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“What will sustain us through the winter?
Where did last years’ lessons go?
Walk me out into the rain and snow
I dream a highway back to you…”

Gillian Welch – I Dream a Highway                           

Marina and Ulay 2010


Marina Abramovic and Ulay (MoMA, New York 2010)

I haven’t blogged in quite a while so for those of you following along I sincerely apologise for my writing absence. The blog has been like a barren wasteland for a little bit.  I have always found that my writing is heavily aligned with the state of my heart. Sadness often seems to choke my creative self and the writer chick in me is forced to sit desolate on a proverbial island waiting for the authentic me to wake up.

The fact that I’ve started writing again perhaps means I’ve stepped out of the darkness and back into the light. That’s not to say that I was depressed, but I was, I think, certainly lost and for quite some time, very sad. The sun is shining, even in the grip of Melbourne’s winter. I can feel it breaking through the clouds on early morning walks to the train station, in the new suburb I’m living in. I’ve moved house, with the gorgeous ones and my old-man-puppy…but not the Producer.

I’m single. There, I’ve said it out loud for the universe to hear.

I wasn’t sure how I would write about this, or if in fact I could bring myself to, but here I am , words flowing out of me and onto the screen so perhaps it’s time.

It’s too early I think to go into the nitty-gritty of this lost love, and out of respect for the Producer, I won’t, but I think it’s fair to say that we loved each other, he and I. Sometimes though, love alone is not enough. While we gave it a red hot go, took risks and tried to merge lives under a single roof, we simply didn’t make it. And, fuck it, it was heart breaking.

My optimistic brain and my romantic heart can’t really reconcile all the water that flowed under the damn bridge to get me here, but I know with a sense of resolution that leaving was the best thing for both of us. There is a great quote by Mik Everett – ‘If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.’  The Producer filled the pages of so many blog posts early on, and here he is again. Still.

When we met, the chemistry was off the charts. It was instant and electric. The sex was hot and steamy, and I liked it that way, and wanted it to stay that way.  Sadly it didn’t. He was the polar opposite of all I had ever known and it was exciting. It took a long time, and me walking away, for him to commit to the relationship. I ignored those red flags, as one in love is prone to do, and when he finally said the words “monogamous” and “exclusive”, I felt I’d won first prize at the fair. What had happened to me that I didn’t stop to consider that perhaps  I was the prize, and he the winner? In fact, somewhere in all the excitement, I felt like I lost myself and my inner compass. When I first met the Pisces I had joked with a friend about me being a Leo. “Can a fish really love a lion? I might eat him!”

She looked me in the eye and replied, “Don’t let a Pisces fool you. He might lure you, pussycat, into the water and drown you.”

I now think there’s some truth on both sides of that equation. It was a complicated red hot mess at times, sprinkled with some moments of awesomeness. He made me laugh and I nurtured him. I made a home for us and he quite enjoyed what he would call “normaling”. He was part of a family unit…me, kids and a dog with home cooked meals, clean sheets and matching bookshelves. I don’t consider that normaling. It was just building a life. It was adulating. Our value base was just very different.

heart stitches

We shared a love of quirky music, films, exhibitions and binge watching Netflix. He was brilliant with my kids and in love with my dog and I’m grateful for that. I thought, perhaps naively, it would be forever but sadly it wasn’t meant to be. Ultimately, what we both needed to be happy in this life was so different, we’d have to bend too far, and blunt ourselves to fit the other’s mould. We never meant to hurt one another, and yet we did. When it isn’t right, it just isn’t. No matter how much you try to believe it is.

“Breaking up is never easy, I know, but I have to go. Knowing me, knowing you, it’s the best I can do.”

ABBA – Knowing Me, Knowing You

So, I found a place, signed a lease, packed many boxes, and left. Left my beautiful home for a smaller, older one in a suburb that, while lovely, wasn’t my dream location. He remained in the suburb I have been frequenting and eating in my entire adult life. I lost so much when my ex husband left. This time around, I’ve still lost. My partner. My suburb, my place to be. He moved there for me, and I thought perhaps he’d move back to the inner city but I don’t believe he has. I simply couldn’t afford to stay there on my income with two kids. Still, I’m a born home maker. I have the kids and the dog and I’ve changed lights, built shelving and figured out how to extend TV aerials…I am strong and independent. Sometimes though, it sucks to have to be.

I have retreated into the safety of solitude and of close friendships and those that understand me better than I can understand myself right now. I am proud of myself for doing what is right, even when it sucks, big time. He, the Producer, has left an indelible mark on my soul, as all loves should. I am licking my wounds and regrouping, drinking wine, listening to empowering music, meditating, working hard, writing and pounding the pavement when I can. It’s not about blame because that’s a slippery slope. I loved him, truly, madly…deeply. Passionately. I don’t know any other way.

He loved me too, I’m sure, just not in the way that my heart needed. We were fire and ice.

I believe I manifested him into my life. I told the universe I wanted someone who was the opposite of my ex-husband. I started this blog with a tag line that I was searching for my own Mr. Darcy. The universe delivered on both those requests. The thing is, I probably needed middle ground.

It’s been weeks now and I think I’m doing okay. I miss him and his smile, and his far left political views especially with the election coming up.  Life takes us where we should be though. I don’t want to regret my time with him, or that we tried. If you never risk your heart, how will you ever know? I’m not left wondering what if? I’ve learnt lessons and now, new chapters will be written, new memories made. For both of us. We learn lessons, good and bad. I will never ignore red flags again for example. I also know I could never love a man who doesn’t love a good film. Swings and roundabouts.

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Maya Angelou

We haven’t spoken since I collected the last of my things. There is no contact, we are no longer friends on Facebook. We have followed the breakup rules. A number of people have asked me if we’ll be friends in time. I honestly don’t know how to answer that. Is it true that terrible lovers make great friends? The truth is, you can’t be friends unless you’re sincerely comfortable seeing that person with a new lover. Right now I can’t conceive of that. I’ve barely stitched myself back together.  I left feeling shattered and broken, with my self-esteem scooped delicately into a suitcase, dripping out the sides, like a gooey mess.

What I know is, for this chapter we shared, there was real magic, and love.  We did some very cool stuff and we laughed a lot. He will write this chapter in his own way. We are both carrying scars, there is no doubt, but we also taught each other a lot. I let him wholeheartedly into every aspect of my life – my children, my friends, my soul secrets. He told me as I was leaving that he loved me more than he’d loved anyone else before. His blue eyes locked onto my green ones and in that moment I believed him, but I knew the truth, that love alone can never be enough.

Compatibility (emotionally, socially, sexually), shared goals and dreams, open affection, communication and a willingness to be vulnerable enough to share your soul at its deepest. These things are vital too. I am too passionate to not live without these things. To do so caused me great sadness and I unraveled. Little chunks of my heart started breaking off. I was becoming someone unrecognisable to myself. I yearned for affection and to be acknowledged. I was slowly slipping into despair and that isn’t good. The survivor in me made me finally do what I needed to do. My heart is so loyal, it didn’t want me to go. I tried so hard to be less, need less, be satisfied with less than I deeply needed. I tried. I know in my heart he tried to be more. He tried so hard. In the end we both tried, and still we couldn’t make it.

A lion and a fish. One swimming and dreaming, the other on land needing to be grounded. An extrovert and an introvert. One passionate, social and energetic. The other introspective, solitary and calm. One born optimist and one pessimist. One Inner City, the other Picket Fence. Both layered and complicated. How did we think we could pull off such a huge feat? Love. We both believed in love.

Oh life…with all your damn crazy lessons.

As clichéd as it is, we all know that time heals. I’m feeling stronger and more like myself than I have in a long time and that can only be a good thing. My hair is back to a brighter shade of coppery red. My eyes seem a little greener. I am always grateful that I’m a survivalist and for the first time in some time, I have hope, and hope is a beautiful thing.