Friday, June 8, 2012

My Path to Shiny Goodness

Thanks for indulging me yesterday. I honestly was surprised when some readers told me that they could relate to my post, since I was purposefully vague and trapped "in my own head" (I'm self-centered like that). But if you found something - anything - you could use, I am glad. Of course, you realize you've only encouraged me? Thanks for that, by the way.

The past few years have been ones of tremendous change and growth for me. With growth, come growing pains. Bones ache when they stretch. So do souls.

I have been told by reliable sources that I ramble, so here is the CliffsNotes version:

I was married for a long time. It did not work - for a long time. I was sad. We separated; then divorced. It sucked.

I also found love again - with my best friend. It does not suck. We are newly engaged. I am happy.

Holy cow. Look how short Eat Pray Love could have been! Elizabeth Gilbert is wordy.

For the record, divorce is not that trite or tidy. It is ugly, dark and weighty, and it hurts like hell. There is no CliffsNotes version in real life. Worse, it does not happen in a vacuum; its black tentacles reach those you love most.

I wrote a more-detailed, painfully honest version of my story, but since my story also belongs to others, I hesitate to share it. Unlike Ms. Gilbert (whom I love but also slightly resent post-divorce), I did not get to ponder my life path while traversing the globe for a year, stuffing myself with pasta and meditating with holy men. Instead, I had to reassure the most fragile of souls; negotiate and divide 18 years of my life; get a job (a real one this time); sell a home; find a house; move; start over; learn to love again; learn to trust myself again. I've been busy.

But for those who know my story, or think they do, please understand that I carry it all - every last damn bit of it - and I always will. Who I was shaped who I will be.

That said, there comes a point when you have to let go of that which you cannot control. That's what I was attempting to do with my previous post. Surprisingly, it helped. Even by writing vaguely - and badly - I finally realized that "letting go" is not a feeling. It is an action. It takes more than will; it takes effort. It takes movement.

It's not enough to say, "I need to let that go." It's not enough to even swear to yourself that you will let go. You have to work at it. If you have carried something dark and heavy for a long time, gentle coaxing will not free it. Poking and prodding might not free it. Sometimes you have to reach into yourself - deep, deep into yourself where the ugliest of truths only you know hide - and you must wrench and rip and tear them from you.

This is what I am learning. This is why I am writing melodramatic posts. It is part of my wrenching and ripping and tearing. And it's cheaper than therapy, which means I can buy more donuts. Win-win.

I want to let go, so I can start again. Life has handed me one big, blank page and said, "Write your new story." As wonderful as that is, it also is daunting. It should be, shouldn't it?

This time around, I want the sentences to flow. I want to feel a powerful connection to the story. I want to relish each and every word so much that I both do, and do not, want to know what happens next...

Nothing like putting a little pressure on myself, is there?

The title of my new story should be something deep and meaningful, but no. I'm calling it, "Shiny Goodness" - because really - what is better than shiny goodness? Well, you have a point, but "Hugh Jackman and a Long John" just sounds wrong.

The point is (did I have one?), with each wrench, rip and tear, I am one baby step closer to Shiny Goodness. I am giving myself permission to embrace the shiny goodness of life and feel the sunshine on my shoulders. It just got all John Denver up in here, so you know I'm serious.

Some will say I am wrong. That is inevitable. Every story has critics, and mine is no exception.

I certainly heard from the naysayers at the end of my last story. Even those whom I felt certain would always have my back, did not. I was told, in innumerable ways, that I would falter. I was told, sometimes bluntly, that I would fail.  I felt fully, down to the fiber of my being, the sting of their critiques. And I still feel there are those who want me to fail, so they can have the smug satisfaction of saying they told me so, or that I deserved it.

And maybe I will falter. Perhaps I will fail. None of us know how our stories will end. Not really.

I can learn from the critics, yes. But as the author of my own story, trust this: I choose each and every word I write carefully, with considerable thought and tremendous love for what I am crafting. I choose my words with my tears, my laughter, my mistakes, my hopes, my faith, who I was, who I am, and who I hope to be.

At least I will know, at the end of my tale, that I tried to find the shiny goodness in my story. That is something, isn't it? Yes, that is something.

This would be a good time to cue Peter Gabriel:

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