The Romantic

 

You know what Lindsey, F-you!

You don't know the pain I've been through!

You've never experienced anything like I have!

You sit there with your perfect self and your perfect life, but what do you know about pain, real pain?!?!

 

I bet no one in the world can understand what I feel!!!

 

You know what, Dear Loved One, you don't know me...

 

You know how I know this...?

 

Because I am only starting to know myself.

 

You are right. I don't know your pain. I've only known my own pain. And I've known her buddies - shame, feelings of worthlessness and depression - pretty intimately too. 

 

If you are waiting around for someone to tell you that your particular brand of pain is the worst pain that has ever been felt in the history of the Universe, or even the worst pain you will ever experience in this life time, before you begin your work of Transformation, then you will be waiting for a very long time. 

 

Let me tell you a story.

 

Early in my relationship, when it became apparent that I would be staying in Australia, my dance career came to an abrupt halt. There were of course opportunities to perform in Australia, but not on the same scale as I had imagined for myself in Europe or the U.S..

 

I used to love telling this story. The great romantic love story of how I gave up everything I had ever dreamed of for my Sweetie. I had thrown caution to the wind and sacrificed everything for love. But then, quite under the radar, the story began to change.

 

Suddenly it was a story about how Lindsey always had to make sacrifices to maintain our relationship. How all of Lindsey's feelings - anger, resentment, frustration - were justifiable because she had given up so much. How she was so misunderstood and under appreciated. How her pain was unique to his, and how he would never understand because he had not lost as much.

 

During this time I remember questioning if I even loved him. Suddenly the great romantic love story looked drab and worn. I caught myself feeling envious of the life I "could have had."

 

Despite the time that has passed, I still remember wishing that my Sweetie would just agree with me. I wanted him to say any collection of the following sentences:

 

1) "You are right, you gave up so much to keep us together."

2) "I wish I could understand how sad you feel."

3) "What can I do to make you happy?"

4) "Yes, your feelings of regret, sadness and anger are justified."

5) "Don't worry, I'll make it up to you."

 

Wow... writing this, and reading it now... Wow. I'm sure you can see it too, right?

 

I essentially wanted him to say:

 

"Lindsey, what you gave up, is greater than what you have."

 

[Insert: dramatic pause]

 

Thankfully, that's not what he said. What he said, precisely true to character, was "GO!" In fact, his exact words were, "Go, we don't need you here sad and miserable."

 

EXCUSE ME!!!!!????

 

Now Mom, (I know you read my blog) what he meant by go, in this case, was go pursue your greatest hopes and dreams. He didn't mean leave him and the kids and move back to Pittsburgh with you and Dad.

 

What my Sweetie gave me in those few brief words was the greatest gift of all. He gave me the permission to pull my head out of my own a**.

 

You see, I was the one stuck in my pain story. And at some point, I decided that I wanted everyone around me to either join me in my pain story, or affirm that my pain story was special in some way. 

 

I enjoyed my pain story. It was a great way to mask all manner of emotions I never used to allow myself to feel - feelings of unworthiness, fear, shame -. My pain story kept me safe, and I used it like a weapon to keep people indebted to me and/or interested in me. At the very least it always gave me something to talk about... But here's what gets missed when we are playing our pain story on repeat from morning to night, all the good. 

 

In the midst of looping my pain story here's what happened in real time: