Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Two for One Day

You learn something new every day. Some days, you learn two new things, and by my summation, that warrants two desserts (if you first ate a very healthy tofu-ful and broccolicious dinner, of course....)

Forgive me for gloating, but as November is supposed to be my month of betterness, not bitterness, I am celebrating the baby steps.

Lesson 1: I found it.

Hidden away under a few layers of self censoring, swallowed words, denied emotional responses, and frustrated feelings...was my voice. Not my big, angry, irrational voice. Not my little, whiny, girly voice. This one. The voice that is c.o.n.f.i.d.e.n.t. in what I am saying. The one is that is being assertive without offending you. Oh, I had a moment of weakness in which I asked for validation of my voice. For a moment, this voice and this voice threatened to reduce this voice to sniveling and hiding under my desk. To convince this voice to play the quiet game, or worse, the unproductive bitching game. But this voice won.

It wasn't much really. One of those work issues where people were passive aggressively emailing rude remarks back and forth, kind of picking on the new kid, but perhaps, more than anything, testing to see if the new kid is worth the investment. I tried not to take it personal, and I didn't really, but I had to respond somehow. By email, naturally. I'd like to think I set the record straight. At least straight-ish. I'd like to think my voice came through loud and clear. Time will tell, but I am going to count this as a small victory worthy of gingersnaps and milk.

Which brings me to....
Lesson 2: I count Lesson 1 as a small victory because the hardest thing for me to do right now is to find the middle ground. The voice between this voice and this voice. Everyday is an onslaught of emotions that threaten to put me in this state:

or this state:
at any given moment.

I am trying, but some days, my past experiences and a gap in my ability to just "have a little faith" get the best of me. I am weak and yet overly aggressive in an awkward attempt to protect this voice. One of my favorite bloggers who writes a very encouraging blog for the separated and divorced said it best: "Because you lost so much there are certain things you hold onto with a vengeance- and one of them is the ability to love and trust again....We are the walking wounded. Our hearts have been torn out and stomped on by life. We are the tin men of the world." I'd venture to say we are even a little rusty at "normal."

Today's experience, a weekend of heartfelt and honest conversations with two of my very best friends, and an encouraging email from a good Miles City friend, brought me to the realization that I am mired right in the middle of the stages of grief. There are five of them actually, and I didn't even know it. Divorce is the loss of many things, just like death, and so it follows a similar pattern of grief recovery. Maybe you tried to tell me when all of this started, way back when I was in the Denial (1). Perhaps you mentioned it again during the Anger (2). And repeated it loudly when I went through the Bargaining (3). But now I am somewhere in the Depression (4), which I acknowledge, that is accompanied by Fear and Anxiety, unfortunately. The world wide web tells me it is good for the grieving to know where they are in the stages....its healthy even. The Huffington Post even tells me how I can kung-fu kick these blues: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joel-dovev/the-five-stages-of-grief-_b_782786.html

I am sharing this lesson with you because I need to apologize. I'm not really myself right now. In fact I am not even sure sometimes what "myself" means. I am sorry for being distant and unreachable some days. And then so clingy and needy on other days you kind of want to hate me. Said I would call but didn't. Finally called and cried and carried on and didn't ask you about you. Expected more from you than you are willing or able to give right now. Read too much into one thing and not enough into another. Got frustrated when you were just trying to be nice. Nauseated you, again, with a touchy-feely blog.

I don't know where I am in the 4th Stage, but I have hope that its drawing to a close. Perhaps that is a good sign. I'm not going to force it to, but know that I am anxious for the Acceptance (5) to get here.

And this baby step earns me a mint chocolate ice cream sandwich.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow Ashley....you are an amazing writer. I know I may not be someone you ever expected to hear from but Kirsten told me about your blog and I began reading it, and I absolutely love it! It makes me really think about life and ponder. But today I just want to encourage you. Yes, divorce is really difficult, I know firsthand. After 26 years of a very difficult verbally abusive marriage I decided it was time to find me...and my VOICE! God is so good and He helped me every step of the way. One thing that kept me sticking it out was the girls...so be thankful there are no children involved. But thank God you are able to find your voice before it got buried so deep and did so much damage that emotionally you had such huge scars that may never be fixed. You are an amazing, awesome woman and I know you will make it through this. Your family and friends love you and I am sure that they would be there always for an emotional hug!

Kathy Simons (formerly Hoffman til I found my VOICE and then found an awesome husband who loves me more than I ever knew I could be loved)

Anonymous said...

It's no wonder you love Gillian Welch so much! Your very deep and from the heart. Although i have never experienced what you are going through I can vouch for the fact that we are all fragile beings. With that being said, I am grateful for friends/family, wise elders, and most importantly a higher power. You are thought of daily, covered in prayers, and loved! Your never alone Ashley and it is my hope that you will soon have the strenghth to fly free~

Archaeology Ash said...

Thank you both. I am blown away by your kind words and support.

Kathy - I am so happy and proud of you - you are an amazing woman to stand up and say "enough" after 26 years. I know K, T, and N are proud of you too!