D and I talk every week when I attend his A Course in Miracles study group on Monday nights. The past few weeks I have been unable to attend his study group due to the lack of a reliable babysitter. So, on the weeks I don't attend, we usually call each other and chat to check in and give love. Its just what we do.
He has been very supportive and very insightful (as usual) about this post-mortem mourning process following the draining R&R weekend with Soldier. Today was no exception.
I told him how I felt like I was in withdrawal, breaking the habits of:
- carrying my cell phone around with me all the time (Soldier was pathetic if he called and I missed him)
- checking email constantly
- always on alert to the news from Iraq
- always looking for cards to send
- constantly searching for items to add to care packages
- taking note of funny or sexy things in my life to share during our phone calls (he was ever-enthralled at the normal things we take for granted here in the U.S.)
I feel as if I was on high alert all year!
Not a day or moment went by that I didn't think of Soldier in some way. How exhausting! When there was a moment when I realized I wasn't thinking of him, I felt so free. I'm only realizing this now.
"Its not just the habits," D pointed out to me, "Its identity. For a year you identified yourself as a soldier's girl."
A Soldier's Girl.
Wow. He's absolutely right. That is how I identified myself.
"That's ok," he continued, "Because now you know what your real identity is."
It reminded me of another post I wrote while packing up my previous home. In that post, I referred to myself as:
"...a hermit crab, as a therapist once told me, leaving one shell and off to find another one. In the meantime, in the chrysalis or in suffering the loss of one shell, I will be vulnerable."
I am shaking off the shell of a year long identity.
Of course it feels weird. Of course I feel raw. Perhaps it was presumptuous for me to identify myself as that at all. What was wrong with simply being 'T'?
Don't we all identify ourselves as something? Americans (with an exciting new leader!), Texans, Husband, Wife, Single Parent, Mommy, Sister, Daughter, Friend, The Ex's ex?? How closely are we holding on to that identity and how comfortable will we be should we have to let it go?
That is why we feel such pain at the end of a relationship, no matter what sort of relationship it is. When the form of the relationship changes, as it will do, we feel like we lose a little bit of ourselves.
That identity is not who we really are but a dynamic mask that we wear, temporary and often-demanding.
We should be grateful for the masks and the losing of such. For it is through the cracks in the broken masks that we begin to see who we really are.
In January, I poetically wrote about how I let others define me instead of listening to my own inner voice.
I do know better. I knew better in the beginning of this thing and perhaps that is why I feel that I'm recovering well. We will still be in each others' lives, Soldier and I, but the form of our relationship is changing. And that's ok.
"The only way is up," I said in closing to D, "After all, in order to bounce we have to hit bottom sometimes."