The Story of an Arkansas Atheist Pt. 8

I’ve been taking a fairly linear method to my plot construction, but for this chapter, will not hold myself such a requirement. Instead, my attention focuses on the personal experiences, as they come to me. I do this because it is an exceptionally emotional time and don’t want to limit format or method, rather I wish to do this “from the hip.”

I am so ashamed of myself. I let fear and anxiety potentially ruin the best relationship with the most amazing woman. Let me explain how this came to be.

I have been a single-daddy for less than two years. I have been diagnosed with a degenerative back disorder over two years ago. I was fighting for the remainder of my undergraduate work during those challenges. Three relationships may ended have ended before this blog will be a week old.

I have been intensely devoted to all three relationships, yet we all know love and devotion are not enough. Timing can be wrong; people are always facing personal challenges; luck may not be with either of you. All these challenges led to massive amounts of fear and anxiety. I had a saying from a few years ago, “Well, I’ve got to go home. You know, where all the bad shit happens.” This has been true for me for several years now. There have been really good things too, and some bad things have happened away from home since I came up with that idiom. That being said, most of us have this problem, as home is where our hopes and dreams are born. Home is where we invest our energy which becomes our lives. The worst things that can happen will happen because or to our homes. Divorce doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it happens at the house (or a lack of compassion, commitment, or investment into the home, or all three). This is a tragedy of reality. The place we may need most is the very place which can hurt us to the point of redefining our lives, or at least portions of it.

It can be a place of great healing too. Never forget that the next time any of you feel like running. If your life is at stake because of violence this does not apply. One may need to seek a new home for certain kinds of damage, mental and physical. Also, if the person you share a home with is not willing to do anything to further the tranquility of one’s hearth you may have to seek a new home. Yet, if both parties are invested and have similar goals there are no limits to the amount healing and/or growth. Interesting question, can you ever be too healthy? One can act in such a manner where the desire to be healthy becomes pathological, but aside from that, what could “too healthy” really mean?

I come from a family of depressed, violent, passive aggressive, judgmental, abusive, people. Sure, they still love each other, but they hurt each other at an extremely high rate in my opinion. My homes have always been subject to this. I doubt I am unique. With a history of homes like that, what hope do I have of making one?

It starts with vulnerability via commitment, I know that. The few homes in my family, which have been better than some others, all have this in common; there is a real commitment to the family within. Next is the obvious one, communication. If everyone is interested in communicating at a high level about the “home” in which they are all so invested, they will be brought closer together by sharing and empathizing. The final ingredient has many names. I am not sure which is the answer or if there is an answer. Maybe sacrifice? Maybe it is strategies for living? We would all answer this differently. Some of us will have nine points on our list. I am confident it starts with the two I have listed.

I have failed those opening two for years without knowing it. My curse is anger. Anger is exacerbated by quick thought and slow time progression. When thoughts come to you with great speed and time is crawling by, anger drags out into eternity upon eternity. I feel four-hundred years old most of the time, and the rest of the time I feel one-hundred-eighty. The back disorder isn’t helping, being the second youngest diverticulitis patient my surgeon had ever seen doesn’t reduce my age perceptions either. I have often been mean because of these failures. I have passively-aggressively (some times just plain ole aggressively) attacked and lashed out at all of my partners over the last, oh, lifetime. Jen and I battered each other; I guilt tripped all of them regularly for the past relationships; I have thrown everyone out starting a Jen at least once. I didn’t communicate. I would cut people off and make fun of their deeply experienced pain (if I was too tired to make fun I would rely on the ole passive-aggressive trick, inherited from my mom). These last two years and concurrent behaviors have added self-loathing in gigantic proportions. “Every time I hate myself, I hate myself for hating myself.” In those times when it seemed like I wouldn’t graduate, when we were nearly evicted, when I dropped the ball, of course, all that anger gets put on those who are closest to us, family, sometimes friends. The ones we say we love are forever in the line of friendly fire.

I have learned to forgive myself. Yet, that didn’t heal me. I would wake up daily and forgive myself for all that I did the day before. I was addicted to my portion of suffering. It gave me the only grounding point in which to navigate. I stood at the edge of a cliff, and so many of my friends and loved ones have jumped, throwning themselves into addictions, depressions, and abuse. If I follow suit, I take my daughter with me, or they (society and child “protection” services) take her away from me. So many others have fallen. How would I stay grounded?

I chose life. I chose health. I chose family. I chose home. I chose love. I chose myself. A common plague among those who choose, as I have, is we’ve chosen too late to help heal the damage we have done. Hilary is going to Texas to be with her extended family and to decide whether or not I am worth her time; to decide if this family is worth (if she is “able,” “has enough,” or “is enough” is how she puts it, but we all know you can continue working on something for life if you truly believe it is worth it) her efforts to continue the family building process. I am ashamed of how much pain I put her through. Yet, I am healing well. I have convalesced to a point where I feel I am at my strongest. Except for her uncertainty, which I have chosen to endure until she decides where her loyalties can be placed. My last portion of shame lives with her in Texas (isn’t there a song for this type of phenomenon *wink*)

Outside of the relationship things are going better than ever.

I am reading at a frantic rate. I am meeting my goal of writing one-thousand words a day (this very blog is a part of this goal; this very day if I get to twenty-two-hundred words will be nine-thousand words in nine days; I plan on working on a short story later today as well). I have developed a character/sociological study for which I am conducting interviews currently. I am also doing a study of musicians, or more accurately, a series of interviews seeking knowledge of where music and musicians are generated; those interviews are also being carried out currently. I truly love this new me. The books I have read this summer alone are loaded with insights into communicating love, physics, and the story of life. During the interview process I have seen everyone’s story painted in their eyes while they tell it. These interviews have had the added effect of impacting me in unimaginable ways. I cannot wait for the next one, and then the next. A recent event, in which I did some interviewing with a panel of the musicians before a live audience, thrilled me. Intermissions allowed people to ask about what I planed to do with the interviews, referring to me as an “interviewer.” Talk about redefining yourself! Musician, father, writer, friend, performer, student, teacher, (I am so happy to know that many of you have more descriptions to offer) and now interviewer can be added to my list.

I don’t know if Hilary will find what she is looking for Texas regarding our place together. I hope she chooses me. I think she should chose Ivy and I. One could do a lot worse, and I’m not sure what a lot better would look like. We’re pretty fucking awesome, and she is a good match. We shall see.


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