I cried tonight.
For the first time.
In a long time.
The shaking, sobbing, screaming, wailing kind of crying.
The kind that overtakes you.
The kind that takes over.
The kind of crying that rocks you to the rock that is your foundation.
The kind of crying that shakes—but doesn’t shatter—the diamond at the core of your soul.
I cried in my car, when I parked in my driveway, before I went inside my house.
My empty house.
I was sad, because my house is empty tonight, except for me.
My first ex-partner, my first ex-wife, is the mother of my children. I still feel a kind of love for her, unbelievably, despite all the craziness, despite all we went through. A kind of love for her, but not for the relationship. You can read about that all over my blog. No secrets there.
My second ex-partner, and soon to be second ex-wife, was ideal for about five minutes—well, make that about fifteen months. It was all peachy, and there was a lot of pretending and pretense. I loved what we had together, for a brief time, but I didn’t love having to be the heavy, the one standing on the wall (like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men), the one who had to say, no, I can’t do this anymore; this is unsustainable. She ran home when I got real.
Despite all this exxing out (another new word, exxing), I have a whole lot to be happy about, so on some level, the crying was inexplicable. In-ex-fucking-splicable. So I have some splic-ing to do. Here goes.
I have two amazing sons. They are miracle children, and I celebrate them every day. By simply being, they give me more joy than I could possibly ever have imagined. Ever. I am thankful for them.
I have a good job that pays the bills. I am thankful for that.
I have a loving, supportive family. I am thankful for them.
I have my health. I am thankful for that.
And I have, for the first time in a long, time, a pretty clear sense of direction. I thank myself for that. Because that’s something I’ve worked really hard to achieve.
On another level, my crying was completely explicable, if that’s a word. Fuck it. I don’t care if it’s a word. I’m using it. Explicable. Ex-fucking-splicable.
OK. How is it explicable?
Today, 36 years ago, my father died. I was nine. A kid. I didn’t really know what it meant, at nine, to lose your father, but I’ve figured it out, along the way. The hard way. Being a father has given me a lot of perspective. I’ve written a few posts about that loss, and a short story which I’ll send to anyone who wants to read it. I’m not asking for sympathy on this. Just telling it like it is.
Thirty-six years is a long time. An eternity, in human years. But even with all that time passing, all that water under the bridge, you never really recover. Not fully, not wholly. You just adjust. The wound is not raw anymore, but it’s still a wound, still present, still real. Wounds heal, as best we can heal them, but they never fully close. Not totally. Scars remain. And there’s still an opening, a hole, an entrance for vulnerability, a way for sadness to get in. No person can fill the God-shaped void that such a wound leaves.
So I cried. I cried about my losses. I cried about losing my father, my wife, two wives, time with my sons, my former girlfriends, my twenties, my thirties. I cried about all the people I’ve loved and lost. And all the people I’ll lose someday. Love and life. Life, and loss. Love and loss. It’s OK to cry about that. More than OK. Necessary. And it feels good. Really good. Cathartically good. You should try it, if you haven’t already.
I do feel lucky to have found, to have regained, at least one of the people I had lost. A special person. A person with whom I have a forever bond. You know who you are. And I’m lucky to have repaired my relationship with my family, regained some of the closeness lost during marriage number one. When it comes to your family, no matter what happens, you never really lose them, not entirely. You may lose touch, but you never lose the bond. There’s a kind of Superglue that transcends adversity, disagreement, disagreeableness, distance, and all the dissing that is part of growing up. You don’t tug on Superglue’s cape. You don’t spit into the wind. You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger. And you don’t mess around with the ties that bind.
After I cried, I felt relieved. Relieved, and happy, and grateful, and maybe not fully healed, but helped, in a huge way, by expressing my feelings, expressing tears, the milk of sadness, by letting the sadness out, acknowledging and accepting it, by letting it be, by not denying it, not sucking it up and pretending that everything was OK. Because everything was NOT OK. When you are crying the way I was crying, everything is NOT OK. If you insist on pretending everything is OK when everything is NOT OK, you will fuck yourself up, big time, trust me. You will.
We can’t stop it.
And I don’t want to.
But we can pause.
And try to understand.
And get in touch with how we feel.
Feel the pain and loss.
And learn from it.
Let what we’ve been through make us strong.
Turn adversity to advantage.
Let who we have been shape who we are.
And move forward.
Because it’s important to like who you are—to love who you are.
To love yourself.
Even when you’re crying your guts out.
Because if you can’t love yourself when you’re crying your guts out, when the hell can you love yourself?
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