Have you ever walked down stairs? For people in good health and mobility, stairs are easy. We walk up and down them all the time. No problem. You only become aware of how much work goes into them when you are recovering from an illness, have an injury, or perhaps finished an intense session of squats at the CrossFit gym. Still, for the most part stairs are easy. So there you are, walking down some stairs, and you misjudge the last step. Your mind was elsewhere and you thought there was one less step than there was in reality, or one more. And in that moment you became aware of the full weight of your body, of its shifting gravity. And you fall, or nearly fall.
That is how I feel now. I am in training, my day begins with a quick shave and donning the military uniform, and it’s off to my day. The time is regimented, lecture and chow on a schedule. There are few moments to myself. The end of the past few days have found me having to pull all nighters to complete an assignment due the next day. Rare has been time for my own thoughts. Rare has been the time to feel the missing of her.
But the OPTEMPO has stalled, most of our work this phase of training is complete, and the reality that she has left me is making itself more fully felt. In my day I will miss that last step, and emotions fall over me like a final curtain and my world shrinks to such small proportions there is no room left to breathe.
I am convinced that her leaving me was due to my weakness and lack of strength. At the same time I can feel anguish rising within me, bringing with it paralysis. How do I combat this enemy within? Is it not part of the same weakness that she saw? That she rejected? How can I feel this sadness, the hurt, when they are part of that weaker me? The me that doesn’t show weakness wouldn’t feel these emotions. That me is strong. She would’ve stayed with strong.
But I remember the first time I put my arms around her and held her to me, stroking her hair. That was a strong me that knew well the sadness and hurt and rejection. It was intimate with it. It is these emotions that fuel me away from being an uncaring, unfeeling, hardened, heartless person to being a strong, patient, gentle, holder, protector.
Half of me wishes to cut my heart out of my chest. The energy that I am expending to keep the emotions buried taxes me. Yet, doing this is admitting that she is gone. I can’t do it. Not yet.
I loved her… The verb here, meaning that I opened myself to her and allowed things to move within me. I am hungry for love. I do not want to live in the shallows of life, but to taste the fullness that is there. It is there. I’ve felt it. I felt it with her. But with the cutting off from this comes hurt, confusion. I grapple with finding a way to manage it now, confused as to what about me turned her away from me. Long distance relationships are hard, but if I had been worth it…
I wonder how she is? I hope she is well. I am guessing that she is okay. I don’t know. She has ceased all contact with me. I can only surmise that I have become some manner of bother to her, or discomfort, or annoyance. While it is easy for my thoughts to go to the negative concerning this rejection, I must instead focus on something deeper than my pettiness and hurt. Yes, I am hurt. Rejection sucks. But she’s not the sort to do it for her amusement. No, I am left to assume, at the end of it all, that she is in pain. After all, she used to love me, and if it was only a tiny amount, moving from that would likely bring pain.
I sit here and my body quivers. Not the sort that I’ve felt on many occasions when I walked into a door and saw her, reached for her, held her close to me. This one is black and hurts. It is an ache. I lamented recently that it seems to be my peculiar gift to meet an amazing woman, cause her much distress through some sort of paradigm change, some deep transformation, during which she would break up with me, only to tell me a year or two later when we would become friends that I was a positive, though difficult, chapter for change. It’s happened more than once. Is it happening again? I do not know. But I wish her health. I wish her happiness. I wish her a deepening of soul.
I only wish that I could have seen it.
I can’t let go of this because it would impact my ability to love, to feel, to be human. One has only to go back a few years to see my struggle in learning how to love again. It took time. And perhaps there is my answer… Love. What would I do right now if I loved her? I don’t mean the movie romance of sending a million flowers, I mean allow myself to feel love for her as she is. I see her. Her pain and confusion and struggle to take care of herself, to find what she needs, to be strong for herself because she couldn’t depend on anyone in the past. My heart leans toward her, it holds her memory close to me and whispers It’ll be okay. My own self-centeredness melts away as I think of her. I feel stronger in my bones, firmer.
Freya, Goddess. Fold her in your arms and give her strength. Give her love. Give her laughter and joy. Please.