As we wrestle with who we are becoming, he and I, both together and separately, I've learned a great deal about myself. We have been attempting a compassionate friendship since the split, and while it has been slow going, overall, it has been successful, and I think it's because within the relationship I have switched my focus from him to me.
There are some things that I am only capable of when challenged. I feel like this new sort of relationship I am creating with him gives me the space to be a better person, and in that space, that is what I become. It's not that it's easy. It's that I have been there before and chosen the other. I never realized it was a choice, down there in the muck, after I have said or done something horrible to him, but now that I have chosen another way, a compassionate way, I am embarrassed to say that yes, I chose that.
I am feeling more compassion for myself than I ever have. I focus only on the beneficial, only on helping, only on empathy. I have decided to make the choice for how I want to feel about myself tomorrow, next week, next year, and when I die. I am not reacting in the moment but methodically creating an environment in which I can feel pride for my kindness.
I thought I was doing it right. I thought that my conscious effort to be as kind and loving toward him in the relationship was the right way to go. But within my behavior there was an undisclosed expectation of a reciprocity that could not have possibly been fulfilled. I didn't consciously realize I was doing it, but I was, and every so often I got a glimpse of the sharp edges of it. Every so often, I would cut him with the disappointment I had set him up to provide. It was the most painful kind of shame after I saw what I was doing, setting myself up as a victim, and he as a villain.
It's painful to write about it now. I feel it so clearly, rattling around my lungs and heart, bruising the soft organ tissue as it whirls. If I am to stop setting myself up as a victim, I have to stop treating myself as one. I have to stop perceiving myself as one.
That is why I have focused my compassion inward. It is why I am planning for the happiness I hope to feel tomorrow. I am finding that it is nearly impossible to see myself as a victim while I am planning out my joy.
It is still so early in this phase of my development and this phase of our relationship, but I feel strongly that again, I have become a better person in the challenging space of intimacy.
I am finding that there are still parts of me that are as yet, undiscovered. That in itself is all I need to keep going, and keep believing that one day I will be different.
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Is an artist, a philosopher, a writer and a teacher. She will be writing random thoughts here. Follow along if you are interested.
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