The Mirror

There comes a moment in every good piece of artwork that it does not much resemble beauty. The lines may be harsh. The blocks of color too bold. One might go so far as to say it is ugly. I often find myself hating a piece as I struggle thru the initial laying down of color and line. It just doesn’t feel right. It is sometimes impossible not to resist the urge to scrap the piece and walk away. But sometimes you stick with it. Those lines soften, and in an instant the colors come together. It is a breathless moment. Your heart skips and you realize it is there. Each touch of the canvas brings it closer. There are the hints of “it”. The indescribable rightness of that image taking shape. It was the patience and the trust of the process that allowed access to that place. The deep residence within our minds that has the ability to unlock the beauty. It is hard to trust, as it is unseen and unheard. It often gets overlooked. It isn’t quick, nor is it easy. That singular moment of epiphany swimming up there amongst synapses and gray matter. But it is there. Therapy is no different. My experience of therapy with Virgil has bits and pieces of all of it. Moments of ugly, when willful stubbornness grinds the process to an impasse. The moments of quiet reflection, when nothing but the sigh of breath puts the period on a sentence. Years upon years have laid down the lines and the colors. A slow and steady process, complete with stops and starts. At times a canvas left to sit in the studio, either in frustration or because of life’s distractions. But never thrown away. Never given up upon. Even in the darkest of hours the canvas remained. As my life has shifted course, and I suddenly find myself miles from where I once stood, I realized it doesn’t matter. Nothing will ever take away this piece of artwork. We may be far from where we started. I may be very different now, but it is okay. We created this piece. A piece of connectedness. Come fear, or pain, or disaster, that connection remains. It was a pause between sentences today when I glimpsed our work. Not in the midst of some incredible insight on her part. It was in a second of vulnerability. I found myself understanding it would be okay. We had created a bond so complete, and strong, it could weather this coming storm. Those years of conflict, and doubt next to the ones punctuated by milestones and growth, all coming together to weave this durable resilient fabric which is our relationship now. I don’t know that I have ever experienced anything like it. When asked what my gut was telling me, I listened to myself respond. In awe of where I was. Who was this person? and where did she come from? I know where she came from. She came from the patient and steady work at Virgil’s canvas. Never thrown aside, in frustration. Even in the ugliest moments when anger and hate colored the picture so brightly. No, this canvas of my psyche remained on her easel. Year in and year out. In time it took shape, and today I am here. Stronger than I have ever been. I know few therapeutic relationships last like this. In a life filled with horror and trauma there was a silver lining. This was mine. Regardless of where I end up, I know there will always be a constant. It gives me hope and it gives me strength. I know I must find it for myself, and must figure out a way to foster it within me, but for now I can walk onward knowing I will never be alone in my fight to stay present. I am proud to have worked this hard for this long, and to have created a strong stable, beautiful bond. For a kid, so many dismissed as far too flawed to ever find such fulfillment and growth, I am so very blessed. For from the broken and skewed framework of my adolescent personality I overcame a dismal future. Together we reinforced that weakened foundation and broke the downward brakeless decline to climb into a new life. There is no doubt in my mind, without her this would never have been a possibility. I know there will be more trials and tests. Life will not just idly sit by and let my world be a paradise. I know that. It will be fraught with twists and turns. There will be love and loss. Great happiness and the blackest depths of despair. That is what life is. In my moment of epiphany today I saw a brief glimpse of the person I will become. For that I thank you Virgil. You are truly a gift. Not just for the countless hours, and sessions, or the patience, but for presenting that mirror so I could finally truly catch a glimpse of my potential. Within that glazed pane I see my strength, and I feel the ever so faint beat of my heart grow stronger into the staccato tap of my battle drum. I will survive.


Crossed wires

You know that weird pause you get when the lines of communication just aren’t working. That hollow echo till the line connects and that voice you are seeking comes thru. It is a strange feeling. It is amazing how just that pause creates a disjointed odd conversation. It feels a bit like that in my life right now. Not because of some bad cell tower, or a thousand miles of sea between callers. It is life, and stress. It is the million little disasters adding up and multiplying. What communication there was has tailed off into worried silence. What more is there to say? Where does one even start? But without that contact life begins to feel hollow and disjointed, like that bad phone call. Any attempts at connection fall short, or die slowly in the pauses and the short clipped non answers. I do not know that I can get what I seek from her. If communication is a weak spot under the best of circumstances, how can is possibly be okay in the midst of chaos and impending disaster. I know that the silence isn’t working for me. unfortunately when there isn’t silence there is fighting. I know neither of us mean what we say most of the time. We are reacting. As she readied herself to head home to deal with her mother I found myself anxious and overwhelmed. I fell back into my pattern of becoming irritable and nasty. I couldn’t come close to being civil. She finally yelled at me. “Why do you have to make this so fucking unpleasant? It is fucking hard enough”. I looked at her. Hard and cold. “You’ve been with me more than 15 years. This isn’t me trying to be mean, or making life harder for you. This is me panicking. This is me terrified and unsure. If you think this is about you personally being mistreated you haven’t learned a thing about me in all these years”. I don’t think she much knew what to think of that, or even what to say. I don’t know why it is always about a personal attack with her. It has nothing to do with her per se, it has everything to do with the anxiety of having to deal with this place alone. She doesn’t get it. I guess one could go on and on about attachment, and how I am too attached. That this inability to step away from her is driving the panic and the viciousness. That I am creating space before that space actually becomes a reality. yeah, uh, maybe. But what I do know is there is a real possibility of a million different things that can go wrong on any given day here. That even as two people it is extremely difficult to get thru the day. In that instant I know she is leaving my brain starts up this running movie. Every possible disaster, and how I can’t possibly deal with it. That doubt creeps steadily. Completely consuming me like a fast-moving brush fire. Leaving nothing but breath robbing anxiety. I can only hold tight and try hard not to completely lose faith in my self. That cold nasty person that arrives in my boots is the one that keeps everything running. Goes along eyes straight ahead and puts one foot in front of the other. That person is not overwhelmed. nope. That is who makes it thru the time alone. There is no place for the emotional side of me. I can’t stray too far without fear of losing my confidence. I can only move forward and count down the hours till she returns. Sad thing is, there is a piece of me that enjoys the silence, and the life here alone. It has never been like that before. Guess I am changing. Or maybe it is just I am worn thin by the constant fighting. There is no fighting right now. There is only the hum of the appliances, and the ping as the bird drops his sunflower seed shells to the bottom of his cage. Nothing else. Peace and quiet. The worry set aside for a moment in this empty house. No battle to try and communicate across those malfunctioning wires.

Shifting Landscape

A very sad, disconnected sort of day. Not even sure where my head is at. I know I am still recovering from our horse leaving. Though it seems to be so much more than that. Hopefully it will settle over the next couple days and won’t feel so difficult.