“I am releasing myself of all plans at the moment because I’ve decided to let myself fall apart,” my beautiful friend said.
“I support falling apart,” I replied, knowing that when it comes time to fall apart, it is much better to slide into the disintegration and rest than to keep trying to rise to the f*cking occasion.
I learned something very significant in my trip to Memphis. It is something that I had suspected, but I had to get around my friends that don’t hold back and who don’t rise to the occasion when it’s not needed. I don’t know how I found such a large population of single, courageous women in my 7 years in Memphis, but I am so grateful that I did. It was the first place where I built a community where I could be real and needy and irritable and still be loved.
A friend of mine shared with me her disappointment in her closet friends in the last 4 months. She just separated from her husband and not one of her closest married friends has even contacted her to ask about how she’s doing or offer support. I had a similar experience after my first divorce. I’ve heard others talk about the desertion of their married friends when they divorce. It’s a common thing, and I’m not sure why it happens. I often wonder if they are afraid they will ‘catch it’ and end up divorced if they socialize with someone going through the process. Or maybe they just don’t know what to say so they say nothing at all. Thank goodness that is not the kind of friends I had in Memphis. And, I certainly am lucky. I hadn’t known most of them very long since I’d just moved there a year prior, and I was one of those women who incessantly harped on my marriage falling apart. I know they were sick of hearing it, and I wasn’t any fun. But, these women just let me be and held my hand through the process.
100% of my single friends in Memphis and 50% of my married friends are in the same career/life/money quandry I am suffocating through. It seems that this whole question of supporting ourselves for the next 30 years and maybe even retiring – although most have given up that idea completely – is standing in front of us like a big grizzly bear hungering for lunch. Some don’t know if they can make enough money for a long enough time doing what they currently love doing. Others hate what they are doing and want something different. Still others are okay with what they are doing but know they need more money. Do I go back to school and get further education when the price of a college degree costs as much as a Mercedes? How could I ever pay that off? Should I take a lower paying job so that I’m happier and don’t jeopardize my health? Should I take a higher paying job for more security and give up the things I love? What other options are out there? Do I take more than one job and just live for work? How do I grow my business when I’m busy falling apart? That grizzly really does look hungry, doesn’t it? What are you supposed to do when faced with a hungry grizzly bear?
I told one of my friends that I’ve gotten so desperate at times trying to outrun this grizzly bear that the thought of just finding somebody to marry crosses my mind. Sometimes it seems so much easier to find somebody to share finances and face this bear together than it does to stand it down alone. Then I remember my experience with an out-of-control ex who almost ruined us financially and the stories of my friends whose husbands have gambling problems and other financially – draining habits. Getting married is no guarantee that you’ll be mutually sharing the burden. Besides, that’s no reason to marry. It’s just a seemingly quick fix to the single, no children dilemma.
I went to a women’s circle last night, and the topic was transformation. We talked for an hour and a half about what that means to us and someone brought up the monarch butterfly. Looking at it from the outside, the transformation of a caterpillar in its cocoon to a butterfly looks so amazing and beautiful. But, I wonder if there is fear or loss or pain involved in that rather significant change. Surely, the caterpillar has no idea what is happening to her. Surely, she may want to fall apart at the thought of her world changing so drastically and maybe forever. I’ve been through transformations. Transformations are different from a change. They are a total change of being, and, in my past experience, I did not know what was going to be on the other side. I just knew that my life as I knew it was over. I feel much like that now, and I want to fall apart, too. I don’t even want to shake my angry fist at that damn grizzly bear. I just want to sit here and fall apart in a cozy cocoon. Maybe he’ll get scared and run away.
I drew the Turtle card this morning. Turtle medicine is about connecting to Mother Earth and the feminine. It calls me to ground myself and treat myself with motherly compassion. I drew it reversed, and the reading asks me to remember how helpless a turtle must feel when she is turned over and trying to right herself with her little legs that can’t touch the ground. I imagine she wants to fall apart, too. The very shell that is supposed to protect her has her captive in a vulnerable position. The card begs me to remember in this uncomfortable situation that I am never alone. I got a taste of that this weekend. Yes, there is a big, hungry grizzly bear knocking on my door. But, I’ve got numerous kick-ass, beautiful, courageous and transparent friends that are fighting grizzly bears, too. Surely we can share tips and hold back that damn bear when each of us needs to fall apart.
Today, I’m going to fall apart. I brought me a beautiful snack of Stilton cheese with apricots, fresh pears, crackers and dark chocolate and coconut almonds. I’m going to treat myself to beautiful foods today and acupuncture this evening. I’m sipping on herbal tea and avoiding stimulants of any kind. Right before I left my friend Leah’s yoga studio on Saturday, we took a picture together. I was wrapped in my favorite felt hoodie. She laughed and said it looked like she had me wrapped in a big, cozy blanket. “You did,” I replied, “for the last hour and a half.” I practiced some yoga this morning to replicate that blanket-wrapping feeling. Right now, the bear is sleeping. It looks like even grizzly bears respond to compassion and need rest. I’ll fight him another day when I feel like rising to the occasion…. maybe…. Right now, I’m falling apart.