We have a name for those guys in AA who do nothing but carouse about their exes. They are called bards. I guess the idea is that they are like Hamlet holding Yorick's skull, again espousing one of his endless soliloquies. I almost never speak about Juliann and, in that vain, I am going to try to make this one of the last of my entries to discuss her and our past.
a few weeks ago I had a terrible dream. I tend to have these about once a month. I am steeped in my alcoholism, I am vacant, vapid, nothing can reach me. from the outside juliann is pleading with me. come back to me nick. please come back. she is in tears. sometimes she is far away or in some house I cannot get into (or she is outside and I cannot get out). I woke up from my last dream at 4am and, I just couldn't get back to sleep. I lay there. I cried. I beat myself up. I felt awful. eventually I did what I try not to do. I texted juliann to say how sorry I was. that I knew what I had done. what I had ruined and that I was just so sorry.
she responded a day later via email. she told me that she no longer wants me to have dreams like that, that she is in a good place now and that she holds no anger or resentment. she also said that, per her therapist, she thinks its best to cutoff all contact so that we can properly heal. of course my therapist had said that over a year and a half ago. in the face of my insistence that juliann and I would be friends moving forward he (and apparently her therapist) casually said that that was simply not possible. too much had transpired.
he was right and so was her therapist. so I agreed, I wrote back that I would break off all contact and that, from here on out, I would just try to dream of roquefort. I completely agree it's the right course of action, but it still hurts and it is hard. I mean, I was with her throughout pretty much all of my adult life. how do you break something like that off? my brother said it was a good time because we were both in a good place, he noted it would have been so much harder if one of us broke off in anger.
he's right. in truth, my ability to deal with the whole divorce was severely retarded by my alcohol and drug abuse. in an effort to not have to deal with it I enveloped myself in the haze of abuse. then, I had to take a year just to get out of that haze (and not die in the process). only THEN, over the past half year or so, could I start to come to terms with my past and understand it. so I have been doing that, but now I need to move onto the hardest phase. that of forgiveness.
forgiveness is one of the most powerful actions in the world. I truly believe that. it is powerful not only because it involves forbearance but also because it sets you free. shame, regret and guilt are powerful societal tools. the ability to wield them against someone can be devastating (think of someone who doesn't let you live down that one time you screwed them). sure, they may be ineffective against psycho or sociopaths but those are very few and far between. for the other 99% of humanity, no matter how much people insist it doesn't, I think those three emotions have a profound effect.
so when you have the ability to wield that devastating weapon and you decide to forebear upon its use, well that is true power. it's like in Schindler's list when Oscar Schindler tells Amon goeth that the most powerful person in the world is the person who doesn't use their power. forgiveness is a way of saying, I could, but I choose not to, I choose to not only free you, but also, free myself.
and it is the latter part that is really the most important. I understand that there may be situations where you just can't forgive, I mean how does a child forgive a parent who sexually assaults them? or any other multitude of horrific crimes. but it is possible. and it is liberating for the person who does forgive. but this is not about forgiving someone else, no, no, this one is much harder. this is about forgiving yourself. myself.
you see, it is far, far harder to forgive yourself. because you still have to live with yourself. you are still yourself. one of the implicit assumptions in forgiveness is that you can move on, this is something much easier to do when you can cutoff ties and pursue another life, sometimes only vaguely reminded of that person through a smell, a sight, a sound. but when you are that person? and you are you all day and all night long, well that is impossible.
but it is so important to forgive yourself. because you need to free yourself. there is a great line in the wire from bubbles, he says, "Ain't no shame in holding on to grief, as long as you make room for other things too"
hell the entire scene is so powerful, I will just leave the link here, there is no way I can express myself that eloquently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7qisQrpqUE