Yin and yang
In my previous post, I described some of my feelings regarding my marriage and recent divorce. As anyone who’s been through a divorce can attest, the positive feelings expressed in that post are an incomplete picture.
The reaction to that post was very supportive and appreciative. It meant a lot to me. I couldn’t help feeling, though, like I had lied to everyone. While what I expressed there is true, it is a very manicured, selective view of my feelings. It was only the yang.
Every ounce of emotion expressed in that post is matched by at least as much negativity, doubt, anger and fear. Yet for some reason, I’m far less inclined to share those feelings. I’m so much less inclined, in fact, that I barely know how to put them into words. However difficult, I feel strongly that for me to be able to move past these feelings, I have to figure out how to express them. Forgive me if this post is a little less eloquent than others. A trusted friend of mine (ok, it’s my therapist) tells me that I can talk about my feelings perfectly fine without talking about Lynnae, so that is my intent here.
On one hand I’m told that I shouldn’t repress emotions, but at the same time I’m told I shouldn’t submit to my fears. What gives? What if I’ve already had the best of my life, and for the rest of it I’m doomed to miss the best part? What if people that claim things will get better actually have no idea what they’re talking about? What if by “better” they simply mean I will numb to the pain I feel now? What if anyone that comes to know me as Lynnae did decides that they’re better off without me? What if every relationship going forward is doomed to pail in comparison to what we had? What if the negative things others may believe about me are true?
I claim that no marriage fails by the efforts of just one. There are thousands of things I can only and will always wonder about. I’m told that I shouldn’t play the “what if” game. Should I repress all those questions, then? If, playing the game or not, I fail to identify the critical “what if”(s) that might’ve saved our marriage, how can I expect a better outcome in a future marriage?
I don’t wonder if God loves me, or if He knows me. I know that He knows me and loves me. Given those truths, how can my current circumstances be? Of course there’s something for me to learn here, but how can He ask me and my family to endure such pain for a lesson? Did He create me, an imperfect being, just to watch me suffer the consequences of my failures? How much trying is enough? If He is omnipotent, why would he allow me to suffer so? Note that I don’t ask these questions because I want someone to answer. They are simply the voice of my anger. I know there are answers. I also feel anger at every trite piece of advice about how to have a good marriage. “Be sure to say I love you every day.” “Never go to bed angry.” and so on. Of course I hold my tongue when I hear them, as I’ve been trained. Skepticism at marriage isn’t something one would be encouraged to embrace. (Is sarcasm okay here?)
There isn’t a single soul whose head hits her pillow every night and she thinks to herself, “I wish I could spend time with Bob right now”. As I play my piano alone, there’s no one who listens and says “I sure appreciate how it makes me feel when Bob plays the piano”. When I come home from a hard day at work, there’s no one who’s been missing me and wants to talk about what went on during our days, or find something fun and distracting to do now that I’m home. There are lots of people who care about me and want me to be well. They even go out of their way to help me be well, and I appreciate it and love them for it. As much as I appreciate them and enjoy the time I spend with them, I’m an afterthought for them. There is no one for whom I am a forethought.
When we share these types of feelings, it comes across as whining, and we’re judged negatively for expressing these negative emotions. But when we express positive emotions, we’re judged positively. Now, it’s entirely possible that this is all in my head, but my perception is my reality.
Not long after my previous, positively-charged post, I went into a pretty uncomfortable depression, feeling many of the things I mention above, but feeling like the love and support I was enjoying was only for the yang, but that it wasn’t okay to also have the yin.
So there it is. If my yin makes you uncomfortable, I hope you’ll forgive me.
Originally published at blog.dunninteractive.com on August 22, 2016.