Tuesday, January 1, 2008
The gout’s been acting up lately. This has been and on and off issue since I turned forty. Normally, it’s dormant. The occasional flare-up is usually dispatched with a prescription anti-inflammatory. Not tonight. It’s 3 am on the first day of 2008, and getting to sleep with something that feels akin to a broken toe has proven impossible.
I’ve wanted to be thin again for a while, and the good news, I suppose, is that this month I’ve been losing weight like a cancer victim. Two new belt notches in five weeks. Impressive. I wish I could say this has been achieved through macrobiotics and aerobic exercise, but the truth is, I’m smoking again and my appetite has pretty much gone to hell.
Call it divorce as a weight-loss strategy. Very effective, but not especially recommended.
These last few sentences represent a blogospheric crossing of the Rubicon. A few months ago — during the whole Unite to Extend Homelesness flap — I was talking to Rosette and Cyd about the complexities of saying what I really think.
“There’s things that I just wouldn’t write about,” I said.
“Like what,” challenged Cyd.
I paused. “My fucked up marriage.”
We all stared at each other for a moment. And then we changed the subject.
This is why emotional firewalls exist. Reality is sometimes awkward.
But now, the shape of my intimate life, or lack thereof, has become widely known. Word is out in all directions. The failure is public.
Separation — defined by me at the moment as the state of being done, with all other decisions yet to be made — looks like a room in an unusually monastic college dorm.
I live midway between home and work. Most days I drive in both directions. Holbrook Road running into 15th is my life's artery.
I am in a church building. There is a bed, a desk, a reading lamp, and a space heater. I sleep beneath a comforter and a thirty-year-old quilt made by my grandmother. I have thirteen books and my guitar. There is a photo of my kids. I have my laptop. Open wireless networks abound.
This, for a little while, is enough.
The absence of inessentials has, in some ways, returned me to myself. This, as you might imagine, is a mixed bag.
The dissolution of a twenty-year relationship is about as big as it gets. For me, the question isn’t why it’s over. That seems clear. The more interesting problem is why we continued.
Almost fifteen years ago, after a very rocky period, we made up by getting married. There were some good years and some very bad ones. Seven years ago, we could have divorced, but decided to have kids instead. Then, we bought a house, even as I privately wondered how long we could last.
Why do we do the things we do?
I suppose we get used to it. We fear change. We accommodate. Not an especially honest way to live, but hardly unique.
And then, one day, generally at a time not of one’s choosing, it just stops working altogether.
When my lifelong ADHD was diagnosed a year ago and Adderall entered the picture, it was immediately clear the game had changed. There would, I knew, be a renegotiation.
Few readers of this blog will be surprised to hear that I am easily bored and have a large personality. This used to come and go, but was mitigated by a certain amount of withdrawn distractibility.
Since the diagnosis, I’m “on” most of the time. From my own perspective, this has been wonderful. I am less overwhelmed. As the noise in my head has subsided, I notice and appreciate people in ways that once escaped me. I am becoming who I am, and feel more like “me.”
In some ways, that works out well. In others, not so much.
Life is change. Often, it’s for the best, but that doesn’t make it easy. 2008, for me, will be a year of renegotiation and rebuilding. Life’s a river. I’m in it.