Saturday, April 12, 2014

Geographical Cures Part 3 - Wherever You Go, There You Are.

I'm writing this from my new living room, in my new city, while my husband is at his new job.

I'm so so happy to live here.  Each morning the songs of birds I've never heard before wake me, their melodic messages twittering through my window.   It is a city we've visited before and loved, but never would have thought we'd end up.  It's not a tropical island or anything, just a random beautiful place where the grass seems greener, even to me.  When we visited last, I remember looking around and thinking, wow.  I mean, who lives here?  What do they do?  Like, for work?

It doesn't seem possible people get to live here and also have to live normal lives, like waking up and realizing you're out of milk or the cat threw up on the couch, or having to put up with impossibly loud upstairs neighbors who seem to never leave and instead only slam doors, scrape heavy furniture across the room and cackle with laughter.  But nope, it's true - normal lives exist here.  We're out of milk, my cat threw up, and I hope I never have to see my upstairs neighbor face to face because I am convinced in my frustration that she is making noise on purpose.  On the bright side, there are so many Al Anon meetings that I am able to go everyday, even twice a day (and I have - on some days to check out new meetings and on others because I just needed another meeting).

Last fall when I heard my husband had applied to a position in our new town, my first reaction was a drop in my gut and an almost inaudible sigh, complete with a closed eyeroll (passive-aggressive communication could be on my resume under "skills").  There had already been other positions applied to in other towns and other states, moves threatened to be made with or without me.  I got through it by telling myself three things:

1) Apparently, the last several moves have taught me, I can really be happy almost anywhere.  It's comforting to know that somewhere in me, there is resilience.
2) Wherever we end up, it probably won't be for long anyway.
3) I could always decide not to go.

I didn't like #3.  But I had my choices.

Soon the reasons for the job change were collected and announced to me and I waited, we both waited, until companies responded.  It did take a bit longer this time.

Though not a tough competition by any stretch, this location was paradise compared to the other options.  And I was actually mad.  But mad because I couldn't figure out how to be pissed at my husband for moving us, yet again, to a city that absolutely beckoned me.  For weeks I managed to show mostly displeasure at what I felt was another manifestation of his disease; that again he seemed to become irritable, discontent and restless, confident that he would be happier at yet another job, in another city.

Soon I realized how exhausting it was to remain so resentful, and despite my reservations I let it go.  I let it go and decided that what will be, will be.  Maybe I could just enjoy this decision and see what comes of it, making decisions for my own welfare along the way.  Tiring myself out with anger and resentment is a huge part of my disease - I could have voiced my concerns, stated my opinion and then come what may, stuck to my desires.  This is beyond difficult for me, because any rejection or disagreement feels like abandonment, and so I begrudgingly cope with fear and worry instead of facing what could be The Truth.  And The Truth is there amongst the worry, fear, and avoidance of confrontation, whether I make those decisions or not.

Moving day came and went, and my husband was so happy.  He beamed at me, and in his excitement doled out random hugs and kisses.  He sighed contentedly, crossed his arms and seemed to survey what he had put into motion.  "I haven't been this excited about a job in a long time" he said.  It was bittersweet, but I admit I was glad to see him so enthused.

Though our time there was fraught with struggle, I looked around at our empty apartment and felt the familiar pangs of grief over another home left behind.  I said goodbye to many the things I'd miss and to the things I wouldn't miss, of which there were few.

Goodbye, royally-huge bathtub.
Goodbye, double-door fridge.
Goodbye, scenic pool.
Goodbye property manager, who always called me "sweetie."
Goodbye old, always dirty-looking *no matter how many times I cleaned and vacuumed it* carpet.
Goodbye cozy living room, where I served so many meals.

At each of these farewell scenes the sights, feelings and thoughts upon moving-in come flooding back to shadow against those of our departure, and I grieve for the blank canvas of our space that was once so large with hope.  I turned my key for the last time.

The move was strenuous.  So, so much driving.  Miles that seemed to stretch on for longer than miles, and as I drove I purposely avoided any road markers ticking away our progress.  A little over halfway there, my husband lamented that our new city "didn't feel like home, and probably never will."  I was shocked, but I wasn't - even though I have learned so much about alcoholism, even though I have been to so many Al Anon meetings and grown in the almost two years I've been in recovery, I myself had been fooled into thinking this move would change things, this move would fix it.  He loves it here too, I would tell myself.  Naturally he'll be happier here - how could he not be?  It just "fits" us both so much more.

My friends called it before our last move.  "You know you're not going to stay there long, right?"

"No," I insisted. "We'll live there for a few years, he even said so."  I completely believed this.

Most said the same this time as well.  We haven't been here too long, and after a few short weeks everything was familiar again.  "Wherever you go, there you are."  It is so, so true.  Though I will say not much has changed, there is less good and more not-good.  So I am trying as hard as I can to pull myself out of my own struggle and make the good for myself, wherever I can find it.

And it has been a struggle - I haven't written in so long not only because of my very loud, inner self-critic but because it's been hard, and when times are hard it's hard to find what to say.  I'm fuzzy, foggy, forgetful, fearful.  Lots of F-words.  And that too - sometimes I feel F-d.  But I started this little online project here, and I want to see it through no matter how many bumps and sinkholes in the road.  There is still so much for me to share, and I hope that it will make sense through all of this.

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