- Then & Now Project: The journey from “I do” to “I don’t” to “what now” is complicated. This project shares snippets from my book – taken from my journal then. These posts reveal pieces of the journey in a “that was then, this is now” format with my posting days matching journal entry days. (Sort of a time-fusion.) I hope this project focus will offer food for thought in your own life – whether you do, don’t or might. XO
WRITING UNDER FIRE
Journal, March 9, 1994, 5:21 a.m. • “The anger has awakened me … Rather than stew, I’ll dump my anger on the page and hopefully get back into a place of peaceful resolve … All these things I want to say to Ray – to change him? I allowed him to pull me off my path! How could I have thought it would be satisfying, or safe, to support his dreams while mine disappeared?”
2010: Ever do that? Set a dream aside – for whatever reason?
“Day after day, putting in my time for that someday when … we would be free to play and express who we truly are – together – as a couple. … He faults me that I could not lighten up … He needed me to be the heavy, and then had the audacity to believe that I was capable of being no more than a caretaker. He is running as fast as he can into the arms of a woman who would be for him all that I am not? Damn. I want to play, be spontaneous, adventurous – but who has the time or energy?”
2010: Ever feel that way? I know a lot of women who struggle to see themselves as someone other than caretaker – daughter, mother, wife.
“Curious that he was so insistent on getting me “The Artist’s Way” when we passed the display at the bookstore. How many months ago? Rather ironic, when you think about it. How I couldn’t get past the chapter on ”Recovering a sense of possibility.” Now we both have our artist’s way writings to look back on – and see how miserable we were!”
2010: Get your coffee or tea and get comfortable ‘cause the girl has cranked it up! I was all over the page that day. It’s hard not to get ahead of myself (and you) here because I know where this is going and how each of today’s excerpts identify work I needed to do at that time. If you’ve been following this you’re seeing that the other woman played only a very tiny part in what brought about the separation.
I’m STILL amazed and grateful for the paper trail. Were it today, I might have opted to distract myself on Facebook and not do my writing. (Lucky me. Lucky Ray.)
6:30 a.m. “Ray says he wants to open his heart. To learn of love. But the conditions that he placed – that we placed – on love destroyed us and almost destroyed me. I say almost because, here at Lea’s, I feel my spirit strengthening.”
“Dear God … When I write about this man, it’s as if he were a monster. I know he’s not. This man is as much a stranger to himself as he is to me … Keep him safe in Your arms, as I am. Thank You.”
2010: Expectations. Conditions. The load that we dumped on each other with that “I do” !!!
11:00 a.m. “I’ve been so blind. Now I have to treat Ray like a drug that I need to abstain from … I don’t have the strength to be with him or even hear his voice on the phone. I was in such a good place yesterday … Damn that phone call! That was my drug and now I am sliding down into the black hole again. I can’t focus. I’m not clear. I don’t know how much longer I can live like this, bouncing between Lea’s home and mine. I can’t play Ray’s “roommate.” I am still his wife!”
“I can see why it’s so hard to stay home. So little of me is reflected back. Ironic that he’s accused me of being controlling. Most of our home reflects him! His stuff. His furniture … the part that is me is how I tried to arrange what was his so I could fit in, all the while feeling guilty for pushing myself on him.”
2010: Codependency rears its sneaky head! I have to say that my version of neediness presented as a “take care of business, independent façade” – even to myself. So those two blurts flew onto the page under the radar.
1:00 p.m. “I want to be angry … with Ray for coming into my life … with God for saving me from other relationships, only to be rejected in this one. But I can’t. The questions keep popping in. Where would I be if we had never met? Who would I be? All the moves. New York. Detroit. Atlanta. Only geographic cures? Maybe not. Each move, each place, gifted me with experiences and discoveries that revealed facets of myself that might have remained hidden. He encouraged me to take creative risks. To explore outside my safety zone. He expanded my world. He expanded me. Hell, he is doing it even now! When I look at that, I am more grateful than angry.”
2010: I call this one evidence of Grace. To have those thoughts six days after “the news” is definitely the work of Angels! Reframing is one of my favorite tools to use today.
2:00 p.m. “This morning I sat cross-legged on the rug in Lea’s bathroom, in front of her full length mirror. All my make-up spilled out on the floor, like a toy box dumped over. Feeling like a little girl at play. A pixie with a new short haircut, looking back at me in the mirror, painting over her “look what you’ve done to me” face. On my way home, tonight, I will treat myself to a potted hyacinth … in the morning I will pick daffodils from our backyard, for a bouquet that will remind me of sunshine yellow days to come.”
“God, help me to be in the moment and grasp that which has beauty and gives pleasure. Help me to be grateful for the goodness still present in my life.”
2010: Ever have a scene in a movie that you just love? One that, no matter how many times you see it, it moves you? Forgive me my indulgence … but that passage is one of those for me. I remember the moment, the choices, how innocent, stripped and raw she was looking at her reflection in the mirror. I’m getting tears right now because I want to jump though that mirror, sweep her into my arms and tell her how much I love her … and how much God loves her … and to NOT be afraid because SHE HAS THE HEART for what’s ahead of her.
3:45 p.m. “There is an odd calmness coming over me. I feel as if something, or someone, is literally prying me open and rearranging my mind. Something is being dramatically altered. What I am seeing now, I can’t describe. I’m struck by the complexity of events and information. So much is being pointed out to me. Ordinary things with an extraordinary purpose, overlapping and restructuring. Am I imagining this?”
2010: I wonder; had I NOT done all that writing that day, would I have been open to or even noticed that moment?
- Post Number Six: March 9th was obviously a busy writing day. Nine entries. All of them foundational. If I were to sum up today’s post it would be about the long-term advantages of writing under fire. If you would like to know more about the process I used you can go to my Companion Guide and bookmark the page for later. (It’s time for you to get up and refresh your coffee!)
- A Funny Thought: If I could go back in time, right now? Well, you already know where I would go and what I would do.
- About This Post: I’m attempting to merge the nine months recorded in Bernadette’s Pages with the present here – but still can’t figure out how to format it in a neat and tidy way. So, it’s probably going to be raw and choppy in places. I’ll throw in some quotes and bullets to guide you along. If I lose you somewhere, let me know. I’ll come back to get you.
- If you landed in the middle of this project: Click here to start at the beginning!
The Messy Room and my Facebook Page are two ways that I share the “HOW” of it! Please join me and SPREAD THE WORD. You CAN get here from there!
A very special thank you to Celeste Henley Walker for letting me share her beautiful photos with you!
Excerpts ©2006 from Bernadette’s Pages: An Intimate Crossroad
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