Today’s prompt asked us to take a familiar phrase and upend it. I had trouble with that, most probably because I began the poem when it was so late, and I am tired in every fiber of my being. But then the phrase, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” came to me. So maybe I can upend that.
When the stopping gets easy, the easy stop.
Yes, that about sums up the end of my marriage.
Today, it is easy to leave a marriage,
it’s easy to give up, to just stop.
It’s so common now, so normal,
that no one is ever really surprised by it.
But I was surprised.
I was surprised when he came to me
and announced he was done.
I wonder how many people
have gotten sick of hearing this story,
and I feel ashamed for telling it…again.
He wanted things to be easy,
he identified with easy.
So it was easy for him to stop, to just leave.
Meanwhile he stayed in our house
and I was a puddle on the floor.
I’m wondering how I’ll support my children.
There is nothing easy about the feelings I have
as I write about my fears,
but I guess that means I won’t stop.
I won’t give up.
I’m not an easy woman;
maybe that’s why he had to leave me.
And now that the going has gotten tough,
I suppose it’s time to get going.
I awake fresh from a dream
where I spoke with his mistress
and then with him.
She said that she initiated it
and that he was happy to follow her.
She sat in his chair at his salon
and he did her hair.
When I approached him
he was in my parents’ bed
in my childhood home
with his brother,
who looked up and said,
“This is some F**KED UP SH** right here!”
I couldn’t agree more.
My dream spurred me to action,
but my husband in waking reality
wouldn’t tell me his story,
wouldn’t tell me the truth.
Instead he called the police.
I wonder if you ever really loved me.
Why am I sad to see you go?
They say that shame can’t live
when it’s spoken.
Why in the speaking
do I feel so ashamed?
After this time,
the very idea of sleeping with
someone other than my husband
is utterly absurd
he has already slept with another woman.
My husband, the man who was mine,
gave a part of himself away to someone else,
a part that was reserved only for me,
and he shall never be with me in that way again.
I think again about forgiveness,
the years I was told I wasn’t enough,
I didn’t contribute,
I wasn’t a partner.
Two beautiful children
look up at us with wide eyes.
My contribution speaks for itself.
And then there comes a time
when the hurt and the pain
are too much to bear
and the burden is just so great
that something must change.
And that something is my perception.
When I change the way I look out on the world,
my inner world changes.
I see how my thoughts give rise to reality
and how my anger isn’t helping me.
I see that attempting to shame him
for my discomfort
is only doing to him
what I thought he was doing to me—
using me to tell a victim story.
I am not a victim.
I am the fortunate recipient of the life spark,
and I will carry it for as long as I am meant to.
I think I’ve said this before
But it’s time to forgive.
It really is.
If I died today,
would I feel good
about the legacy
I left behind?
There is so much more I want to do,
so much more life I want to live,
so many experiences I want to have,
so many things I want to give.
It’s sobering to realize
I’m not ready to die,
to think about why.
Give it a try.
Little by little
the awakening comes.
Can I be patient?
Can I love the one
who needs time to learn?
with radical honesty.
Can I look at the parts
I’ve been rejecting,
the parts I’ve been ashamed of,
and hold them tenderly,
just allowing them to be?
When I stop fighting with reality
a space opens up within me,
and I can see rightly.
May I trust in this process.
May I surrender to the One
who knows me better than
I know myself.
May I allow this One
to open my eyes, mind,
body, and heart
to this moment as it is.
May I know true grace.
Adjusting to a new reality
and wanting to be graceful about it…
but watching myself
go kicking and screaming instead.
And then grateful
I can be this honest with myself.
Noticing I’m judging
when I want to be accepting,
I’m scared when I want to be brave
I’m avoiding when I want to be proactive.
And it hits me…
I don’t have to be good at this.
I can be the way I am
and show up for myself
with love and compassion.
A space opens up
where the resistance once lived.
Now true grace can be revealed.