- 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
MOVING DAY TREMORS
Journal, March 18, 1994 • “Last night I tore up the copy of “The Artist’s Way” that Ray gave me. Page by page. I was so methodical. So angry … I didn’t know the woman who could do this. I couldn’t control her. Scribbled “commentaries,” in crayon, on the pages. Things I have been wanting to say to him but haven’t. I shredded the silk I bought on one of my recent artist dates. I was going to make pillows. God, that hurt … But I couldn’t stop. The paint by number kit I’d started, another artist date inspiration, was next. I loved those as a kid. Just tossed it into the garbage! I’m not letting him have any part of my artist self. I am accepting no contributions from him.”
“I packed up all our special love trinkets. The cards. The handmade gifts … Tossed “The Artist’s Way” pages on top … He can take it all with him.”
“When he got home, it upset him to see what I had done. He seemed really sad that I would destroy things that were important to me. Like they were sacred somehow. More sacred than this marriage he’s leaving? He tried to rescue the paint kit out of the trash can but I wouldn’t let him. This man baffles me. Why should he care? It was my stuff.”
2010: That was an intense night – on so many levels. I didn’t know the woman who could do that. I didn’t know the woman Ray was leaving anymore than he did and somewhere in the tearing and shredding and scribbling my OWN betrayal was starting to emerge. More than husband, this man had committed to being my spiritual partner, my recovery partner, my lover, my best friend and creative cohort while I slowly disappeared in my doing-ness. I’m not saying I was shallow or lazy. I was very busy with all that mattered – seen and unseen – but my fears crept in between Ray and me and they rendered me invisible, even to myself. I made it easy for him to leave because I left me first. When I look at that today, I understand HIS pain when he tried to rescue that not so silly little paint by number kit from the trash.
I’m grateful that I’ve not had to tear up any more books since then. (Though I still have a flair for the dramatic that has to be reigned in from time to time.) And I love the way Ray honors me in my art. As a matter of fact, he just spent several weeks clearing and organizing his studio to make room for me and my latest artistic “musing.” Have to watch what I say because now the heat is on. (Self-imposed heat. I mean, if you had seen what he had to clear out … I took pictures!)
“Went to Sandra’s first thing this morning for a “Help” session because Ray moves out tonight … I told her what I had done last night. She wants me to look at why I would choose to destroy things that are meaningful to me. She’s given me my first official writing assignment, outside of my usual journaling, and wants me to start right away …”
2010: I’m challenged not to get ahead of Bernadette-then in today’s post and find myself wanting to comment on things that haven’t “happened” yet. I titled this entry “moving day tremors” because, even though Ray moves out “tonight,” I don’t actually write about the evening’s interactions until two days later. (Yes, I stayed and watched him pack and move and you can think whatever you want about that.) I will offer this, though, it was a Friday night in 1994 when he moved out and the weekend ahead looked very empty.
For those of you who haven’t read my book, Sandra is the therapist who guided me through the separation. In this instance, she helped me to map my anger. To not be afraid of it. And to get to the core of my self-destructive impulses so I could make better choices. I see your eyes glazing over – but when you realize that it only took nine months to purge the !&*@#! that stood between me and all the good stuff – her homework looks like a short cut!
If you struggle with any kind of resentment or anger toward ANY situation (past or present) you might find it helpful to read this step-by-step guide for “anger detox” under the blog category A Companion Guide for Bernadette’s Pages. Link to anger detox guide.
- Post Number Ten: Funny to think that sixteen years ago, today, I was sure the world was coming to an end and that eighteen years would be the longest time I’d ever be with one man. Just goes to show, sometimes when we think we know – we don’t.
- A Funny Thought: If I could go back in time, right now, I would give Bernadette a BIG HUG for doing Sandra’s homework! (I still use the anger detox formula today – though now I have a shorter version.)
- 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!
Excerpts ©2006 from Bernadette’s Pages: An Intimate Crossroad
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