Turn Over Your Hand
Those lines on your palm, they can be read
for a hidden part of your life that only
those links can say– nobody’s voice
can find so tiny a message as comes
across your hand. Forbidden to complain,
you have tried to be like somebody else,
and only this fine record you examine
sometimes like this can remember where
you were going before that long
silent evasion that your life became.
A poem by William Stafford from his book An Oregon Message.
Harper and Row, NY © 1987
Now, why that poem is significant at this point in my life could be easily guessed at by many of my friends and colleagues. But please don’t think that I mean that my entire relationship of ten years was any kind of total loss. That’s not at all what I mean. I think if I have come to understand anything in these many months (six since the break up; five since I moved out), it is that I truly did love that man.
Surprising? Well, no. At least not to me, though that second-guess-over-analyze-it-all tendency I have does find it a bit of a relief, as if some kind of argument was settled. He’s a good man. There is a lot he doesn’t understand, but I’ve come to realize that the same can be said of me. I think we both made some mistakes, and part of the after-sadness is thinking about what we might have done better. But it was never a question of whether I loved him. It was a question of why we couldn’t seem to solve our problems, why we couldn’t seem to understand each other, or connect… why both of us were so very lonely.
I suppose there could be many reasons, other than love, that influenced my willingness to stay together for entire decade. Financial stability (a two income home is one practical thing I miss), companionship (even if it was often sparse), familiarity, a history, and honestly often times, despite it all, we really did like each other. I do still care about him, respect him and wish him the very best. He works so hard for it. I do wish that we could be friends, and had even hoped for a time that we could repair what was broken, but I understand that being best buds is just too difficult for him. Still I wish we could at least say hello, or that he would answer the door when I drop things (pictures, etc, things that ended up in my moving boxes by mistake) off at his home.
So why did my blogging come to a halt back in December? It just became too difficult. My other projects, GayFatherhood.com, my poetry, my participation in the local group Gay Men of Faith, all suffered, and most fell to the way-side all together; I felt I had only enough energy for me and my sons. An honest assessment is that I was depressed. And when I am hurt I tend to do one of two things that I am ashamed of. One, I retreat into myself, the old turtle in his shell analogy. It often becomes so bad that my sister or a good friend will finally call and ask, “Just checking; Are you dead?” The second way I deal with the pain is to lash out at those close to me, well, usually those close, but occasionally some unsuspecting bystander who pisses me off at the wrong moment ends up feeling the shocking full blast of my fury.
I have stories to tell about all of this. I couldn’t tell them for some time, but now looking back, perhaps it would help me to go over things a bit, see what I’ve learned and what I could do better in the future. But honestly if it would have served any purpose for me to vent my pain in the moment, I am sure it would have either bored or drowned my readers in it’s maudlin flood of emotions. And in the end would have only been embarrassing for me (“Oh no, you mean I wrote that?). So be thankful for both of us that we dodged those angry bullets and skirted those deep waters.
Better that I write something productive now as I look back and gaze forward. And if you care to follow along, maybe what I write will help you too. I doubt it, but hey, hope springs eternal, right? So the next several entries, maybe the next several months will probably be me working out the details of this journey I’ve been on and seeing where I’ve come, and (cross your fingers) hopefully getting a clearer glimpse of this path I’m laying out before me.
Thanks for reading, friend. Thanks for caring. And you people know who you are, I cannot speak the thanks owed to you for being there for me through all of this. I don’t deserve it, and I love you for wanting to disagree with that statement.
OK, more about that palm reading by Stafford and what I mean about that long silent evasion next time. We’ve gone deep enough for day one. 🙂