Snakes, Boundaries and Transformation

Many years ago I went to a CoDependents Anonymous meeting.  (Yes, “guilty” as charged – So?  Ha, me and Dick Cheney in the same sentence – whoda thought?)  Anyway, besides my initial reaction of “Who WERE those icky people and I couldn’t possibly have anything in common with them,” in due time and a few meetings later, (Yes, for some reason I kept coming back, for a while anyway), they brought up the subject of Boundaries.  I have to say that I evidently had some concept of Boundaries, for in my notes I wrote:  Boundaries:  Might be nice to have some.  There, in seven little words, is part and parcel of a lot of what went ka-blooey in my, uh, relationship, (for lack of a better word….it was what it was.  Or wasn’t.)  Boundaries – things I know I could have had all these years, yet I actually failed to make use of them.  And let me tell you, that comes to a sorry end.  I should build an altar to Boundaries, and then not fail to honor it, and so myself.

A lot of Truth has been coming to the surface lately.  It’s like a dead body.  If you do something really radical – anything other than a proper and public sendoff with witnesses and the like – unprepared bodies, unloaded in haste and without necessary rituals or preparation, tend to resurface, or be found in some terrible state by an innocent passerby.  Sometimes we are the decaying body – hastily cast off and/or left for dead by someone we thought we cared about and trusted.  Not necessarily a crime scene, and more than likely we played our own part in the drama.  Screaming Codependents make for willing Victims, but after a while you get tired of the endless Woman in Jeopardy chick movie, (or should), and I won’t even watch them anymore.  Give me a strong, funny heroine, and I’m in.  Of course, she likely didn’t get to her power without a bit of drama one way or another, but however we get there is just fine.  Some few may even be born blessed with strength, security and self-worth, via the perfect parents or whatever nurturing left no emotional scars, but I hear scandal happens even in those perfect families.  It’s all a crap shoot, and in the end it’s up to each of us to write, direct and star in our own little plays, or big ones, if we so choose.  Our lives are as big as we make them, and we can either stand up tall and be proud to watch the credits roll, or shrink down into shame and regret when we get to the end and figure we haven’t really done much with the whole creativity thing.  We can embrace Victimhood and shout “It was somebody else’s fault,” or we can learn from those less than stellar choices we made or situations we were born into, and do better.  One of my teaching sources tells me it’s impossible to make a wrong choice – that it’s all part of the plan, the learning, the growing – and we can regroup at any time.  Some of that teaching still goes down hard.  It’s not always easy to prop up that mirror and look deep.  Easier to point fingers and blame, but at some point we have to start picking off our own cobwebs and camouflage and dead skin.  What really happened?  What did I let happen?  What did I encourage to happen by nurturing my own blindness?  Well duh.

So if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’ve been walking the path, doing the work, asking the questions, and during it all, living my life.  I’ve gotten past the part of writing much if any about the departed one, other than in passing or as some sort of semi-relevant factoid.  He doesn’t live in my head anymore, nor I in his, except in fleeting visions and emotions and mostly memories.  Maybe the good memories are really more “painful” than the bad ones, but I also realize that what they are supporting is the grieving for what I “thought I had,” not really so much what was in reality, (yes, that again), a very unfulfilling and lackluster affair.  Let us seriously consider the lack part, and the luster didn’t hold.  Nonetheless, I held on to this large piece of Less Than pie for longer than was healthy, for all the reasons that you can read about in every self-help book and column that exist, (and I still give kudos to Susan Elliott – see at right under Advisor – for offering up the best no holds barred straight talk I’ve yet found to explain what seems like the unexplainable.)  All this has been a very long walk.  And lately these considerations of Boundaries have captured my attention.

But something’s shifted.  My thought processes have shifted.  My perceptions have shifted.  I believe I have made some considerable progress in that thing they call Moving On, and some one day I just might get to that place of Forgiveness, for all parties involved, and that would include myself.

I said to one of my friends that I thought I’d left TG in the bottom of the canyon.  Maybe it was something like that peeing in the river thing.  You don’t pee in camp because it fouls it up for you and everyone else, but you give it to the river which is all powerful and self-cleansing, and it can take it.  Once again, as happens on the river, I came out different than when I went in.  I went to heal, but I didn’t quite know that.  Silly me, I thought I was going on a photo adventure, but I think I did know, at some level, that this journey was about more than coming out of the depths with a few pictures.  I think I gave up TG to the river and the canyon.  I think they’re big enough to take him for me.  Along with some cleansing tears, I gave him up, and left him behind.  And he won’t be there when I go back.

I came out fairly gimpy.  Broken almost, pinched and hurting and tired to the bone, but out I came.  And not even time to reset before I was off again on another responsible adventure to do with my art – a necessary jaunt that deepened friendships and planted more seeds – but it was rushed and still physically a bit trying.  But I showed up.  And then They started showing up – the snakes.

Not one, not two, but three…..shiny and flashing ribbons of bright pink snakes kept appearing in front of the car as my friend and I ambled around West Texas, rapidly wriggle-streaking their way across the roads just beyond me, making me brake and dodge to avoid them.  Now I’m sure there’s some logical explanation.  It was spring and probably mating season, or time to get to the other side of the road in snake world, but there they came, one after another, days apart.  And I managed to miss every one of them, who were practically kamikazying their way across my path.  Weird.  “Transformation,” my friend said, for she knows about such things, and so do I, a little bit, when it comes to mystical signs from the animal kingdom.  Snakes are all about shedding your skin, dying to new life, leaving the non-working parts of your past behind, becoming the next version of yourself, hopefully enlightened.  It’s about time.

And it’s kept up.  I walk the dogs every afternoon, and a couple of days after I returned I dang near stepped on some baby snake as I went down the road.  Made me jump and skip in the air in reflex – pretty funny.  A little bitty snake, but a snake just the same.  And then another day or two later, I shortcut across the open space and found myself toe to tail with another one – a big one this time, just lying there, considering his (or her) next move since they are extremely sensitive to motion and vibration, and they don’t really want to mess with us most of the time.  Doing as humans are wont to do, (at least the ones who are not phobic about snakes and don’t go batcrap crazy when encountering one), I picked up a stick and nudged at it.  It proceeded to make tracks away from me, and it headed for the grasses and weeds under the tree up ahead, shaking his non-existent snake tailfeathers at me, trying to bluff me.  But then it got really interesting.  Next thing I knew, it slid, climbed, melted itself upward into the tree, like water flowing up, amazing to watch, until it BECAME Tree.  Afterwards I couldn’t tell what was tree and what was snake, except for a glimpse of sun on scales here and there.  It was magic.  If I went around to another side of the tree and tried to find it, it was invisible.  Pretty neat trick, I must say.  And now I’ve about got snake fever on the dog walks, looking looking looking for snakes, for I know there are rattlers out there, and I have had one cross my path some long years ago.  And hells bells, we’ve found two of them in the front yard since we’ve lived here – go figure.  So much for Homeland Security.

So I think I am at least in the midst of this Transformation thing.  Time and better thinking have led me to more honest appraisals of what was really going on in the throes of the “relationship” when it existed.  When I feel anger about it now, if I still feel it, I feel it equally toward my own self, for I know I had my part in the dance.  But the anger is giving way to acceptance, and understanding.  My ultimate goal will be to get to that Forgiveness thing, for everyone involved, the him and the me.  And then I will know I have healed.

I have wearied of feeling tired and hurt and broken, both in body and in spirit.  I have given myself over to healing, even if the healing hurts.  A long time ago I wrote something resembling that sometimes you have to mess things up to clean them up.  I think I had to scramble my innards to get them repositioned, maybe needing to break some bones and strain some ligaments to reset them into their proper places.  Not only my body, but my mind and my heart have been involved with The Change.  I had to change, in so many ways, to live the rest of my life without the daily drudgery of standing in poor posture or calling something Love when it wasn’t, really.  Only a Fairy Tale of my childhood’s creation, trying to make a happy ending from parts that would never fit together.  A child might keep on trying  – after a while someone else needs to redirect the action, maybe if it means putting on her big girl panties, and learning how to think, and respond, in different, healthy ways.  Snakes, and Boundaries, and Transformation.  All are entwined, and what a ride it’s been.  What a ride indeed.  And it ain’t over yet.


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One Response to “Snakes, Boundaries and Transformation”

  1. Oh what a painful loss, the loss of what we thought we had. What a painful love, the love of all the potential for greatness and humanity I saw in husbands past. I like to think they had special potential. Perhaps, though, there was no potential. Perhaps I mistook a single fluke of observed behavior for a healthy habit or some special insight. Perhaps my rose colored glasses and my tendency to look for the best simply caused me to see more than what was there. Or to just make happy assumptions and arrive at pleasant conclusions that simply were not supported by a preponderance of the evidence. Is that just part of the phenomenon of being a fool? Maybe. If I’m going to be a fool, I’d just as soon be a fool over love than just about anything else. . . .except maybe a dog.

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