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Naming Names

February 25, 2010

It’s funny how we deceive ourselves. The head and the heart have two very different agendas. No matter how our brain tells us what we know to be right and proper and in our best interest, our heart can often harbor our truths.

It’s good to go digging for these truths. I’ve listened to the voices that tell me it’s a waste of my energy. I’ve listened to the voices that tell me I’m beating a dead horse. Just like I listened to his voice for seventeen years telling me that I shouldn’t make such a big deal out of how he treated me. The head can tell you to shut up. The heart knows differently. You will feel these emotions one way or the other. You can either let them fester and infect your soul or you can acknowledge their presence and give them a name.

I’m close to completing the book “I Closed My Eyes” by Michele Weldon. While every person’s story is different, there were certain passages where I heard the author’s voice coming directly out of my mouth.

“There is an eclipse when you are changing your life’s stance, a darkness as your past slides by your future. All you can hope for is that the light will emerge so you will see again. You’re not sure it will, yet, because this time is so dark and so painful. Everything about me hurt. My body, my heart, my thoughts. It was a hurt that had been squashed for so long it erupted and left me unable to speak.”

“For our entire relationship, I had been recklessly positive and forgiving, seeking solutions, trying to work around him, trying to offer better answers. I was trying to pretend that the good times…expressed who he really was…But even looking at him differently couldn’t change who he really was. He was the only component in my life that I couldn’t make better, that I couldn’t change. There was no positive spin for this.”

“When you are suddenly in a place you never imagined you would be, everything around you becomes exaggerated, like a hallucination, and you struggle to remember details in the blur – the color of the carpet, the color of the wood on the wall, what other people are wearing – as if in the details lies the sanity.”

“It is the first Herculean task to accept the truth. The second is to act upon it. It is the next to rebuild yourself and gather the strength to move ahead, move forward, and stay committed to the truth. To see. To keep your eyes open. To battle the monsters tirelessly, to awe the gods with your strength, to outwit the plaguing deceptions as you try to get back to the truth.”

As she describes what it is like to sit outside the domestic abuse court and watch the parade of women coming and going, each one with her own sad story, I remember with absolute clarity each cluster of drama that surrounded us in those muffled yet echoing hallways. To this day, I can’t enter the St. Louis County Courthouse without having my knees and hands shake. I too concentrated my mind by examining the patterns on the floor and in the benches. Something, somewhere, had to make sense. The mind strains for reason even when none exists.

Michele talks about how she had to stay busy in order to stay sane. It was when she tried to sleep or found herself driving in the car that she would fall apart. Well, I no longer sob when I go to Mt Royal Fine Foods (a fact that they are very happy about, I would imagine) and I have been so busy with school and work and life that I rarely have time to stop and listen to myself. And in the oft chance that I do get to stop and listen to myself, I’m usually in the presence of others. I can’t fall apart in front of other people. If I do, you know that it’s a rare occurrence indeed. I can’t even fall apart in front of my pets as they will immediately become concerned and attempt to comfort me by lying on my face.

Either they are trying to comfort me or they are trying to put me out of their misery. Hmmm. I hadn’t thought of that possibility.

So I’ve taken to walking the dogs at night when no one can see me bawling and the dogs are too concerned with eating poop and yellow snow to be empathetic. The head says that anger is unproductive. The heart recalls hearing him say that he wouldn’t be able to pay child support when we were talking about divorcing, before the real truth came out.

Even then I was supposed to continue down the path of shouldering all the responsibility. Even then he thought he could just shrug us off.

Anger turned inward is depression. Anger turned outward is frozen tears and icy snot on a long, dark and lonely Minnesota night.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Tabatha Voros permalink
    February 25, 2010 10:48 pm

    Tina, listen to your heart and head. I really wish there was something I could do. Love, Prayers and The Best of all Wishes to you and yours. God Bless.

  2. February 26, 2010 11:39 am

    Your post just showed up on my Google Alerts. I am so honored that my words meant so much to you. You can’t imagine how gratifying that is. I empathize with you, I support you and I know in a few years there will be no more frozen tears. Trust me on this.
    Gratefully,
    Michele

  3. February 26, 2010 1:03 pm

    Excellent bit of writing.

    I think the most distressing piece of it (for me) is when you have the anger, and, because you have no proper depository (someone to listen to it without judging, or acting like you are over-reacting, or, claim that you are beating that dead horse) you feel like you have no choice but to turn it inward. So painful to take all of that on by yourself! It’s like you are taking responsibility for someone else’s awful-ness, as scold yourself for not knowing any better. How could you have possibly known? What sane person thinks that way?

    “For our entire relationship, I had been recklessly positive and forgiving, seeking solutions, trying to work around him, trying to offer better answers. I was trying to pretend that the good times…expressed who he really was…But even looking at him differently couldn’t change who he really was. He was the only component in my life that I couldn’t make better, that I couldn’t change. There was no positive spin for this.” THAT paragraph says it ALL…

  4. February 28, 2010 11:45 pm

    You are a brave woman. Thank you for your writing, it is helpful to me as I am sure it is to you.

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