Bittersweet

bittersweet

Forcing myself to write…even if it’s not good writing. My hope is that by forcing myself to do it without ant concern or worry of the quality, the tone, the content, or the value, then I might slowly regain my voice again. I need my voice. I need my voice even if no one ever reads my words. I need my voice even if no one believes me. I hope to someday think and feel eloquently again and write that, but until then, forced it is.

Living in my daddy’s big old house is an experience that fully defines the adjective, bittersweet. I head into the kitchen where my dad spent the majority of his time in the 24 years he lived in this house… I head in there to make something for lunch. It is, like me, a contradiction and maybe that’s precisely why I’m so comfortable within that very discomfort? However, this goes far beyond a mere contradiction straight to bittersweet…all contradictions at one time – a simultaneous infusion of emotions, memories, thoughts, words, expressions, situations, and people…pushing right up against each other, smacking each other around the edges of what defines them.

I head into his kitchen… and standing in there as I think of what I might want to whip up for lunch, the urge to be given one more chance to cook for him stings. It stings like 5,000 wasps have landed on my heart and my gut…and they’re angry. They sting all at once and so viciously that my eyes water, screaming for that moment of relief tears would bring. I usually fight them though, almost as though I don’t deserve to cry; as though I don’t deserve that millisecond of relief when the tears finally roll. And I want so badly to just call out through the house into the living room where my daddy is watching golf, some old western movie, or maybe a country music video, Hey Daddy? Can I make you some lunch?  I want to so badly because I think of the million times I could have hollered that out…and didn’t. And from there, I think of the 200 zillion delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that man made me over my lifetime. I think of my favorites. I think of him asking me what I would like to eat as though I were in a restaurant and anything could be whipped up at my desire. I think of later years as an adult how every single visit to daddy’s house was greeted with, Hey baaaaaby (that BIG SMILE lighting up his whole face)! There’s some beef stew/spaghetti/steak/biscuits and gravy/ Hamburger Helper/tuna salad/prime rib/barbecue ribs/potato salad (enter any number of delicious Southern dishes in here). Are you hungry?

I need to DO something FOR HIM….do something without asking anything first or in return or anytime within the next week or month or best yet, year, from him. I’m hit with the undeniable, painfully fervent need to do for him…take care of him…serve him… you see, this was who he was. He did this all my life for me and then when I had two children, he simply added two more people to serve up his kindness and generosity, his time and undivided attention, his compassion, his wisdom…all things that he could serve us laced with his love. And my daddy had a great big love for us. In fact, great big doesn’t really even begin to describe it. This man – this old-fashioned, hardworking, traditional values, classic southern man would serve us like a slave maid. And always did so with a BIG smile and happy heart, with never a single complaint or a whine or a tiny hint of much-deserved martyrdom guilting techniques or sighs. No. He served us like princesses and was unbelievably joyful to be doing it. Nothing was too much for him to do for us. Absolutely nothing.

 

(Side note: a great irony to this massive, unlimited, willingness to give and serve we three girls he loved so great big are the hundreds of stories my mother told me growing up about my dad. There were countless ugly stories where he was some kind of chauvinist pig demanding maid, cook, and personal service while selfishly not contributing whatsoever. Actually, worse even than simply not contributing, the stories were more along the lines of, “Your dad didn’t care one bit if we had food in the house or if we all starved to death. There were so many times I didn’t know how I would feed you two kids. Your dad would go on binges for weeks at a time when I didn’t know where he was or when he was coming back or when we would eat again.”)

So, as I step in that kitchen where the majority of 24 years’ worth of memories were made, I desperately want to serve him even just for one split second…serve him as unselfishly, joyously, and eagerly as he did me and my two children. I want to show him how happy I would be to do for him even if it’s just bringing him a cup of coffee.   I’m learning so much about my flaws, my weaknesses, my shortcomings throughout the nightmare of the past two years. In my daddy’s kitchen, I realize the bottomless depth of my fears…and I grasp the fullness of my excuses. I may not be one for blame so much, but I’m certainly the queen of excuses: legitimate excuses, ridiculous excuses, emotional excuses, any number of those pesky little stupid explanations for why.

Why… is always such a painful question.  Ouch!
You see, I realize so much now that although I am by nature as giving and loving as my daddy (thank you for that characteristic by the way, Daddy!), I’m the laziest perfectionist you could ever know. Therefore, in spite of my eagerness to do for others – and particularly my beloved daddy – I would rather do nothing than do something in return that could never come close to measuring up to the gift I’ve received. And it always seemed anything I could have done for my daddy would be akin to putting a drop of water back in the ocean after taking enough out to fill 500 Olympic sized swimming pools. If I can’t return a favor equally or better yet, in spades more than I have been given, then I typically don’t do anything at all. Pretty flawed logic, huh? And the bottom line truth of me is that I never had any remote degree of physical, mental, emotional, or financial abundance to ever come even close to matching what my daddy gave and did for me and my children all my life. So, I typically did very little in return other than chronically express my hopes and prayers that “someday” I would be able to do something great big and wonderful in return. I mean, I expressed gratitude and gratefulness, love and appreciation daily, I honored birthdays and Fathers’ days in every way I was able albeit usually smaller ways than I’d have liked and constantly professed my love for him, and I did most everything he ever asked of me which was very rare and usually minor. And meanwhile, out of my desire to match up to his giving magnitude, I did practically nothing of those little daily graceful kindnesses in return. Never realizing how much those little drops in the ocean could have been accumulating over the years…before time ran out.
Standing in my daddy’s kitchen deciding what to make for lunch, the sheer volume of his grace and blessings on me over my 44 years wash over me like a fresh splash of a gigantic salty ocean wave. I am humbled to my knees by it. And as it washes over me, it stings a million tiny cuts in my skin of all the lost opportunities I didn’t get to do for him and burns with the dreaded realization that death makes those little and big opportunities gone forever.

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Sunlight Returns

Daddy's home....

Daddy’s home….

Dear Daddy,

I always feel your general presence around me and I’m thankful for that. However, as this long winter has dragged on and on and on without one single sound of your voice and not once watching you come in the door in your big red coat, brisk from the winter air, I realized something today.

As the sun finally shone into the windows of your big old house, I could REALLY feel you today and sense you everywhere. I stopped for a minute looking at that sunlight streaking across the floor and felt your presence more than I have in months. (I’ve really missed you, by the way!)

You are always here, with me each moment… You were the only constant light I knew in my life. The passing lights like jobs, accomplishments, friends, boyfriends, husbands, and even children…were all just temporary flashes of brightness passing in my life, like car headlights lights on a highway. You…you were always shining. Always. And I was fortunate that you chose to shine your light on me every day and in every way possible for the duration of your entire existence here on this Earth. Big smiles, bigger laughs, kind words, hugs, gifts, help, love, wisdom, prayers, listening, friendship, or advice…you were always shining your light on me somehow in any way you possibly could think of. And just like one can’t possibly fully understand good without knowing bad or right without knowing wrong, I’m not sure one notices how very dark their world truly is, until a bright light which could always be seen somewhere scattering its bright particles over every darkness, has been fully extinguished. Your light always shined on me; from a distance growing up, it perpetually shined inside my heart through understanding and trusting in your unconditional love and up close, it beamed on me directly with warm, smiling rays of your brightness, kindness, inner joy, and love.

So, today when the first sunny day finally came through after this horribly long and bleak winter, as I looked at it and took a moment to be grateful for it, you came immediately to mind. And it felt like you walking through that door. For one split second even, I almost expected you, yourself, to come walking in the door from that light as though you had carried it into the house personally to shine on me in your death even as you did in your lifetime.

I love you Daddy. I miss you. I talk to you every day and I pray you can hear me now even just half as well as you did when you were here.

With or Without…Him

Will I ever stop loving him? I truly think not…

Things are better, but only as friends… a friendship which is slowwwwwlllyyyy developing and gaining trust (I think!?). I’m okay, no actually, I’m grateful for the friendship we are creating. I would rather have him as a dear friend than not have him in my life at all.

Just when I really believe my feelings for him have finally transformed into a more brotherly-like love, I will look at him and…

I just stopped over to his house to get a donation for a cause I’m collecting for. Coincidentally, as I’m driving over there, the song he once told me in the smack dab middle of our personal not-together-but-not-separate hell starts playing. Even as I pull in his drive, the song (With or Without You) is still playing. I can’t help but play the moment when he asked me to be sure they played that at his funeral through my mind. A thought I’ve not allowed myself to re-live in quite a few years. But I do now. It’s safer now, right? We are truly just friends. Pulling in his drive, I hesitate to turn the car and song (and sweet memory) off, but I gotta grab the donation and get somewhere else.

He’s just fresh from the gym, wearing sweats and kinda sweaty… I actually think my feelings have changed. No, I mean I really believe that.

Then he holds me for a moment and after all this time of craziness and whatnot, I feel for the first time in years, more than a mere friendly hug. His arms wrap around me just a bit softer and more tender than they did for our last few hugs. They hold onto me just a tad tighter and longer. At first, I don’t want to let go. I want to cling to him for life the minute I feel that something more from him. I do hold on, not for dear life, but like him, just a smidgeon more from my soul and not just from my trained-to-love-him-as-a-friend mind (that protection mode I’ve developed after all this time).

And I think to myself, am I imagining this? Is my eight year long fantasy running away with my rational side? I hold on for a minute right back, then gently push away from him and tell myself, Yes, you’re only imagining that something extra. Okay yeah, the hug is slightly different than he’s been hugging you for the past few years, but it does not, and I mean does NOT mean anything.

Snapped back to the reality, we continue a friendly chat for a few minutes. As I prepare to leave (no matter what type of visit/relationship/hug/whatever, I always, always hate leaving his house!), he grabs his donation to carry to my car for me. I walk next to him to grab my handbag sitting on the table. I’m not sad we are just friends. I don’t look at the picture on his refrigerator with the girl he’s dating now and feel any jealousy or even any hurt or twinge of “what if” like I once would have felt like a nail piercing my heart. No, I don’t feel that anymore. So yes, my love for him now must truly be friendly only; love coming from that pure place in my heart which loves forever when it truly loves at all. So, as I’m standing rather close to him grabbing my bag and he’s got his donation bag, I’m preparing to leave. We are laughing about something trivial and suddenly he sets the donation bag back down…(what? what is he doing? No donation after all?).. Yeah, he sets it back down….to hug me again!

tidal wave

This is an even longer hug than the first one…and just as tender..but maybe I sense something almost sensual in this one as he holds me close and brushes the small section of exposed skin on my upper back. Is it? No! I only love him as a friend… yet my heart soars, pitter-patters, skips, and plays hopscotch like a little girl. And this time I struggle with correcting my feelings and I rest my head in the nook of his neck and shoulder where it has always fit just right and I want to let go and melt into him like I have a million times before.

Oh, will I ever, EVER stop loving him?

Gratitude…

Lately I’ve really been thinking a lot about gratitude.  I look for it in others to see how it looks on them.  I regularly exercise my own gratitude and stay in a grateful place…

The more I’m aware of gratitude, the more I see a chronic lack of it in so many.  And I wonder, perhaps mine is too large and thus, easily taken for granted and/or manipulated?  Or do I just happen to have regular contact and life dealings with basically ungrateful (selfish?) people?

My ex-husband is a most generous man for the most part.  I would never deem him selfish  in any monetary sense and yet, the man has a perspective that is selfish to such an extreme that I have trouble comprehending his view, much less reconciling it with the man I know who would help me or our children out with money to just about any length we requested, as long as it wasn’t just an obnoxious request… So, I wonder just how a generous man so regularly maintains a perspective of every day dealings quite as” ME, ME, ME!!!” as this man does?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful for his financial generosity and I do understand that’s a rare circumstance and blessing for a divorced, single mother.  I just can’t help but wonder how someone so financially generous can maintain such absolute selfishness?  The two just don’t mesh.  And my petty side, when faced with this realization over and over, wants to say, “My gosh, you are the most unbelievably selfish man I’ve ever known!”  And yet, I could never in good conscience say that given the overall picture of his mostly quite generous nature, which I strive to stay grateful for and feel it’s the utmost of ingratitude to even think such a thing about him!

…there just seems to be a point though, when generosity goes beyond merely being willing to write a check to help.  Or more importantly maybe it’s less about the money and more about the mutual experience and feelings involved.  It’s so much easier to stay grateful toward a person who is full of gratitude in return!  But a person who think his act of financial generosity is so far above and beyond anyone else’s kind gestures that he treats them as though they just don’t count…or as though they are expected…and still don’t quite make the cut of something to be grateful for…

I’m sure I sound like a spoiled brat…and perhaps I am?  No, I’m not able to help many out with much  money compensation or assistance(although I certainly do when I’m able), but I am that person who does any and every thing else I possibly can in order to feel I’m a helpful human being, if only generous with my time, compassion, or other things which don’t hold a price tag of any kind and therefore can never be measured by today’s materialistic standard of “generosity”.  Somehow it just feels frustrating  to stay grateful for every little smidgen of generosity from a person, when that person is completely oblivious to any gifts  of kindness he’s been offered.  Almost as though anything I could ever offer is merely expected, while anything I receive should fill me with gratitude.

I just don’t know.  It isn’t that I DO things for the gratitude.  I prefer to do kindness anonymously actually…but when that’s not possible and the person does know what you’ve done (or at least knows your intentions), a little gratitude goes a long way toward feeling that kindness made any difference in this world or for that person whatsoever.  I think feeling like your best efforts mean nothing just sucks a lot of the momentum to make any attempt at this at all.

And at least when it’s done anonymously, one can always assume and pretend that it was indeed special and a valuable contribution to some person’s life, day, heart, etc,  somewhere.  Even if it’s not appreciated at all, you’re just not so acutely  aware of how useless your kind intentions and attempts were.

Kindness Shmindness

Change my blog title…?  Really thinking about this lately.   Funny, when I log in here and see my title, I’m just filled with sadness and a teensy bit of disgust.

Contemplating the whole “Secret” business recently and the concept of the power of attraction.  I so love the concept!  When I really dig into the idea and the science behind it, it seems so very valid, almost provable on many levels and yet…  Random kindness…kindness as a response to cruelty…giving as the answer to taking…

When I created this blog, I was adamantly optimistic about this theory—thus, the title.  I had myself convinced that if I kept my thoughts, actions, and character upright, then good things would have to come.  I didn’t really have any specific “want” that I didn’t get or anything…I just wanted so much to believe that if I lived by my beliefs then good things had to happen.  I steadfastly chose to send loving vibrations and energy out to everyone and in particular, the nasty people I’ve known and dealt with in recent years and in years gone by. Thinking, believing no one would want to do harm to a person who just keeps on loving and being kind, regardless of what gets thrown at them.  Great in theory…terrific concept…

But, not so much true.  Seems more people then just see you as a weak sucker, vulnerable and ripe to all sorts of abuse and manipulations.  Not to mention, deserving of it all, since it’s so “stupid” in this day and age with these standards of society to believe such a thing and live by it.  I love the saying “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness”.  I wish I could have incorporated a little more of that into my social experiment of loving kindness, but I’m not all that strong really…except perhaps in my desire to believe.  There I have unlimited quantities of strength it seems.  And it really gets me in trouble and leaves me hurt more often than not!

So, if one lives by loving kindness and responds to hatred and such with just more kindness, at what point do you stop the one-way flow?  If the power of attraction theory is truly believed and practiced, then the moment I get angry or cease the kindness, I bring negative energy into my world and develop the very thing I’d like to avoid…so you just keep being kind and love even harder…

And people recognize this quickly, especially the mean people looking to take advantage and hoping for a sucker just like me and suddenly there is a catch-22 quandary going on  and a snowball effect of bulls**t coming at you like a freight train of stupidity! 

So, I really dislike that I no longer believe in this…I really wanted this to be true with all my heart.  I was prepared to take all the crap and just keep loving…love, love, love….  But after 5 years now of being dumped into a mass of crap, I just can’t continue believing.  And I’m actually embarrassed to confess how ridiculously stupid I’ve been to let this belief/hope persist in spite of the hurt it’s caused, because at the end of the day, I’m the one responsible for allowing it all to happen and continue.  So hard not to feel like a victim when even your best and most beautiful intentions are devoured and devastated by the seemingly innate UNkindness of the majority….but if I let myself feel like a victim, then I’m bringing more victimization energy back to myself.  Arghh…wtf?!  All in all, this little experiment seems to have just left me wide open and vulnerable to abuse and attack, while simultaneously rendering me scared to death to get angry, much less actually fight back!!

I’m deeply sad to admit the death of this inside me.  I didn’t expect all my dreams to come true and nothing but rainbows and butterflies every day by this theory…but I DID truly believe that it would bring more love and happiness not only into my world, but possibly even into the world of many.  And now, I mostly just feel hurt, angry, and embarrassed that I’ve been such a stupid idiot for so very long…and devastated that my best efforts and hugest faith amounted to so little actual good for anyone…to the point that I now have this little wish in my heart to take it all back and just punch those mean people in the mouth for every hurt they caused!

How’s THAT for loving kindness?!  ..hehe…=D

“…Ladybugs Katherine! Lots and lots of ladybugs!”

Lazing in the glorious sun in my back yard yesterday, chatting with girls and Mark about the big upcoming move, feeling mostly excited and thankfully, only mildly overwhelmed at the moment thinking of all that has to be done…all that’s to be left behind, and what’s to come…  Sweet ladybug lands on my thigh, just hanging out for a moment.  I try to recall what this means.  I have a vague recollection of some movie or some symbolic meaning of this ladybug in this moment.

 “Ladybug: Perhaps best known as an emblem of luck, the Ladybug is a love symbol too. Asian traditions hold to the belief that if caught and then released, the Ladybug will faithfully fly to your true love and whisper your name in his/her ear. Upon hearing the Ladybug’s message your true love will hurry his/her way to your side. Ancient farmers of the land have considered the Ladybug a good omen as she controls aphid populations. The number of spots on a Ladybug’s back is said to indicate the number of months to pass before the wish for love comes true.”

My ladybug flew off and then returned briefly to the same spot on my thigh.  She only hung out with me for a moment…long enough for me to curiously wonder.  Later I found the above explanation when I Googled animal symbolism.

Strange feelings stirred this weekend with Mark’s visit.  He shared some upsetting news with me and it turned my world around.  It was as if some ancient forgotten feelings were gently brushed. There seems to be a woman he has casually dated, who is claiming she is pregnant with his child.  Oh geesh…hello and welcome to the Jerry Springer Show!  What the heck is this?! I remained fairly calm at first but the feelings slowly snuck up on me as I pondered and tears threatened to spill.  I was hurt. 

Only last Christmas I asked him if we could have another baby.  He was adamantly and decidedly against this. Mostly I was teasing him, but I was really hoping at the same time.  A part of me longs to know what a planned pregnancy feels like before I hang up my reproductive abilities forever.  I love our children and wouldn’t think to change a thing regarding them, but I have the saddest sense of never knowing the excitement that comes with learning I am pregnant, in spite of the fact that I have two fabulous children.  I only know the, “Oh my GOD! I’m pregnant..what the heck should/am I going to do?”  I don’t know the, “Yay…LOOK we’re having a baby!” feeling.  At one point, I was absolutely certain I would have this with Dave, but that’s not going to ever be and I resigned myself to the mercy of my children’s father hopefully granting me the third and first expectedly planned child.  Again, not to be…

And now this…a “stranger” having a child with MY children’s father?  A half-brother or sister right in the delicate era when I’m desperately trying to explain intelligent life-choices to my teen/pre-teen girls?  Immediately following my pleadings for a planned child? It’s upsetting to me in a very selfish way and in a not-so-selfish way in regards to my daughters and the family we have created in spite of the divorce.  Mark confessed strong hunches and disbelief that this really is his child.  I admit I share these hunches, but I can’t tell if this is wishful, desperate hope or actual intuition.  Really feels like intuition, as the circumstances surrounding this pregnancy as relayed by Mark, are clouded in a dark suspicion.  Apparently he had “the” conversation with this woman and even prior to their intimate relations which resolutely explained his unwillingness and total lack of desire for any more children.  I certainly am no hypocrite and fully understand taking chances and what happens sometimes, as I have one unplanned child with this man and another one who borders between the planned and unplanned – but purposely and knowingly (on both our parts) taking a BIG chance area.  However, something just feels different with this.  Mark and I never had this conversation he had with this woman, until last Christmas…years after our two children’s births.  And keeping these children was never a thought to Mark.  He would discuss no other options with either actually.

I did finally find my voice to say softly, “Dammit, I wanted us to have one more and I even begged you last Christmas!” I was a little comforted when he replied, “I know and it would be totally different if this was you.”

Something passionate and historically forgotten (but not lost?) for this man, this unbelievably fantastic father of my children, awoke with those words. Momentarily I forgot my sadness and the- what-will-this-do-to-our-children fears and it dawned on me that there IS one person on this planet with whom it is different for me in a good way.  A place on this earth where I have carte blanche and the huge margin of error I’ve never known and always hoped to have somewhere in my lifetime…or recognized might be the more appropriate word?  Hindsight tells me I always had it here, but never fully realized or comprehended. And as hurt and afraid and sad as I felt, it was temporarily overcome by love for this beautiful man, who after everything, does love me and does put me in a position of greater respect.  This man who, other than our two terrific children, has more reason than anyone to NOT put me in this position.  The same man who knows of so many of my faults, mistakes and truly ugly characteristics…still chooses to give ME this place, this status, this beautiful acceptance and WIDE berth of error. 

I flash back to the deciding moments I’ve had with Mark.  The tearfully spoken “Ummmm…guess what?” moments in which this man responded with every support and every ounce of respect any one could offer a woman in such frightening times.  He never once veered in his choices to want and to love our children, unexpected, unplanned, whatever….  Never once.  I did.  I was confused and scared and undecided..reflecting on ALL our options.  While he, he was stout and strong and beautifully decided.  And my selfish, spoiled self rears its ugly head now to scream at this other woman, “Na na na na boo boo…I’M the mamma dammit…I’m the wanted Mamma.  He was never willing to discuss adoption or abortion with me!”  It never even occurred to me that Mark had any other responses to, Guess what?  I’m pregnant than full and total support and strength.  Seems he does.  Although in my defense, I was not a grown woman with a professional career who engaged in the I DO NOT want any children discussion with him just prior to our pregnancies.  Seems as though our accidents were more in the area of mutual accidents and never came across as even possibly planned or pre-meditated, as this situation screams.

I have not always acted honorably in our various life challenges as people or as parents with Mark.  In fact, there are many occasions when I have acted horribly and been just mean and hateful.  I can blame some of these on circumstances, innocence, and youthful self-righteousness and I have had cause to regret them anyway, but they will now always be sources of shame for me after this one little sentence he spoke like a gift from God.  Have I really given Dave K.  every chance, every forgiveness, every excuse for a million horrible and hateful beyond explanation behaviors and actions against me while being selfish and stingy with these in regards to my children’s father, who has repeatedly and thoroughly proven himself as far more deserving of forgiveness and acceptance than this, or any, other man?  Am I this blind?

I was.  I must have been.  Was the intoxicating joy and perfection I felt with Dave and never once prior so much that it knocked me senseless and blind to see the beauty of Mark’s love and respect for me?  I’ve always been admitting and openly praising of Mark as a man who worked hard to change his early shortcomings and surprisingly became the greatest father I could have ever hoped for my children.  I have almost always been open to seeing this and believing in it from the actions-speak-louder-than-words faith, but I just never really “got it” fully.  Am I part of the reason he succeeded so well in this?

I never would have guessed or presumed this.  EVER!   And it smacked me so beautifully and lovingly that I was taken aback with a brand new love and gratitude for Mark, the most beautiful father, ex, and friend any woman could dream of.  I fell just a little bit back in love with him this weekend. Whoa…life sure is surprising in its sudden and totally unexpected twists and turns!  I can’t even imagine what this will or will not bring… or what it even means…

Confession…

I was unfaithful.  I cheated myself, my children, my heart, my faith, my hope, my spirit, my character.  Not only that, but I cheated Dave and worse yet, I cheated all of these things from him as well.  I cheated every one of everything that was right and good in our lives.

As with anything and everything, there is certainly more to the story and sometimes in fleeting moments of denial, I can comfort myself with those factual, but sad and pathetic extenuating circumstances, but for the most part, I cannot.

Is it wrong to have thoughts at times which say, “Surely there was something he did wrong before the infidelity…”  I would actually attempt to distort something (anything) he once did or maybe once said even just one single time that was slightly unkind or perhaps alluded to some kind of future abuse or psychosis….

Nothing.

And many have said to me there must have been something?  There had to have been.  You couldn’t have been truly happy or it wouldn’t (couldn’t!) have happened. 

Nope.  Clear as a miserable bell, I know I was very happy.  I knew it then (can’t blame this on hindsight either).  I know it now.

Too happy?  So happy it didn’t seem possible to realistically maintain?   Yeah…frighteningly happy?  Like when you go to a horror movie and the happy music is playing and there’s sunshine, laughter, security abounding and you wait on the edge of your seat, heart beating, pulse racing, and your logic silently screaming, “It’s coming!”   You know any second something horribly tragic is going to explode on the screen.  It must.  You don’t want it to come but something in you knows you really do want it because that’s what you’ve ultimately come to the cinema to see, right?  After all, you’ve specifically asked for this tragedy with the price of your ticket. 

That  kind of happiness.  Scary happy.  Waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop-happy.

Only it never did.  And it surely had to… Right?

So, it seems I forced it to drop.  Was the anticipation too much?  Did the happy part go on and on so long that my heart couldn’t take the wait anymore?  Was logic screaming so loudly at me that I couldn’t relax in that kind of happy?  Had life taught me too well already that this was only possible in fairy tales? My life certainly had never been anything near fairy tale quality.  I was no long-lost beloved princess finally saved from all the evils of the world by my fair prince who had been looking for me all his life.  There was no way this existed on any plane of reality possible for me…

There were no signs of impending doom.  There was no cruel undertone in something he even once casually said in a quiet or controlling voice. There were no sarcastic words; no subtle insults to my character, my appearance, or my intelligence, phrased as a “joke” so as to make it acceptable to keep me in my place or put me down sub-consciously.  …except in my logic.  In my brain and my experiential wisdom there was always this little nudge.  Nudge, nudge – another day full of kindness has passed… another day of sincerely spoken compliments, loving gestures, and sweet-nothings has passed… the music of my logic is getting scarier and scarier… Da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum…playing faster and faster.  The bad guy is coming.  The moment of tragedy is hanging in limbo directly over your head.  It’s just hanging there waiting around till you feel so safe and comfortable that it’s definitely not coming…for full, tragic effect, you know…

I might even be able to convince myself that this is only the hind-sight story of a romantic hopeful, the rose-colored version of falling in love where nostalgia and regret fade the facts and amplify the colors of happiness to such a vibrant shade that the bad stuff disappears into oblivion.  Except, I was so overly aware of this unrealistic happiness that I spoke regularly of it to my dad, whom I knew would understand that this wasn’t logically possible.  Whom I expected to point out the tiny ugly realities I HAD to be missing throughout this experience.  And even he couldn’t.  My wise and all-too logical father could only continually remind and reassure me that I deserved this happiness and offer advice to me to accept it or else by looking so hard for the ugly, I would eventually make something ugly happen. 

What?  Make it happen??  That’s not possible!  I’m gloriously happy.  No person desperate for happiness, like me, would ever create the very unhappiness they fear and dread from a gift so pure and beautiful it must be directly from God.  That’s just some psychological mumbo-jumbo!  No one in their right mind, finally experiencing happy without a single sign of impending doom on the horizon would sabotage such beauty, such intoxicating joy of life, such a sense of security and love.  NO….don‘t be silly!

Hindsight does, though, strongly indicate to me that there was another sneaky element going on through this.  One I could never have anticipated or braced myself to handle.  The sneakiest of subtle sabotage tactics, so very tricky that it just hung out in the corner recesses of my mind, innocently playing all alone and not mingling ever with the other thoughts and fears which were obvious enough for me to ask advice from those wiser than I. Quietly gaining power and strength…

I am not worthy…

This sneaky element of sub-conscious sabotage actually came out in the light only once.

Right around maybe the sixth month marker, we had gone for a few drinks away from the crowd of friends, romantically alone, and were laughing and enjoying ourselves.  Having a nice traditional date in out-of-the-way places where we could adore each other uninterrupted by the “Ahh you two lovebirds make the rest of us sick!” And I was loving every minute of this until it dawned upon me.  Maybe this was even the first moment I ever had seen my happiness so very clearly and felt it to the core of my being, minus the what-if’s and can’t-be’s.  And I said to him, “What is this?  I’ve never known anything like this.  It can’t be real, can it?  And if it is, there’s no way I deserve this much.  Here is why….” And I commenced to tell him why I didn’t deserve this…deserve him, deserve genuine love…

And then he said one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard anyone say in my life that wasn’t written in a song, a book, or a movie…

…He said, “Every single horrible thing that has happened to you or me, every single bad choice or mistake we might have made in our pasts, every single thing right wrong, good or bad, has brought us right here right now.  And we have to just be grateful for it ALL and know that this was why it ALL happened exactly as it did.  If not for that exactly, whatever it may have been, we would not be here with each other right now in this exact moment, having this.”

I choked up. A huge lump in my throat developed, my eyes stung and threatened to cry as every horror-movie moment of my past flashed across my mind and I saw every path of it leading me, sometimes even forcing me to this moment with him.  He was so wise and so right.  He could see more broadly than I.  My devotion, my respect, my gratitude, my understanding quadrupled in that moment, with those stunning words of amazingly insightful wisdom.  And suddenly everything made sense.  Everything.  Every pain and every struggle from my earliest memory I could instantly and directly connect to the events (forced or otherwise) which led me to RIGHT HERE, directly to HIM. A million individually ugly tiny puzzle pieces of time dropped at once, snapped into place, and created a gorgeous sunrise shimmering with love and happiness.  And I could think of each one and actually FEEL each and every one of them as reasons to be grateful for it all.

I loved his simplicity…adored it even, amidst my confounding and irritating contradictions.  And it was in this moment that I realized his “simplicity” wasn’t so simple after all.  I saw him in an entirely new light of love and blessings. And it was also then that I began to fully realize that this might indeed be real…that perhaps the other shoe was not ever going to kick me in the face after all.  A most beautiful moment…  Or the beginning of the end?

Less than a year later and ironically while singing his praises, my blessings, and this very theory of deserved, “everything happens for a reason” happiness, I cheated. 

Yes………. I cheated.