The drive home from Stinson Beach is one I treasure. Whether I go north or south to reach my destination, the road curves and winds along where land ends and the sea begins. I love the feeling of straddling those two worlds. As I snake left then right, then up and down and left and right again, things sort themselves out inside me. I feel Mt. Tam and I feel the Pacific, and I feel at home. And it always feels celebratory. Even on the night of The Boy.
All that had happened on the mountain that day was cradled in my belly as I drove home after my encounter with The Boy and assorted wildlife. So many emotions, thoughts, signs all simmering together into a nourishing stew. I felt disinclined to dig deep, rather preferring to let the answers unveil themselves when the timing was just right. (Consider them, the answers, locked doors or books written in a foreign language…) It was refreshing to have a breather from 24/7 excavation at a time when I felt pressured by myself to get to the root of why I felt out of sorts the past several days. I felt relieved of the need to understand it all right then. I felt serene. It was enough for me to know that the day was packed full of amazing experiences that I believed in my core were designed to show me the way. Eventually.
The next morning I woke up. Thank God. (I’m not yet an angel!) And then I felt my legs. Whoa. I thought I was in decent shape, but the soreness I felt in my quads and the outside of my thighs and hips suggested otherwise. I was more sore after the run down Tam than the day hike of Mt. Whitney. Hands down, I’d hike Whitney alone with a 2 pound arachnid on my forehead before I’d run down Tam again. I could barely walk. Two fluid sacs on my right knee added considerably to its original width. And the knee decided it was on strike. No bending, no quick movements. No hiking for a while. That 5 mile run took its toll. But I’d do it all over again for The Boy.
At 11:15-ish AM I was on the phone with The Genius. To be honest, I don’t recall what we were discussing, but I can say with absolute certainty that my core was clenched, my face stoic, my energy pulled way back, and even if he was just telling me I was a ginger, I wasn’t believing him. Because I don’t trust him.
Then my cell phone rang. It was The Boy.
I answered my cell with The Genius still on the other phone, not muted. It was not the way I had wanted to receive a call from The Boy. I didn’t want those two worlds colliding. I wanted to be fully present for him. Not distracted by the fact that I had another call on hold, and it was – of all people – The Genius. The man who thinks I run around ‘saving doves’. Whatever the h that means. But I couldn’t not answer the call.
Cleo, it’s The Boy.
Hi. How are you?
I’m okay. I wanted to call you and let you know that. I’m okay. They couldn’t reattach my finger, but I’m going to be okay. Thank you for staying with me. You…
Cleo, you were my angel.
Cue gutteral reaction, groundhog day music (Is there such a thing?), whatever makes you feel, This again? This reaction to these words…again?? They floated in front of me, all the letters of those words. A thread from each shot to my core and tied it up, like Elmer Fudd wrapping ribbons around a bomb as a present for Bugs Bunny. In one hand a person telling me I’m an angel and in the other hand a person who thinks I’m an entitled princess who’s appalling and lacks empathy. Not so angelic, right?
HOLY ARACHNID! THAT’S WHY I FEEL IT SO PHYSICALLY WHEN I HEAR SOMEONE SAY I’M AN ANGEL!
(And that, kittens, might be the absolute worst sentence I’ve ever written, but I’m letting it stand. It just came flying out of my heart…epiphany time.)
Because that is definitely NOT the way The Genius sees me. Up until I discovered concrete evidence of his four year affair (post-Pocket Call), it was all I love you, When I’m not with you, I’m with no one, I miss my family. And then it became You’re this and you’re that (insert excuses we’ve all heard) and you’re not growing up and moving on and taking responsibility. Our marriage was over a long time ago.
Hearing someone say I’m an angel, actually hearing them say it in person, is in such direct contrast to what I’m being told by the person to whom I committed myself for life. The very same person who used to call me angel in some way shape or form in nearly every anniversary, holiday and birthday card during our entire marriage.
I am wired to give more weight to the opinion of The Genius than that of a multitude of other people. And that is completely ludicrous. It actually makes me sad. Even though I know his opinion is skewed by his own emotions surrounding his infidelity, I believe his words, on a deep, unconscious level.
And I just became conscious of that.
I took a moment just now to sit outside and let this sink in. It didn’t take long for the following realization to come to light:
I don’t believe in myself.
Followed quickly by,
I love myself.
But I don’t believe in myself.
Wow. That just shot me right off course. There I was, telling you about my call with The Boy and now I’m trying to understand how I can not believe in me. It’s not a package deal with love yourself? How can those two not be bundled?
I’ve got some rewiring to do.
The Boy and I wrapped our call quickly. I promised a text to follow up and this is what I sent:
I was on the other phone when you called. I am sorry they weren’t able to reattach your finger. But you’re brave, and I know that you will be okay. I don’t know how old you are, but I saw the wisdom of a much older soul realize in the moment that there was a deeper meaning to the events of yesterday. Seize this opportunity. I am grateful I was there to help. Thank you for letting me. And for causing me to pause and ponder how our lives can change in the blink of an eye. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need to. Shine on, beautiful spirit!
I never heard back.
Since last week I have spent all my downtime pondering those events and what they have stirred up within me. As you can see by the above realization, things have been pretty busy here. Speeding up. Signs everywhere. Sometimes I feel like I’m not getting anywhere and then a crystal clear picture materializes in front of my eyes. And then I notice, in hindsight, the sensation of backroom processing I felt as I sat in judgment of my inability to find the meaning.
In the last 12 hours much has become clear about my super-epic hike of Mt. Tam. The answers have trickled in with perfect timing…as in right now.
The Boy gives me the courage to know that I am capable of remaining calm, focused, centered and effective in a crisis, perceived or real. I will not die in the conference room tomorrow morning when The Genius and I attempt to make progress on our divorce. I will not even lose a fingernail.
The bobcat(s) is telling me to be patient. To plan, to adapt and to manifest. To trust that I will achieve my goal (in his world, catch the prey). He validates my need to seek the deeper meaning, to tap into the mystery of life. He asks me to unlock my secret inner wisdom and talents. And to create. Most importantly, he represents the true power and strength in silence, a call to observe, observe, observe.
The kitten sighting of NancyTex shows me how important you all are on this journey. I’m betting the Day of The Boy is going to prove to be a monument-worthy day, or at least a half-day, in the HGM archives. It couldn’t pass without direct representation from the kittens. But she did more than represent, she pulled me right back to center. And sent me off feeling confident that my sense of well-being, self-worth was growing stronger, in spite of the days when it doesn’t feel that way.
Mt. Tam rekindled my intuition. I felt very much a step ahead of where I was that day. Very connected to what was happening or about to happen around me. And still do.
And then, today in computer lab at the little dude’s school, the girl who sat and cried that first day finished off this banana split of wisdom and reasons to be grateful:
She bounded into the room, the lower half of her face one grand smile. Her shoes were covered in glitter. I spent the first 10 minutes in the middle row, thinking all of the students were in front of me. They were creating jack o’ lanterns and practicing their spelling. I heard some giggling behind me and realized two students were in the last row, their faces buried in the screens. I walked around to check their progress and found, to my delight, that she was excitedly typing out the words October and Halloween. She laughed at her pumpkin, changed its eyes to big circles and laughed some more.
Look at you! Having so much fun! And to think it was only a few weeks ago that you were uncomfortable. She was bubbling over with pride. Her teacher overheard my comment and beamed.
Why don’t you tell her what we’ve been working on?
She looked up at me with eyes that glittered like her shoes and a smile so big I swear it flattened back her ears and said,
I believe I can do that. For me. For the boys. For you. For my future.
While I’m being all brave, I’m certain the processing in the backroom will continue, and before I know it I will have rewired that parts of me that are afraid to believe in me.
I’m off now to spend some time letting them know it’s okay. And to get some sleep. Tomorrow is a big day. A big, calm, focused, centered day.