Waiting to hear if you’ve been accepted to a university for a PhD is daunting. I strongly recommend it though. I feel satisfied, at least with that part of my life. The rest of my life is a shambles though, and I am seriously considering whether there is a causal relationship between the two.
In the past four months since I sent the last of four applications, I have been evaluating my goals, my values, and myself. You see, I’ve waited a long time to continue my education, and sometimes my life can be characterized by the opposite of the Midas touch. I sort of have the Mr. Hanky touch: everything I touch turns into a Christmas poo sans the Christmas part. I don’t want to screw this up. It’s too important. Too special. For too long it has been the carrot at the end of this jackass’s stick!
Jungian psychology is a beautiful thing, if you’re ready for that kind of self-awareness. It sort of began with the death of my dog last year. It was the ending of something beautiful and the beginning of something – well, else. I didn’t know at the time what the “else” was, and even now I’m not so sure. I have learned that I am an INFJ – I know some of my friends and relatives are sick of hearing about it. But I’m not. For the first time in my life I finally understand so much about my life. I am learning how to accept myself. I typically eschew labels, but this one, this one is okay. More than okay. It is a key that has unlocked some doors that have been stuck shut, painted shut for a long long time. If you’re not familiar with MBTI, then here’s a little free version to get your feet wet: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp
While I’m learning about that, I’m also learning about obesity and other eating disorders in relation to repressed femininity from Marion Woodman. I recommend The Owl Was the Baker’s Daughter (1980), if you’re interested. I also started physical therapy because my obesity is such that I couldn’t exercise if I wanted to, but after six short weeks, I am a bike-riding clown! I also significantly altered my diet. I was feeling fantastic and strong and in charge of my life. I was seeing a Jungian therapist and integrating the parts of myself that I had cut off and shut up with biscuits and gravy. I was individuating! And it was glorious and frightening and glorious. And then the world came crashing down around me.
I became increasingly concerned about the distance growing between my husband and me, struggling with feeling like all my wonderful self-discovery was somehow alienating him or making him uncomfortable. Feeling guilty for wanting to make myself a better person. I tried to connect, to reach out, to make sure I was available. I tried being coy, beating around the bush, coming right out and saying that I was afraid of the distance between us. He would respond, reach back, connect for a little while, and then retreat again. He went to Vermont for ten days for a residency. He came back on fire for another woman – just a friend – just someone he had a really strong connection with. Someone he talked about for two days. How much alike they were. How much he connected with her. How intelligent and loquacious she was. Someone he connected with after he found her lost in a forest in the rain. I was happy he made a friend, found someone with whom he could relate. Something wasn’t right. I was insecure. I was jealous. I was irrational. I have low self-esteem and a terrible body image, and there’s that whole Mr. Hanky thing that seems to be a permanent trend. I couldn’t let it go though. I became a detective.
I don’t recommend that at all, but sometimes when the intuition wakes you up at three in the morning, or keeps you up until three in the morning, when it makes you question your own worldview, it cannot be helped. What I found was far more than I bargained for. What I found was my husband reaching out to this woman via email for an intellectual intimacy that had once been only ours, using language that I myself had used to describe that intimacy. My heart shattered into a thousand pieces. The shards stabbed at me. Still, I thought, what had I done or not done. What could I still do? I continued to try and connect. I continued to fail miserably. On accident, because we share apps on our phones and some of them are signed up with his email and some are signed up with mine, I had to go into another email account to retrieve a forgotten password. I was no longer playing detective. I was in the waiting room trying to get Spotify to work on my phone again. What I found besides the forgotten Spotify password were 99+ earth-shattering, world-ending “buddy” requests from a site we absolutely did not share. Let me just say this: the Internet does not care about fidelity.
The Internet does not understand that sixteen years is a long time to spend with someone. The Internet does not care how well you think you know someone you’ve shared a third of your life with, raised children with, buried children with, and how devastating betrayal can be. Apparently neither does my husband. I have confronted, been gaslighted, been flat out lied to, and had my trust demanded from me.
So out of this pain comes a shit load of poetry because I don’t know any other way to manage the pain I feel. I don’t know how to confront this trauma head on, so I will do it through metaphor. I have neglected all the physical therapy. I have gone back to eating poorly, drinking soda more than I should, and just generally not taking care of myself again. Everything I touch turns to shit. I am nonplussed about the impending three hundred and five mile relocation away from my family, away from my therapist with a liar of this caliber. My joy and satisfaction in achieving at least the first part of my lifelong dream is covered in shit.
And that’s just me being honest. Being.