As it turns out, divorce is still a complete and total bullshit. BULLSHIT, I TELL YOU! Janie and I are scheduling a mediation because we’re having trouble agreeing on a few key things, so that’s going to be super fun. After that we get to file for the dissolution of our domestic partnership. Since domestic partnerships in Washington are “everything but marriage” that means we will get “everything but a divorce.” Same paperwork, same legal maze, same emotional torment. YAY!
Anyhow, that’s not my point. That’s just your friendly lady gay divorce update.
I don’t know what it is that has made the difference, really, but in the last few weeks I’ve been absolutely inspired. I’ve learned to take all the chaos and all my emotions, thoughts and feelings and use that to grow, believe, wonder, and tear open my heart and soul. It feels like my mind is on fire. I’m filled with this energy to create, to love, to be, to learn and seek. I want to know everything there is to know, to feel everything there is to feel. I want to touch and hear and taste and smell and see. I want so desperately to live which, after months of torment and total despair and sometimes wanting little else than to just fucking die already, to put myself out of my god damn misery, is a refreshing feeling. It’s exhilarating. I feel like I’m on to something spectacular…like the last several months have brought me to this place, the cliff’s edge, and I can either turn around and go back to something safe or I can jump off, risk everything and try to fly. I feel like I’m going to explode – there is just so much fucking desire within me. It’s potential, it’s passion passion passion and a voracious hunger for experience. I work hard every day to prepare myself for that moment, the one where I lift my foot off the ground and tip myself forward and let go, to open my arms wide and feel the wind against my face as I fall, feeling the excitement, the danger and all the possibility. I yearn for that moment, the feeling like you just don’t know how things will go, how it will end, that fear and exhilaration, that stomach churning, need to scream, absolute freedom and release. There is nothing ahead of me but absolute possibility and oh, holy shit, there are few things better than knowing that about your life.
I keep talking to people about how much I’ve learned lately, how the past several months have been so filled with intense accumulation of information and understanding. I know myself better than I ever have before, I see other people in ways I had never thought to look, I’ve been humbled and continue to be. I ponder every word, thought, idea and I scour the deepest parts of myself for the ability to look at who I’ve been, how I’ve been, who and how I am now and who and how I want to be in the future. Am I who I say I am, who I set out to be? Not always. I’m absolutely prepared to admit this now – I act and react often out of fear and anger, out of uncertainty and vanity more often than I wish were true. There’s a freedom in that – in acknowledging my numerous and profound faults, in getting to know them so that I may work with them and overcome and grow and become stronger. I’m bashing my pride and opening my arms and screaming – this is me, who I am. I am imperfect, often wrong, perhaps ugly, but intensely passionate and dedicated to improving my self, my character, my integrity, restoring or even just discovering an ability to love myself unconditionally, with a gentleness to look at the imperfections and say – I can do better and I will. I have disappointed many in my lifetime. The line is long and filled with friends, family, coworkers, strangers, teachers and always myself. There is no one more disappointed in my shortcomings than me, but I have found in myself a new and amazing ability to believe – in the person I am and the person I want to be and I have seen how, more often than I have allowed myself to believe it, we are one in the same and, oh yes, we are both quite beautiful.
There will come a time when all of this learning, these reflections and bits of information will need to be more than just ideas and thoughts. They will need to be action, a solid foundation for the life I lead from here on out. They will need to be transformed into acts of kindness, humility, understanding, compassion. These changes cannot and will not happen overnight, for if they did I believe they’d just as easily be undone. I allow myself the space to explore and understand, to practice and try and fail and try again. There is no race to perfection, and perfection is no longer a goal I set for myself to attain. No, instead I look out at where I want to go and I expect that I will try and fail and try and fail a million times over – the point now is to take that leap, to live and risk and open my heart to all people and all things. To life. To every one of you. There are so many lessons learned but so far my favorite is as simple as this: It does not cost me anything to love but it costs me everything not to. This is who I am, the very essence of myself. Love, plain and simple. Love, pure and unconditional. Love, overflowing and absolutely without expectation. I love you because I can. I don’t need any other reason.
Here’s a question posed by Nietzsche in his book The Gay Science:
“What if a demon were to creep after you one night, in your loneliest loneliness, and say, ‘This life which you live must be lived by you once again and innumerable times more; and every pain and joy and thought and sigh must come again to you, all in the same sequence. The eternal hourglass will again and again be turned and you with it, dust of the dust!’ Would you throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse that demon? Or would you answer, ‘Never have I heard anything more divine’?”
I’m a firm believer that the things that happen in our lives all come with great potential for growth and the billion little moments that have transpired these past months have been lesson after lesson after lesson for me. I’m looking at things as if they happen because I need them to happen that way, because there are some important pieces of information that I need to take with me on this life’s journey. One of my most basic beliefs is that life is eternal. We move from lifetime to lifetime to gain knowledge, to grow our souls. Imagine yourself as a cup, and every lifetime it fills evermore with experience, with the ideas of basic goodness and the essence of our spiritual growth – not factual knowledge, rather, insight.
Intellectual knowledge exists in and of the brain. Because the brain is part of the body, which must one day expire, this collection of facts, however large and impressive, will expire as well. Insight, however, is a function of the spirit. Because your spirit follows you through cycle after cycle of life, death, and rebirth, you have the opportunity of cultivating insight in an ongoing fashion. Refined over time, insight becomes pure, constant, and unwavering. This is the beginning of immortality. – Hu Hua Ching
I do also believe that as we travel down the eternal path, gathering this insight, we are never alone. We see in our lives the same beautiful souls that we have found in countless lifetimes before. Have you ever met someone and felt immediately like you have known them forever? Have you looked into their eyes and seen beyond to something more fantastic than you can explain in words? Have you ever felt a bond, a connection, that goes deep and unwavering, that fills you with the notion like you’ve just found a missing piece of yourself? I think these people are our soul mates and I do believe we have more than just one. They can be mothers, sisters, lovers, friends, teachers and children. They can be anyone and everyone who steps into our lives – for a day, a month, a year of fifty years. They will often come and go, but we will always meet up again in the next lifetime – for we travel the same path together. Their path is our path. Our path is theirs. We have history. We have an eternity of experience and love, shared for all time. I can think of nothing more amazing than that experience and the knowledge that while, yes, we do lose people to death or misunderstanding, to time and distance, we will also meet them again and grow that love beyond all imagination. It’s mysterious and magical and inexplicably beautiful.
The more I think about it – the deeper I go – I sometimes cannot believe how amazing an opportunity it has been to live through the past 10+ years of my life. I have never felt so many different things for so many different people and I’ve never loved as deeply as I have a select few. I’ve experienced great pain and great joy and, more than anything, I have lived an incredible life. I’ve been lucky, even when I’ve felt like the unluckiest person in the world. In all, I’m profoundly grateful to have been given all that I have, and it will be an amazing journey to take those years and build upon them.
It is with these personal beliefs and some sincere and deep reflection that I look at Neitzsche’s question and I answer with certainty. I would live this life for all eternity, blissfully so, taking all the worst and best days and know that I have experienced such a vast array of phenomenal things and people that I could not even imagine a life more precious than mine. I do not have loads of money or material possessions, I do not need to surround myself with beautiful things. I need only the people – precious and special each in their own distinct way – exactly as they are. I love them absolutely and if given the chance, I would choose to know each one of them in the exact same way again and again and again – a thousand times over. Each and every painful experience or memory, all the anguish and confusion, the hurt and disappointment- all of that is insignificant when put up against the joys, magic, immeasurable happiness and pure goodness they have brought into my life. I am profoundly grateful for every last person I have known. Even those that were the most challenging to share time and space with – for they have taught me so many important lessons, too. I love them all for who they are – as human beings who are imperfect but strive for the very same things we all do – for happiness and a sense of family, for fitting in, for intimacy and most and best of all, for love. I will take it all again, just the same, and revel in the divinity of some phenomenal souls whom I have been given the pleasure of loving more than my own self. If I could change only one thing, it would be to have the opportunity to say thank you – for loving me, for putting up with me, for liking or disliking me, for your words of compassion and those that are coarse, your words of judgment or kindness, for all that you are, all that you can be, for all that you have ever seen in me and for all that you’ve ever let me see in you. I have been given a gift in each and every one of you and I will spend the rest of my life using that to offer the world and those yet to come a better and more compassionate me.