Sorry I have been such a bad blogger this week. I am back to my regular work routine and my mind has been quite preoccupied as of late. I've been spending a lot of my free time with my fabulous new friend M, who I've technically sort of known since 2005, but really only "met" and became friends with 2 weeks ago. I've been thinking about her and her situation a lot recently, and I'm pretty sure she'd be okay with me mentioning her on my blog here because she's a very honest and transparent person. This is going to be a fairly long yet honest and personal post; it may not even be that interesting to many of you, and that's okay. I included some pictures to make it more interesting.
M is married to R, who is a friend of mine from university. I also happened to have dated R for about 4 months my junior year of college. M went to the same university, so there were occasional awkward, "oh man we're totally hanging out in front of your ex-girlfriend/future wife" moments, but M is a cool enough person to not think that I'm a jerk or whatever. Because she's awesome.
M and R got married in November of 2008 and had a rough first year of marriage that resulted in R leaving to move back to Jackson in August of 2009. M is out here in Jackson for a month to reevaluate her relationship with R; they're trying to see if they can make it work, or if it's just a lost cause. I want what's best for them both, of course, and what will make them happy. That said, I feel strongly that if they can make it through this, and learn to love each other again, and learn to be with one another, that they will look back at this time and think "wow, that was a shitty, shitty time, but look how far we've come!" I want them to stay together because they are both close to my heart and I know they do love one another.
I've been able to talk a lot with M but not at all with R, since we sort of stopped being friends not too long after we dated, which is also sort of shitty because he is a very decent guy. I haven't always given him a lot of credit, and he's not always deserved a lot of credit, but all in all, he is a good human being and I want what's best for him.
So this is what has been on my mind recently. I've been praying for them and trying to send good thoughts their way. One quote that came to mind recently was that of Rainer Maria Rilke, who said "A person isn't who they are during the last conversation you had with them - they're who they've been throughout your whole relationship," (emphasis added). That said, I know that R. was still in love with M when we were dating, and I know he fought for her after we broke up and he realized how much he cared about her. I know he loved her when he married her, and I still believe that he loves her. It can be hard to trust someone who just packs up and leaves, however, no matter what their reasons, or if they thought they had no other way out.
It has been very interesting and illuminating to spend time with M and to think about my past friendship with R. It brought me back to college, and being 21 years old, which really wasn't all that long ago. I do feel like I have changed quite a lot since then, in mostly good ways. I went back last night and read through my old livejournal, looking over entries I wrote at that time, and trying to get back into that frame of mind. I realize that the above Rilke quote holds true for me as well - I may have changed in some ways, but all in all, I am the same girl. I wrote a lot more when I was 21; mainly poetry. I haven't felt that urge the past few years, excluding a song I am currently working on that's been bouncing around in my brain. I picked up my guitar for the first real time in years last week, and maybe that song will actually flesh itself out soon.
At 21 I had broken up with a boyfriend of almost 2 and a half years just 6 months before; he had been sort of an ass, and I was happy to be rid of him. You can ask me why I stayed with him that long, and my only real excuse is that I was weak. It took me a long time to learn to trust men, and it's something I still have to work on at times. At 21 I had just changed my major to social work, and I was usually found out with friends instead of at home, studying.
Some friends from my birthday weekend in Michigan. Taken by Monica
Here is something that I wrote just after my 21st birthday weekend with friends in Michigan:
We left a graveyard of bones on the beach that day.
Blasted bottle rockets, red sticks jutting out of sand.
Brightly colored paper littered with warning–
we saw them as fallen comrades, brothers in arms,
dazzling in their short-lived glory.
The wind was so fast and it battered at the lighters
held within soft blazers as we huddled out the cold.
A spark and it was running towards the powder
a spark and we were running towards the water
a spark and we counted onetwothree and flung it upwards
The fire was burning and we watched the embers jump to blankets.
We held bottles and held each other up,
falling in the sand under dizzying lightness and cold and euphoria.
And to the darkness we fled, clothes pealing, voices reeling, conscience fleeting.
Hold me up under the weight of it all.
I could be 21 for the rest of my life,
laying in the sand and watching stars stroke the galaxy,
breathing only when necessary.
Bottle Rocket picture taken by a friend that same night - wish I could remember who. Blake? Maybe?
Life doesn't get easier, but it can get better. 21 was a definite growing year for me; it was the year I dated R, the year I changed majors, the year I moved to Wyoming for a summer, the year I decided to grow up (yes, for me it had to be an intentional choice). I started to learn how to pay bills, how to cook, and who to spend time with; I learned to make friends in a town where I only knew 2 other people (both who I spend only a fraction of my time with) and I washed my clothes in our kitchen sink and hung them to dry because I was too cheap/poor/lazy to go to the laundromat. My 21st summer was the summer I met Bryan, and we started to date and got engaged not too long after that. My 21st year was one of the most fundamentally pivotal years in my life.
The horses behind my old apartment.
That was 4 and a half years ago. In some ways, everything feels different. In other ways, we're fighting the same battles we did then, just with higher stakes.
"A person isn't who they are during the last conversation you had with them - they're who they've been throughout your whole relationship," - Rilke.
How much do we really change, and how much do we just adjust? On June 14, 2001, when I was 16 years old, I wrote this:
"When I grow up and get married, I'm going to go camping with my husband, lay outside at night, dance around the fire, sing songs and play guitar around the campfire, look at the stars, sleep, be close outside at night alone and alive. and it will be perfect."On Sunday I am going on my first backpacking trip with my husband and some friends. I love hiking and I love camping, but I've never actually hiked with all my gear on my back and set up camp. We'll be gone for 3 days and 2 nights. I won't bring my guitar, because 50 lbs of gear on my back is enough, thanks. But other than that, I'm very very similar to the girl I was 9 years ago. Maybe a little wiser, but there are more similarities than there are differences.
Camping one of the last weeks of junior year, 2001
I know M and R have changed, but at their core they are the same people that fell in love in high school and fell back in love at the end of college. I strongly believe that they will fall back in love if they let themselves; some things, including religious beliefs and lifestyles, may have changed, but the soul/spirit/nature of a person doesn't change all that much. I hope and pray they will recognize that soul/spirit/nature in one another again; I do not think their story is finished.