If I Look Back I Am Lost


The argument was hurtful, filled with tears that flowed wet and hot through the phone and into my ears. She called me names while choking on sobs. I pretended not to cry… because at that moment she needed it me to swallow my emotions, my thoughts… her truths. And I did. I was in too much pain to speak anyway… Few things hurt more than knowing that someone you love is falling apart, and you can do nothing to hold her together.

I can’t give you much detail, my Wicked Luvs, for the story is not wholly mine. But I can say that one of my best friends feels like she lost everything. Her marriage of seven years lost its footing and fell to pieces. She called me for support, to scream at someone who wouldn’t hit back, to rage in safety, to do all those things we do when living brings us so much pain that we start wondering if we didn’t die sometime back but failed to notice.

“How did you do it? How did you wake up every day knowing he was gone? How did you get out of bed?” She coughed, and then continued asking the same questions in different ways. “How did you come to work smiling?”

I let her vent. It was a must… After a few seconds of silence, I told her, “There were days when I didn’t. Or when I was smiling to hide tears. This is normal. It’s supposed to hurt. As soon as we agree to love another, we are agreeing to hurt, too, you know? It’s just the way things are. Life is a thread of paradoxes that must be lived forward… and in a case by case basis.”

“Don’t treat me like I’m one of your little blog people. I know you. Nothing hurts you. Nothing. I saw you every day. I watched you with clients, laughing with them. You were fine after Jacob. I saw you. I know I’m weaker than you. I’m okay being weaker. But don’t treat me like I’m stupid.”

Yesterday, as my friend yelled at her ex through my ears, I didn’t try to explain to her that I didn’t think she was stupid. That I don’t befriend stupid people—I can’t; they drive me nuts, and I spend half my day thinking about ways to slap them rational. I gave my friend some time… allowed her some free insults, too… many ugly words. Because that’s what friends do for each other; not kick while the other is down and vulnerable, but soothe.

Then, once the storm has past and the hurt has settled, friends give each other the truth softly… even if the gentle facts hit them like a truck in the ribs. So to my friend, I say:

Like the Water Dancer tells Arya Stark while he’s teaching her how to fight, “Watching is not seeing, dead girl.”

The day I realized Jacob and I were not going to make it as a couple, at least not without taking some radical measures, I thought I was going to die. Smiling was nearly impossible.
 A year after that, I had to force myself to focus on me, and not on how I felt without my husband. Remember that half-marathon we ran on heels and wearing make up? That was my Trying to Reclaim Magaly Day. But even then, my smiles were broken.
 Then when the divorce was final… I cried until my face was red and hot. I spent many months… perhaps a few years… looking flushed and shiny-eyed as I forced myself to smile at the world.
 A lot of time had to go by before I truly smiled… before I was happy with myself… before I decided that my heart was full enough of anything worth sharing with another.
Yes, today I’m extremely happy with Jacob. The only difficult thing is not smiling like a lunatic all day.
 But I grinned, laughed, giggled, smiled and was very happy without him, too.
 Just because you feel that your life is over, it doesn’t mean that it actually is. Jacob and I are careful to remember all the things that went wrong the first and the second time… we do our best to keep them from happening again. We think and rethink, analyze and reconsider, recall and learn from our falls… Our past is our best weapon. But it took some time before we understood that…

Right now, I’m happy with Jacob and happiest with myself. 
But there was a time when, like Daenerys Targaryen, my only thought was: “If I look back I am lost.” Your time for love-grieving, for analyzing the past, and for being ‘happiest’ will come. Often times, we need to give time some time… before Fate will consider giving us another chance…

I’m sorry you are hurting right now. It will pass. If it doesn’t, it will at least change. Oh, and next time I call you, be sure to make an effort to pick yourself up a bit. Or I promise to quote A Game of Thrones until my “annoying habit” drives you berserk. Think I’m kidding? Try me. I’m not above Moby Dick torture. I might even sink low enough to fling a few Leviticus bombs your way. Boom, baby, boom ;-)  

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56 comments:

  1. That's some quality friendship right there.

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    1. She is a great friend to have. And when she's not dying inside, she is the most understanding, helpful, and merry woman in the world. I can't wait to have her being herself again; until then, I'll do my best to help her remember.

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  2. Well done friend :D XXX

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    1. I've learned from the best ;-)

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  3. A true friend indeed...
    Mind you...I did have a mini heart attack when reading this as I thought you had split up with Jacob!!
    I didn't realise the history of you two.... Thank the darkness that you two are still together.....
    I think I need a cup of tea to calm my nerves...LOL.. xxx

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    1. Sorry about the "mini heart attack," I totally understand. Missing a couple of months of posts can be a bit confusing. Jacob and I still going strong, and I have a feeling it will remain that way for a long, long, long time ;-)

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    2. Truly happy to hear that Magaly xxx

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    3. And I'm extremely happy to be able able to write it ;-)

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  4. Now that is low...Leviticus bombs??!! Argh!! Ha!!
    You conveyed her pain and your pain so well! I hurt for you both...yours is past and she is just entering in. I remember mine! Sigh!
    Today is the other side...filled with joy and satisfaction!!
    Hugging you both
    SueAnn

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    1. We worked on a CDC project together, and we always found people in front of our building holding up sign quoting Leviticus. I used to shake my head (and sometimes laugh) but the people's action really bothered my friend. To the point that once or twice she would stop to argue with them. When she came inside (still heated from the exchange) I would run around the office shouting quotes from Leviticus (and making gagging sounds) until she laughed. It always worked ;-)

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  5. This is why i love you! You are full of passion and yet so caring and understanding!
    I hope by now you are totally pain free and back to chirping and dancing!
    Lots of hugs and love coming your way!!

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    1. Today, I'm not in pain physically or emotional--it feels good. When I catch up with my writing, I might even go a do a little dancing. I found a Swing group, and I think it will be a blast ;-)

      Hugs right back at you. And kisses for your wee goddess!

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  6. Oh healing time, dear enemy of mine. It has taken me several years to get over my last failed relationship. Not the man himself, but what the relationship had done to me. Still today, 5 years later, I struggle with certain issues that I didn't have before. Some of the pain will disappear, some of it will change you. But this is certain; The sun will continue to rise and time, life, love - and even you - will go on.

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    1. Healing takes a long time, and it does changes us. Sometimes we get lucky and the change is for the better, other times, well... And you are absolutely right on the "not the man himself, but what the relationship had done." That is the reason why we need to heal the self before we can even think about any kind of relationship with someone else.

      Life goes on... not in the same way, but it is still sweet ;-)

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  7. No . . . no . . . NOT MOBY-DICK!!!

    There is no pain like the pain of heartbreak. Best wishes to your friend as she travels that difficult path.

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    1. And if I feel particularly ruthless I will go straight for Leviticus 18:22. Yeah, bad to the bone ;-)

      Indeed, heartbreak does something to the body and mind, which no other thing can accomplish. The only good thing about that is that the effects of heartbreak are not always bad.

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  8. You are a true friend. What a novelty in this spot in time for your friend. She is indeed fortunate to have a well balanced friend who can take what isn't directed at you and be there. Not many can...or will.
    Now to the spot on timing of your post, which happens so many times. My Shelley needs to read this post, today. It is perfect timing for her hearts ache.
    The universe has spoken once again through your lovely lips and words.
    I agree with Debra....not Moby Dick!!!!!!
    Oma Linda

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    1. I have this crone friend (who I love with all my heart) who talked to me about time... I listened to the lesson and put it away in my heart, but I didn't quite understand it until the right time. I hope Shelley experiences the same.

      Many hugs, my Oma Linda ;-)

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  9. OK, I'm totally confused. Jacob is your Piano Man? You were married to him before? I thought he was a new guy when you got together.

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    1. I think you've skipped a few months of posts. That can make things a bit confusing. Jacob is not the Piano Man, but he plays the guitar and a mean game of hacky sack, does that count?

      Just kidding.

      Jacob and I were married, and our story is long (and painful at times). These two posts might clarify some things:

      http://pagan-culture.blogspot.com/2012/10/jacob.html
      http://pagan-culture.blogspot.com/2012/10/a-witchs-new-year-in-bible-belt.html

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    2. Well, I'm all caught up now having read and skimmed through about three months of posts except for the big gap between the Piano Man suggesting a date for your formal engagement and you leaving NY to join Jacob. Wow, I can't believe I missed all this! But then I missed many post from many blogs while we're so working nose to the grindstone to finish those two big walls the last four months of last year. I did read some of those but just never snapped that Jacob was not the Piano Man. So how did you two reconnect?

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    3. I wrote another post saying how we reconnected, but, um... I can't remember the title lol.

      When the topic of marriage came up, I knew I couldn't do it without speaking to Jacob first. I was afraid of talking to Jacob, he was afraid of speaking to me, too. We knew (or suspected) what would happen... we were never any good at staying away from each other, but we always kept our word--some time back I made him promise that he would not try to get me back or talk to me. He did. And then we talked... and the rest is history.

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  10. I am just truly amazed that you can recall such appropriate quotes from such a*huge* work, so easily! (easily = not having to re-read the entire book to find one quote)

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    1. If you lived with me or talk to me on the phone often, your "amazed" might change to "annoyed," too. I started quoting books (sometimes really inappropriate quotes) just to recite them for people who felt the need of quoting the Bible every three seconds. It's quite funny, if I may say so myself.

      On the remembering bit, I'm pretty lucky. If I really like a piece of writing, I can remember parts of it for a long, long, long time.

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  11. Oh yes, I remember a time in my life when every breath I took hurt, fortuantely I had a woman I worked with who understood and listened. Twenty years ago now and it has changed. Now instead of longing for him, I'm sad to say I despise him.

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    1. This is one of the reasons why I wrote this post and emailed my friend with the following message: "Keep an eye on the comments. I promise you that this has happened to many others. I'm not the only one who survived and is now okay."

      Life is easier to live when we can see that we are not alone.

      I understand the going from "longing" to "despis[sing]" I've been there, too. Not with a partner, but other relationships in my life. Sometimes despising is healing. Even if some might believe that you have to forget...

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  12. Please keep quoting G.R.R. Martin. And thank you again for your wonderful words. I am supporting my own dear friend through a trial of the husband as well so I am glad to hear another story of struggle and change. As always you are a goddess-send!

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    1. Be careful what you ask for, or I might let my entire Tyrion go wild. I do love George R. R. Martin's brain; sexy, dark and bloody has never been so... um, kingly lol

      I wish your friend (and you) the strength to go through this. It isn't an easy place to be.

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  13. Magaly, you are truly a great friend and this friend of yours is lucky to have you.

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    1. I try to be. It's not so hard when you have such great friends ;-)

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  14. Magaly, you are truly a great friend! A friend who cares and speaks from the heart! I don't why things happen, but I guess it's what we learn out of them and how we grow afterwards ;o) Big Hugs to you and your friend ;o)

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    1. I have great friends, too. Just look at yourself in the mirror... see? They are also beautiful ;-)

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  15. I forgot a word! Sorry!
    In the sentence, "I don't why things happen, should be, I don't know why things happen ;o)

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  16. You are, indeed, strong...even through the times when you feel as if you'll die....you don't, and you come out even stronger :)

    You are incredible!

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    1. You know, I don't think I'm stronger than most, I'm just very lucky to have a lot of friends to hold me up when I need them too ;-)

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  17. Anonymous1/24/2013

    I'm sorry to hear your friend is so hurt. I hope that her pain subsides so she can see her own strength.
    And when she can hear it remind her that people in blog land are not "little" we are people just like her who hurt too.

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    1. My friend is going through a lot, and I've noticed that sometimes when people are hurting they say things they don't mean. They want to hurt others, not so much because they mean it, but because hurting alone sucks... and it clouds the mind. She knows how important my blog friends are to me (it makes her a bit jealous sometimes). The bit about "little blog people" was just a low jab that I suspect will keep her apologizing for a while. She already started... ;-)

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  18. I can't imagine what it would be to go through something like that with a friend. I didn't. Both times. But alone or not it's a trauma that you truly never get over. Smile? Yeah, I smiled. I had to ~ like you I had responsibilities but as many smiles as I showed there were tankers full of heartache on the other side. We're just taught to go on and so we do ~ even when we want to give up and believe me I did.
    You move on, broken, and slowly, very slowly, learn to rebuild yourself, your life, your dreams. It doesn't come in that order ~ it doesn't come in any order. You catch yourself playing things over-an-over in your head and one day say "that's enough". You're not the same and neither are they ~ your dreams. But it happens one day (even though it feels like an eternity later) when you finally look back through all the tears, all the pain, all the devastation and think wow... I wouldn't have changed a thing. But getting there? Holy crap it's a storm and a half.
    The tears, the pain, the lack of hope, the fear... they all wind up being the stones a new soul is built upon and one that quite frankly I'd never trade back. I finally like who I am and the craziest thing is ~ the "me" I am today was built on the deception and lies of assholes ~ go figure.

    Thanks for sharing Magaly ~ what a treasure of a friend you are to have.
    ♥Sharon

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    1. I was just on the phone with her. The blog comments are giving her some solace. It is incredible, the things we can do after we see that others have done it, too... and survived.

      I'm sending this comment to her, right now. For it says many of the things I just told her, but they taste of your own experiences.

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  19. Magaly, you also once replied me in your comment, that we are not that alone as we think and that we just shall learn how to share. Share pain as well. Your friend is lucky to have you, a person who will listen and at least nod or hug if won't be able to advise anything. When we love someone, it's already is a suffering, as we know that either we or them will leave this Earth sooner or later. and it's so painful to actually lose someone we love and care for.
    I'd like us to be as much strong as to handle those parts of our life when we are the most vulnerable, when we think that as you wrote we "lost everything". we HAVE to be strong, and for that we have to deal with pain and keep on smiling.
    Hearty wishes of being strong to your friend, and you, and all those who need it.

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    1. I'm lucky to have great friends, who are strong for me when I don't have the strength to be ;-)

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  20. I am sorry your friend is experiencing such a horrible time. I've been there too. 19 years of marriage for me, ended in a slam of the door. Looking back, I don't know how I went on, but you just do because the alternative is not an option.

    Blessed be

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    1. Nineteen years is such a very long time... you lived that and survived, you are made of strong things. I can only imagine, 19 years of marriage, to just have someone walk out... surreal. But life happens and we live, then we live some more.

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  21. When I first read this the feelings described seemed familiar, though I couldn't place where I'd had them since I haven't been through a breakup like this. Then I realized...I had a pretty serious bout with depression a few years ago. Part of what kept me going was the line "The only way out is through."

    I'm sorry your friend is going through this. I sometimes wish that we could love without getting hurt. But I'm not sure if that would be real love, then.

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    1. This is one of things I like most about sharing experiences. The more we learn from one another, the more we notice how similar we (and our lives) are; even if our circumstances are different ;-)

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  22. Heartache is always the worse pain.

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    1. That is very true, for that kind of hurt often afflict flesh and soul.

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  23. And for her I hope that when she finds her way through the hurt, she finds that maybe she is in a better place.

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    1. I think she is going that way. She hasn't been very talkative lately, but I feel that before you can provide answers to others you need to find those answers within yourself... she is on her way .-)

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  24. Great post. You are a great friend. Iam glad that you have found your hapiness but it took you to lose your husband and take him back. You have a beautiful smile and I hope you never lose that smile. I wish you and Jacob many times happiness. :)

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    1. I know this sounds old, but I'll say it again because it is true; it is quite easy to be a good friend when those on the other side are great people. I'm lucky to have many.

      May your wishes reach you as well, times three ;-)

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  25. You are a beautiful, honest, and loyal friend, sweet Magaly. I adore your wisdom, your ability to nurture, and the strength you lend when needed most. Blessings of peace and acceptance to your friend. Warmest hugs, Mina

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    1. I've learned from the best, Mina love. I've never been in the dumps for too long, for there is always a friendly hand and a pair of warm arms to hold a sister close... when she needs it ;-)

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  26. Well, I only just stumbled across this blog, with this post. I LOVE that you quite Game of Thrones. (In my secret heart I am really Daenerys ... when I am not being Buffy.) And now I have to go find those earlier posts and catch up on all the startling news about Piano Man and this Jacob dude.

    It was good to read of your understanding for your friend.

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    1. I can totally see you as the mother of dragons.

      I wrote on this blog for about five years, so... happy readings!

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