Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Label maker

So, here's the thing. I have noticing that lately I have been having some pretty strong reactions to the labels people use to describe each other. (And by "each other" I pretty much mean, well, me. I worry sometimes that I am entirely too self-centered on this blog, which is rather amusing, given that it's a blog about, well, me.)

Back to what I was saying.....the other day at church someone referred to me as a "single mother" and my dander got all up before I realized that, well, yeah. That's a label for me. It's just that I had never labelled myself that way. And then someone said something charming along the lines of "those skinny minnies over there aren't like us" and I was cut to the quick. Uh, who exactly is the us to whom you refer there, clueless?

Reduced to just the labels, I am a single mom, working mother, red head (or at least I used to be), funny, Methodist, American, divorced, white, middle class, college educated, Bostonian, suburban, middle aged, liberal, and apparently, fat-assed. Is that how I label myself? It that really how others label me?

We are all so much more than just the sum of our parts. What labels do I chose to accept from others? What other labels do I try to take on, even though the fit isn't quite right? When I go, are my labels all I will leave behind? Yes, as eventually I will be just a story my kids tell their grandkids, and that story will be made of labels, won't it?

I hope to leave a legacy of good ones. "Loving mother. Good friend. Creative. Kind. Singular."


Friday, April 1, 2011

How to Save a Life

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend.
Somewhere out there in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known
How to Save a Life

That song was on the musical episode of Grey's Anatomy last night (along with several other songs, and the unmistakable sploosh of jumping a shark, but that's another post.....) and I can't stop singing it.

Funny how you can be aware of a song for months, years, and then suddenly understand the lyrics in a whole new way.

I could not save my marriage. I could not save it's life. I didn't know how. I didn't know he was gay. He didn't either, apparently, but this post is about me. I didn't know. I didn't know how to save our life.

And I have lost him as a friend. There is an ocean of bitterness between us now. Part of me thinks it is well deserved. His underhanded actions and his cowardice are HATEFUL and there is a big part of me that really and truly realizes that he does not DESERVE to count me amongst his friends.

And there is a quiet, sorrowful part of me that realizes that a lot of the bitterness is mine, my reaction, my creation, mine. I contributed to the air of hostility, of anger, and of alienation. I did not meet him halfway. I was too busy playing the victim role. I was so busy railing against what he didn't give me that I didn't spend a lot of time counting up what I do have, and being grateful.

Mostly the song just makes me miss my friend. The old husband I had. The one that made me laugh, was so amazing and charming and smart and nice. I fully realize that he disappeared years ago, behind a curtain of depression and lies that no one could reach, even doctors, but still. I miss my friend. I miss the idea of him. The solidity of knowing I was part of a marriage. That I wasn't alone. Realizing that for a lot of the time I was does help, sure, but not much. I totally get it. There are no rose colored glasses here, people.

I just miss the companionship of marriage. The shared history. The stories that only we could understand, because we were there, together. Little moments with the children, building the house together, trips, experiences, small wonders and bigger hurts and triumphs. I got really, really morose looking for a file the other day. We had twenty years together. Twenty years is a long time to live a lie, and it's a long time to be lied to, but it's also just....a long time. And I mourn the loss of that. For him, and for me.

Because if I had known what his real issues were, we could have forged a new future, in which he could live honestly, and openly, and we could have still been friends. I could have still had my friend.

And I realize that my actions in the past few years have not always been stellar. I absolutely know that. I acknowledge and fully take responsibility for the choices I have made that have hurt others, and hurt me. And hurt him.

I wish he had been honest with me all along.

I wish I had known, how to save our life.