continue to love with a sadly malicious, obsessive and unwavering commitment.
I literally could list the behaviours and match them up – I just never saw it before.
And while I think the one might be engendered by a chemical imbalance, the other the result of emotional and spiritual trauma, the end result is much the same.