Will and I were unhappily married and I once mistakenly blamed him for every one of our missteps and evils. Although I thought I was trying to make him happy, I was really trying to make him happy so he could make me happy. When I failed, I wanted to run far and fast. I tried running away into motherhood. I tried running away into shame. I tried running deeply into loathing and hate and sickness.
I’ve run, but I haven’t left. There must be a reason for it. There must be a reason greater than my experience to explain why I haven’t run from here.
Why must there be a reason? Why must I seek a reason why I’ve stayed? I want to say I’ve stayed for love; but by my own admission, I don’t know what love means. So if I haven’t stayed for love, then why?
Maybe I’m tired of running. Or maybe when I ran into the arms of my husband, I did it for a reason other than escape. Is it possible that he offers something that I need to be me? Does and has he challenged me to finally find the All within myself? Is that why I’m with Will? If so, has he served his purpose? Am I free to leave now?
Big Me, the All, and Protecting Just Me
I know that being with him, in part, has caused me to find “Big Me”. Being with Will has forced me to look and listen inside myself, peeling back layer after layer. Most of the peeling hurt badly. Most of what I peeled back tore me apart, exposed old wounds. It fucking hurt.
I turned inward, away from him, away from what he said and how he treated me, seeking refuge in scarred and burned scabs that didn’t want to be ripped off, but in my frenzy to run, I ripped them away despite my fears.
Now that I’m getting a glimpse of the All, I want to pluck it out of me like an unskinned grape and present it to him. I want to show him what I’ve found so he may believe that the All is within him, too. My old habits tell me that I am supposed to use the All in me to save him. But that isn’t what All is telling me to do.
All tells me to stay quiet about what I’ve found. I’m not supposed to define it for Will because he, out of habit, will try to shame me into putting All away again.
You see, Will has bad habits, too. He cannot bear to think that All is in me because he thinks he should have All only to himself. If my sin is pride, then Will’s is probably selfishness. I don’t think “selfishness” is on the 7 Deadly list, but it’s enough of a sin to cause problems. I digress, “selfishness” is on the 7 Deadly Sins list; it is called “greed”.
I could be wrong about Will’s sin. I have no business in his mess right now anyway. This is about my mess. My pride.
Codependence Is Pride in Action
In today’s psychology, there is a less deadly word for pride. It is codependence. Ask a hundred people what codependence means, and you’ll get 100 answers. Codependence is practically indefinable because it is a catch-all phrase for people who do things they shouldn’t at the expense of themselves and those they love but just happen to have an alcoholic or other dysfunctional people in their periphery. Codependence is acknowledged as a problem in itself; the codependent has her own set of problems, presumably exaggerated because of the “other” person involved.
My definition of codependence is the belief that I can fix everyone around me and that they, by doing certain things I decide, can fix me. Sounds like pride to me.
As science is now showing, we find what we’re looking for. We thought an atom was as small as it got; then we discovered protons, neutrons and electrons living inside the atom, then smaller bits making up those bits. Light measures in waves and in particles, depending on what we are looking for it to be. No matter what we look for, we’re going to find something; the act of expecting to find something else always results in finding something else.
So, if I keep on looking for the bad shit floating around in myself, I am going to find it. Imagine for a second that I found every little demon wandering the halls of my mind. I named it and exorcised it. When I exorcised the last demon, when there was nothing bad to be found in me, what would I feel? Probably, you guessed it, Pride.
Pauline may be trying to tell me that it sometimes doesn’t matter what demons are running around in my head. Punishing myself by trying to exorcise tiny laughable demons is a waste of time. It’s not that I’m bad and there’s nothing that can be done about it, the key is that I’m bad and I’m good and there’s nothing to be done about it. I’m going to see-saw back and forth at times, and that is okay. The challenge is to keep looking for the good until I find pride, then back off and fix the bad until I find pride again.
This game can be played in seconds, in days, weeks, months, and years. It is a constant, and it is to be an experience. Period. Not a good one, not a bad one, but always a grand one. It is the mystery, the life, the quest of a human. I will push the limits and get pushed back, continuously. This is what we’re here to do. Stretch and contract, stretch and contract, but above all, remain flexible.
Inflexibility Allows Labels to Stick
I had become inflexible. The years I felt I wasted are simply years that I refused to stretch or contract. It took me longer than some and not as long as others to realize that I’ve got to keep moving. Standing still denies the All the opportunity to live through me. Being stubborn in my belief that I am any one thing (codependent, abusive, victimized) causes All to stop experiencing life through me. Life ends.
All is inside of me. All is constantly moving, growing, and being new things.
Consider God, Christian format, for a moment. Old Testament God was full of fury and vengeance. He turned women to salt and burned cities, flooded the earth, and murdered men who spoke contrary to Him. New Testament God was full of love and gentle guidance. He sent and sacrificed His son so the rest of us could take a lesson on what it meant to love outside of possession and desire. You could say the Christian Bible is a snapshot of God, or perhaps a three-minute youtube video of God expanding and contracting. He definitely isn’t staying still.
God also fractured himself in the Bible. He created angels to worship Him, and humans to look like Him. And then He allowed a piece of his creation to go rogue. Lucifer (turned Satan) is the best of God who found Pride in Himself and exorcised that piece of Himself to the Earth. Why didn’t He send Lucifer and his buddies straight to the promised Hell? Because God knew that killing Lucifer wouldn’t solve the problem.
You see, God is ALL. He is darkness and light. He lives. He experiences. And He put Himself in each one of us so he can experience what we create as well as what He has created. God knows that to stand still means that He will die. Yet He gives an entire portion of Himself to each of us, as a loan, so when we return to Him, our bodies decaying in the earth, we can watch ourselves reunite with All, and we will know, beyond the shadow of an earthly doubt, that what we experienced was worthwhile.