By Richard Bleil
Today, we celebrate two anniversaries. It’s the fiftieth anniversary of the first humans walking on the moon. It’s also the tenth anniversary of my marriage. The accomplishments of Niel Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins will last forever; my marriage lasted less than two years.
That actually explains a few things that have been going on in my life. Our mind remembers things, even when it’s only subconscious. Of late, I’ve been fighting a pretty bad round of depression. There’s really no reason for it that makes sense; in fact, things have been moving forward for me. Slowly, to be sure, but considering how stagnant my life has been of late, it’s a wonder that it’s beginning to move at all. But, now I get it. My marriage almost lasted two years, which means that today is my anniversary, so a few weeks ago is the anniversary of my wife asking me for a divorce so she could take off with the man with whom she was having an affair (a lovely chap, really; you can find him on the registered sex offender list if you don’t believe me). A few weeks from now is the anniversary of the finalized divorce. I had forgotten all of this until today, but, the heart remembers.
A friend of mine introduced me to this concept by way of the concept of “birth trauma”. She asked me if I ever noticed how miserable people tend to be around their birthday, and suggested that it is because our subconscious remembers the trauma of birth. I’m not sure that I believe this as it just seems far-fetched to me, but, well…maybe. I can’t say it’s wrong with any more conviction than I can say it’s right, but the concept of our mind going back to painful events is one that I very much believe. There was a song, the chorus of which is “there’s always something there to remind me.” Isn’t this just so true? I’m living in a bad city for me right now, because this is where she and I would spend much of our time together, and I can barely drive down the road without seeing something where she and I once…fill in the blank. In a few weeks I will have to leave for a new city. That will help immensely, but…I think summers will always be difficult for me.
A friend of mine is struggling as well. His marriage was even shorter than mine, and we were kind of commiserating today. We talked about the emotional scars, and if it is ever really possible to heal completely. I don’t believe it is, but, we can learn to accept them as part of who we are, and minimize them as we move forward. I miss my pets. Their passing (a cat and a dog) are among the worst memories I have, but, while my love for them is as strong as ever, I’m feeling less pain and more joy that they were in my life with every passing year. The scars will always be there, but the pain is becoming less. I hope I can do this with other painful memories.
My friend is fortunate. He has a marvelous support network (and a very good friend of mine who I count as a critical component of my support network is also a critical component of his; it’s how we know each other). He has a very strong, loving and supportive family (which I don’t), a new beautiful and healthy wife (which I don’t), a great and fulfilling career (which I’m trying to rebuild), and outstanding and incredible friends (like me). Unfortunately, he’s also a man.
Another friend would be lecturing me right now about lumping all men together instead of allowing that some men are different by not saying something like, “a frequent characteristic of men is their stubborn need to be defensive and independent.”
A frequent characteristic of men is their stubborn need to be defensive and independent. Yes, that includes me. For a support network to be truly effective, you have to let it into your life. That means being open, honest and vulnerable with your feelings, pain, and history. I find that in writing this blog, I am doing better at this. When I post things like this, it’s my effort to be an “open book” with my emotions, certainly in the hopes that it can help other people, but it also helps me. Anybody who reads it can reach out to ask questions, make suggestions, or even just with observations. Knowing this is out there means there is no reason for me to try to cover it up should circumstances arise leading to such a discussion.
So, here I am, being open…being vulnerable. I know my friends will read it and reach out to me as a result. I hope the friend to whom I was referring earlier finds the ability to do so as well, and finds the support to help him recover from his pain as well.