Today was a rough morning. Well, not rough, so much as it was a moment of clarity drawn out by writing – as is often the case with me – about why I’ve been grappling with a deep-seeded anxiety with regards to Ray. This morning, he took off on his journey to Iowa where he’ll be visiting with his family and attending his brother’s wedding. It’s the first time in our relationship that he’s taken off without me on a journey and where I won’t see him for about a week. As I type that, it sounds so damn insignificant. In fact, that is kind of the point of why I’m writing this all down here and sharing it out loud.
We’ve been together for just over six months now. That’s about thirty-two weeks of getting to know each other, getting a better understanding of what’s going on behind each other’s eyes, and figuring out the ways in which whatever this thing is between us can enhance both our individual and collective lives. In the course of that time, we’ve gone on some pretty damn amazing adventures, camping, seeing the world around us, enjoying deeper conversations about how our lives should be versus what they actually are, self-actualization, and what it feels like to be growing up. We’ve also had a lot of sharing about our pasts, what things have shaped how we react to current issues, and how we cope with these old wounds. As you all know, I have a book full of them. Ray, as it turns out, has his own pile of skeleton bones that he’s dragging around too. As he packed up and headed out for this trip back to the midwest, some of my deepest anxieties came flying to the foreground, and have remained there since we parted company at the airport. Sure, it’s only been a few hours, but you know me – I can’t just pause a thought. I have to chew on it for a while and figure it out.
I have separation anxiety. It’s a legit panic attack about what might happen to us while we are apart. In the past, and anyone who’s been close to me can attest to, I have broken down and sobbed, lashed out in anger, unable to control my emotions and simply just implode in a way that is both saddening and grotesque. I’ve lost my shit more than once over a break in space, and as crazy as it seems on paper, it’s even more insane from my point of view. It all comes down to a matter of trust and just how much trust I am willing to put on the line. After some deeper consideration, though, this time, I think I may have figured it out.
Before I get into that, it should be said that I’ve done a really, really good job of remaining in control of myself as I sent Ray off and wished him well. Instead of turning into a real monster, apart from admitting one really intense dream sequence to him about one thing going terribly wrong, I’ve managed to keep this anxiety under wraps.
I did, however, wake up from a brief nap this morning with a tightness in my throat and a vision in my head that was really disturbing. It was my brain, and my anxiety, winding me up illogically in order to pump my body full of the kind of energy I need to protect and defend myself. Hormones are powerful little chemicals, and this morning, as I woke up startled and simply got out of bed to shake the visions and put myself back in reality, I knew that this was something I simply had to come to terms with. I needed to take some time and really be honest with myself about the places where this kind of real, debilitating anguish comes from.
I sat and journaled for a bit here at the house, and then opted to take myself for a quick stroll and a cup of coffee before the summer heat really cranked up here. I’m glad I did. I found myself talking to myself, reminding me that not only do I have absolutely no reason not to trust Ray, but that none of what my visions are screaming at me are actually true. I am in control of my actions, body, and mind, and it’s up to me to figure out what is causing this much disruption in how I think and feel. I think I made some headway, and I think it stems back to some really old, remaining issues with how my parents divorced. Not to be too Freudian, but I think it has to do with my reaction to having my mom break the trust I had placed in her and in our family. She was the one who left, and as much as I have forgiven her over the past twenty years for having done so, a part of me refuses to let it go. So far.
She tore my whole world apart. Her actions made all of the ways in which I both saw my family unit and depicted my family unit to those I knew null and void. No longer was I from a normal family with both parents. No longer was my life a sort-of fairy tale experience where I could believe in the love that I thought existed in our home. Instead, all that I knew suddenly became a lie. I couldn’t trust in a promise made between two people. That blind faith in that sort of pact between my father and mother simply evaporated. It left a giant hole in me that never truly closed.
My relationship with Nathaniel was marred by this huge lack of trust in what we had. When he’d take off on little trips with our mutual friend Scott, I’d be an absolute monster. Crying, shaking, wailing, weeping, screaming…it all happened, multiple times, simply because I thought he, like my mom, was abandoning me and abandoning the promise and relationship that we’d forged. Something inside me short-circuited. At the time, I was totally out of control, and it frightened me. For some damned reason, I had projected the emotions of the past – ones I simply refused to deal with or couldn’t handle at 17 years old and instead departed for college and too much booze and pot – onto the present. I did this with Nathaniel. I did this with Nathan. I promised myself this time, with Ray, that I would not do this. For the most part, I haven’t, but I’ve caught myself on the verge. I let one of my nightmares slip out, and it was clear that it spooked him. I’ve explained a little bit more to him, and he and I are totally fine, but I promised him I’d spend some time getting to the bottom of this. I think I may have just done that this morning.
I still need to file for divorce from Nathaniel. It has been over four years now since we’ve separated, and I’ve found myself putting the impetus upon him to complete this step. Stubbornness has made me dig in my heels. I’ve told myself time and time again that if he wants to not be with me then it’s in his court to file the papers. Legally, up until recently, because of how gay marriages are recognized, I’ve not lived in a place where I could do the filing myself, and would have had to go to Massachusetts in order to do so. Since Oregon has overturned it’s ruling against gay marriage, though, the option of petitioning for divorce is now something I have. I now have the power to move on from that broken relationship. What this also means, though, is finally breaking the promise I had made to him over five years ago before the state and our families. I finally have to accept that breaking that agreement is a matter of actually moving on, and actually taking back control over my life. It also means, to me, finding peace with my mom’s actions towards my father, and finally appreciating why she did what she did. I need to let go of my stubborn pride, and simply cut the thread. It’s overdue. I think, in the end, this will help me resolve this anxiety inside me. I can be an oath-breaker and not a bad person. I can still believe in the actual ritual and higher-resonance vibrations of a union between two people, and yet let this kind of union in my own past fall apart.
No, I haven’t been harboring thoughts of returning to Nathaniel. I’ve met Ray, and I can appreciate the possibilities that lie between him and myself, and see that they never existed between Nathaniel and me. I see the difference. I see the potential for something far more profound in my future as a possible-maybe. In order to get there, though, I need to take this step. If I want to be the person I should be for myself and for what Ray and I share, then I need to make peace with my past – all of it.
$280 in filing fees to begin with. From there, I do not know how much it will cost. Still, in the end, that’s just money, and it does not matter. I’ve been saying all along that one cannot put a price on sanity, and for me, this has never been more true than it is at this moment.