My therapy homework this time around has three objectives.
The first objective is to replace my grounding talisman. At the beginning of the separation, I carried my wedding band around. It was good to hold in my hand and focus on when I felt an anxiety attack coming on. Now, because the idea of reconciliation is dead, I think it’s time I found a new one. I need something portable, that I can hold in my pocket. I need something that probably isn’t tied to a person or event, in case the relationship with that person or the memory of that event becomes tainted. I think I may drive to the beach and take a walk by myself, and find a seashell that’s damaged, but still beautiful.
My second objective is to develop a crisis plan, in case my thought spin off into that black place again. Numbers programmed into my phone. Post-It notes around the house reminding me that I will survive this. Actually removing the guns from the house…
The third objective is one she came up with based on something I’d said in the session. I talked about an older lady at the car shop, who was chatty in the waiting room. She had questions about the stuff the mechanic was recommending, and couldn’t reach her son. Her husband passed away last year. She left her son a voicemail asking him what the difference between the engine air filter and the cabin air filter was. I piped in and explained it to her, and suddenly we were talking. She complained about how much she replied on her husband when he was alive, and how now she’s just being taken advantage of because she doesn’t know any better. Yard guys charging her way too much. Car mechanics recommending services she can put off until next visit. It was sad to see, really, and it made me think of Rachel out there on her own. Rachel is a competent woman and I think she can look out for herself, but it just made me think of her having to struggle with people trying that kind of shit. I gave the woman my phone number, and I told her if she ever had any questions about what someone was telling her and she couldn’t reach her son, to give me a call. I told my therapist that it felt great to be putting good out there into the world for a change. My third objective is to focus on putting more good out there.
The last thing I want to write about is opening up emotionally. It’s hard to be vulnerable. It’s scary. I am tempted every day to shut back down and fall back on old defenses. The one thing that stops me from doing it, though, is that opening those gate wide open allows me to feel more joy. Life is like a sine wave. The lower the lows go, the higher the highs go. By allowing myself to feel the full pain and sadness of my failed marriage, I have allowed myself to feel higher joys than I’d previously thought possible. I’m going to lean into this… wherever the road leads, I’m on it to the end.