Acceptance Or I Need More Gray

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This week I walked into my therapists office and told her that for this session I wanted her to pick a topic I needed to address and that I had been avoiding. A topic that would help me look at things from a different perspective and encourage personal growth.  Being that my therapist and I have been in contact with each other almost every week since “I Think I Might Want A Divorce Day” two years ago; I figured whatever she said would be something that I could easily wrap my brain around. I should have known better. What she chose was the notion of acceptance and opening my door wider to welcome it into my life. That BITCH (I say that with all the love in the world directed to her)

She began by stating that I needed to accept the distance that I feel with B so that I can create my own stability. It doesn’t mean I have to like it but that I need to acknowledge that it is what is true right now, and while my expectations of two years ago did not pan out, there is value in seeing what is in front of you and not trying to challenge or change it all the time. And what I discovered throughout this talk is this:  I truly have difficulty with the concept of acceptance, let alone the actions, that must accompany it.

Unfortunately, for me, I realized that acceptance means defeat. It means surrender and laying down. It means something “bad” vs. something “good.” And therein lies the problem said therapist tells me.  Acceptance is just a thing and I don’t need to assign value to it, like “good” vs. “bad.”  It is just what is. Nothing less and nothing more. According to her this either/or thinking complicates my life and does not allow for the possibility of acceptance. In fact, according to her I need more gray areas in my life and not as many absolutes and right vs. wrongs. Furthermore, this lack of acceptance on my part effects my relationships and I need to question whether this is where I want my resources to go. Is fighting acceptance worth it? she asks.

UGHHHH

So my assignment is to work on acceptance by just seeing all that is around me and not assigning meaning to it. She challenges me to acknowledge that by labeling these past two years as an exceedingly crappy set of circumstances (something “bad”) it means that I am giving up on seeing further possibility through letting go and experiencing all the gifts that acceptance brings with it. So I am giving this acceptance thing a try, while secretly hoping, that one of those gifts turns out to be a vintage VW bus.

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Assigning Meaning To Things

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I am hurt and I am pissed and my therapist says I have no right to be. Sigh. I hate it when she is right.

Let me explain.

Right before B stated he “might want a divorce” I had ordered a chandelier from Pottery Barn. I rarely do such things. It was extravagant. It was sparkly. It shined from every angle.. And it would look oh-so-right in my dining room instead of the $25 builder installed light that has been hanging there for the past 10 years. So after much thought and angst I bought it. I am just not a big spender and this was wayyyy over my usual $50 budget for such items.

It arrived in a huge box that sat in my living room for many weeks. And then B dropped the bomb mentioning the chandelier while he listed all his dissatisfactions with me and our life together. About two weeks after his “I might want a divorce” pronouncement he said he was going to put up the chandelier and I told him not to…that I didn’t want to have to leave it in the house should we decide to divorce. I told him that if and when he felt our relationship was in a good place and we would stay together then he could put it up as a sign that things we going to be alright. And so the chandelier was moved out to the garage where it remains to this day, silently sparkling away in its huge box its beauty wasted on  all but the occasional insect who might pass by.

While I realize nine months is not a long time to deem a unhappy marriage “cured” I am beginning to resent the chandelier and all it stands for. Everyday when I back my car out of the garage I see that ugly box sitting there as a reminder that the light is the sole determinant of whether our marriage is healthy or still on the rocks and I have left it to B to make that determination. And I am mad. I am mad at the chandelier for all the meaning I have given to it. I am mad at myself. And I am mad that I have given B the power to determine the state of our marriage all based on whether or not the damn thing gets hung.

My therapist says that the chandelier is not indicative of our relationship and it is not fair to all involved that I have pinned so much meaning on it. That, “come on, you know B does not attach meaning to things like a chandelier whereas you do.” That he probably doesn’t even get its significance to you and your relationship. But I’m not so sure. That whether our marriage is viable has NOTHING to do with the chandelier. And that I should let go of this meaning I have assigned it and love myself enough to hang it up even if it means taking it down in the future because I LOVE IT. Because it sparkles in my dreams. Because it is just plain beautiful and deserves to be in the place that it was intended to be instead of hidden away in a dusty garage.

And while I know my therapist is right I also wonder if I can ever hang this chandelier or if it will always remind me of this unhappy time in my life. Can I ever trust that my relationship with B is healthy again or will I always wonder if the sparkle is blinding me to all the things that B is unable to say/do that has made him get to this point that he wanted to leave? Right now I have no clue. But someday I hope that the sparkle of that chandelier will be indicative of the sparkle in our relationship. That is my dream.