Up With Purging

29 12 2009

I rented Up tonight, figuring it would be charming Pixar™ fluff to bring balance to the still unsettling memories of District 9.

False.

I mean, to someone out there, Up is a heartwarming family-friendly instant classic, full of spills, chills, laughs, and adventure.

To me, it was “time to purge all of the crap from my divorce in one simple evening.”

Beer followed.

I won’t go into the blow-by-blow of what detail or scene in the movie touched off what emotional meltdown, but to boil it all down to one image, the scene where the husband and wife make their hand prints on the mailbox sent the water works into gusher mode.

Every feeling of loss that has been brewing since April demanded to have a fair hearing.

In fairness to the ex, I haven’t been vocal or public about the divorce. And despite breaking my silence, I’ll make this All About Me and leave her out of this.

My favorite uncle called me the other day while I was at work, and I had to circle back on Christmas Day to exchange holiday pleasantries. We haven’t spoken much since the divorce (my last meltdown was outside of Target when I called him to tell him that I was moving out back in April) and he thought I was still wrapped up in the Women’s Professional Soccer season. Nope, it’s been over for several months. But, wet blanket that I am, I did tell the story about how I met one of my heroes (Hope Solo) who signed my home-made jersey which is now in a frame on my bedroom wall. I came home to the news that our marriage was over.

I called the framed jersey a bittersweet reminder that in one weekend I met one of my heroes, and agreed to an “amicable divorce.”

I’m working on finding a new spot for that jersey as now that I’ve been dwelling on it, it’s a pretty depressing thing to be reminded of every. single. day.

On Christmas Night, I had dinner with my friends Jon and Brenda. We watched some movies, including (500) Days of Summer. I thought that would be an embarrassing emotional meltdown catalyst, but other than a few secret tears I was kissing my fingers in admiration of the fine writing and acting. When I came home, it took a few extra minutes to fall asleep because my eyes welled up and I thought about my apparent lack of direction in the near term. I’m literally surviving. I am not concerned (he says) with finding out who is next, let alone what, because first and foremost I want the closure and promise of 2009 ending and 2010 starting fresh.

Sorry to spoil the movie a little, but there is a pivotal scene in Up where the protagonist has to throw items out of his house to stay aloft. I’ve been doing that since April. Back when I was married, and various acts of purging led me to gripe that I was “being erased”, I did what had to be done because God Dammit, I made a commitment and I was going to honor it. Now I’m alone (with my dog) and have ascended to a third-floor apartment, and have been steadily tossing out the dead weight. On some level I suppose I am finishing the erasure. I can never pave over the fact that I was involved in a 10-year relationship, nor do I wish to. (500) Days of Summer has a scene where the male lead is told to “look again” at the relationship memories and see that they weren’t as gilded as he makes them out to be. I’m having the equal and opposite problem. I keep finding artifacts that underline that the marriage ended in practical terms long before it did legally. I was cast overboard, and she floated away with the house.

I’m really not bitter. I don’t wish anyone ill. But I do feel a sense of loss that runs through several layers of my being, and from time to time emotional breakdowns are to be expected. I’m working through my shit. If anything, if I don’t owe that to myself, I owe it to whoever I might meet next.

After pulling myself together and quickly returning the DVD to get it out of the apartment, I sat down and thumbed through a burgeoning Julia Child cookbook I picked up at the library. I took a moment to reflect, and noted that really, this is what I should be doing with my down time. Learning new recipes and cooking techniques, purging the baggage, and preparing for the next great adventure.

Here’s to 2010.

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