If equal affection cannot be,

Let the more loving one be me.

-W. H. Auden

I wanted to stop today’s post with these 2 lines from W.H. Auden and not write another thought. The truth of 12 simple words makes me weep with the despair of knowing that I have been that desperate person, the one who loves more, the one who loves too much. I weep with the despair of knowing that I have begged for love from a man who was somewhat indifferent towards me. Because I was so desperate, so full of need and longing for love, I was easy prey for a man who wanted a relationship that required very little emotional investment from him. And now I’m going to say it…HE DID NOT LOVE ME. He did not love me. That was not love. Words of love may have been spoken, but those words lacked the accompaniment of heartfelt emotion.

To elaborate on the lengths to which I went to elicit even a modicum of love, first from my Father, and then from my husband, makes me sad beyond what I think I can endure. I don’t want to believe I am THAT woman…the one everyone knows should not stand by her man, but does. But I am that woman.

For the past 12 hours I have argued with myself. One voice says,”Just don’t bother writing. The Other Woman Blog is just some whiny, crazy rant – just get on with it, your life is good, you are so well provided for, don’t upset the apple cart, you can do whatever you want and go wherever you want …so go out, enjoy the day, forget about opening wounds.” This voice is countered by a second voice that says, “How many more years do you want to waste, clinging to the fantasy that one day he will love you. Yes you have lived a life that was materially privileged, but it was emotionally bereft. You have not been loved and this makes you unhappy, being loved is more important than you think!”

I’ve become…

Dr. Dolittle’s PushMe-PullYou

This animal’s going nowhere…and neither will I unless I allow myself to acknowledge the truth and feel the ensuing pain. On the right, I attempt to stifle the grief I feel from a loveless marriage, desperately clinging to the very thing that hurts me… my loveless marriage. On the left I want to transform, have hope, believe I can find love. I cringe in recognition when I observe a child  seeking solace from the very parent that moments before delivered a slap… this parent being their sole source of comfort. When I was broken hearted on discovering my husband’s affair, I cried on his shoulder, seeking consolation from him, the perpetrator. He was my everything, my ‘other half’, my soul mate, my best friend! I had opened my heart to no one else, he had all of me.

At 10, I shut down my feelings in an act of desperation, born out of emotional negligence. Although clothed, fed and educated, my parents were at a loss when it came to love. My sensitive, intuitive nature didn’t suit the authoritarian, patriarchal motif of my home. I was lonely and in need of someone to help me understand the incomprehensible attitudes and behaviour of my parental unit. The pressure of family pride forced me to present only the persona of a happy, successful child. The discrepancy between the turmoil in my heart and my happy child persona was unbearable.  I contemplated suicide on a dark wintery night. Cup in hand I walked down the stairs to our cold, dank basement, planning to end my intolerable life. Staring at the poisonous bleach bottle, I wanted to end my life. Fear of the searing pain of bleach stopped me, not the belief that anything in my life would change. I walked back upstairs, sharing my ordeal with no one. In order to cope with this injury to my soul, I became an automaton, closed to my heart’s desires, closed to my intuition. I embraced the known. I became a great student, an obedient child, and then a materialistic adult.


Changing from Sisyphus to Hope

I was drawn to admitting the tyranny of my Father in Week 8, Changing from Suppression to Communication, because my left shoulder began to ache. 4 weeks later my shoulder is back to normal. Now, this gives me hope that I am on the right path.Further proof… I just returned from my Rheumatologist, who calls me The Poster Child for Arthritis, because I am now a picture of health. No longer am I anemic, with minuscule platelets, high cholesterol, inflammation, poor vision and a malfunctioning thyroid.

The symptom I do have though is a crazy itchy irritation in my eyes. They are red, runny and I feel like scratching them out of my head. Of course I have asked myself the obvious question, “What don’t I want to see?” After writing in a painstakingly slow manner in today’s post, it is becoming apparent, even to me.

Am I going to be Sisyphus, and continue to roll the burden of a loveless marriage up the hill again, knowing the outcome will be the same?  Or am I going to be Hope and let that burden roll down the hill, once and for all time. The momentum of such a great burden will result in a downward speed that will see that burden buried, deep in the soil, for ever.

The Burden of Sisyphus

On the weekend, I attended a Workshop with my Herbalist, Annette Bossert. She gave me the opportunity to enact the death of my loveless marriage. I carried the largest boulder I could manage, around a lake. This boulder symbolized my burden of living without love. It weighed me down, kept me off balance, took so much of my energy. The only emotion in this encounter, came from me. The rock was cold and indifferent. Eventually I had enough and hurled my burden as far as I could, deep into the lake. The grief  from this death came in shoulder heaving waves. Once my crying subsided, I could see the beauty of nature, the camaraderie of friends and the lightness in my step.

I then gathered up symbols of hope…red berries to symbolize my hope for passion, a bluebell to symbolize my hope that I bloom into The Other Woman, purple tufts from a thistle to symbolize my hope for wisdom, a heart rock to symbolize my hope for love, and in the centre a wise Hag, my Elder, who will guide me from the darkness of grief to the light of hope for new beginnings.

So for week 12 of 52, I will no longer be Sisyphus, carrying the endless burden of a loveless marriage. Instead I will be Hope, whose name means confident expectation, having a firm belief in things that are unclear or unknown!

Symbols of Hope