Saturday, October 31, 2015
A box of darkness
I have been divorced for going on two years. And I am working on forgiving both of us.
The marriage started out beautifully. He was my big love, the one I dreamed of and never believed possible. I thought love had passed me by. Then in my late twenties, I fell for the charming guy with the beautiful smile, who made me laugh and take a chance...
25 years later, we divorced.
During those 25 years we loved and hated and fought and made up. We both were at fault. We both made mistakes. We both had issues. Some were so crippling that essential parts of us died. We became two people sharing a home. And sharing it badly. So there was no other solution but to separate as neither of us was happy.
Now two years later, we both seem to be happier. He has found love again. He is pursuing his dreams.
And to my surprise, I am happy too. I am finding myself and finally realizing that I don't need anyone to believe in me except myself.
Which is huge. I have never felt deserving of any praise for my work, my intelligence, my compassion, in general for just being me. For whatever reason, I have always measured myself and come up lacking. When I compare myself to others, I am just not as good as they are. I am my harshest critic. And I am harder on myself than I would ever dare be on anyone else.
I remember early on in my theater career, I had to be "the best" at whatever I did. One mistake and I was an abject failure. I couldn't let the missed cue go. I couldn't let the flubbed attempt rest. I beat myself up again and again failing to see what I had done right.
I pushed myself in grad school to earn a perfect 4.0. At that point I had ceased to compare myself to others, I was in competition with myself. I had to do better on each exam, each paper, chasing praise to garner self esteem. Even after, I had to do better than just pass my licensing exam. And with each one I had to make a higher score.
I remember a time in my marriage when he told me he was in love with someone else and would never love me as he loved her. I remember experiencing an almost physical sensation of falling and cracking open. Of plunging into darkness and landing totally and abjectly alone. Sitting in that black place with only myself, I remember thinking "So. This is what it like to be truly alone. With no one but me to save myself."
It was one of the most illuminating moments of my life.
Because in that "box full of darkness" that I was handed, I decided to survive. I realized fully for the first time in my life, I was a survivor. If I could survive my heart shattering into a million shards, I could survive anything.
We worked through that time but the lesson stayed with me. No matter what came my way, I knew I could make it.
And in the years that followed, that belief would be tested. And each time, I survived. And each time I grew stronger. If not for the adversity, I would never have become the warrior that I know I am.
I can now look at those painful times and feel gratitude for the lessons learned.
For that I thank him. For all the lessons I learned, for all the trials we endured, I thank him and myself. I forgive him and more importantly I forgive myself for any harm done.
I don't know what the future holds, but I do know this. No matter what, I cannot be broken, I will get up and fight again. I am strong and I am worthy. I am the dragon...