I posted a fantasy yesterday about a knight patiently waiting for a chance to serve his sovereign. It is at once how I feel in my heart of hearts and also not truthful accounting of reality.
The truth is, I’m not that knight, not fully, not all the time. It is definitely a fantasy of mine to be the solid, unwavering noble warrior serving in a selfless way. The reality is, I try and fail to be that perfect knight. My armor is tarnished in places and my attention is pulled in more directions than I can count. I don’t do very well at waiting quietly for long periods of time, I get antsy and impatient to do things. Sometimes, I open the antechamber door and peek into the thrown room, hoping there’s something I can offer, which seems like a good idea until I realize I’ve failed at the whole ‘giving space’ thing. Sometimes, I get called away by other responsibilities, sometimes I get distracted by something shiny. I may aspire to be the steadfast hero, but the reality is, I’m a normal human who quite often falls well short of that aspiration. No surprise that my favorite protagonist is the flawed hero, the tough guy with a heart of gold, the warrior who’s built up a tough skin to cover his heart, scarred by countless losses, the gentleman rogue. He makes mistakes, he’s not perfect, but he’s always trying to do the right thing.
Over the past year, as Roxy has struggled with increasingly difficult challenges, I have tried to be available to support and encourage her, and to be able to celebrate and rant with her as needed. Unfortunately, I couldn’t always be there, the other parts of my life interfered on a regular basis. I couldn’t be there physically at all, and that was incredibly hard on both of us. I was not the hero I wanted to be, I was not sweeping in to rescue her from injustice and evil. I was standing by and watching as the evil grew and pressed her further into a corner. This is certainly not the way I’d want to write the story, but this is the truth.
Yesterday, I was really sad. Really, truly, miserably, hot-messy-tears sad. It felt like everything that Roxy and I had created was crumbling down around us. It seemed like there was no way out, that no matter where I looked for help or a solution, there was none. And with her under so much pressure and feeling so much loss and stress, is it more helpful to insist that I’m not going anywhere, or to gracefully and lovingly offer to leave in order to not add to the pile of hard stuff she’s facing? I couldn’t face the thought of losing her, it reduced me to tears several times yesterday. I also was horrified that by clinging to her, by resisting her attempt to gain more space, that I was doing more damage than good.
We were both pretty miserable yesterday and there was a lot of thrashing on both sides. She’s blogged about it and I encourage you to read that post as a way to get more of the full picture. I thrashed around in a very sad public way, she thrashed in private. We were both hurting and scared and it looked pretty ugly for a while. And then? Well, neither of us truly ran away, we didn’t close doors forever and we didn’t say goodbye. We held each other and thrashed and moaned and cried and felt the full pain of what was happening. We opened up and bore witness, we held space for the difficulty of our situation. And we loved each other through it all. We loved each other in the midst of the pain and the sense of imminent destruction. We loved each other until we could slow down and breathe. We loved each other until we could promise not to say goodbye, until we could say with our hearts that we would keep trying. We loved each other hard, with tears and teeth and pain until we could be sure we would continue. This isn’t the fairy tale we both want in our heart of hearts, this isn’t the full happily ever after we’d love to give each other. Our story is still being written and we honestly don’t know what’s coming. Plenty of twists, I’m sure, plenty of painful moments, plenty of challenges, plenty of love and open hearts that keep on growing.
My public thrashing was painful, not just to me but to her and I am so sorry for that. I am very messy and intense and I couldn’t seem to hold it all in yesterday. It was a definite cry for help and I am very fortunate to have good friends who reached out to me, recognizing that I’d fallen into a pit of despair and was having a hard time climbing out. They gave me love and understanding, they reminded me of better times and reassured me that it would all work out. I was careful not to ask for details, since I’m pretty sure no one knows precisely how things will work out. Still, it felt good to be wrapped in a web of online love and acceptance. If anyone ever says to me that online friends are not as good as ‘real’ friends I’m gonna wanna pop them in the mouth. Friends are defined by their actions, not by proximity. For each of you who reached out, who took the time and extended a virtual hand, I thank you. As bad as it was yesterday, it would have been so much worse without your love and support.
Going back to yesterday’s post, Roxy has asked me to continue the story, to allow the knight and his love to find a less sad conclusion. I will be looking for a way to rewrite the fairy tale, to remodel it more along the lines of where we truly are with our lives and loves and less along the lines of the fantasy we wish we could live inside. No easy task, but something I will give my best effort. In the meantime, please know that we are doing our best. So far, Love is still holding us together, even against some pretty steep odds. Roxy is one of the most amazing, loving, generous, talented, beautiful people I’ve ever met. My life is massively better because of her presence and love. Neither of us is giving up, quitting is just not our thing. Love is worth a lot, worth the work and the growing pains. I am very fortunate that she feels the same way.
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