I am currently in my 9th state. I drove through Illinois, Indiana, and am now tucked in for the night in Akron, Ohio. This is my third Motel 6. The first was in Salt Lake City and was pretty bottom of the barrel - recall the bottle opener within reach of the toilet. The second was a more high end Motel 6 - no bottle opener, several stories and obviously only a few years old. This one is somewhere in the middle. There is a bottle opener in this one, as the first, but it's been updated and attached to the vanity outside the bathroom. But, it's clean, has a television and clean sheets.
Today was a longer drive day, but went very quickly for some reason, even though there was a lot of road work - I'd say at least 100 miles of 45 mph. I was primarily occupied by two things: an audible book by Marc Maron, narrated by the author; and a silent dialogue between several moods. These two occupations are blood relations.
First, Marc Maron. Maron is a comedian. He's been through a lot. He's tortured. Recovering cocaine addict and alcoholic. Rage-oholic. Seems a bit preoccupied by his penis. Porn. Himself. He's Jewish and he inherited his father's bi polar mood disorder. If you placed a piece of tracing paper of his life over mine, or my life over his, there would emerge a recognizable constellation.
My ex-fiancee Aaron used to say that it was really satisfying to make me laugh out loud because it was so rare. I am amused a lot. I smile at funny things. But, I have a very particular sort of sense of humor. I mention this because I think the book is worth it* just for the chapter on his feral cats. I laughed out loud for the entire bit - despite being one sorry sack for most of today.
Second, me. So, I laughing at Maron's feral cat bit. It felt weird. Inappropriate. I tried to resist. It was too funny. I laughed. I resisted. I watched the whole process from a perspective in my mind that I've been trying to locate for many weeks now. It's a place of guilt and frustration. A place of watching and censoring any feelings of happiness, contentment or relief. When Maron moved on, I kept listening, but I was spiraling more and more inside the stern place. Letting it overtake me, come out of the shadows and be me. It wanted that. It was satisfied.
I was identified with aversive mind. Resistant and bitter. An outcast. Cast out of my family and my home. Old feelings from my childhood comingling with the script I'd just played out with my RDP ("registered domestic partner"). The same script. The ecstasy and the tragedy.
It's easy to feel frustrated and bitter at your ex. If you've been following along this trip of mine, you know that I've indulged myself in a little rant and rave about my RDP. I know that this is normal. Expected. After all, my RDP is certainly and currently thrashing about in the entitlement of victimization. I've witnessed my friends and co-workers engaged in the blame game. Blaming their ex or blaming themselves. Or both. A ouroboros of indulgent self-pity and guilt.
My standard response is, "It takes two. It's best to take responsibility for your own part and move on. Compassion is key." In other words, I judge them. And, I'm judging myself by appropriating my RDP's current state of mind -- I am the guilty one. I deserve to be treated like a perpetrator. She must see something about myself that I don't see. I must be narcissistic or sociopathic. I just can't see the worse about myself. She should treat me this way. I am manipulative and dishonest. Insincere. I did use her.
Ridiculous self-loathing but for me, it's either that or blame her for being an oppressive, controlling jerk. One or the other. It's either her or me. It's a war and one of us will win. It hurt so much inside my mind that I couldn't laugh without feeling guilty, undeserving.
I called my therapist, Theresa.
When I finally reached New Windsor, New York, and my ex-girlfriend, Laura, I'd talked to Theresa who, in no uncertain terms, reminded me that this wasn't a game of war. That the only thing I was missing about myself was that I was in the best possible position for myself. That I'd made good choices about my own self-care. My best interests. That my RDP had scared herself and was thereby scaring me.
My mind gave way. The solid point of stern, aversive mind relaxed. The internal charlie-horse had been fed a bit of psychological banana. I'm not saying that I'm all better now. I've moved past the solidity of my self-abnegation, and am now watching my mind play with the concept of self-care. That it is ok to put my best interests in front of the pack. To let my best interests lead the sled. Make decisions. Find the home I lost 35 years ago. Let it go.
I'm beginning to allow my faith in refuge to emerge. This is my Buddhist training at work. My 13 years of Buddhist training; a solid foundation in the reality of the inevitably of change, the reality of suffering and the stillness of surrender. Acceptance. Not to the fear of my RDP, or to my own fear. Rather, my surrender to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. To take refuge in the only way to live that has ever made any sense to all of me - including my mind's tendency toward the sadistic. Mindfulness. Wisdom. Compassion. For all beings, including my RDP. Including me.
My best interests? What a concept.
(more in the morning...falling asleep...)