"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Saturday, July 19, 2014

begin again

i watched the film Begin Again today with a good friend and found it to be a perfect movie for right now. the protagonist, played by Keira Knightley, was recently dumped by her boyfriend (for another woman) and she finds herself meeting great people and making music and finding her way out of an unhealthy relationship and towards happiness again. obviously, this resonated with me. plus, i could see myself in Keira's character, right down to the wardrobe (though i wish i sang and looked half as beautiful as she does, sheesh!)

a lot of that film seemed like an echo of my life right now... Ben recently dumped me and though he blames me for all of it, he has started dating another woman pretty much immediately after we ended our 7 year relationship and 3-year engagement... so, it doesn't feel like it was my fault entirely. as my friends observed, it looked like he was grasping for excuses so he wouldn't look like a bad guy. jerk face.

he has also grown a really big ridiculous-looking beard, an ongoing joke in the movie. (what is it with guys i date always growing big gnarly beards after splitting up with me? trying to prove they are "men" instead of cowardly boys? good luck with that.)

and though i'm not the talented singer-songwriter Keira portrays in the film, i've taken up singing and playing instruments as a very committed form of therapy. it has honestly helped me through a lot of the heartbreak in a way i can't really understand... i've always enjoyed singing but have been too shy or afraid to do it very publicly. and singing with Ben always felt weird and aggravating, probably because we could never find the same notes, were always off-tune with each other, and disagreed on rhythm and tone, etc. now that i'm a solo act in more ways than one, it's been liberating and empowering to find my voice, to make music on my own, and to put it all out there on the internet for anyone to find. at first i was scared to be laughed at or criticized, but now i'm ok even with sharing it. take me as i am.

the last few weeks i've slowly worked my confidence back up and feel better than i've felt in years... i realize now that the relationship i was in was unhealthy and terrible for my confidence, my sense of self, my place in the world. i have always been someone driven by feeling happy and excited about life and sharing that outwardly and making others feel that excitement. Ben was never like that, and rather than reflect back positive energy he would get irritated and upset and do what he could to break me down. in yoga class this past Christmas, i remember someone read this quote by Marianne Williamson, which resonated with me so much because i felt it was being spoken about my life at the time:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? ... Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. ... And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 
i remember wanting to share that quote with Ben to help me articulate how i felt, but didn't out of fear of being ridiculed or having it become an argument. when i look back over the scraps from my life that i've preserved, i'm struck by how happy and big everything was, and i remember how much hope and joy i exuded in every aspect of my life. it has been a long time since i've felt that and i think i realize now this is why i have been so out of sorts, unhappy, unknowingly depressed. i've felt crushed under the constrictions placed on me by a relationship that wouldn't allow my happiness to exist without a sense of it being wrong to feel so happy.

i have a quote from one of my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs framed by the door in my apartment, "It Ain't No Sin To Be Glad You're Alive." and i firmly believe that. i actually believe that being happy and grateful for life, living in a way that is exuberant and glimmering and glorious can be revolutionary in its own way. there is so much wrong with the world, yes, but there is also so much to be grateful for, and sharing some joy should not be seen as a selfish or childish thing but an aspiration. i spent so much of my life the last 7 years shrinking from what i was capable of because i felt squashed by Ben's judgment or inability to keep up. well, no more.

in the past week or more, i have met new people, all of whom inspire me to be a better, happier person. to laugh more, to smile at the sheer joy of being, to talk with strangers and learn their stories, to make connections, to move beyond fear and embrace courageous joy. so much of the world seems to have opened up to me again, just as i thought i had lost so much... it's amazing that in a time when i thought i couldn't possibly lose any more (my job, my love, my health for a brief time), i regained the best thing of all: my sense of self. being alone has been a great gift because i've learned to remake myself into the person i want to be, which apparently is someone who will never be alone because i will have friends wherever i go when i am happy.

so yes, let us begin again (and forget about the asshole bearded boyfriends).

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