And so it is
Just like you said it would be
Life goes easy on me
Most of the time
from ‘The Blower’s Daughter’ by Damien Rice
I saw the boy for the first time yesterday since we broke up. And…it was good.
I didn’t really know quite what to expect from it, or how I would really react to seeing him. I didn’t cry right away, at least.
It was a good conversation. He told me things I already knew, but that helped to hear from him anyway. Like the fact that there’s nothing that he can say or do–unless I feel like I have specific things I want to ask him–to help me work through my own feelings. He reinforced how much he does care for me and how much he does still want me in his life but also that we can’t start working towards a friendship–a friendship that he thinks can be a very good and strong and intimate one–until I can get myself to a point where I can see him and talk to him without having expectations for things that he doesn’t feel that he can give me right now.
I told him about how I keep having these stupid fantasies about five years down the road, where we’re both at different points in our lives and it makes sense then. I told him that I realised how stupid and academic those fantasies are given just how impossible it is to predict a day from now never mind five years from now. And he agreed. He said, Yes, maybe five years from now things will be different. But neither of us can even pretend to predict that and so it’s probably not a good thing to spend a lot of time thinking about. I was rather happy that he didn’t completely deny the possibility. But I know that he’s right, too, that it’s something so beyond our control that it’s really not something to put a lot of energy into.
I also told him that I am continuing to work through all sorts of emotional baggage that I thought had been long dealt with from the aforementioned relationship of four years ago. I didn’t give him specifics but told him that the baggage had been bringing me to really dark thoughts. Not ‘I want to kill myself’ thoughts, mind you, but thoughts about reasons for the break up that I know are unworthy of him and contradictory to everything that he is. Thoughts that have been very tough to get out of my mind but ones that I know are entirely created by a past pain. I told him that I knew that it was far beyond the point that I could talk to my ex and think it would make things better–and also that I didn’t think talking with him (the current boy) would necessarily help either. Mostly, I just wanted to put it out there so he knew where I was at with things.
Nel mezzo del camin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita.
When I had journeyed half our life’s way,
I found myself within a shadowed forest,
for I had lost the path that does not stray.
I started re-reading the Divine Comedy last week. I’m almost through Inferno. I’d been looking for something to lift my spirits and hadn’t had any luck. I’d been thinking of re-reading this for a while and it seemed an appropriate metaphor for me right now as well as appropriate for this time of year, since Easter is coming up and the work takes place over Easter weekend.
Last night, I came to one of my favourite canti of the Inferno, XXVI. Here, Dante and Virgil encounter Ulysses and Diomedes entwined together in a single flame in the pouch of the false councillors. Only Ulysses speaks and he tells of his attempt to sail past the Pillars of Hercules–the westernmost limit of the Ancient world (indeed, of the known world until the Americas were reached). He recalls the speech he gave to his men:
‘Brothers’, I said, ‘o you, who having crossed
a hundred thousand dangers, reach the west,
to this brief waking-time that is still left
unto your senses, you must not deny
experience of that which lies beyond
the sun, and of the world that is unpeopled.
Consider well the seed that gave you birth:
you were not made to live your lives as brutes,
but to be followers of virtue and knowledge.’
And so he and his crew strike out, into unexplored territory. Eventually, they draw near the mountain of Purgatory, the only land mass in the southern hemisphere (if you want to know more about medieval geography, ask). As they approach, though, a whirlwind is sent out from the mountain which tosses them back to the Mediterranean.
And for this he winds up in one of the deepest levels of Hell. This has always bothered me. A lot. He encourages his men to seek out new knowledge and is punished for eternity for providing false council. In other words, seeking knowledge beyond the set limits is an affront to God. I think Dante was rather wrong on this one. It’s the thirst for knowledge that is beyond our limits that is one of the things that makes us human. And, if we go with the Christian notion that we were created in God’s image then it would seem that to seek new knowledge, if it is an inherent impulse, would be rather a godly thing to do.
But I digress. This wasn’t supposed to be about theology.
My whole point about the Divine Comedy and Easter coming up, and the fact that today is the first full day of Spring is that these are all things that are somehow connected with renewal and rebirth and resurrection.
I always knew that I would eventually heal from the breakup. I’m not saying that I have yet. I suspect that it will be a very long time, in fact, before I am entirely healed. But talking to the boy yesterday gave me a glimpse at what’s waiting once I begin to heal: he’ll still be in my life and he can still be an important part of my life. Just in a different way. The song ‘Don’t Change Your Plans’ by Ben Folds Five comes to mind:
Don’t change your plans for me
I won’t move to LA
The leaves are falling back east
That’s where I’m going to stay
All I really wanna say
Is you’re the reason I wanna stay
But destiny is calling and won’t hold
And when my time is up I’m outta here
All I know is I gotta be
Where my heart says I oughta be
It often makes no sense, in fact
I never understand these things,
I love you, good bye
I love you, good bye…
He needs to do what he needs to do for himself before he can think about someone else. I can’t keep him from that and it would be unfair of me even to try.
I still have a fairly deep hole that I need to get myself out of but I feel like I have a sense of how to start now.