Regret Doesn’t Knock

this is what surfing looks like to me

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Once in a while I’m visited by Regret. He’s most invisible in the beginning, as I wake into a new day. In these moments I feel something is different because I’m not fighting a creeping sad that threatens to call on grief the second I break through that cocoon. I imagine a day that doesn’t start sad is normal for a lot of people, but for me, it’s how I’ve come to know something different is happening.

Regret usually starts by doing something to make me smile. As subtle as if I have discovered the funny in every day life, though I left my sense of humour at a Zellers diner in 1998. But because I welcome laughter and joy, it’s easy to forget the fact that I haven’t laughed spontaneously for weeks.

When Regret comes by, everything goes smoothly. Me and my daughter get along great. She’s always in a good mood when Regret is around. She acts like she’s forgotten that anger exists. I’m convinced she doesn’t know what antagonism is or attitude, even. The sarcasm magically disappears. It’s nice. And there’s no viscous narrative in my head. I don’t worry about how fat I am or how much I haven’t accomplished in my life. The near constant background thrum of ‘you’ll never be loved you’ll never be loved you’ll never be loved you’ll never be loved’ doesn’t set the timing for my day.

Somehow, when Regret comes by, the atmosphere in my apartment changes. There is no attack, no blame, no judgement. And none of that is allowed in when he’s here. It magically disappears. This, too, would seem normal to others, but it’s only in the absence of this harsh wind that I remember and believe that things could be different. That they were different once.

And the crying stops. Even when I’ve spent two days in a row weepy or all out wailing between naps, tucking myself away from the world and curling up into my soft pink blanket to find some comfort (something I just learned a few years ago), the grief that kept me pinned down a few hours before dissipates. I can believe I didn’t spend the last 24 hours filling up a grocery bag with tissues. I can pretend the sudden halt of sorrow and my newly lightened heart are natural, maybe even gifted by God. Though, in my experience, God doesn’t ever hand out a free morning of joy. God doesn’t hand out a free anything to me – I have had to work for everything and I think He wants it that way.

Then something fun spontaneously happens. Like me and my daughter play a brand new game we just make up as we go along. Or I discover a fun new app on my phone so we can make comic book movies or record songs together.

When Regret isn’t near, I don’t have the energy to come up with a new game, no matter how well I’ve slept the night before. And, like many other girls my daughter’s age, anything mom thinks would be fun is usually poo-pooed. I’m not hungry, especially in the mornings, and I am caught up in thoughts like, ‘how am I going to get through today?’

Then, the second the actual feeling of regret seeps through as the morning goes so well, I start to think about my regrets. During these visits, my regret is focused on people I used to know. Men. Relationships that might have happened had I been more bold, less afraid, or maybe even if there wasn’t so much shit constantly going on in my life, no matter how far I stay away from shit.

And even when thoughts of non-starter relationships sneak in through regret, as soon as a face comes to mind, Anger steps into the corner, waiting to pounce. There are faces that Anger hates above all other faces.

This is when everything shifts. I feel angry mixed with regret and I remember the things he didn’t do to make us happen. My automatic response is to push the face away.

And then Regret changes. He’s less melancholy, less nostalgic. Regret starts to feel more like, ‘you’re not perfect’ and ‘why do you always ruin everything?’

But I don’t ruin everything. Anger does. And somehow he has created an alert for each time certain faces come to mind. Regret feels Anger and assumes it’s my anger.

Eventually, once I feel safe enough to breathe again, things get back to normal. If Anger sticks around long enough, I usually numb until I’m smooth and there are no hooks to grab onto. Sometimes that takes a few days. And I get into a groove of numb and it makes it more difficult to swim back up to sad.

If I don’t make it to sad soon enough, a fog takes over my brain. The neurones fire but mushy. This is the half-in half-out phenomenon. Trying to hide, in a way. Because I don’t really want to leave, but if I stay it’s a never ending cycle.

For some reason I can’t trace, I woke up this morning thinking about making plans to secure a decent financial future for my daughter.

Tosaíonn ár n-leagáide anois

lighting the murk

i was contemplating whether or not to share a breakthru and he said, drop a note in the post. it used to hurt me, this desire for cover, secrecy.

but the night looks different after letting forgiveness pour thru me and from my heart. instead of feeling rejected and unloved, i step out of the past toward a new pattern. if i leave truth in the ether, it’s easier for the darkness to twist it and twist him and twist me and i’m done letting darkness call the shots, even where his own darkness is concerned.

i would have wiped vomit from this man’s mouth, i would have done laundry every day like a maid if that’s what he needed. but it doesn’t matter except as a level that helps me remember i do know how to love so i can look my future husband in the face and tell him with a purified heart in all honesty that i can and will fight for us, for our love until it is 100% dead.

also for my future husband, i favour transparency above all else, so here is my post:

if it was you i gave the green ball to in 2016, brace yourself, bc you know what happened the last time i forgave you. the only way to brace yourself is to surrender and i know you know this in theory so it’s time to put it into practice. if it was you, i know the dream i had of you crouching before me was an apparition and tho i spent years trying to side-step fate on your behalf out of love and greed and fear and guilt, i was wrong for stepping outside God’s will. if it was up to me, well, i know you know the end of that sentence.

i know now at one point you did love me and you did try, and i’m grateful and my forgiveness is for the way that both your try and your leaving left me alone and feeling not only unloved but unworthy of love. i know you did your best. i know you were up against huge obstacles. i truly and fully forgive you, even for things that you think i don’t know about it.

my heart is cleansed of all resentment toward you and things you did or didn’t do that i experienced as pain visited upon me. i am ready to let go for real this time knowing it’s God’s will, knowing i really did everything possible to give us a chance.

i will love you always but i don’t have a room in my heart for you anymore, and i formally rescind – before witnesses – my promise to wait for you forever.

this confidence in letting you go comes with trust that you’ve got this and that your true divine guardian angels have you.

my naive heart wish is that you will find some happiness in knowing that i am loved, in the same way i find comfort and resolve in knowing that you are loved.

this time i’m able to be more grown up in letting you go, no longer believing childish ideas planted in my mind that setting a loved one free means their imminent death, and that i would be as culpable for that death as if i pulled the trigger myself. (This is why, in one of my unpublished manuscripts, August threw her entire life away to save a stranger by giving him what he needed in the moment he was overtaken by suicidal thoughts, even though what he needed was unorthodox and easily misunderstood. ‘She gives the light that’s in her / but she don’t know’)

you need to know that part of the reason i was unwilling to give up was bc of a childish fear that if i did something horrible was sure to happen to you, and it’s true.

but i’ve decided to take a huge leap of faith and let go despite my fears, to fully and completely let go

and i want you to know that i don’t blame you, it wasn’t your fault

goodbye,

for ever and always.

sleeping on my own

dear future husband

Dear future husband,

I took you to church with me a few weeks ago.

I have a confession to make. I really don’t know how this works. I thought I did. But what I was doing wasn’t working. And I have asked God for help.

The truth is, as difficult to believe as this sounds, I used to think you were walking beside me in spirit this whole time that I’ve been looking for you. I used to think you knew who I was and you were waiting for me to wake up. I used to believe I was not doing something or doing something wrong that was keeping us apart, and I thought you were right beside me with your arms crossed except for when you tapped your watch with your right forefinger.

You’re a righty, right? Or is that crazy to believe because of an image I see in my head?

The truth is, I have believed that you were angry with me for taking so long. I thought you saw my fucked-up-fumbling-through-life try as yet another inconvenience you had to endure.

The truth is, future husband, I believed you were watching over me like some kind of sky knight warrior, a person who has mastered the laws of metaphysics and uses those skills as a sort of low key Batman to answer the calls of women in distress.

Weird, right? I mean, that doesn’t even exist. But I believed it just the same.

And because of this, future husband, I thought I knew who you were.

So, when I took you to church and asked God to show me your face, and He showed me a face I did not expect, I was understandably shocked.

I know your face, but it wasn’t the face I expected to see.

And that is why everything I’ve been doing to find you was wrong. Why nothing I did seemed to bring me closer to you for so long.

When I first had a dream where God showed me your face, my waking self overrided your face with the face of another, someone I had believed truly loved me.

I’m sorry.

In that sleepy shore state of rising consciousness, my disbelief wouldn’t let me hold your face into my waking life.

See, we’ve met.

And when we were talking, you gave me no indication that you loved me.

Or, my head was stuck up my ass (which was only partly my fault btw), and if you did love me back then I couldn’t see it.

I don’t know if God has told you about me. I’m a weird kind of driven and tenacious with a die hard attitude toward commitment.

You might hate that about me or you might love it… I guess it depends a bit on how you feel about commitment.

So, I’m so ride or die that when I believe something with my mind and my heart, I focus on that, whether it’s a person or a defence or a moral view or a way of life.

Keep this firmly in the front of your mind as I tell the rest of the story of how we met.

I walked into your life believing that I was taken. I was committed to my future husband, no matter what he might be going through or how long it would take for us to be ready for each other.

And because I believed my future husband was walking with me in spirit, so much that I swear I was able to feel his presence some evenings when quiet fell over my apartment, I took this idea of committing to our future seriously. I brought it into the present and I believed that letting any other man in was equal to cheating, to betraying him in some way.

I’m so fucking weird. But I’m starting to think that will be why you love me.

In my mind, I wasn’t available when we met.

Here’s the part of the story that’s sort of a miracle. Because I ‘wasn’t available’, I had blinders on to every man who crossed my path.

Nobody had given me reason to doubt myself.

Somehow, future husband, you reached right through that dense fog that kept my head down and you did it just by being you.

That’s all you did. You were just fully and undeniably you in that moment we first met.

And I loved it.

Future husband, you made me doubt myself. You made me doubt my view of the world.

I looked into your eyes and I thought, “Maybe I was wrong. Maybe he’s the one.”

No shit.

That’s why I kept finding reasons to bump into you. I know you would have no way of knowing this, but that made me feel guilty. And I’m one of those people who actually believe an anvil or a piano will fall onto my head the minute I do something wrong. So I didn’t spend time finding reasons to bump into men other than you.

I wanted to keep looking into your eyes. They told me something that I deep down already knew but wasn’t ready to face yet.

I still didn’t believe you loved me. Maybe you didn’t. idk.

Either way, all those times we spoke, we never formally introduced ourselves. It got to the point where it would have felt almost rude I guess to ask, what was your name again?

And you didn’t say anything. Okay, I’m not saying you didn’t do anything to show me you wanted to keep talking, because you did. That’s why I started to feel nervous and completely unsure of myself around you, like I was going to lose my guard and do something that was going to change my future.

But you didn’t say anything. Listen, this might be a completely wrong assumption, but to me you seemed like a man who knows what he wants. A man who decides things with ease. A man who makes it known when he wants something and asks a woman out for a drink or a real date or whatever men who still date do.

I was so filled with self-doubt when it came to what I would do if you did ask me. I was undecided because it felt like I had already committed to a decision about that part of my life before I met you, not because I was unsure about wanting to spend more time with you, and not because I had any doubt about how you would affect me and likely change my life in some way if I let you in.

I was unfairly weighing my certainty about something I had decided before we met with the uncertainty that comes with anything new.

Plus, you scared me. I couldn’t figure out how you cut through the fog. I was so used to males who could only do that with some kind of night trick that I wasn’t sure getting through without tricks was even a thing. And if it was real, I thought, that was even scarier.

You made me so nervous that I actually flapped my arms like a bird after one conversation. I’m not joking.

I hope you’re laughing in an ‘oh that’s adorable’ kind of way rather than a ‘phew I ducked a crazy chick’ kind of way.

To be fair, it was more like a sparrow than a baby chicken, but the pun still works.

And then I had to go. I didn’t really have a choice. Hopefully I’ll get to tell you the story, though it isn’t very cheerful.

The farther from you I was, the more I fell back into my old certainty that I was right the first time.

The short version of the rest of the story is this:

My world collapsed out from under me. I stopped believing in love. My heart became a bit jaded in the way that any tenderness can be ‘a bit’ jaded. I focused on my own hell for a few years. And then I found God.

I think it was the beginning of 2016 when He told me that if I gave Him my broken heart He would fix it. This was before I knew it was God. But that’s another story.

A few weeks ago, God showed me your face. And I’m starting to believe that our spirits have been walking beside each other in a way that is mending my heart.

I want to write a new ending to our story. Before I can, though, I want to know if it’s something you want.