As the clock ticked down on my marriage, I was a total wreck of a human being.
I faked it well. To friends. To family. To co-workers.
I can fake a lot of things well.
But every single day was shitty. Suffocating. All I wanted was to feel like the person I married wanted me in her life. But that almost never happened anymore. It had been going on so long, I forgot what the old “normal” even felt like.
Sometimes she’d be extra-cold in the morning and I’d stand in my kitchen and cry before driving to work.
Sometimes she’d be extra-cold at night and go to bed without saying goodnight and she’d walk around our bedroom above me—each footstep a kick to the face. Sometimes I’d cry then, too.
It was extra pathetic.
But I like to talk about it because it’s embarrassing and I think it’s important to unload that stuff. I spent so many years not crying that I think I was saving it up for moments just like that. Similarly, I spent so many years wearing masks and hiding things about myself that I think I was saving up these embarrassing stories for moments just like this.
Men aren’t supposed to cry. Not the tough ones anyway.
Maybe I’m not tough.
The Karate Kid wasn’t tough. Daniel was getting his ass handed to him by the Cobra Kai until Mr. Miyagi morphed him into the champion of the All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament.
Maybe I can learn The Crane Technique like Daniel.
I’m being obnoxious. But I’m also being serious. I don’t know whether I’m tough. Probably depends on how we define it.
But I’m beginning to believe very strongly that we can be anything we want or need to be.
So if the world needs me to be tough, I will be.
After all, I don’t cry much anymore.
The Wrong Side of the Bed
I felt super-shitty when I woke up this morning. And it’s not because I drank too much for St. Patrick’s Day. (I did not.)
It was because I had a very lucid dream about my ex-wife and she was upset with me.
It felt just like all of those mornings and nights where I was desperate to earn a smile or a hug or some kind of acknowledgement or approval, but never did.
I don’t remember even one detail from the dream. I only know she was upset with me. But more importantly, I cared.
I cared so much.
So, I woke up this morning a total wreck. Just like I was a year ago in the final hours and days of our dying marriage.
Why do I care?
I don’t know why I care. Habit? Programming I haven’t fully purged?
It’s really not important. I got cleaned up and started focusing on my day and I feel fine now.
But the memory of feeling horrible stuck with me. All because my ex-wife, whose approval I could never win, was living in my subconscious.
You’re not good enough!
This is good news.
That I can go from innocently living my life to feeling absolutely horrible because an imaginary version of someone was upset with me.
THAT’s how powerful my mind is.
It can take something that isn’t real and make it real.
I’m not a huge fan of Tony Robbins-like rah-rah speeches about the power of positive thinking. I don’t like corny things.
But I’m right about this.
I must be.
I wish you could have felt it, too. These extraordinarily powerful feelings because of something that didn’t even happen.
It’s good news.
It means I can choose how I feel.
It means I get to decide who I want to be.
It means I can live my dreams.
It means I can make the impossible possible.
And I don’t know much.
But I think it means you can, too.