Winter is, for me, usually a time of inner reflection. It’s when I do what is called in Paganism, Shadow Work.
And, my Goddess, it’s been a heavy season of revelations.
I’m not listing these in any specific order, just as they come to me.
1. I have been planning on moving for a while now, but the process to get to the actual moving has been slow, and daunting. It’s a lot of work for 1 person to do on her own.
In this, I realized just how much stuff I have.
Gads, the shelves, piles, boxes, rooms… Of stuff.
I’ll never be able to take all of it with me, especially since I’m going to be downsizing my life, considerably.
And yet, I have so many things that were originally given to me as sentimental gifts…
How do you decide?
I was contemplating a clock. Literally.
My grandmother, who passed on some years ago, now, gifted me with a Grandmother clock when I got married the first time. (She gifted clocks to every one of the grandkids when they got married) It’s a gorgeous thing, made of a reddish-stained wood, with beautiful glass in door on the front, split into top and bottom. The top, of course, shows the face of the clock. The bottom is a square in the middle of clear glass, and 4 framing pieces of a lovely wavy, bumpy glass. The bottom shows the pendulum as it swings. The door swings on a hinge so you can open it up and wind the clock with a “key”, instead of like most pendulum grandfather clocks that have chained weights.
This clock used to play a tune on the hour & a piece of that tune on every quarter & half. My first ex-husband broke the music part of it shortly after we received it, by trying to set the time incorrectly. It’s never played music since, but the clock part still works.
During my second marriage, my now 2nd ex-husband, decided he didn’t like the “ticking”… said it was too loud. (Yeah, seriously)
So the clock was stopped, and never rewound. It’s hung on my living room wall ever since, silent.
It has hung there for 20 years, almost 21, now, silent.
And, as I stood there, looking at it, I wondered to myself…
Why do I have a clock hanging up that never works? I should take it down, put it back in its box, and pack it away for moving.
When I move, I won’t have a place for this clock. My grandmother, rest her, is gone. My marriages… both are gone. The whole reason for the clock being gifted… is gone.
Hmmm… maybe one of my girls will want this? My son definitely won’t want it. Has no attachment to it.
And yet, neither of my girls have ever evinced an emotional attachment whatsoever to this clock. This silent clock that they’ve never heard sing. Have barely ever heard ticking.
No one wants this clock.
Even I don’t really want this clock anymore, other than as a tangible reminder of my grandmother… and yet.
I have many other things that remind me of her.
What do I do with it? Do I get rid of it?
I’m sure my mother would tell me to hang onto it. That one of the girls, or one of my grandkids will someday want it.
And yet. That’s so many years in the future. I’m downsizing. I don’t have, and won’t have, room for storage of “future maybes”.
If I get rid of it, my mom will surely have her feelings hurt… but again… it’s my clock. At least right now.
So, it sits on my floor now, I took it down from the wall, and am reminded every day about it.
When I took the clock down, the pendulum started swinging again, and now it sits… on my floor… ticking with the wrong time.
2. I was emotionally and mentally abused in my last marriage.
It didn’t start out that way, of course…(when does it?)
He told my best friend (who introduced us), that when he met me, he loved the fact that I was a “take no shit” kind of woman. I didn’t take crap from anyone, adult, child, or animal. I stood up for myself and made no apologies for that.
This ability was slowly squashed out of me over the 12 years we were married.
I don’t want to go into all the details, but he was a narcissist who had very little, if any, empathy for anyone other than our son, his golden angel.
It took me almost those same amount of years after we divorced to finally come to this realization.
I finally stood up for myself, and we’ve now been divorced for… well, it’ll be 10 years at the end of May this year.
Almost 10 years to finalize the conclusion that I had back then. And it took a friend, former boyfriend, really, to make me realize that. This man, my friend, asked me one night while we were messaging back & forth on facebook…
Are you happy?
And it took me too long to answer him.
I was going to answer “Of course I am!” But, I took a breath, and answered him honestly, instead.
And that was the beginning of the end of my marriage.
The passive-aggressive insults, the subtle slap-downs, the quiet commentary on my lack, on my family’s lacks, on my friend’s shortcomings… they’d all built up into a deep, searing resentment that I couldn’t live with anymore. I’m ashamed to admit it now, but I now realize that he’d been doing the same things to my daughters, who were his step-children, and that this constituted emotional abuse of them as well. I waved it off at the time, not wanting to admit to myself that he was really hurting them. I wanted us to be a nuclear family like I’d grown up in. But I was wrong.
The girls have grown up since, both lovely adult women with lives of their own. My EldestDaughter is now a mother herself, to 3 beautiful children. Her eldest, my Schnicklefritz, is my buddy. The younger 2 don’t know me well enough yet to define our relationship, since they’re in Washington state, while I’m here. But once I get moved, and I’m planning on moving closer to them, that’ll shift too.
My YoungerDaughter is a no-nonsense upright young woman who is the first in our family for 4 generations to finish college, and is now a 2nd-grade teacher in Wisconsin. She lives with her long-time boyfriend, and I can see them getting married within the next few years.
My OnlySon, lives with his father. There’s a whole story there, but it’s not always an easy one, and I’m not going into it right now.
Suffice to say, the girls’ upbringing didn’t cause them irreparable harm. They have both been able to overcome it, and have built lives that suit them both.
Me, I’m getting there. It’s been a long, rocky road.
I’m still prone to times of severe depression, with longer periods now of only mild depression, thanks to changing a few things in my life, and the treatment I follow for it. I still have anxiety, pretty much always, but that’s manageable most of the time too, through my medication & things I do for it personally. I am working on it.
And as far as relationships go? Well, I’ve pretty much given up on that, since they’ve all failed, for one reason or another. I’m 50 years old, living alone with my cat. (My son’s cat went to a new home this year)
For right now, I’m contemplating finishing out my years living close to my grandkids, my daughter, and her husband, Moose. (yes, it’s a nickname, but appropriate… he’s 6’4″ for goddess’s sake!)
I’m contemplating being content doing that alone, because I can’t see anyone wanting to take on any of the myriad of years’ baggage I bring with me into any relationship.
Yeah, my self-esteem is still crap. Being ghosted, and/or told you’re not good enough to be in a permanent relationship, lied to, had promises broken because “it’s just not that big of a deal”, having one tell you that the depression is the deal-breaker, and any other number of “yeah, I’m just not going to deal with this woman” actions, is kind of a self-esteem killer.
But… it’s what it is, really. This is my life now. And I’m comfortable with living alone now.
I do what I want, when I want. I am obligated to no one for my time. I don’t have to apologize if I want to stay up late reading, or gaming. I come home, drop my stuff where I do, and it’s still there when I go back for it.
(unless the asshole cat has done something to it)
I can play my music at the top volume, singing along loudly, and dancing through the house, if I want.
I can, and have, paint whatever I want on the walls.
I can rearrange my life, my house, and my mind, in whatever way I want, and I don’t have to apologize, or explain, or defend my choices to anyone.
It’s not horrible.
Yeah, I’d like to have someone to share it with. Sure, who wouldn’t?
But, Relationship has 12 letters.
So does Fuck this shit.
Maybe, someday, I’ll be able to say I’m over it. It’s better, now that I can recognize what it is, truly.
Now, I can focus on what I need to do to heal.
These 2 things are not the end of my realizations this winter. But I’m emotionally exhausted from this session of reliving them for the page, so I’ll end this here.
I’m still going. I’m slower now, more cautious, in my decisions & actions. But I’m still moving, working toward my goal.
And that’s the important bit.