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A little bit of this, a little bit of that

I'm probably not in the best place to be writing about healing between the genders.

That was my first thought when I started out to ponder this month's Women on the Verge theme.

I'm just about six months out from finalizing my divorce. At this point, I'm sad and lonely and scared. I'm not sure that I have anything to say about healing; I'm not sure I remember what it feels like. In my current circumstances, it would probably be fairly easy to refuse to say anything positive about him, in particular, or about men, in general.

But if I stop to really think about it, I find myself wondering ... what's to heal?

As odd as it sounds, I was with a guy who wanted to stay married to me without being required to have an actual relationship with me. But I'm not angry with him about that, I guess because I haven't taken it on. Once I understood that was the lay of the land, I realized almost immediately that was his issue and not my fault.

Even now, my sorrow and fear have nothing to do with him. Instead, I'm realizing how long I've been alone, even in this marriage. And I'm wondering if I'm going to be alone all my life.

That's what mating is supposed to help us deal with, isn't it? The fact is that we are alone when we are born and we are alone when we die. It's the being alone part that makes both those experiences so terrifying, and that terror is a big part of what drives us to avoid solitude in between.

I don't want to be alone, I readily admit it. This what I have in common with every single man, every widower, every divorced man in the world, up to and including my own ex-husband. We are all human, are we not? And we all crave that very special intimacy-tinged-with-sex that is the recipe for mating.

(Here I hesitate. I call it 'mating' for want of a better single-word [I don't want to use 'marriage'], even as I realize it makes me sound like I'm writing a script for one of those Nature movies. "And the male warily approaches the female to see if she is open to mating ... .")

And then, too, when I reach into my heart in search of less painful gender-related stuff, I encounter another kind of intimacy. That is because I have sons.

These are the only two men in the world who have drunk from my breasts. I bore them both of my body and I share with them the kind of physical intimacy that can only come from being among that rare set of individuals whose diapers I once changed and who were once allowed to throw up on me without fear of reprisal.

And the funny thing is that it is in the nature of the relationship between a mother and her children that healing will one day be necessary there, too.

I don't know yet what I've done but I'm sure I've done something for which I will be called upon to apologize to one or both of my young men. I'm not perfect and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get both these guys to adulthood without having screwed up somewhere. And that's okay. Experience tells me that, as long as I am willing to apologize and own my faults, that healing will be possible.

That is what my own mom taught me, you know. It's difficult to forgive somebody when they greet your injury with blame and derision instead of validation and comfort ... and a genuine apology.

And maybe, if I step back from the personal to look at the big picture, that is what I can contribute to this conversation. The knowledge that real healing of any kind begins with a non-vengeful statement of injury, on the one hand, and a non-manipulative admission of responsibility, on the other.

"You did that. It hurt me."

"I did? I'm so sorry! I won't do that again."

It's nowhere near as easy to do as it sounds. Hell, it's not even especially easy to write.

But writing this is good for me. I cry. When I cry, I am free.

DawnRRivers · 2566 days ago
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  •  Robbie: 
    Love your courage Dawn and I look forward to hearing about all the wonderful things that will unfold in your life, now that there is room. As you heal, you will probably feel less alone than ever... very soon! Thank you for sharing this.
     2562 days ago 
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  •  DawnRRivers: 
    The best thing about this community is that it IS a community, full of love and acceptance and warm fuzzies. Thank you, ladies! I always know I can count of you all to get my back.
     2563 days ago 
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  •  Karen-Monroy: 
    Dawn, yes, you are a great person to write about this months topic! brava. XO
     2564 days ago 
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  •  JennyleefromTN: 
    I love how you described real healing. Not vengeful or manipulating. Simply laying out our heart, which is exactly what your post did. Beautiful.
     2564 days ago 
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  •  AnaLewis: 
    Oh Dawn, what a beautiful and honest truth you write about. Not only for yourself, but for many of us. Thank you so much. The wounds are fresh and real and sometimes it takes only a reminder to make them wake up and say, "remember me?".
     2564 days ago 
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A little bit of this, a little bit of that