Thursday, February 22, 2018


Yoga Pod, one of the studios where I teach, has been using February do an 18-classes-in-28-days challenge. When I told Jason that in the 19 days it took him to take 18 classes, I took only three, he responded, “But how many did you teach?”

“Well, 30.”

Thirty. I wasn’t kidding. I even counted afterward to make sure. I’m grateful that I spent a decade taking a bunch of yoga before I decided to learn to teach, because right now I ain’t got time to take shit. I need more yoga. Teaching doesn’t count. I’m working through it.

This story serves two purposes. I’m bragging on behalf of Jason ‘cause there’s no way he’ll do it himself, and I’m explaining why I haven’t blogged in more than four months. I’ve been busy. And, well, also, I’ve been unsure of how to write about where I’m at or even figure that out for myself.

When I think of using metaphors, I think of ‘em being helpful in explaining things to someone else so that they can better understand what I’m feeling or trying to say. Lately, however, I’ve been using metaphors to try to explain my own feelings to myself.

Here’s one: After a person goes through significant weight loss, it sometimes happens that they don’t get new clothes right away. Their old clothes clearly don’t fit, but instead of getting new stuff to wear, they punch another hole in an old belt and cinch it tighter. It seems they’re accustomed to their old clothes and unaccustomed to a body that doesn’t fill those clothes. So they linger in an awkward stage of in-between, not wanting to be big enough to fill the old clothes and unsure of how to shed the extra material to embrace a different body.

Emotionally, I’ve been feeling like that. Grief was weight, as physical a weight as I’ve ever felt dropping onto my little soul, but it weighs less now; its mass is more manageable. Grief is even a companion that educates me and often morphs into gratitude. I’m trying to find the guts to let myself have a new wardrobe that fits rather than remaining in the garb of a different set of feelings.

That transition involves guilt. It involves fear. I don’t know if I’ll ever lose the guilt associated with forward movement after losing Jim. I do know that getting mired in guilt is counterproductive. Immobility doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t serve me or anyone I love. And I think my fear in embracing a life less grief-laden has to do with the unknown. I know what sad feels like, and while it may not be pleasant, I still know it, and that’s not scary.

Here’s the thing though: sad doesn’t fit anymore. Perhaps by way of all that yoga junk, I’m getting better at living where I’m at. Where I am right now, is—quite honestly—happy. I blame Jason.

I love having a someone to care for. I didn’t always. The evolution of my love life—cheated on in a mediocre marriage, divorced, in love, married again, happy, widowed, dating again, in love, happy—has happened so fast (all in under 5 years) that it’s easy to remember my feelings during each phase and compare them to other sections. I blew my first marriage. I wasn’t good at it because I didn’t care. That apathy contributed to a union that was weak enough to fracture. And thank heaven. It led me to Jim. Since I’d so recently reaped the fruits of dispassion in a marriage, and I hate failing, I decided that with Jim I was going to crush wifehood. I did. It made me crazy happy. Jim felt loved. I felt loved. We were in love. It was work, but it was work that we liked doing.

Then that work came to an abrupt end. I lost my one someone to serve. Well, damn. So that was just another phase?

But then . . . But then . . . Jason. Handsome, intelligent, observant, understanding, coarse Jason. Falling in love with him was unavoidable. We match. Thank heaven again. I get to have a someone to love and do for and care for, which, as I’ve already discovered, can’t help but bring me joy.

Each taste of joy is unique. The happiness I experience now does have a bit of a frantic undercurrent. There are moments where I feel like Jason and I have to do all the things and have all the experiences right now because he might die. It’s morbid, but it’s the baggage I bring. When I don’t hear from him for a while I start fretting. I know statistics say that my boyfriend isn’t going to die so soon after I’ve lost my husband, but statistics were supposedly on my side when Jim’s best friend died four months before him; that should have ensured that Jim was around for a long time. Best friends don’t die from such different causes so close together. Oh, but yes they do. Thus my unreasonable freak outs when Jason doesn’t text me back immediately because I assume he’s dead actually verge on reasonable. So that part sucks.

I’ve been concerned that I’m wrapping myself up in another person and so the happiness I feel can’t be authentic. I’ve worried about that a lot. Could it be that my infatuation with Jim left me sadder at his death than I’d have been if I’d loved him less? Maybe. But I’ll take the weight of the pain I’ve experienced for what I enjoyed with Jim. Is it bad though? Is finding so much contentment and happiness in a relationship with another human dangerous or wrong? Again, maybe. But unfortunately, that’s living.

Living well can be messy and doesn’t come without risk. I’m knee-deep in risk here and wading in deeper, because I love being in love with Jason, and he is worth every bit of care and attention I can give him. So much more, even.

Okay, but am I making myself into someone whose only satisfaction derives from obsession with someone else? Those people are irritating. No, I’m not that. I know that I can experience joy in giving my all to love and intimacy, so I am, and I’m still me. I like me. I irritate me. I get disappointed with me. I also know me. I’m tough, multifaceted, oriented toward improvement, and bright. My efforts to craft a killer relationship with Jason amplify those traits I’m proud of, making me a better me and giving Jason the best Megan I can muster. So I chuck myself headlong into the experience, knowing as well as anyone that there is risk for pain and the size of the pain could be amplified by the size of the love. Oh well. Worth it.


Dean Webber said...

Brilliant metaphor. Different reasons for it but I’m finally getting clothes that fit myself, both literally & figuratively...

Not sure why this is giving my dad’s name... This is Mary Webber.

Kathy Peak said...

You are brilliant and wonderful and we love you. This is a beautiful summary of your "living!" Love it!

Misha said...

You are such a gift. I have thought of you so often and am so happy to hear you are happy. xoxo