Purging. Good for the soul they say. Also good for the tight-lipped, the guilty, and the occasional cyst. Between hours-per-day of yahoo video chatting with my betrothed, I am mostly engaged in the act of purging. As in domestic purging. This isn’t just a Spring Cleaning kind of purge either. This is the mother of all purges. The one that includes selling, tossing, or giving away 90% of everything I own. It’s necessary, it seems, when moving to another country, and not being someone with a bank account under the name Trump. It really is simpler to just get rid of it all and buy it back later once I’m there.
But this plan requires a type of letting-go that is unusual for most people in this Material World Madonna so engagingly sang about.
There’s a list psychologists use to gauge the most stressful life events. The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. In any given year of my adult life, I have experienced 70 to 80% of those, it seems. Some of those which apply now, are:
- abandonment of family;
- heartbreak/loss of a relationship and my two band projects I spent 7 years building;
- loss of social groups;
- loss of the friends associated with that social group (there is something so devastating about going from a stage, where you are applauded and admired, to just abject isolation and no friends, especially when it includes getting your heart broken by the first woman you were ever in love with).
- Then after years of isolation, relocation to another state, alone;
- money issues all along the way, before and after;
- then the death of a family member, but being ostracized from that family and not told, nor included in obituary as surviving family member;
- then to moving again to start another relationship which turned into a nightmare of epic proportions, and also ended in abuse and the arrest of the partner, leading to another move by myself under great duress;
- then being stressed by the environment I had to live in;
- then heartbreak again with next relationship;
- betrayal and abandonment by my best friend of 11 years, and simultaneously two other friends.
- And then there was another move, where I hoped to begin again, paying less rent, so I could have money to rebuild the life I wanted, convinced that I would spend my life alone and should try to make peace with that.
But I was circling the drain. I knew that I would never be happy without a partner–the RIGHT partner. I just don’t thrive alone. So I cried everyday. I lost interest in even the things that were my greatest joys–creating. Writing, especially. I was fighting a deep depression that I couldn’t seem to shake.
And then there was HER.
We connected through our writing–that passion that means the most to both of us. Soon, this connection deepened and expanded. It was like looking at a trench, closing your eyes for a moment and opening them to a view of the Grand Canyon.
We finish each others’ sentences. We share the same unique quirks. We share the same vocation, similar challenges, and kindred hearts. What i feel for her is an entirely new species of love, and the compatibility is flirting with 100%. I never thought I would meet anyone who matched every criteria I had for the perfect mate (aside from those things I had before listed as incompatible, but which have somehow turned into blessings, too). I know how deep my feelings go and how real they are, just by what I’m willing to do to be with her. What I’m willing to sacrifice, what I’m willing to risk–and without a single second of hesitation or doubt. This from someone who has had so many betrayals. Many of them freshly inflicted.
But she has renewed my belief that there are still good people in the world–though I know they exist, they have seldom crossed my path. And I know she is a good person because she is so much like me and I know I’m a good person. She is all those better things usually found only in increments in other people, and yet they are abundant in her. She laughs easily, perseveres through challenges; she has sacrificed her own needs and comforts for the needs and comforts of those she loves. I admire her parenting skills, and the way she has managed, alone, to raise five beautiful, well-adjusted and intelligent children. I admire how she accepts them and loves them for who they are, and not from some misguided attempt to fit them into boxes of her own devising. I am endeared by the fun-loving banter she shares with them, and the way I can feel their respect and love for her; her patience and kindness and good-humor, even throughout great challenge and sometimes insufferable pain.
I cherish her compassion, her honesty, her beautiful soul; I adore her humor and her laughter; I applaud her intelligence. I admire her ability to create beautiful, compelling characters and stories that say something real and meaningful amid the hordes of tripe in our literary world. I am thrilled that she shares my love of simple pleasures, and my need for serenity and creativity. And I am most taken with the way she genuinely understands, accepts, and appreciates me for all I am. It feels like she is the one I’ve been searching for my whole life, and she shares that sentiment.
Thus, I will be moving to another country and giving up all my comfort zones, almost all my belongings, including my pets and my car, for all the right reasons, and willingly, to be with someone I believe with all my heart is my soulmate.
But it is still stressful. I have redeveloped a condition called globus hystericus. Modern terminology globus pharyngis[glō′bus \-fə-ˈrin-jəs-\]
SIDEBAR: [It occurs to me that globus hystericus sounds like a condition wherein someone is afraid to travel to the other side of the world.....]
globus hystericus Etymology: L, small ball; Gk, hystera, womb.
a transitory sensation of a lump in the throat that cannot be swallowed or coughed up, often accompanying emotional conflict or acute anxiety. The condition is thought to be caused by a functional disturbance of the ninth cranial nerve and spasm of the inferior constrictor muscle that encircles the lower part of the throat. The physical examination result tends to be normal, as does the result of barium esophagraphy.
For a long time, I thought there really was something sticking in my throat, but when I think back to the times I had it, I was under a high amount of stress, and my Xanax and a warm compress on it, usually made it go away.
And of course, moving to another country to start a whole new life from scratch with a new beloved…that can be stressful, no matter how joyful the ultimate proposition feels. The stress makes sense. So many changes. The experience of deciding what is most important to me…what I must have to function in a healthy way, and what is just extra stuff I’ve collected that really holds no intrinsic value except that value I chose to give it…the act of going through all my papers and notebooks and files and scrapbooks and photo albums–all filled with remnants of those other things in my life–and being able to throw so much of it away.
Afterward, it creeps up in my consciousness, and becomes surreal. Like I will wake up and say, Wow, I had this really weird dream that I was throwing everything away….And at the same time, it is all so profoundly cathartic, and liberating, and yet still very stressful on some visceral level. I find myself walking around the apartment with a knot in my stomach, and my hands shaking, and feeling like I am just at the edge of panic. But not the panic born of doubt about the decision. Panic stemming from a lifetime of habits put in place to create my own solace–the solace I could not have with previous partnerships, and so was forced to create in perhaps an artificial way, just to get through the days. I am afraid, I am joyous. I am anxious, I am excited. But never do I second-guess the necessity of going to be with her. Of us building a life together in a country I’ve never been to. A country where I will be the foreigner. I will be the one with the accent and the strange customs.
Another country. When I think of all the adjustments I will have to make, especially as a small percentage of the population who share a unique brain architecture of Sensory Processing Sensitivity…it is daunting. But she is also one of those people, and so I know she will always understand me as only those who share your nature can. She will understand that I will not have all the familiar and comforting things I’m used to (or as many conveniences). I will be, literally, a stranger in a strange land. I will not be able to drive for a while because they all drive on the other (laughingly, read as “wrong”) side of the road and the car steering wheels are on the other side too. I’m afraid that each time I go around a corner on the left side of the road, I’ll freak out, waiting for that head-on collision. I will be giving up one of those crucial things that gives me personal autonomy. And yet, I know she would take me anywhere I wish to go. And some places I don’t even know I wish to go.
Yet on a psychological level, it’s a cognitive dissonance wrought from a lifetime of doing things one way. The thing that makes it worth it–the only thing–is that I have 100% faith in my partner and the great potential for happiness we have together. This is like no other relationship I’ve ever had. And I trust with every cell in my body, and every synaptic connection, that it will be the last one, the lasting one, the right one. The one all humans yearn for. Nothing material, no preconceived idea, no habit sprung from a previous life will keep me from pursuing it.
Whether that makes me brave and crazy–or both–I accept the label. Life is short, pleasures and good fortune, and especially love, are rare commodities, precious cargo. I am leaping off this precipice and knitting my parachute on the way down. Because I know that she is there to catch me, and nothing will compare to the comfort of her arms, the radiance of her smile, the sweetness of her heart merged with mine.