Today I just feel like writing about what’s been happening… nothing big or exciting, just want to invite you into my sun room for a cup of coffee (or tea, if you prefer). We have to sit in the sun room because Hurricane Joaquin is coming and the weather is dreary- too dreary to sit outside, because when the rain starts, it usually blows up onto the porch. I have about two hours before I have to leave for choir, the perfect time for a stitch and bitch club. I usually go to choir 30 minutes early so that I can warm up before I go in. Makes everything so much easier because if I go in cold, I don’t have the control over my voice that I need to be flexible. I need my high As to float off, not sound like a strangled cat, which I have done and it is attractive, let me tell you….. The best part is that I can warm up in the sanctuary, and the acoustics are incredible. There’s a balcony in the back, and I sing to it, replacing the friend on the wall that Joseph used as focus. Singing is the one thing in my life that really makes me feel special, because it strengthened me when I graduated into a real soprano from a trumpet player just faking it.
Yes, I still hear Diane in a lot of my flourishes, but I cannot turn off that part of myself, and at this point, I’ve made my piece with it. Piece instead of peace because I am not sure I will ever have true peace with that issue, but it is a piece of myself. A compartment in which she lives and breathes through me. It is the one part of me that will never let go of her, because she taught me too much to turn back.
I’ve talked a lot about her in therapy, and Sarah is helping me breathe through it… much too close to labor for my taste, but it is working. It is amazing how birthing new emotions is like birthing a baby, because everything hurts. I have to breathe all the way down, and after a session, my abdomen and diaphragm are stretched to capacity. It’s to combat the fight-or-flight impulse, because in writing down all of my emotions, very few people talk back to me. It is a different thing to have someone pulling me through the pain and trying to turn it into action on my part. Trying to help me put my life back together so that I don’t feel like a victim but a survivor. It was amazing how much I thought I knew when I was a teenager, and how I thought all of it was normal. All the sunshine, all the chill, all the opening up to me and then pulling away when she thought she’d said too much and I was responding with love but she wasn’t taking it in… or it seemed like it. It was a dance of intimacy where she would tell me things that were too mature for me to hear, and then not give me a place to go with how I felt about it. She was very open when I was talking about my own life, and very closed off when I wanted to talk about hers. It wasn’t equal in a ton of ways, but abuse is so black and white when you’re that age that it doesn’t occur to you that someone can stunt your emotional growth without ever touching you.
Yesterday, I was railing at Sarah. “Why didn’t I realize this when I was 21? 25? I feel too old for this shit and at the same time, I feel like a 14-year-old girl in a 38-year-old woman’s body!” I have married that pattern my whole life, wanting to save women in trouble from whatever it was that was bothering them without thinking of myself at all. Without thinking of career or interests or anything that might have individuated me from them. I was just the Lanagan Search and Rescue system, without applying any of those lessons learned to myself.
My reflex in breaking up with Dana is that I’ve had enough. Dana and I had an interesting relationship in that we both had wounds left over from childhood and we were both trying to save each other, with very little forward progress. We both latched onto each other in our need, and it was so, so good right up until it wasn’t.
I hoped like hell that it could be good again, and I lost. Straight up. She came in Kings full over Aces and said it just wasn’t going to happen.
I disappeared into my books and my silence. I isolate all the time, because I am not ready for a relationship with anyone. My closest friend right now is my roommate, Samantha, which allows me to isolate and have a friend at the same time. We both like our space, and retreat into it often… but at the same time, we share some of the same emotional wounds and can lean on each other when necessary. In fact, it was me that convinced Samantha she needed Vesta as much as I do, and now we go together on Wednesdays so that she can drive me, which is sweet even though the office is within walking distance.
In the last few months, I have found more solace in books than I have in other people, and it is as if they are returning me to the person I used to be. When I was a kid, I was also a voracious reader, and it feels good to be lost in reading and singing and focusing on the things I love rather than what someone else does. I have treated myself differently during this breakup, because when I broke up with Kathleen, I didn’t do all the work necessary to get past the search and rescue system, and I just ended up in the same relationship over and over.
Katharin isolated me from all my friends and when I told her about protesting the war in Iraq and the safe sanctuary program at Bridgeport, she punched a hole in the wall she was so angry. She didn’t want to be with someone who thought immigrants deserved safe sanctuary and the war in Iraq was wrong… even though I told her that I always support boots on the ground, I just don’t always support the commander in chief. Supporting the soldiers that have to carry out the President’s wishes is a lot different than supporting the higher-ups. The worst part was that we were having company dear to me the next day, and I had to find a way to get the wall fixed before they arrived.
She also held it over my head that I was a little bit woo-woo. That I’d celebrated Solstice and Beltane and had no problem with the idea of Wicca as a practice because most of Christianity was borne of it. I changed too much of myself to try and make that relationship fit, and it wasn’t until Dana started getting angry that I noticed. She was my fierce protector, and told me flat out how abusive Katharin was and to get the fuck away from her. She didn’t say it in those words, but the fire in her eyes told me everything I needed to know. Katharin wasn’t one of us, would never fit in, because Dana and I loved each other for who we were, warts and all… and so did Bryn and Matt and Holly and all of my other friends. I didn’t need to change for anyone else, and I needed to re-join the people that would never try and make me.
Loving Dana was realizing that it was the first time someone had ever tried to save me. She held me while I cried, listened to my frustrations, and gave me emotional band-aids of massive proportions. Losing her is indeed the worst thing that has ever happened to me, and I have so many regrets to work out with Sarah. On some days, I feel incomplete without her. On others, I am happy to have this time to myself. Maybe someday we’ll be friends, but I am too angry about the way she manipulated me to see her as anything but danger. It was ridiculous how she kissed me on the street like she meant it and then handed me my heart in a trash bag because I could hear her talking to her mother about how she was never going back, but I’m guessing that her mother didn’t know she was kissing me and I didn’t know the extent of how much she’d told her mother about what we’d been through.
I miss her hugs the most… the way our bodies just fit together and I could rest my chin on her shoulder in happiness and in pain. But I don’t miss her embarrassing the crap out of me at parties and I don’t miss the fights where she was trying to tell me something and crying so hard I couldn’t understand her so that I got irritated that I couldn’t understand what was happening. I didn’t have enough patience. I didn’t have enough give. By the end, I was in complete survival mode, because neither one of us could handle the other. We’d taken care of each other over the years, and it was heartbreaking when we stopped. It was either Argo or Dana and that’s where the rubber met the road. This after months and months of me begging and pleading with her that I would back off, but please don’t take her away from me. Please don’t isolate me from a relationship that has become a life raft of enormous proportion. Please don’t use her in fights as if she is a threat, because she’s not. I’m working through a hell of a lot of issues right now and I could use more than one supportive ear…. please…. please…..
I felt it was better to come straight out and tell Dana that I was struggling with my feelings for Argo because it was an explosive connection from the beginning and I didn’t know what to do because I knew that my struggle was mine to own. Argo was threatened by it, and there was no reason to assume that she was the problem.
She wasn’t. I was.
The process happened exactly like I thought it would with Argo. My feelings for her went away and I could just see her as a buddy, but it came too late to save my relationship with Dana, because Dana thought that I was on my way out, anyway…. which was the furthest thing from the truth of the matter. The truth was that if Dana had stuck around for the entire process, she would have seen the changes I’ve undergone in person, but maybe she didn’t want to… and that’s on her.
I wish she’d stuck around to see the changes I’ve undergone in person, but I didn’t invite her to move with me and I didn’t want to. By that time in my life, I was tired of fighting and ready for solitude. Now the pendulum has swung too far and I have trouble making myself interact with anyone because I don’t want to hurt them and I don’t want them to hurt me. Sarah says that it’s unhealthy the amount of time I spend alone and I tell her it’s ok, I’m comfortable there and she says, “but that’s the problem.”
Church is helping- these relationships that aren’t deep but enlightening all the same. My mind is piqued with all kinds of information on theology and a progressive one at that. I am trying, but at the same time, I’d hide under the handbell tables if we had them.
That was my safe sanctuary when I was a tween. Diane would come and find me and sit under them with me, and I would give a limb to have any one of those moments back. Yes, it was inappropriate… but the way she held me can’t be duplicated by anyone else, either. I miss her hugs the most… the way I could just cling to her for a moment and the whole world would be blocked out. From the moment I met her, she lit me up from the inside. Those are the moments I feel I’m allowed to miss, because I can put the inappropriateness in a different box and just enjoy the good times in my mind.
All of these women have changed me, in both good and bad ways, but I wouldn’t trade any of the experiences I’ve had for anything in the world. I choose to believe that with Diane, it was a kindred spirit kind of love, which is why she still sits on my shoulder occasionally, my angel when I am making music.
Dana is the angel I reach for in the night, sometimes disappointed that she’s not there and sometimes relieved that it’s just a dream.
Argo is the angel I call on when I need the chord that runs between us, because regardless of the past, it is still strong on my end. Now that we are at peace, the chord is shimmery and silver. Sometimes it feels tangible. She is the Argo, the ship that takes me safely from journey to journey. One of these days, I will have the courage to be Jason, the captain of my own ship. Right now, I’m just simple Argonaut, letting the ship sway me to sleep as I travel.
Because I am working so hard on me, the waters are calm, no matter what Joaquin decides.
My angels carry me even in the midst of the storm… literally and figuratively.