Wednesday, February 22, 2012

day 3 - ash wednesday

ashes indeed... i can taste them - especially after re-counting yesterdays ick. as i was responding to a comment i likened what happened to a cave in - having to clear away the debris so that i can find the tunnel out and hopefully the light that will guide me. i hate that this is still sticking in my throat. it tastes like ashes.

we tried and tried to reconnect with this couple, two-on-two, mediator involved, withdraw social interactions until this was straightened out - nothing worked, even the mediator. i was so proud of myself for enduring it though. somehow they were able to move on like nothing happened, they punished us royally in community - gathered all of "our mutual friends" to their side and cried to them about how mean we were... we really never knew what hit us. somehow in all of this we were the bad guys. the way i tried to explain it to them when we sat with the mediator was "my best friend cheats on my other best friend on my computer and i become the bad guy for bringing it up and lose them both." (and everyone else with them).

i was determined to allow her to have her dignity in this. it was a foolish mistake - i had no idea that she had a doctorate degree in denial. she got so angry at me, not for the emotional intimacy that had happened between her husband and i, but for putting a halt to it. he was never so stable and useful to her as when i was his best friend and confidant. it was like those women who turn their heads while their daughters are molested just so that they don't have to meet their own husbands needs. i had never encountered anything like this before.

all i knew was that i had become incredibly codependent with both of them. i had slipped under the family fence and everybody liked it that way. when i hopped the fence i became persona non grata and the enemy. i never told anyone other than my therapist and the woman i saw in his place while he was in europe for the summer. it created such an awkward situation with our mutual friends. we had for years spent friday nights together, cooking, eating and praying together. after this happened we all determined that it should continue, and when we went back the next week it was done. kaput. finished. liam and i were relieved, but little did we understand that it was just finished to get us out of the group - the rest of them continued to meet regularly without us.

i was so wounded. shell shocked. crushed. i found out later that another couple was deeply jealous of our friendship with them and were part of the coup to take our place. we knew we lived in a transitional community, and two of the couples were studying, we figured that they would be moving on after graduation, and that our friends were the stationary ones, so we determined to clear the deck with this family and not the other two... little did we know that this shame (i wasn't the only woman he was seeking intimacy with) would drive them from our community - while the other two families have stayed...

so i sit with the debris... still feeling hurt, confused and shell-shocked. it doesn't make sense that this is still bothering me, but it is. it is keeping me from re-engaging in community and it shadowed a lot of treatment we received in the churches we moved away from... the irony is this all happened just as we bought our home. we had decided that stability was something our family needed and that we were putting down real live roots. i had moved 18 times (some of those were within the same community, but 18 moves...) and i wanted more for my kids, and for us.

i naively thought that i would never have to say goodbye again... how very wrong i was...

the pain suffered from this close knit group imploding and the healthy, wonderful goodbyes from families or students moving on coinciding made/makes me want to isolate myself. somewhere deep down i believe that it is smarter to withdraw than to re-injure myself by having to trust others or say goodbye...

i know in my head that working things through with the other two families is healthy and good, not stupid and naive... but i still cannot make myself do it.

i was determined that i would not slink away during the times our community said goodbye to them. i was not going to hang my head like i had done anything wrong. i had made my amends, not that they had done any good, but i was clear of any shame. i went forward with the group to pray around them during their last sunday at church with us. i had one hand on his shoulder, and one on hers. during the prayer he slid his hand (that was on his wife) over mine - during the prayer, in our church, in front of my whole community. we had never touched before. ever. i did not know what to do. i was gobsmacked and afraid she could feel it, that someone could see it - how could i get out of this? what did i do to cause this?

the cherry on the top of all of this debris is that this man called me in tears to say goodbye and to tell me that i was right. that i wasn't crazy. that the things i confronted them on in our mediation were true, and that he was now willing to admit that it wasn't us that caused the rift - that he was looking for intimacy outside his marriage... and he was sorry.

needless to say it was not salve to my wounds, but fodder to feed the unhealthiest places in me...

i have talked all of this through with liam and my therapist, but i still feel great amounts of shame for just being me. it was after that day that i started to pack on the weight... it's not great amounts, but my clothes are tight and i feel gross and i just can't seem to shake it. it's all just a bunch of rocks to me right now, i don't know which one to shift to lift out of the way... so i write.. and i look at each one, churn up the dust and remember. hopefully digesting so that i can get it out of my system... but it still tastes like ashes.

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