Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Ghost of Convictions Past

One of the last posts I wrote before I stopped writing for a while was on the theme of conviction. It was all about the fact that my marriage had fallen apart because I lacked the conviction necessary to make it work. For years, I had it: a steadfast belief that Zack and I were somehow right together, and that I would do anything in my power to make it work. When I lost that, once and for all, it was all just a matter of time.

I don't have it in my right now to go back and actually read the post. Perhaps I will when I'm done writing this, but if I were to do it now, I think it might destroy me. Particularly, something I wrote towards the end. A confession, of sorts, to readers who were not aware of Dan yet, and the fact that he was an integral part of my loss of conviction with regards to my marriage. I said something to the effect that I no longer had a deep belief that I could make a happy life with Zack, but that I did believe-- deeply-- that I could make one with Dan.

I hope that I'm wrong. I hope that I wasn't naive enough to put that in writing, for the world to see. For me to look back on, and just...laugh through the tears.

Dan and I knew what we were doing was stupid. Both of us knew-- and discussed, time and time again, that it wasn't the way to do things. That you shouldn't end a marriage to be with someone new, that you shouldn't start a new relationship on the heels of a significant breakup. They should be separate events. We knew that. We said it.

We said it over and over again so many time that we decided that it should be the title of our little musical duo's first EP: Separate Events. That part may still come true.

But what happened, quite obviously, is that we forged ahead, anyway. We spoke to how dumb it was to let one be the cause of the other, and we did it all the same. And now we're in a relationship that is deeply polluted by feelings of anger and regret over the way my marriage ended.

Except that we're just barely in a relationship at all, in so many ways. We live together, have combined finances, and raise our son together. But we don't sleep together -- in the literal sense or the more suggestive one-- we barely touch or kiss, and most of our more substantive conversations are about how unlikely it is we'll make it, and how unhappy each of us our.

It's not that we've given up; we haven't. But, for me, at least, 75% of the reason we're still together is that there really just isn't anything better out there for me. I hate Maine, and only live here because of Dan, and because I've always wanted to buy my parents house. (I get that hating Maine should take away from that. Truly, I do. More on that irony in some future post. Or I believe, in some past one.) None of my friends live in Maine, and the most important person in the world to me, aside from Ezra, I guess, lives 3,000 miles away, right where I left him.

If Dan and I broke up, I would be bound to Maine through the joint custody arrangement. I would have lost him, the only person who lives here that I have a significant bond to (with the exception of Jeff, who lives an hour away and, I believe, intends to leave this state eventually). So I'd be even more alone here than I already am. My parents are planning on selling their house in a two years or so, but without Dan's income to combine with mine, I would not be able to afford it. So I would lose-- heartbreakingly-- the only thing I ever actually wanted here, and the relationship that brought me back here. The person I consider my family would still be 3,000 miles away, but I would have to stay here, with no one aside from my son to make it somehow worth it. And I'd be a part-time, single parent. Which...I like being a parent, to an extent. But I don't like being alone with my son for any length of time. It's very stressful.

Dan and I love each other. We don't work, but we love each other. And I guess, despite the fighting and the completely separate ideals and the totally disparate world's better than the picture I just painted. Alone, trapped, burdened and homeless.

I don't seem to have a way to wrap this up. To put a neat little bow on it. (I'm talking about the post here, not my life, though I could understand the confusion.) It's just been a shitty night, as they often are.

I don't feel like this post accomplished anything. None of this is anything I haven't said before. It hurts to say the same thing over and over again and never get to a point of realization-- which I guess was my mistake, the begin with. Naming an EP after a concept isn't really the same as letting the truth of it set in.

This blog is supposed to be about me working through things, but this post just feels like banging my head against a wall. It's all things I've said and felt and thought before, and it doesn't get me anywhere. I guess because saying that you're trapped out loud doesn't magically release you: I feel trapped because I am. I feel trapped because there's nothing I can do.

Oh, conviction! That's why I feel bad about this post...because I never wandered my way back to the point in the beginning.

I wrote in that post, however long ago, that the thing a relationship really needs to stay afloat is the absolute conviction of it's participants. Resolute commitment to each other. This, I do not have.

If I could just make up my mind, once and for all, to be where I am, to be with who I'm with, to make a family out of this lose grouping of people...well, it would help. It's not clear to me how much. Dan and I are so different, I don't know how well we'd ever be able to get past that. If someone could just show me a pie chart of how many of our troubles are really about us, and how many are about circumstances, and how many are about the fact that I'm not totally in this...I mean, if the numbers lined up right, I could be convinced to change my mind, I guess.

But it's hard, the second time around. It's hard to not look at his faults and think, "Am I going to be able to stand that in ten years? Or is it just going to be something that I'm bitter with my friends about over drinks?" Still, even that I could overlook.

In reality, it's just hard to love anyone that way again. I don't know how much of it is fear of the vulnerability of real belief, having had it once and lost it, and how much of it is just the fact that, really, so much of me is still in love with Zack.

It seems that conviction, once lost, still has a unique staying power: maybe my trouble isn't so much the lack of conviction for my life now, but ridding myself of the bitter traces of the old stuff. The ghost of convictions past will haunt you, wherever you go.

I'm tired, and don't know how much of this made sense, but the Dickens reference feels pithy enough to end on. So there we have it. Day 6.

On with it.

(Edit: If you didn't follow the link to the original conviction post, I would highly suggest doing it. I just went back and read it now. Not only is it, in my opinion, one of the most poignant pieces of writing I've done to date, but in the end, it is oddly prophetic. It ties in to this a lot more cleanly than I expected it to. That is all.)