I feel broken. I don’t want to sit here and type this because it feels pathetic and like, enough already. Get a grip, I tell myself. But I can’t. I don’t have traction anywhere. I’m slipping and skidding on this mess of a life that I created, that I allowed, that I chose. Again and again I chose “try” instead of “escape”. I convinced myself that there is shame in walking away, that it would be ‘giving up’ and that’s a bad thing. I convinced myself that if we, he, I, could just get through this next Hard Part, things would be brighter, lighter, happier, safe.
Every time I told myself this. And every time it’s not what happened. Every time I walked through the fire swamp dodging things I told myself I could handle, battling things other people would have turned and run from, every time I believed. Every time I had hope.
I had hope this time too. But hope is a funny thing. Hope is sometimes a false prophecy, a thing that you believe not because you know it’s true, but because your wanting it to be true drowns out even the loudest protests of your intuition. I’m good at that kind of hope. I give people chances, and second chances, and 72nd chances. I believe that people are good… or I believe I’m only worthy of the kind of good they have to offer (which, turns out, isn’t really that good at all or the kind of good I really need).
I told myself that if I tried my very hardest, if I turned myself inside out and upside down, if I showed up perfectly, I could save this. I saw myself as a life raft tossed out into rough waters; I was going to rescue him, rescue us, rescue our family. But this thing, this category 5 life, it’s too much for me. It’s too much for anyone.
I don’t want to say I’m giving up. I never gave up. I wanted this to work more than I’ve wanted anything in my life to work. So no, I’m not giving up, it’s just that I have nothing left to give.
The trees all around me are finally letting go of their beautiful, dead leaves. Leaves that once brought them food and energy have reached the end of their lives. In the tree’s last breath of gratitude, she knows she can no longer hold onto them anymore. She has to give herself time, without heavy, dead things sapping her minimal resources. It’s time for the tree to acknowledge what she can give and what she can’t. It’s time for her to slow her breath, focus inside herself, brace herself for the cold, harsh, lonely winter. The tree lets them fall, one at a time, until her arms ache with emptiness.
The winter will be brutal. She may become coated with ice, wind bending and cracking in her branches, shivering with loneliness. But before she knows it, spring will come. It always does. She will be able to feel the warmth of the sun deep in her core again. Life will churn in her, sap will flow in her veins once more, her roots will stretch a little further into the thawing earth, and new growth will sprout from her fingertips. It hurts… the saying goodbye, the empty arms, the stretching and waking up again. She will survive it, though, she always does.
I know spring will come. I know it’s time to let these things, this relationship, drift gently away on a wind that I can’t control. Still, I breathe sharp, ever colder air in my lungs. I’m scared. It doesn’t matter much that I know things will be fine eventually – it’s the time between now and eventually that feels treacherous. I want to turn back, but there’s no where to turn. Time stubbornly marches forward and I am compelled to march alongside, no matter how unwilling I am.
While I march alone in the darkness of this, I will hold onto spring like a talisman, a promise of thawing and warmth. A promise of rebirth. It may be the only thing that gets me through.