Every year for the past 7 years I have sat down on my birthday and written a blog post. If I cared more I would go back and find them and laugh at my naiveté but I don’t . The posts have a formula: nostalgia and pledges to seize the coming year. And well, this year is no different except that I’m angry and for once I’m going to just come right at you and tell you what’s up without hiding behind grammatical flourishes or metaphors. In this post you will find: why my boyfriend and I broke up, why my best friend and I broke up and why my mom and I broke up. You just have to read a whole bunch of pseudo-new-age-self-help-bs first. You’re welcome.
Yesterday I was brushing up on some counseling theory and somewhere in the midst of a Solutions Focused lecture some lady in a suit said, “Anger is the energy for setting boundaries”. I underlined that a few dozen times in my notes. Not that this is news. But it is my current curriculum
Every few days recently some new interpersonal issue pops up and demands to be examined. Why is this happening to me???? is usually where I like to spend most of my energy. Why is this an anxious persons favorite question? I could indulge myself on the injustice in all of it for literally hours. Nothing like putting 200 megahertz of brainpower behind a perpetually looping unanswerable question. But it’s comfortable.
Really the question should be what are you gonna do about it? Sometime the answer is nothing. Time, energy, space, the perpetuity of the universe, the motion set forth by another person, those are always at play. I’m just an itty bitty entity in the confluence of determining factors. Some times the answer is to build a wall. Sometimes it is to be rational and exert myself in a diplomatic way. Sometimes the answer is to cry. And sometimes the answer is to burn some shit down.
Last night I was sitting atop a bed of burnt bridges, half numb and half curious. I talked it out to the sunset. I said things like, ”If you look in the mirror and you don’t like who you see, then stay the fuck away from me”….. well unless we’re in a professional relationship, and then I can help you with that, come over! THIS IS THE DUALITY THAT I EXIST IN.
Here’s the problem with unpacking your own shit, over and over and over. Once you understand the difference between healthy relationships and destructive ones you get better and better at calling a spade a spade. As most of us do, I grew up being spoon-fed dysfunction. Insecurity’s other name is Mama. I knocked elbows with ego and short temper at the dinner table. Being part of a family can be pure bliss and it can also be an indescribable wound. These are not mutually exclusive.
One day I woke up (okay it actually took me over a year to wake up) and I was 29 years old. That 29 year old was surrounded by people that in their own right are absolutely magnificent. But in relationship to me were total shit. I say this with (mostly) no judgment. Because this is what humans in this bizarre modern experiment do, we attract people who are complementary to our own motivations, needs, attachments, and propensities. I have for most of my life entered into relationship with people based on my unmet needs that were all lying just under the surface. Each need valid in its own right, just not a stable foundation for friendship and love once I realized that I needed more totality.
Buzz word. This is where I segue into a whole other rant about how the total solar eclipse of the moon made me do it. WHICH IT DID, FOR THE RECORD.
Yesterday was a really intense day. I’m not prepared to call it good or bad yet, it was just a lot. I walked my dog around the park 300 times, gawking at the incredible New Mexico sky, ping ponging between sobs and infuriated slurs of profanity…. Who me??? Between all of the attempts to both treat myself and to create the safe space for myself to freak the fuck out it dawned on me. None of this has anything to do with me anyway. Obviously it was the eclipse.
Okay, technically the total solar eclipse and full moon in Leo, my sun sign, the day before my 30th birthday. That’s a lot of quinky dinks. Naturally, like any informed renaissance woman I googled, why did the solar eclipse make me lose my shit? After a few dozen rabbit holes I found this article that seemed to explain everything.
“ Eclipses are dramatic ‘wild cards’ in our horoscopes. They are some of the most dramatic tools that the universe uses to get us to pay attention to areas in our life that need to change. They uproot us, surprise us, and get us moving. They shake us out of our feelings of compliancy so that we can move from one level of maturity to another, to a higher plane, and they work very rapidly. Eclipses want us to change, and change we do! Take any message you hear from an eclipse as a non-negotiable and firm.”
See, I wash my hands of this.
Well not exactly, it’s all still my shit. I’m just becoming more and more free of it.
Raise your hand if you want me to stop beating around the bush and tell you what’s up. Before I put everyone on blast (keep reading) let me say this. I had a distinct moment of clarity yesterday about something that I almost did a week ago when I heard a rumor about me that at the moment felt untrue. The rumor was that my former best friend and I are no longer best friends because my now ex boyfriend was really shitty to me and I wouldn’t heed her advice and leave him and that frustrated her beyond belief. Thus we’re no longer friends. And look at that, she must have been right because that romantic relationship has since imploded.
Last week I felt compelled to say something publically about how this game of telephone had really gotten it’s wires crossed and none of that was even remotely true. For the record, it’s still not true. But my perception of it has changed.
What is true [at this moment, truth is subjective always, I’ve tried to be clear about that]:
My ex-boyfriend and I broke up. He moved out a couple of months ago. It has easily been one of the most emotionally confusing periods of my life. EASILY. Why? Because, like all romantic long-term relationships, ours was indescribably complicated. I couldn’t explain the nuance of feelings if I had a whole novel to do so in. We were together for three and a half years. A lot of shit happened over that course of time, good, bad, healing, painful. On the whole I’m going to give our relationship a B+. That’s not bad. Two people building a family together is inherently complicated. Two people who just barely agreed on what that family looked like got thrust into the management of a chronic illness and it was MAJORLY FUCKED UP for the last 9 months of it. Again, even within all of the fuckedupness it was dotted with pure sweetness. Even though it nearly crushed my soul (this is not an exaggeration) it was still 9 months of sharing a life with one of my soul mates.
There has never been a question in my mind that J and I’s paths on this wild ride called life intersected because of divine intervention. We had and have work to do together. I don’t know that I’m going to reincarnate as a more enlightened being because of it, but I do know that we are critically important cast members in each other’s life stories. The older I get the less and less I believe in fairytales, this was a made for TV movie. One of those semi crushing love stories that Ann Hathaway would co-star in. Like you’d never Netflix and chill to that shit because it would make you ugly cry and destroy your optimism about love, but at the end of it you say, damn that’s powerful and feel a twinge of superiority about your lot in life.
We’re currently in negotiations about how we want to continue to show up in each others lives in a productive way. As soon as I know, you’ll know… well maybe.
Next, my ex-best friend:
That feels really silly. Can you actually break up with a friend? I don’t know. Here’s the thing, few things are more complex than a relationship that you’ve been in for 17 years. She’s not just some girl that I can discard or lump into a paragraph. She’s a person that I have leaned on, crawled through the mud with, stood on mountain tops with, and cry laughed until we peed our pants together. Together. We’re both in our own shit, and in our own processes. Growth is really hard when the person who knows you the best, only knows who you used to be. That’s not a one sided statement for either of us.
I will say that to the very best of my knowledge, we did not become un-friends because of the dynamics between J and I. Though, to her credit, she did steadfastly love, support and listen to me wail and wish wash about how in the hell I was going to handle it nonstop for months and months. J and her got along fine. There wasn’t animosity there. And it most definitely was not the reason for us breaking up.
Here’s what shifted in my perception of said rumor yesterday. I’m considering that the people who were genuinely concerned for me first and foremost, did see the situation more clearly than I could then or even now. There are a laundry list of ways and scenarios in J and I’s relationship that were manipulative and coercive. I didn’t handle those times, or that trend in general, with as much self-love and assertiveness as I should have.
We make really fucked up decisions too much of the time in matters of love. There’s always a lot at play and we’re rarely rational. It’s easy to be rooted in judgment when it’s not your own shit. Hi, my name is Reagon I’m totally guilty.
Naturally this brings us to my Mother:
You may have noticed my absence at her wedding. You may have noticed my absence in her entire life for a number of months. At its hearts of hearts that just about two people trying to figure out a functional way to coexist. For the record we’ve been trying to figure this out for 30 years. We’ve both made crappy decisions in every facet of our lives. She’s in the midst of what I perceive to be a monumental one. One that I am choosing to not participate in. Why? Because I’m grown as fuck and I decided to not invite crazy into my life. Self-protection in this arena has been a series of excruciating decisions. Those may very well change, but I’m in no hurry.
What else do you want to know? Same fucking baby daddy drama as always. At least that’s consistent… My grandpa made it through surgery well, so that’s a glaringly bright spot in my life right now, there was a lot of karma that I leveraged on that bet. I’m simultaneously building three businesses, going to graduate school and raising an eight year old. My photography business and Lime Light are sooooo filling my cup I can’t even describe how amazing that it is to be doing work that I love for once. So ya know I’ve got a couple of things going for me. I’ve taken a lot of time this summer to be a wreck, having that space has been an incredible privilege that I have not lost sight of. I’m beyond grateful for all of the joy and love in my life and the infinite possibility that exists in following my heart and chasing my dreams.
So, here I am. The first day of 30. Having napalmed all of my most important foundational relationships in the past year. Frequently with too little grace or patience. But I did so because I deserve better. I need to be surrounded by people who are on my level or even better doing the damn thing way better than me.
Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.
Don’t worry, I’m never alone. Just upgrading the company. You wanna watch me or do you wanna join me?