I’ve been struggling for a couple of months with a low-grade depression. A couple of months ago, the mother of my 21-month old daughter broke up with me … she said that life with me was just too hard. “We never really had it easy.”
Since that day, I have wondered at her statement. Why would anyone think that life should be easy? Why would anyone think that being in a committed relationship wouldn’t require work, effort, and dedication?
Granted, I came into the relationship with a lot of baggage. Several failed marriages and relationships, children from different women, and a financial mess worthy of a third world country (or the state of California). In my defense, however, she knew all of that going into the relationship. I made it a point to air all of my dirty laundry before we became a couple … in other words, she accepted me with all my spots before the relationship became intimate.
My hopes and dreams of finally having a real family I could grow old with and nourish and cherish seemed to be coming true. I had finally met the woman of my dreams: Beautiful, intelligent, talented, and loving.
Three years and one beautiful child later, I found out that I wasn’t worth fighting for. I was still good enough to be a “friend” and “provider”, but not good enough to be a boyfriend, lover, mate.
I thought that I had become fairly skilled at letting things go in my forty-seven years of life, but I am still reeling from that break-up.
A friend of mine asked me if I would take her back, should she change her mind and want to be with me again. Why would I want to be with someone who doesn’t think I am worth fighting for? I would have forgiven her for sleeping with another man, but this? She would rather spend the rest of her life struggling as a single mom living with her parents than try to make US work.
I have given up on my dreams of ever having a whole, unbroken family. It’s not like I have many choices at age forty-seven, so letting go of that dream is fairly easy, if painful.
The part I am having trouble letting go of is this feeling of being unworthy of love.
In my head, I know that this feeling is pure bunk. My heart, however, seems to wallow in the detritus of all my failures … most especially this latest one. All I have left, my heart tells me, is loss and emptiness and self-pity.
So I struggle against this insidious form of depression. I try to work, when all I’d rather do is sleep or play stupid online games. I try to focus, but my attention always wanders. Projects get started, but never finished. I go outdoors to get outside of myself, but all I want to do is ruminate. When I am in my studio, I look around for things I should be doing, and nothing gets done. My life is a mess, a testament to my failures, and there is nothing I can do to change.
Bollocks. It’s pure bullshit, and I know it. I’m whining and whinging and complaining and rationalizing and justifying. In short, I am not letting go of the things that keep me mired in melancholy.
I have many friends, good friends, who are sympathetic and full of advice. One says, “Go to a bar, find a girl, have rebound sex and then get on with your life.” Another says, “Just keep yourself busy, and in time the pain will go away.” Several others remind me that I am not worthless, and that I am not undesirable.
I appreciate all their efforts to help me through this, but none of it is working for me. Time wounds all heels, I guess. Perhaps I am just a sap, after all.
But truly I do know the answer. The one thing that will allow me to change my life for the better and get back to being a happy, fulfilled human being. In addition to letting go, I have to have faith. Faith that change will occur, no matter how small, over time. All I must do is ONE THING. Kinda reminds me of the quote from the movie “City Slickers” about the ONE THING.
Do ONE THING. Then do the NEXT one thing. Put one foot in front of the other, REPEAT.
Why does this hurt so much this time around? I had risen far along the ladder of my happiness, close to achieving my dream of a loving, stable, and secure family. I got knocked off, and I fell a long way down. And now I want to be back up where I was. I look up from the depths of my despair and complain about all that lost and wasted effort.
When instead I should be putting my hand back on the ladder and climbing, one rung at a time.
Will I be happy again? Of course. Am I worth fighting for? Yes. So now I begin anew to fight for my happiness.
I have no animosity for my ex. She has her own ladder to climb, and no matter how much I wanted it to be otherwise, I was just too much excess baggage for her to hang onto. I wish her well, and I will continue to be her friend as much as I can … for my sake, as well as for hers.
I know that despite all of my mistakes, failures, and lost opportunities, I have been blessed to create beautiful children. Perhaps it is not my fate to enjoy them in a traditional manner, but I do love and cherish every one of them. I have spent good times with every woman I have been with, regardless of the outcome. I still cherish those times.
And now it is time to create more beautiful experiences.
It is time to create a new me.
It is time … to create.
ONE THING at a time.