It can be perplexing, to try to understand why someone is the way they are. When we can't make sense of someone else's behavior, when it doesn't mesh with our own beliefs, when it isn't what we think we would if it were us in their situation, we get uncomfortable, and we label that mystifying behavior as unusal, harmful...wrong. We prickle against what we can't understand, because the unknown is daunting, even in the lives and emotions of other people.
It's not escaped my awareness, that people don't understand me, at least when it comes to the dissolvement of my marriage and my lingering loyalty. They don't understand how I can hold on to my affection, my devotion, my love, for Elvis in the face of the hurt and the loss. Looking through their eyes, I know its nonsensical, to them I've been betrayed, hurt, and humiliated, and when they take stock of the emotions they think they would feel, they find anger, resentment and bitterness. "Where is her rage?!" they ask themselves. Maybe the even wonder "where is her dignity?", or pride, or sense of self preservation. They hear about my loss, they see my emotion, they know the details and they see my reaction and they think one of two things about me, I'm either lying about how I feel, putting on a mask to protect myself from feeling the depth of my pain, or I'm a damn fool. I am not a fool, and I'm not hiding behind a strong face.
People roll their eyes at me when I tell them that I still like, no love, my husband, even though our marriage is over. They are exasperated. They pity me and they're angry at me and they think to them selves that if I'm stupid enough to put myself through the trouble of trying to maintain a relationship with him, then I deserve the pain I get. I can see it in their eyes, they don't understand me, and like that, they've dropped me into a category of people they don't know how to deal with, this category reads "Handle with care: strange, dangerous, crazy people inside."
People don't know how to deal with those they don't understand.
Here is why you don't understand me, it comes down to a tale of two truths.
"Love is not enough", and "love is all there is."
These two truths exist, simultaneously, in one moment, in one situation.
My marriage, it was not acceptionally bad, it was not terribly unique, neither are our lives. Our troubles were not huge, our issues not shocking. We were two people who lost their balance, and lets be honest, living a happy life with another person is a precious balancing act, balancing the needs and emotions of two people while standing on a tight rope while catching every curve ball life throws our way, its no wonder so many fall. But, because we're human, because we're self protecting at the core of us, because we keep score, because we're fearful, even with emense love, sometimes you can't put back to right what has been wronged. Love is not enough to repair a shattered trust.
But, then again, when I allow myself to wax philosophical, when I'm pondering what really matters in life, and I strip away the "fluff", at the core of it all, love is all there really is, it's the only thing that matters. At the end of my days I'm sure to recount the love I felt from others, and the ones I gave my love to. And on the grand scheme of my life I know that my hurts will seem scattered and few among the years and the love will be the common thread that sews all the days together.
People hurt people. We do it often. We start young.
Kids throw stones and call each other names.
Teenagers reject each other.
Girlfriends dump boyfriends and vice versa.
We lie to each other.
We take from each other.
We break each others things.
We break each others hearts.
We all do it.
And you see, that is my point. People want me to feel outraged and wronged and they want me to be indignant. They want me to hold Elvis accountable for his supposid crimes against me, they want me to abandon him, they want me to want him to suffer. They think it would be rewarding, vindicating even, to see him experience consequences to his actions. That would lessen my pain, no?
Call me crazy (I know some have), but I'm not that shocked by the circumstances of our unraveling. And though I certainly felt hurt, and betrayal, and grief, I'm not terribly mad at Elvis, and I absolutely don't wish him suffering, or pain, or consequences so great that they "teach him". And I wonder sometimes if what people think is lunacy in me, is really just insight. I think I've always been pretty insightful. And you see, Elvis is NOT the villan in my life story. He's not the tragic ending in this chapter of my life. He's not a transient character that is being written out of my plot. And his instance, this hiccup, in his life, and in mine, this shared sadness we've experienced that ultimately caused us to fall off our tightrope, it doesn't define him. It's not who he is. It comes down to choices, he made some, I made some, I can't even call them bad, they're just choices, and often times the choices we make are like those "choose your own adventure" books we read as kids. I made some, he made some, neither of us necessarily knew what the outcomes of those choices would be. We didn't know in the moment if they would bring us together, or lead us off track. We did the best with what we could and we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. No body WANTS their life to get off kilter.
Sad truth is, our marriage skidded off road, it didn't make it.
However, I'm still alive. So is Elvis. So are our children.
The untying of our "knot" was not the deletion of our history.
Each and every minute together remains on permanent record in our history,
Each fight is stored right alongside each loving kiss, each celebration, each birth. Every single sadness resides in our memories beside every triumph, every passionate moment, every joy.
We didn't cease to exist to each other because some fateful choices made it impossible to live together.
We are not strangers. We're not enemies. And though love was not enough to build us back up, love is all there really is when you strip it all down the bare bones. There isn't really any other choice for me, but to hold him in my heart and give him my love. He DOES deserve it. He is a very special and important person, and if you think I'm wrong then you are very short sighted. He is not any different then anyone else, he's no worse then any of us. He's got a heart and a soul and a past that weighs on his present. He wants to live a good life, he wants to be a good man, and like you and me, he doesn't always know how. He doesn't have all the answers. Sometimes he dissapoints people, sometimes he dissapoints himself. Just like me, just like you.
But I've known him for a little over 10 years. God, who is the author of all our stories, has written him into my life, he is of great importance, his signifigance is not to be overlooked. He has always been and will always be a part of my destiny, whether he is to be my husband or not, our love story is a special one. You don't undertsand it, I get it, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.
Two truths, seemingly contradictory, can exist in one circumstance.
Love is not enough. This is true, love cannot work miracles.
But then again, maybe it can.
Because love is all there is, it's all that matters to us when our days are done.
Love gives courage.
Love makes us selfless.
Love promts understanding, and forgiveness.
Love gives us insight, often mistaken for blindness.
Love is all there is at the core of a happy life. Love means that your life can be hard, and sad and maybe even tragic, and you can still find the good in it.
So, don't ask me to turn my back on him. I can't do it, and I wouldn't if I could.
You may cringe when I say this, it may offend your sensibilities, I may lose your respect, but, truth is, I need him still, and I want him in my life, and I love him, quite dearly. He's my first love, my childrens father, my partner in crime for the past 10 years of my life, and my friend. Why should I have to live without him, just because somethings went awry and our circumstances changed.
I'm pretty sick of the "be strong", "suck it up", "get tough" attitudes. I'm tired of being told to put up walls to protect myself, I'm tired of being told told to put away my emotions and face my new life like a soldier. Why are we so afraid of vulnerability? Why can't we let ourselves just experience life as it comes, and why do we view acceptance and vulnerability in others as weakness?
I've tried it both ways, and I've never felt more real, more human, or more peaceful then when I'm vulnerable, maleable and open to what life will bring, trusting that all my chapters, past, present and future, are writing a beautiful, breathtaking and meaningful story, and all I have to do is live it.
Understand me now?