Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wait - Don't Throw THAT Away

There are a few things I haven't written about on this blog, at least not in depth. Most bloggers have those sorts of things. There's no need to bare everything to the world simply because it exists. For my part, I write about things that I'm thinking about, mulling over. The times I decide NOT to post, it's usually because the issue isn't really resolved in my mind and/or heart, and I don't want some temporary view of something hanging in the air. I like to be sure of what I'm saying. I try to only post things that, if I were to find myself on the news about it, I'd have no problem owning up to it, and wouldn't be ashamed of what I said.

That's hard. But I try.

I haven't posted about That One Big Ex-Boyfriend of mine, for example. I posted a little about getting over him, and I posted some blurbs I wrote about him. But I've never really written about the relationship. Certain people who've known me for a long time might be surprised about that. Others might expect it - they might say I don't write about it because I'm still dealing with it. They're partly right.

That Big Relationship left an imprint on me that will last the rest of my life, and has affected every relationship I've had since then. I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing. I learned a lot about myself, about relationships, and about life in general from those five years. Part of the reason I don't post about it or talk about it much is, well, it ended almost eleven years ago, and I've talked about nothing but It for hours in countless therapy sessions. The blog is for new things, things I realize from day to day, things I haven't yet analyzed to death. That relationship is old hat. Effectively in the past, and not very interesting.

Today, I watched a repeat of the Dead Zone. I used to be addicted to that show. I watched every episode of the first season, right from the pilot. My ex-husband and I knew Nicole deBoer from DS9, and I like Stephen King stories, and everybody knows Anthony Michael Hall. I can't watch that show now, without thinking of my marriage, my ex-boyfriend, and the way I stumbled through life for the better part of a decade, trying to get used to the way my life had turned out, which was so different from how I'd wanted it to be.

The Dead Zone is about a guy (creatively named John Smith) who asks his girlfriend to marry him, then gets hit by a car. He is in a coma for six years, then one day miraculously awakens. When he wakes up, he's a psychic. The physician posits that the psychic phenomena comes from a part of Johnny's brain which, in most people, is inactive, but due to the accident and/or coma, has been awakened and is now fully functional. A "dead" zone in Johnny's brain has come to life.

That second hair essay I wrote was about sort of coming back to life after my marriage ended, about finding myself again, and getting comfortable with myself. But there was more going on in my life than my marriage ending. My closest friend who I had been constantly with for eight years had just left the country. The company I loved working for had been sold, and I was struggling to work with the new company. I was the fattest I'd ever been, and anemic.

However, I realized that the first hair essay had a lot to do with the ending of that five-year relationship, and with my shedding a lot of baggage from Illinois, including the image of myself as an actress. Most people who know me now would never recognize the 24-year-old MzOuiser, never mind the 21-year old. The 17-year-old is unrecognizable. I shed my old skin much like chopping off a foot and a half of long red hair.

I rehash all this because, as my 35th birthday looms, I realize there are things about myself from age 17 that I'd like to recapture, and from age 21 and 24 as well. I was so busy trying to leave those years behind, I threw out a bit of the baby with the bathwater, so to speak. (Hey Kristin, remember that play?) So all this comes to mind right now.

The night I found out that my Ex-Boyfriend was getting married, I almost caused a car accident. My husband was driving us home from a short vacation on my birthday, and Kristin called me to tell me. My reaction was extreme, and I was as shocked at myself as the Ex-Husband was shocked at me. We wound up having a long, painful talk. Somehow we got past it... sort of. I do think that that conversation, however, did push us farther down the slide to divorce. That night is a very dark black spot in my past, and was fodder for a lot more therapy sessions.

Something I thought wouldn't hurt me nearly knocked me out. Something I thought I had dealt with managed to take hold of me as though I had never had a single therapy session about it. Something that I thought I had left far in my past suddenly felt like a fresh, gaping, open wound. Sort of like waking up from a coma and finding out your lover is married to someone else, your parents are dead, and every foundation your life was based on has disappeared. Disorienting, to say the least.

That night was less than five years ago, maybe four. I feel as though I've lived a lifetime since then. Kind of like the lifetime I felt I'd lived between the day my ex-boyfriend and I called it quits for good, and my wedding day. It had actually only been four years. A lot of things seemed clearer to me in 1998, and a lot more things seem clearer now. A lot more hidden drives have also appeared. So I have some collecting to do.

I guess this year, I'm purging more than my wardrobe. Deciding what to keep is applying to more than just shoes and sweaters.


tornwordo said...

Wow, that was kind of heavy, but uplifting too. Made me think of my exes. If I dig enough, I can reach the pain still.

Dr. Zoom said...

Excellent piece, and an apt analogy.

Of course, this was almost trumped by the nostalgia evoked by the allusion to "Baby and the Bathwater." Not that I was in it, or even involved in it, but that was about the time I was getting involved in theater down here in Springpatch.