This was originally written a month or so ago, but with digitally raised eyebrows wondering what the hell is going on, I think it’s time to post this publicly.
After 15 years of marriage and 18 years of being “Josh-and-Ivonne”, we have decided to be simply Josh and simply Ivonne.
I’m sure there are a lot of rumors flying around; that’s fine. But as in any difficult and complicated situation, please know that there are a myriad of facets that even we don’t quite comprehend. I have hesitated to say anything, really, because of the gravity that warps the space around us. I have to remind myself, though: The view from beyond the event horizon is one of stopped time, perpetually visible, constantly illusory.
Yet the second hand still ticks.
I like to tell the story of how Ivonne and I met. My on-and-off girlfriend at the time called me to tell me she was bringing a friend home from the club that night and wanted to know how I felt about it. My relationship with Morrigan had become terribly corrosive, so my dismissal was swift and unapologetic; I made no effort to make myself presentable let alone give any amount of fucks. But then Ivonne walked in.
Two weeks later we started our lives. I had nothing but whatever trinkets and clothes I’d managed to salvage from a year and a half of abject irresponsibility and drug use, so I packed them in a single bag, grabbed my guitar, and chucked them both in the back of Ivonne’s car idling by the light post about a block down from my newly now-ex-girlfriend’s house. It was as simple as that.
Nobody thought this was a good idea. Not her friends, not my friends, not our families, nobody, until they saw us together. A few weeks before she moved away, her sister took me aside and tearfully, genuinely, expressed sincere gratitude that Ivonne had found someone that was perfect for her, someone who had patience and kindness and appreciation for who she was and who she had yet to become; she just wanted me to know that we had, as unorthodox and kooky as we were, her entire family’s support and that nobody was worried anymore. They knew Ivonne was in good hands, that she was finally happy.
And she was. We were. For a long time. But not the forever we expected.
Ivonne and I have lived our lives very publicly, from LiveJournal to Facebook and a myriad of other social media outlets, so it shouldn’t be a shock to anyone that we’ve had our fair share of brilliance and despair. We’ve moved cross-country twice, lost and made friends, lost and found jobs, finally found sobriety, and made the most amazing human to ever walk this earth – and that’s just a cursory back-flap summary of what would be an epic trilogy in its own right, adventures that would crush the spirit of any mortal couple and we’ve been anything but that.
But even the greatest of heroes have their weakest spots. Ours were these: We took our strength for granted; we forewent vulnerability in favor of posture; we let resentments salt our earth; we fed others when we needed to feed ourselves. And lest these distillations invite schadenfreude or the tsk-tsk’ing of the less fortunate, may I remind you of the truth: What we had was and remains magical.
Within that sorcery, though – hope, love, and red flags. Pain and anguish, hurt and resentment. Ships passing in the night. Reaching out to grab one another’s hands only to miss by a finger’s breadth. Begging for words, unable to speak. The disillusionment of knowing what’s possible. A Chrysalis. Then another. Growth, movement, and strength, only to be dragged back into the maelstrom by insecurity and depression. Alcoholism. Pride. Bodies breaking on the rocks. An entire world on fire that burns to the edge of a tempestuous ocean. Silence. Now, breath.
Here’s what I will not have: Judgement. There’s not a soul in this universe that can hold space for what we’ve done, who we are, what we’ve attempted, and where we’ve landed. If you feel you have the full view of the landscape, you are horribly mistaken. We are two people who love each other very much, who have bled for each other, who have bandaged each other, who have recognized that we stand on different paths. And in all of this, our goals are simple: Be happy. Be good parents. Heal. Grow.
So if you have something negative to say about her, our choices, our paths, or our futures, there’s the door. Ivonne is a phenomenal person who gave more than she ever should have to bring us home to safe harbor. She struggled, she fought, she wept and bled, she bore emotional burdens that were meant for me while she waited and waited and waited and waited and waited… and she deserved more than what she received. Yet, so did I.
My life is changed because of her. She is and will always be a light in the darkness. We are transforming right now; into what, we don’t know. It is my sincere hope that we will remain connected in our own unorthodox and unassailable fashion, yet as we grow, please give us the respect and dignity that such tumult requires by allowing compassion and understanding to envelop all three of us as we transition to a new phase of our lives.
It’s nobody’s fault. There’s no guilty party. But Ivonne said it best: We’ve still got plenty left to say.
I feel like I can breathe. Today was the first session I had with my new therapist since, well, yeah. I think this move – the changing of hands, I mean – was a good one. That’s not a knock on my previous guy ’cause he helped me get where I am today, but recognizing that you need more is a self-care signpost and I’m glad I paid attention.
Spanish class started in earnest this week; this is the last half-term of the four-classes-in-a-row juggernaut of the second-language requirement of my degree and having focused exclusively on a foreign tongue for the last six months, I’m looking forward to having this done. I love the language, the people, the culture – and of course, the food – but I’ll be glad to switch it up and move on. I have some decisions to make there, too. Gotta figure it out, and quick.
I’ve got a lot of things to figure out, really, with nothing more detrimental than indecision. I have much to meditate on there.
The last few days haven’t been good, emotionally. I haven’t been in a good place. I’m feeling like I can pull myself out of that now, but I have to act. I have to move. I have to progress. I see that now.
Just a quick note here, ’cause I’m not really in the mood to do a bunch of out-laying.
I’m not in a very good headspace and I gotta work out of it.
You know what, tonight I’m gonna sit in it. Tomorrow I’m going to dive into music and Spanish class. Fuck this shit.
It’s about 2:00 AM on Sunday morning; I got back from Ascension about an hour ago. I’ve got a flurry of thoughts in my head about how best to use this time, this energy, this place for creative outlets. Funny how seeing Robin and Julie do their thing made me crave the stage. That’s another thing I just kinda let go, but I’m not going to let the guilt creep in. Here we are, let’s work with what we have. So, I decided to take some old Irulan tracks that Spencer and I worked on and give them a revamp, an ensprucening. I’m hopeful that gives me a platform to stand on. It has before, it will again. They’re old to me, but nobody’s ever really heard them, so fuck it. Let’s go.
We had a long talk today and it felt fruitful. I need to be careful, though, that I don’t read into the warmth that follows understanding. We seem to agree on most of the major building blocks and I believe her when she says she doesn’t want this to get nasty. I don’t either. The thing is, despite the potential for bullshittery, I trust her. I know she has her own, and Reza’s, and – in her own way – my best interests at heart.
She revealed a few things today that were important for me to hear and I let her know how kind it was for her to do so. I know it wasn’t easy for her; god knows she doesn’t want to relive the things that cause her pain. But I need to hear them just as much as she needs to say them because I don’t want to be left with a nebula of misunderstanding and supposition. That’s not cool to me. It felt good, though, to talk without hedging, to speak without bracing, to be tactful yet direct about very deep wounds. I need to be careful here, too: If I’ve hashed it out once, no need to revisit. This isn’t a dissection, this is a clearing of air, and no justice is done by cutting open the veins. Address it, speak your mind, then move on because you both need to heal and neither of you can if you keep picking.
I’m sad tonight. It felt good get out, but the sadness remains.
I’m going to go on a hike this morning, so I need to try to get some sleep. We’ll see.
… and the corner is turned.
She’s gone. Emotionally, spiritually, empathetically, she’s gone. She’s been gone for a while now, I just didn’t see it. For the last (almost) two weeks, I’ve stopped trying to retain it, to get it back; it’s clear now that I wasn’t going to succeed and that I didn’t have a chance. I just want her to go so I can mourn and heal and grow.
There’s only so much asking a person can do before the silence becomes an answer. This has been a phenomenal growth process, though, and I’m a much better person for it. I recognize now what I deserve, that I’ve put my feelings and needs on the back burner for so long, completely losing myself in the process. I have played the long game, provided patience, kindness, love, appreciation, devotion, acceptance, forgiveness, empathy, and hope, only to be met with distance, dissonance, rejection, admonishment, fear, anxiety, silence, and doubt.
(No, that’s not all I was met with. Yes, I understand that. But I’m at the anger stage and some of this shit just isn’t right. It’s not.)
Bottom line is, I refuse to be second best to the idea in your head.
So, go. Please. I need to grieve.
I’m starting to see a bit of light.
I try very hard to be objective, to seek the recognition of the reality in situations where I am predisposed to blindness, either through atrophy or willfulness, assuming I know where those blind spots are. And in many cases, I simply become aware that I am ridiculously unaware. That used to bother me, not having the answers; I’ve historically subscribed to the idea that there is an unassailable truth in all things, whether we see them or not, and if the truth can be divined, we do ourselves a disservice not attempting to seek it. Of course I see the fallacy in both the subscription and the attempt, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.
What I’ve come to appreciate over the years, is that we all have our own truths – that your truth is different than my truth – and they are all equally correct. The truth of your pain isn’t affected by the truth of my hope, because while they can see each other they have no impact except to debase and resent each other’s presence. How can your hope exist when my pain is so great? How can your pain remain when I hope?
And in this we become blinded by the mask of intention. My intentions are kind, but yours are misguided – because you can’t see the whole of my truth. So why, then, are we punished for our blindness?
It’s a curious notion that I need to contemplate more, because understanding creates balance for me, an acceptance that moves beyond simply knowing a thing to embracing a thing, forgiving a thing, loving a thing – simply for its purity.
Why does this matter? Because I’m starting to understand.
(Side note: Explore the idea that growth is always linear when viewing the past, but never linear when assessing the future.)
Understanding is different than justification, of assuaging one’s perspective and massaging it to feed our ego. I do that sometimes. But when we’re finally able to plumb the depths of that understanding to find the base – that spotless, infinite, and invariable glass of our conscience – understanding can rest there without fear.
And what do I understand?
That I really had no idea. That truth changes, through will and chaos. That the quest for understanding without achieving it is, itself, the understanding that creates awareness. Wonderfully circular, isn’t it? In other words, we have to be blind before we can see. There is no other way.
I don’t think I like that last aphorism. It sounds too biblical. But it’ll stay.
I dunno. I need to build confidence in my thought processes again. I need to think more. Because the more I think, the more I come to recognize the truths in all of this.
I started riding again a few days ago. It’s felt really good. I about had a heart attack riding up Washington today, but I did it, and now that I know I can do it, I can’t not do it. So I think I’ll be riding my bike to AA from now on, ’cause that’s just dumb not to, especially with the parking situation in the new space.
I’ve got to jump on some work this week in preparation for heading to Santa Rosa next week. On one hand it feels nice to get back to it, but on the other, damn it’s been awesome not having to stress it. I’ve had plenty of other things on my mind, frankly. I’d hate to have had to navigate this while trying to hold down the work front. In that, this couldn’t have been better timed. Weird, I know.
I feel gross physically. I’ve let myself go and I’m keenly aware. I don’t have a lot of confidence in this space at all and I really want to. I’m going to need to, one way or the other.
And that’s the other thing, as I wax philosophical about linear progress: I have by no means been strictly linear in any of this, but I’m starting to see classic themes emerge. Right now, I’m bargaining, I’m still denying some things. But I’m recognizing certain actions, small tokens that would once have brought hope or a desire for more, as clear signs that I’m just now coming up to speed to what has been a reality for months. I’ll get to acceptance which will bring kindness and resolve in it’s wake… get to being the operative phrase.
I know this, though. I am still heartbroken and I will be for a very long time. But it’s almost time to get off the mat.
I’m sitting on my couch on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The day looks bright outside, but I haven’t opened the curtains. Abul Mogard was playing on Ivonne’s computer while she was in our room on the phone. Reza is eating something in her room; I can hear the spoon on porcelain.
I’m reading about the timeline of the far future, when continents collide to form neopangeanic mega-continents, when Aldeberan finally embraces its own death in a supernova visible in a daytime sky, when the sun expands to a size that will force the habitable zone toward Mars, heating the surface of the earth to a mere 2,000 degrees, when the heat death of the universe precedes the perfect environment for quantum tunneling that results in a new big bang, creating a new universe identical to our own.
I hope that means identical physics, not history. I can’t bear the thought of my future self having to do this again.