Friday, September 4, 2015

For No One

It’s been a long summer, and I am tired.  I can’t believe I can even use that word, “tired.”  It took on a whole new definition during the years we owned the restaurant.  Can it really describe what I am now experiencing—a relatively mild weariness of body and soul that is actually a hill compared to the depths of the chasm of exhaustion I lived in continually for five years?  But still…I’m tired.

The husband and I have been spending much of what might have been our free time, out and about with Café de la Rue…trying to get ourselves back to some sense of economic equilibrium.  I was preparing to reward us with a big, fat pat on the back, as we seemed to be not just getting along, not just tolerating each other, but actually becoming friends again.  And then August happened.

Lots of running around, lots to do, lots of “fun” to cram in between the responsibilities, producing the slightest nudge of stress on our tenuous connections…and they frayed apart.  They were not strong enough, yet, to withstand any sort of test.  And with that episode came the sure conviction that our relationship will never be “healed.”  It will never be what it once was—whatever that was.  I actually didn’t even know that was what I was hoping for.  I should have known better.  At any rate, when it became obvious that was not happening, it laid me pretty low for a couple of days.

It’s hard when you know, you KNOW, that you have come far from the awful place you had got to…and you see it has really made no difference to the people you hurt, caused no healing to the relationships you damaged, when you were in that awful place.  I think I get, now, why so many people just go on through life without looking back, without taking responsibility, without apologizing for their mistakes.  Because, in the end, it doesn’t make any difference.  It doesn’t heal any wounds.  It doesn’t change any minds.  It doesn’t polish your tarnished image.  It doesn’t bring back any lost love.

It just gives you false hope.

Still, I came to realize…I had to do it.  I had to heal, had to change.  I couldn’t not, if only for my own sake.  I had to take responsibility for the hurt I had caused, and apologize for it.  I know that I can get pretty oblivious…become so wrapped up in my own issues and my own pain that I don’t pay any heed to how my behavior may be affecting the people around me.  But I DO get it, eventually.  And I do let it convict me, and I do try to go back and do some damage control.  My fatal flaw, I guess.  Better to remain mindful and not do the damage in the first place.  But apparently, that is a lesson I have never learned.  And my life has been defined by that.  I leave a trail of destruction behind me…and then I have the bad fortune to look back and regret it. 

How does one go forward, now, with this knowledge?  My first reaction was to just…give up.  Why should I try…why should I work on undoing the damage I’ve wrought, why should I put out any emotional effort at all, when in the end, it makes no difference to anyone?  It changes nothing.  I wanted to sharpen up my porcupine spines, roll up in a ball and DARE anybody to touch me.  And maybe I would even pluck out some of those sharp spines and throw them at people once in a while, just for the pleasure of sharing my pain with them. 

But that wouldn’t do, would it?  I’ve worked hard for four and a half years to put that angry, lonely, stressed and hopeless person back in her box and keep a lid on her.  Nobody liked that person.  I didn’t like that person.  I don’t want to be her again.  It makes no sense to let her back out just because I’ve discovered that the people I love are never going to forgive me for letting her out in the first place.

Even if nobody else cares who I am any more…I care.  And if nobody else forgives me, it’s that much more important that I forgive myself.  Because how can you keep going forward—and if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that life is a forward journey—if you don’t?

So forward I will go.  With no expectations of changing anyone but myself.  Which is a lesson well learned, I think.    


  1. The only person one can ever really change is one's self. However, often, when real change within one's self happens it does affect one's relationships with others and some small changes may then occur. But no doubt it begins with the self. There is also a real pull to return to old, established ways of being. It takes awareness and intentionality to continue down the path of being another way. However, in time, that "new" way becomes established, takes less effort, and begins to feel natural. Then, of course, one is challenged to grow further, and the process continues...sigh. At least that is what I have observed in my life.

  2. Seems funny, doesn't it, that we continue to grow and chane, no matter how old we are? I know that's a good thing...I've never been much one for routine...boredom...stagnation. But the lessons we learn continue to be challenging, don't they? Guess there is no easy, painless way to grow...