I’m acting out, a bit. Not necessarily in a destructive way; nor, however, can it be called constructive. Jung called the moment when we start the ongoing process by which we become ourselves individuation. Buddhists call it enlightenment. One of my friends likens it to ‘fessing up, conceding our negative behaviors. I turn forty this week, and I’m starting to panic a bit about who the hell I actually am. So much has changed in the past year or so, and while there are some constants that I feel good about; my ability as a mother, my loyalty as a friend, my (insert something I haven’t thought of here), I’m concerned that my ongoing need to put on my game face is starting to backfire. Sometimes inner fortitude is the last thing I feel.
The new venture is going well. There is an honest, very real happiness that comes from the work of shooting photos, working with clients, having happy results. I am loving it, and am recognizing it as more than just a distraction from my troubles, but a good way to move away from them. But with that new perspective comes a worry that some of this is just false bravado. Is that what I’m showing? I still get pissed/anxious/sad/worried about the same things, despite the distraction. The knots in my stomach are still there. Still tight. Still desperate.
The acting out part comes in to play with certain people in my life. I’ve been trying to do the right thing by Matt, trying to glide through the final stages of this divorce with as few histrionic outbursts as possible. The obvious roadblock to that is that dismantling a 10-year old marriage is layered with emotional complexity. I’m over him as my husband, but not over the experience. My anger over it is yielding to attacks of self-blame and remorse. What does his leaving say about me? Not a new question, but one I find myself asking again and again as the other important relationships in my life evolve, or in some cases, devolve. People I love yell at me. People I respect tell me that I’m slipping, that I need to get my head out of the clouds and back in the game. Vivian Gornick said “it was marriage that taught me that anxiety looks like devotion.” I don’t think it’s marriage, necessarily. I think it might just be love.
I’m tired of being at war with my desires.