Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Working in the thick of things.

I remember, in the thick of things, wanting everything to just make sense. I remember just desperately begging, for healing, for understanding, for forgiveness. I remember the wounds that were so raw and the hurt that was so unfathomable, I remember thinking, holy shit, holy shit, holy shit....please please let this not be real. Please let this be a bad dream. Please let me wake up wake up wake up.

I listened to an old playlist tonight, of songs that made sense and comforted. Songs that said all the things I needed to say but didn't know how to say at that time. Isn't it beautiful how music does that? How it transports you to a moment in time and you remember all the little details, all the emotions and the thoughts that played out. Isn't it beautiful how you can look back and measure the progress? Measure the healing, the beautiful, the awesome....all the little things that get overshadowed in the everyday.

These last two weeks have been incredibly rough. A hodge-podge of intense emotions that collided and made it hard to breathe. So many questions fueled by doubt and his good friend insecurity, so much sadness and grief, so much reality and tough choices.

I shared that bible verse they read at the funeral, because I remember holding so tightly to those exact words in the thick of things. I remember the hodge-podge of intense feelings then and the reminder, even then, to just be patient.

As soon as his granddaughter read the first verse, I knew I was in trouble. I knew that the armor of guarded emotions would fall apart, and there was no way I could hold my shit together till the privacy and safety of falling apart alone.

I think the worst feeling in the world is watching the people you love hurting, and feeling absolutely helpless. Grief, is just such a raw raw painful emotion. I hurt so incredibly much for a family that has lost their appa and for my parents that have lost a mentor.

It was that painful reminder of grief and how it felt in the thick of things to be grieving a huge loss. To grieve a husband, to grieve a child, to grieve 5 years of your life and the dreams and the future you built and believed in. To grieve as you're struggling to adjust to a new normal.

Moving and the funeral seems to have triggered these memories and it is hard to quite define it. This new normal, the grieving of everything that I knew, and everything that was "normal", the grieving of my friends and the relationships, the grieving of having a routine and knowing things, the grieving and adjusting. It's been hard, and if I was completely and totally honest with myself, I've been suppressing so much. Letting it all come to a boil, an emotional breakdown, but never really dealing with it. Wanting it to all be over, wanting to just pretend that everything is okay, wanting so desperately to pretend that I've gotten there...that secure safe place of the "new normal".

There's a lot of questioning in my world, a lot of boundaries undefined and uncertainty. I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.

I started a new job in a place I have called home for a long time. Publishing is in my blood, I have grown up at book conventions but to actually work in it is a whole new ball game. I struggle with the intense pressure that I put on myself and get frustrated when I am impatient with the progress that I am making. This is so incredibly exciting but it is also still very new. I can speak in pottery and paint code, but I only know every other word here if only because I've grown up picking up bits and pieces.

Having said that, the immense pride is immeasurable. I am so proud to be working for this company but more than that, I am so blessed to have found my place. There are a lot of technical things I'm still learning like how to transition from a Mac to a PC and how a book is published from step one to step six hundred and fifty two. What constitutes a good book cover or a best seller, how the numbers work and how to design a successful product sheet. These things, they overwhelm me at times. I get lost in the shuffle and sometimes, I am embarrassed to ask the stupid questions like how do I change the margins on a Windows document again?

But the love? The love and support is tangible. It is real and felt and when I am not being oblivious to it, and when I remember to look at the little things, I see it. I see it and it is beautiful.

Being in a long distance relationship is hard. We're trying to work through it. Trying to figure out where we stand, where our relationship stands, and trying to remember to just stop and breathe. There are so many things you don't even know you fear, and don't even know you're affected by until it happens. There are things that are so much harder to work out when you're six hundred thousand miles apart. Sometimes, the distance makes us lose the parts that make 'us' special.

We somehow grow apart and stop connecting, grasping at straws, struggling to make our individual "new normals" work. Desperately craving for the independence, the ability to do this, wanting so badly to be able to make it. I think that we might have lost our focus.

It's hard.

And even as I struggled with all the fears from the past coming back to bite me so hard in the ass, I denied, and I ignored, and I refused to talk about it, acknowledge it. We refused to talk about our fears, collectively. His fears about moving to an unknown country and leaving everything he has ever known behind, his fears that became so much more scarier as I struggled battling through my transitions, as I battled through adjusting and fitting in and if it was so hard for me, a Chinese Malaysian going home then holy shit holy shit holy shit.

My fears of reminders everywhere of a relationship that completely crashed and burned and wanting so desperately to prevent that from ever happening again. My fears that broke open so many scars and highlighted them. My fears as I struggled to fit in, to find my place in the world again. My fears that caved in to all my insecurities that slowly crept and crept and crept to the surface.

My fears and his that we suppressed and tried, tried, tried, to pretend it wasn't there. Because it's the things we can't talk about, the what ifs, the what nows, the gray.

And the pressure, the insurmountable insane pressure. As he tries to sell all of his things, as he puts his house, his first house he bought with savings from college and a last gift from grandpa. His loved but worn around the edges home and is told to put a value on it. Is told to rip out the tiles and repaint the walls and change the deck and as they rip apart his home to put a "value" on it he sees more of his hard worked savings disappear into this rabbit hole of necessary invisible expenses.

But that isn't even the hard part, the hard part is saying goodbye to your girlfriend and having to create a new normal, a new routine, out of the same place. It is the loneliness that comes with the empty side of a bed, or the quiet of a house without the laughter of a partner in crime tempting you with a chocolate cone from Andy's at 11:00 at night. It's having to figure out all that without the comfort of just having to establish a new routine in a new place without reminders of what was there.

Harder still, is finding a home for your buddy. How do you say take care of my pet, my dog, my best friend? How do you even explain that special relationship between a man and his dog? I know I grieved for months after losing Cody, and I know that doing what's best is not necessarily what's easiest. I know that the first time he approached the subject, I saw the tears he choked back and quickly swiped away. It's his buddy, the one he takes walks with and greets him with enthusiasm after a long work day. It's his buddy that sasses and challenges his patience, and chews and barks and needs to go out this. very. second. It's his puppy, it's his buddy, it's his Sylar.

But the hardest part, is how do you put it all into perspective when you just have no idea. You have no idea how it's all going to play out, you have no idea what it will be like. And you're scared, you're scared about missing your friends and your home and you're scared if you won't fit in or if the food is too spicy and the weather too hot. You're scared if you can't find a job or can't get a visa or can't stay. You're scared and terrified and stressed. You're scared you'll miss so much, and you're scared if it doesn't work out.

But you're supposed to have your shit together, because you're the strong one. Because you're the one that no major change has happened to yet. Because you're still there and on the surface, nothing has changed.

You're not the one that moved halfway across the world after her world fell apart and crashed and burned. You're not the one who is looking for a place that she belongs, looking for a familiar face. You're not the one that had a moment today when you ran into a friend from high school today at the gym and you're not the one that can comprehend how incredibly special that moment was after years of just wanting to have a long history with someone. You're not the one that is the obvious person in transition, you're not the one that gets a free pass because things are incredibly hard and there is just so much to adjust to. You're not the one that has to start a new job, a new life, a new bed, a new culture...you're not the one that misses and misses and misses her friends and her independence and her security. You're not the one that has to figure out where all her relationships stand and how to integrate them all without leaving anyone out or shortchanging anyone. You're not the one that gets to pull the trauma card, and the divorce card, and the i just moved halfway across the world after 9 years card. You're not the one that gets to have an obvious "this is why" card.

And so, as we deal with our separate worlds and try to figure it out, it all kind of explodes. And hot burning tears and hurtful words happen. Lots of conversations happen, and emails. Lots of decisions to be made, healthy, grown up, big girl big boy decisions that are so much easier said than done. Because you just want to be sure, you want to jump with both feet in but you're afraid. You want to run and stay and it's exhausting.

A moment of clarity, a moment of quiet. A decision that gives peace. We, we do not need to define where we are at. We do not need to know for sure. We are okay, these fears are valid, these concerns are things that can happen, and to pretend like it's not there, hurts us. To pretend like we are okay and that these things aren't stressful is a lie. To pretend that our relationship isn't affected is a hokey pokey absolute lie. It sucks. This situation blows and sucks ass.

I look back and I marvel at all the healing and lessons that I've learned. I look back and I think, a year ago, I would have never allowed myself to make this decision. I would have never been okay with just allowing things to unfold. With walking away. A year ago, I would have fought fought fought to make it work no matter how unhealthy. A year ago, I would have said I needed to. A year ago, I wouldn't have been able to acknowledge these feelings and allow myself to grieve or to be scared. A year ago, I would have demanded a decision, begged to be picked, to be loved, to be chosen.

A year later I know that it's okay. Whatever happens, I'm at peace with it. I love this boy, and I have nothing but mad respect for who he is and what he has brought into my life.

If we don't work out, I will miss him, and every fiber of my being will wish this was different but I also know that at the end of this, no matter how broken and hurt I feel, no matter how much it sucks to have a relationship fall apart, I'll look back and realize that I am enough, by myself. And I will love me for it. I will look down and still see my feet beneath me. I have learned so much from my divorce and that has allowed me to be able to make the hard, healthy decisions. So I can't say it's all bad, so I can't say that all this hurting is pointless. So I can't say that I wish to take it all back.

He comes in two weeks. In two weeks, we get to reconnect and be on the same continent for the first time in months. In two weeks, I get to remember what he smells like and what his hand feels like in mine. In two weeks, we get to have a conversation, face to face, without the help of technology. In two weeks, we get to figure out where we stand, where we go from here. In two weeks, I get to show him a little part of my world and my life here and in two weeks, I hope he likes it.

I need 100%. I need all the way. I need a commitment.

I need a relationship based on respect, and integrity, and honesty.

Those are the things I said I couldn't compromise.

Everything else? Everything else is negotiable. Everything else is not set in stone.

In the meantime, we're working on mending. We're working on fixing these lines of communication. We're working on listening. We're working on understanding and not taking things out on each other. We're working on trust.

We're working by faith.

We're working because we're not willing to call it quits yet.

And until we stop meeting in the middle,

until this gets unhealthy,

I'm working hard.

"Fight for your dreams, and your dreams will fight for you"
-Paulo Coelho