Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ode to Burt

Burt's my telephone counselor.
In a state of sheer crisis I called my husband-but-not-because-we're-separated-but-I-don't-know-what-else-to-call-him-yet's Employee Assistance Program and they hooked me up with Burt. Burt is a swell guy. He sounds middle aged and like he's lived through some ups and downs himself and he's a great listener. So I told him about The Guilt and he, in return, said something that I really needed to hear. Our conversation went something like this:
"Kim, let me get this straight, you feel guilty for growing?"
"Yep, Burt. I guess I do. My growth has really hurt my partner."
"And how would you feel if instead you'd stayed and stagnated?"
"Well, Burt, I suppose I'd feel pretty resentful."
"Hmmm, neither's a great choice, Kim."
"No Burt, guilt and resentment both pretty much suck."
"Kim, I can't help but think that guilt is an emotion that's out of context for your particular situation. See, most people feel guilty when they've done something consciously wrong. Have you done something wrong by growing, Kim?"
Long pause."I see where you're going with this, Burt, and, no, I guess I really haven't done anything wrong. Growth happens. It just hurts to see him so fucking sad. I guess I'm pretty sad, too, as a matter of fact."                                                                                                "Well now, that's understandable, Kim. Grief is understandable. Grief is reasonable. You've said good-bye to someone very special to you. But grief and guilt aren't the same thing. You have a choice in how you perceive your role in this situation. Does that make sense to you?"
And just like that, my perception of the break up between my husband and I shifted. Guilt wasn't serving me one iota. Guilt was killing me and it was my own doing. Grief, on the other hand, I can live with because it's a natural reaction to this kind of experience. And with time I will heal and the grief will be alleviated. I could have gone on for years bearing the burden of self-imposed guilt.
Close call.
Burt, I owe you one, buddy.

Love and gratitude.
K.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Guilt

A friend once told me that when a heart breaks it only makes it bigger. 
There may be scar tissue, but the heart has been expanded. 
I can tell you that the pain of a broken heart is nearly unbearable. Nearly. 
The feeling in my chest is grey and tight, the tension like a clenched fist, 
all I can do is sit with the pain and really feel it.  
I am a water sign and sometimes the feelings well up inside of me so big,
like a tsunami within, 
that my entire body trembles, my throat opens with wails so that
I barely recognize my own voice, 
and my eyes spill over with tears. 
I cry thoroughly, tears literally pour out of my eyes. 
It's very cleansing, and the skin under my eyes from consecutive days upon days of shedding tears is sagging and loose.
I am showing my age. 
But I don't try to cover them up with make-up and I am far from ashamed of my
exhausted and blotchy looking face. 
My healing is imperative and when I look in the mirror I see a woman who openly wears her truth,
even when that truth is
'I hurt, and I don't give a damn who knows it'. 
I am not willing, nor, truthfully, even able to hide my feelings on days like today. 
I picture giving the pain over to my heart and that helps to make me feel calmer, more centered. 
Oh, my beautiful, receptive, honest heart!
 Help me to experience self-loving above and within this immense guilt.