Throughout our lives we have roles we take on. Some have been forced upon us and some we take on willingly. Many of these roles we discard as time goes by, some we reinvent in a slightly different form, while some we seem to keep until the day we die. Somehow the latter seem to be the ones that we like the least and yet we retain them the longest.
This weekend was difficult for us. I think that when you are over 50 and going through a “maybe divorce” that one of the biggest issues is the discarding of roles and the discovery of new slots out of which you are now going to behave. After operating from one set of expectations for thirty years it is difficult to recognize and accept new patterns of doing things and unfamiliar ways of thinking. Years of acting one way are difficult to channel into something else and difficult for “the other” to accept.
I know that in your 50’s it is suppose to be a time of gains. Money, richer relationships, second homes, etc. For me, it feels like a time of discarding stuff including those parts of myself I no longer need or wish to operate from. As I take out this “stuff” I am forced to really look at it and contemplate whether it is of value to me anymore. As a result, I am feeling lighter and freer than I ever have before. But that doesn’t mean it is easy especially for the other person involved. Honesty, in the form of being true to myself, has moved to the forefront of my life which at times hurts B. And while I dislike seeing B feeling uncomfortable and knowing that I have caused his discomfort; at this point in my life I am not sure that I care anymore as long as I know that the truth of who I am…who he is…will make things better in the long run. But what exactly is BETTER? What does that mean?
I guess I won’t know the definition of BETTER until we reach the end of whatever all this is. And I’m okay with that because either way whatever changes I have made I suspect will have led me to a more authentic me.
And this relationship? It will either be or it won’t but in the end I will be all that I have envisioned and right now that is what feels important.
So I have been trying to think of ways to incorporate little reminders of the changes I want to see happen in my life. I had considered a tattoo but having worked in healthcare for so many years with the geriatric set I have seen what age does to an ink job. What once looked like a bombshell of a woman now 64 years later looks like a crone. Even worse, the boobs on many tats that I have seen have fallen significantly lower than my own which is quite a feat. So for me, tats are out…or were out until yesterday.
While waiting to go to my therapists office, I was pleasantly surprised when I found a henna shop. Bingo! I had found the answer to my problem. So I walked into… Bollywood…and I loved it! A rich, sultry incense filled the air, Ganesha looked down from a bubblegum pink wall and pictures of dark haired women in shimmering sari’s filled every inch of the place. Frankly, I was in East Asian heaven. Since I knew little about henna I was thrilled to be directed to a book of henna design. When I saw the interlocking hearts I knew immediately that I was destined to wear it. I saw it as a positive reminder that we did love each other and would survive this crisis in our marriage.
After much oohing and ahhing about my choice by the shop’s owner, I was directed to a seat and the henna was squirted on. Unfortunately, I do mean squirted because I think the woman applied too much pressure to the tube and all this henna came flying out thick and mud-like producing a look of astonishment on the woman’s face. Since I had no experience in these matters I kept quiet thinking that perhaps the lines would shrink and become the delicate artwork that I had always imagined it to be. WRONG.
After waiting three hours to remove this huge poop looking mess I was elegantly sporting on my arm, the design looked even worse than I imagined. It looks like something a kindergartener would draw. I suspect these next 10 days are going to be a bit warm as I wear shirts that cover this hideous gaff which now graces my skin.
Yet, I will not let this ‘ink gone wrong’ experience deter me. I am already planning my next visit to the henna shop but this time I think I will look at a peace sign to help me remember to keep a peaceful household and engage in gentle, calm thoughts even if the henna artist messes up! For I truly believe that these little temporary reminders are easy visuals that will help me blossom and become what I am envisioning for myself in the 345 days to come.
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