After more than 6 months of working from home, I am back in a physical space of employment to fulfill my new full time hours. The transition has been refreshing but tiring. From unstructured mush pile to the rigidity of alarms, bedtimes and long commutes – these have been the agents of positive fundamental change. I’m feeling more awake, refreshed and alert than ever before.
I have been thinking a lot about my recent past. As you know, I disconnected from my ex a few months back after a bit of waffling by both of us on our dwindling future together. The second time she called it off I feel like it stuck despite my denial at the time. I knew there was nothing there for me anymore, other than to serve as a repository for woe. In a relationship that nourishes, both parties have an equity of relevance, conversation and affection. When one partner is dying, this dynamic is skewed. There was no healthy balance in that situation, I learned… only a role defined by unending support, attentive listening and unquestioning understanding.
There was no space for individuation amidst a crisis which looms larger than any other mutual issue. I found that even though I was desperately needed to be that support person, I too was suffering a death of happiness, of dreams, of a memory of what that relationship was before cancer. When I finally severed my ties, I did so only out of self preservation. My depression was growing as the lifespan of my partner faded. With no remedy in communication, we split from a unified path and spiraled off in utterly distant directions.
I feel guilty all the time for choosing to help myself and not help her. I could not survive the dynamic, and she knew I would not and tried to end things peacefully long before it reached the point of despair I allowed it to arrive at. I feel a pain for her, but I knew that there was little to nothing left to gain by prolonging the inevitable separation of priorities that awaited us as she neared the end of her life.
So, about the time that I ended things with her, I began exploring options for a healthier dynamic. In truth, I did this initially so I could express some pride in myself. I think I’m a good person, definitely interesting, and I have a lot to offer in terms of companionship. Why not advertise that confidence in a context where I can be appreciated fully?
I did just that, despite my sorrow. I stepped forward and into a future where my life situation was not a constant source of depressed thoughts and feelings. I sought conformation, and got it from myself, and from others.
While I have been actively out here voicing my pain, and reflections on my past, I have been working on rebuilding my reality around a dynamic that nourishes instead of depletes. I needed to be appreciated, understood and ultimately loved by someone who was seeing the entire picture of who I was. Lofty expectations, I know.
At the cost of abandoning one life, I have forged another. With the toll of pain, I have entered a new stage. I uncompromisingly decided to live my life where my health and well-being are the primary concern, then followed by the energy I have to give to the other people. I will not live FOR anyone but myself. This does not mean I am selfishly absorbed in my own pleasure, but my health comes first before I render assistance. I do help, a lot, every day, and this too nourishes me because I am able to give my energy freely, without concern of an unintentional relapse into a darker place. Did I hurt her on my way out? Undoubtedly yes… but she knows as well as I that there was no happy future, no time of promised tranquility on the road we were walking together… and now that time is over.
This rant is not absolution, since I live with the guilt. This rant my proclamation of change. I have stated time and time again that I would not be willingly mired in depression and sadness if there was something proactive I could do about it. I have taken my positive steps and now the future I have in mind looks much more healthy and functional than it did in the recent past.
No amount of penitence can absolve me of my sadness over her, but a brighter way forward is the proof of self worth I need to construct a better life for myself.