Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The kidlet loves the scene in Ramona where she yells "Guts" because it's the worst word she can think of to say.

When referring to me, most people refer to "guts" as "balls". In some circles, they might call it "sass", "spunk", "chutzpah".

But your guts is where you sense stuff.

And while I'm very much on the "five steps forward and three steps back" path, one thing I'd thought I'd gotten better about was listening to my instincts. Following my gut.

Did I mention I bought myself a ring? It's an Endorphin Warrior ring. There's a word stamped on it. FEARLESS. But it's customized. So, the letters aren't totally straight. And when I chose it, I didn't read it as FEARLESS, meaning without fear. I read it as... FEAR LESS. And to me, that means being afraid, but not allowing that fear to rule me.

It seemed fitting to me, especially as I embarked on this "trying to reconcile with my husband" journey. Because I'm actually terrified. He says he's afraid that we'll get back together and in a year, I'll decide it's not what I want and I'll leave. I'm afraid that he'll do the work to get us back together, but that once I'm back, he'll stop putting in that effort. Which, of course, WOULD cause me to leave. And I can't do that to my child. I won't. So, yeah. I'm scared. But that fear won't stop me from giving this all I've got.

And last week... With the disconnectedness... I'd come straight home one night when I was feeling restless. Because I knew that I could find some trouble. But I chose not to. And I was okay.

I've been following my instincts at work. And, holy wow, has it been effective! The teacher with whom I share students says that one class is the worst she's ever had. And while they are challenging, sure, I've followed my gut and am reaching these kids. Today, one of the tougher boys said, "Yes!" all excited when I told him we would be practicing integer subtraction. Who does that? This kid. Because I reached him. And maybe I'm unconventional in some of my methods, but they're trusting me and they're learning with me. It works in our room.

And then this weekend... My instincts screamed at me to cancel my plans. When he got lost on his way to my house, something told me to call it off. But I didn't. And it ended very, very badly. I didn't follow my instincts, and I found myself in a horrible position, angry at myself for allowing myself to be there, disgusted, but ironwilled in my resolve to ensure I never speak to him again. Thankful that he lives many, many miles away.

And while I was initially confused when Eric followed his instincts and emailed me over the weekend, I became very grateful for that later. Because if he hadn't, I wouldn't have turned to him that night. And just being able to finally talk to him made me feel safe enough to sleep that night. And I was finally left with a sense of peace about him. No longer angry. No longer torn up over it. Just grateful, grateful, grateful.

Four months ago, as I was scrolling through my cell phone, I came across a number I hadn't used in five years. I glanced at the calendar and realized it was Rae's birthday. I'd skipped the last four, but something told me to send a text. So, I did. She had been my closest friend for 7 years, and it had a beautiful friendship. She was there to help out when my mom died, she was there the day my son was born. But as seasons change, so did our friendship. And about five years ago, Rae and I were done. There were a couple of emails breaking up, and we only saw each other once after that. But that day, something told me that while I was wishing her a happy birthday in my heart, I should actually tell her this time. And two weeks later, she responded, saying we should get together for lunch sometime. A few weeks after that, we did.

Not long after that, the kidlet asked me if I would ever be friends with Ari again. He was happily reading with a stuffed animal she'd given him on his lap. And I smiled when I made the connection that I had thought I would never see Rae again, but that when we did, we were happy to see each other and fill each other in on our lives. We related to one another as grownups, and while we have not made the effort to repeat the gesture, I know it's simply because we are both adults with very full lives. But we both know that if'/when we do see each other again, we will hug and be glad. So, I told him that I didn't know if I would be friends with Ari again. A month earlier, I might have said, "no", but this time, I said, "I don't know." But at that time, I knew with certainty that I held no ill will toward her at all. I've, apparently, forgiven Ari.

Time really does heal.

I woke up this morning with a smile on my face. For the second day in a row. I'm not beating myself up over the bad decision I made on Sunday. I've been sending so much Light and Love that it's truly been coming back to me in strange, yet beautiful, ways.

I remember when CoffeeLady reminded me that if someone was popping into my consciousness that there was a reason for it. And that I should follow my instincts. And I'm learning to go with my guts and not second-guess what someone's reaction will be. Because I learned a long time ago that I can't control the behavior of others. I can only control how I react to those behaviors. And I'm learning to remember that I can't control others' reactions to me.

But if my intentions are true, and my heart is pure, going with my instincts will never be wrong. And if it blows up in my face, well, I'll grieve it and move on... Eventually. Haha.

Wait. I said it would never be wrong. And I don't actually want to delete that and re-write it. Because I want to make the distinction, that yes, my instincts might be wrong, but I won't allow myself to regret them if I acted in a way that was true to who I am.

So, when Ari's birthday rolled around and I found myself thinking of her with joy in my heart, remembering some wonderful experiences we shared, I did not stop myself from letting her know. And if she chooses to take that in any way other than how I meant it, then that's really her choice. Because I felt truly free when I sent it.

And that joy stayed with me and touched those around me. And I sent a different message to someone else... Someone who responded in a way that had me surprised, and so damned grateful. I felt understood. And I was given words that I want to keep. Words that I hope I'll be allowed to "steal" for my next novel. Because they are poetry.

And then we went to the new therapist. And the dude is OLD. And deaf. And the husband and I had to act as translators for each other a few times when he spoke.

But, holy shit.

Did he nail our situation on the head in the first 45 minutes?

He said his job in the first session is usually to determine whether or not he's doing marital counseling or divorce counseling. He said that with us, though, it's pre-marital counseling. Because, sure, we're married, but on paper only. He drew a diagram that illustrated our lack of a union. And it made so much sense I cried when I saw it. He said that even when we lived together, we were both single parents. And he put a time frame on our situation. One with which the husband didn't quite agree. But the moment he said it, I was hit over the head with the proverbial clarity stick.

And it made me realize that everything that has happened since was inevitable.

Granted, my methods may have been faulty. I'll admit that. But I will regret none of it. Because there are gifts that have come from all of the pain.

And it all comes back to trusting my guts. Because two months ago, my instincts told me to issue an ultimatum. I'd never issued an ultimatum before in my life. And it was hard and it was scary. But it was also RIGHT.

So, maybe this week is about instincts and guts and going with it. But it's also, apparently, about forgiveness. And not just forgiveness of others. I think I'm going to forgive myself today.

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