"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."
- Anais Nin
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Up on the watershed
Staring at the fork in the road
You can stand there and agonize
'Til your agony’s your heaviest load
Yep. Those are Indigo Girls lyrics. I thought I was done with that angsty duo some twenty-plus years ago, around the same time I decided I really ought to have role models other than Sylvia Plath.
But just a year ago, Pandora landed on ‘Watershed.’ I had to pull the car over. There on the side of a road in the middle of a sunny winter day, I totally lost my shit. I was a crying, sobbing, snotty mess. It was the kind of thing that happens when you realize you’ve been living too long in limbo.
In the months since our second wedding anniversary turned into the sort of colossal train wreck that illustrated all the ways our marriage was not ever going to be what I hoped (and no, he didn’t just forget to buy flowers), I’d known I had a choice to make. For too long I’d clung to the little moments of bliss: our walks with the dogs on the beach, sunset cruises on the salt pond, the way it felt to wake curled in his arms. If life were all beach walks and sunset cruises and lazy mornings, I suppose we’d have been okay. But it isn’t - not in my experience, anyway - and whenever slightest of difficult times hit (a bill that was more than expected, a phone call announcing that his folks would be visiting yet again, the wrong weather on a day off from work), I found myself feeling more alone as a wife than I ever had as a single person.
And then came that damn Indigo Girls song. I had to make a choice. I knew that. The agony was indeed my heaviest load.
As the year came to a close, I realized there is a burden even heavier than the agony of indecision. It’s the agony of having no goal to move toward next. If you know me, that may sound funny - I am rarely idle, and I always have about two dozen goals toward which I am feverishly working. What did I lack? A larger plan. A vision of the life I want.
I’ve kept walking with The Ex at the dog beach, kept dogsitting my former dog and housesitting my former home when he’s traveling for work. Daily, I see what I’ve lost. Sometimes - when The Ex seems more like the fun guy I fell in love with than the moody man I found myself married to - it’s difficult to remember why I left. Things always seem so much better from the outside looking in.
Then came Tiny Tim. If you haven’t read the story of how his life intersected with mine, please do here. As one who has been rescued by animals time and again, it should be no surprise to me that my focus - my vision of the life I want for myself - crystalized in the very short time I spent with a crippled, abandoned dog at the end of his own life.
I’ll share more in next week’s post, but for now, suffice it to say I feel 2015 is the year I stop moving away and start moving toward. It’s the year I stop looking back. (And if I forget this, I know I have at least one good friend who will help me extricate my head from my ass and get back on track.)
There are good things ahead. I finally know just what they are.
And because life is nothing if not serendipitous, I just received this in an email from my friend Jude, and I pass it on to you:
WHATEVER YOU CAN DREAM, BEGIN IT
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy-
The chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation)
There is one elementary truth the ignorance of
Which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
That the moment one definitely commits oneself,
Then Providence moves, too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would
Never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision,