Going through a divorce is an experience that can and does up-end the most grounded of people. The ricochet of emotions, thoughts and moods can be overwhelming. I felt I had erected a NASA-caliber padded wall up and down my insides to protect me from the collisions, but when The Genius showed up on Monday morning after his weekend with the Happy Dance Car Rental Chick he reminded me that I had a long way to go. His anger preceded him by about 20 paces. I could sense if before he turned the corner.
I was still walking through the house with my arms outstretched, pretending I was soaring above Mt. Tamalpais, pausing every now and then to kick one leg out behind me, tilt parallel to the floor, arms like wings and practice my rudder control. I was all about the flying. It’s no wonder. Who wouldn’t want to be in a cocoon, surrounded by white noise, taking control of a flying machine as it sliced through the atmosphere? I guess people with Pteromerhanophobia, but you know by now that’s not me.
I did suffer from Arachnophobia, but I kicked that eight-legged black cloud to the curb long ago. Now I actually dig the little guys. And some of the big guys. When they’re outside. When they’re inside I overkill them, and then suck them up in the Dyson, leaving it on until it whirls them into oblivion. Then I have my son empty the canister. I’m totally cured, for sure.
The Genius normally tries to kick up a conversation with me when he drops by his former home, hoping that I’ll throw him a bone so he can feel better about himself. Not this time. He was a cold, dank wall of pissed-ness. Since he wasn’t making eye contact with me I could steal a glance. I hadn’t looked at him in weeks. Beard shaved, hair growing long. There’s some major recede going on. A full head shave is about 5 years away. I expect he’s about mid-way through his mid-life crisis. Which for him will last till he’s 80. Or dead.
My high from flying evaporated. Being in the presence of The Genius flattened me. And it felt so familiar. He’s done it again. He does something wrong and takes it out on me. It took a few days for it to become clear, but I got it. He wants me in the gutter with him. He wants me to share blame for his affair and now for his ‘meet and greet’. I created the void that allowed him to let someone in, and I introduced the boys to a friend which made it acceptable for him to frolick the day away with the boys and his married mistress. Yep. It’s all me.
For the next three days I let it happen. My head became filled with negative thoughts about The Genius, his “Adultery Works!” family, and the chaotic, untethered world in which I lived.
Then I smacked the crap out of myself and moved on. Two hours on the treadmill at an 8% incline helps to accomplish the smacking.
Negative thoughts make my stomach hurt. They take me off my game. They become a crutch so I don’t have to look at myself and focus on what I need to do to live my life NOW.
Even as I was getting sucked into his pathetic, moral-less world I could sense that the centered joy I felt when I finally accepted the need to divorce The Genius was still inside, patiently waiting for me to find it again. All it took was a few minutes in front of the mirror smiling at myself.
“I am strong. I am beautiful. I am deserving of a joyous life. I can flow through change. I am proud of myself. I love myself.” I pivoted, tilted parallel to the floor, arms outstretched, rudder activated. I will fly again.
Mr. Jackpot once said, “The whole point of living is you go out and try stuff and see if it works for you. You live it. Because you feel it’s right.”
So what’s right for me? What stuff should I try? Just how vulnerable am I? I feel strong, but I wonder if I’m on the Hilary Step with a leg cramp and the shakes, and not a Sherpa in sight. Will I summit or fall short and suffer the ‘what if’s’ in my porch-rocker days?
I have to summit. The Genius has given me a gift. (Please don’t tell him I said that – he’ll expect a thank you note.) When I unwrapped it I set myself free. Now, without a net, I am being summoned to live my life. I shouldn’t hold back.
But those padded walls were getting in the way. Could I demolish them without demolishing myself? Could I remain grounded and fly at the same time?
I wish I had been born a Praying Mantis. Then I would have eaten The Genius four years ago.