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Holding on to What We Know


My thoughts have felt like cars caught in bumper to bumper traffic lately. I try to write, to build them an off ramp, but nothing comes.


My mentor told me once that anger is a request for space. I noticed that most of the fights I had with my ex lined up with this logic. It didn’t feel safe to ask for what I needed so I would unconsciously spark a conflict instead. We would unleash our fury and then retreat to our separate corners and a part of me would feel relieved to finally be alone - though the relief came at a high cost.


Before my divorce, I moved into the guestroom. It felt like a dress rehearsal for what my Soul was truly asking for. I put all of the essentials into a laundry basket one afternoon while I was home alone and the kids were still at school. I carried it downstairs and never properly unpacked it. For months I lived out of that laundry basket. Dirty and clean clothes mixing together. Socks missing their other halves. Toiletries and books and notepads and computer chargers all tangled together. I couldn’t bear to fully settle into the guestroom. I couldn’t will myself to give it up either.


When your lawyer tells you, as lawyers often do, not to “abandon the marital home”, you think: surely this person knows better than you. You follow the directive like an obedient little divorcee in the making, even though the directive deposits you smack dab in the line of fire and lacks any kind of explanation about what to do when staying in the marital home becomes living in a powder keg.


You think every day in hell is bringing you closer to a day of reckoning in family court, when all the wrongs you’ve carefully recorded, the injustices, the injuries will be presented to a judge and ruled upon and set right.


Of course that kind of day never comes.


Wishes can make us do strange things. Because they’re usually tethered to a young longing. A wound from long ago that still insists on being repaired and handed its happy ending


Last night I took the dogs out. I looked up at the sky as a plane was flying overhead and half expected a bomb to drop out of its belly. It’s confusing to explain these feelings. There is only one sky and yet depending on which portion we live under, we could be in the midst of war or enjoying a quiet dog walk on a gently thawing evening in March.


Violence is what woke the delusion for me. Violence is what ejected me from the powder keg, from the guestroom, from the wading and the waiting I was doing, expecting family court to decide my fate. We talk about leaving the cocoon or pecking our way out of the egg in poetic terms that betray the violence that often accompanies big change.


There are complexities too sharp or too slippery for words. They stack up in my mind. They are the traffic my thoughts feel caught in. I need space but space is hard to find. There’s no one to fight with or push against. Even in a room by myself I can’t seem to dump the thoughts out and put them in order.


My backyard is stolen land. All the pleasures in my life feel paid for by someone else’s suffering. The extent of how little I know rises up like a tsunami and threatens to wipe me out completely every 5 minutes. But I hold on to one little thing I do know. I know that the world doesn’t need my guilt right now. It needs my light. And I know that my commitment to healing matters. I know that the alternative to trying is giving up and I refuse to let myself.


Maybe that’s the secret to life. Sometimes it’s not what you have to offer but what you refuse to give up.


With love and light,