Never throw out anyone


People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. — Audrey Hepburn.

We’re having lunch with the o.g.b.d. again today. I really hope it goes well. I mean, it went well last time, actually: the bottle only concerned me because I don’t want him to be feeling dissolute or inconsolable in general, and I know he’d hate to accidentally go too far in front of kidlet. That would hurt her image of him, and I know ultimately he would regret that terribly. I don’t want either of them to have to go through that, but particularly not him, because he does not need to hate himself on top of everything else he must be feeling right now with his breakup with his wife. I don’t want him to have to deal with that and compound any unhappiness he is already having to go through.

I want to tell him that I know what it’s like to have that inconsolable sense that life, taken straight, is intolerable; the feeling that you have to physically “take the edge off” of the knife blades of your thoughts and shield yourself from the “muchness,” the crazy coming-at-you-from-all-sides agony of crushing reality. I know the necessity of the filter: how it is to shield yourself and to see things through a veil in order to keep from seeing all of it at once, because you couldn’t take that because you feel too deeply about all things, and fearing the overwhelming magnitude of the difficult emotions you’re working through.

We have always been two peas in a pod in our way of being lost in this universe, oversensitive and underattenuated to proper socialization, and so of course we have brought suffering on ourselves, and of course we have both of us had terribly abusive relationships with anything that will alter our moods. I understand that alcohol and drugs are a handy, popular, easily attained crutch (long-term health and usefulness: debatable; short-term-pain-dulling and turn-to-able-ness: undeniable) that can help you come at your emotions sidewise, do that little crab scuttle over to them that keeps them from smacking you in the face and knocking you out. I know that.

But I know that it doesn’t work forever. There is always an ugly day that you face on the natch and you have this gnawing desperation and anxiety that mounts and mounts, and everything is unbearable and your eyelids are crawling and you just want to scream — but then that day passes. And then the next one, and another, and pretty soon you get in to the swing of mainly sobriety and it is not so bad, and you have the side benefit of not despising yourself quite so much.

I have no plans and particularly no grounds to get preachy: I just want him to know that I get it, and that he will want to set boundaries for himself around the kidlet, or he will regret it and hate himself all the more later. And I want him to know that I’m here for him. That’s a trite expression that in this case means I am physically willing to go pick him up from somewhere, or spend a long while on the phone, with disregard for personal inconvenience, talking him down from a ledge. I am actually here and present for him in a way that I never was when we were together, and I think that we have chanced in to a situation where we have a unique opportunity for renewal and redemption: where we can truly both benefit from one another’s company.

Please send vibes that I will find the right words and the convincing gestures to express to him my very ardent sincerity and my genuine love and concern without saying anything that turns him away.

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4 Responses to “Never throw out anyone”

  1. John Salisbury Says:

    Sounds like one of those classic situations where you can’t hear the words of those who have been through it themselves, you have to go through it and find the truth behind the words for yourself. And you will.
    Godspeed.

  2. E. Says:

    Thank you — I think it went well. I didn’t end up delivering lectures of any kind, just let him talk about what he was going through and made it clear I was understanding, and I think that was why it was so successful!

  3. John Salisbury Says:

    I tried even to find a “delete comment” button because I feel I spoke out of turn. Your response is gracious, as usual, but I was out of line. I apologize. I should mind my own business.

    • E. Says:

      Not out of line one bit. I totally agree with the sentiment: people tried to tell me when I was in a low place about how it was going to get better and I needed to pick myself up and go forward, but I had to see it for myself. Like all the hardest-won truths, it has to be found for ourselves.

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