Reconnections and Summaries

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Curves.

Mercury in retrograde has a way of bringing back people from my past. This one certainly did. A woman who was my best friend in college  has reconnected with me. I’ve seen her only once or twice in the past 20 years, and I think the last time was about 16 years ago. We have some remarkable tales to tell each other, and some are a little too similar.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

So how do I sum up 20 years of my life in one email? Well, here goes….

The  dreams  I  had  when  I  was  18  haven’t  really changed. I still want to be independent  and not have to worry  about  money  when  I  grow  up,  I  still  want  to change the world, and I still want to write and make mu- sic and indulge my creativity, to be myself utterly, and all the  while  with  the  love  of friends  and most  especially with the love of a good man who appreciates me for who I am and who himself wants to change the world and indulge his creativity  and be independent  and  who really “gets me.”  Making  those dreams come true has been a struggle,  and I guess     most of them are still a work in progress, but I’m optimistic now, more than I’ve been in at least the past decade, maybe the last two decades.

Along the way, I got a few more college degrees and certifications,  got married,  and had two daughters  who are loving, sensitive, beautiful, smart, creative, caring, independent-everything  I could ever have wanted.

I put aside my dreams of writing full-time to pursue a more  secure  career  in business,  worked  way too much overtime,  put my dreams on  hold to fit into the world around  me.  I  changed  the  way  I  dressed  to  fit  in.  I changed the way I thought and believed and expressed myself.  I changed the way I decorated my surroundings and the jewelry I wore. I changed into what everyone else wanted me to be and lost myself. I wasn’t happy, and the people who had wanted me to change weren’t happy with the changes either. I committed the suicide of my personality  to  fit  in  because  my  being  different  from  those around me was too hard on them. I became the perfect career woman, suits and briefcases and pumps and all.

Along the way, I got hurt on the job, the worst thing that had ever happened to me. Where I’d been such an asset to my employer before, I was now a liability, and I was treated as such. No one came to my rescue. I felt betrayed by my body and by the institution  I’d given  so many hours to. But a couple of good things came out of it that I couldn’t see then.

First, I got off the career fast track. I stopped putting my career ahead of my own health and started my struggle for balance.

Second, in the 27 months of persistent, excruciating pain before I found a practitioner who could “fix” me, I began to delve into the occult and esoteric beliefs and discovered a spirituality that felt like coming home. I started my  focus  on  my  spiritual  purpose  and  became  disenchanted with my soul-sucking career.

Along the way, I had lost my confidence in myself and my abilities, eventually  gave up on all my dreams just to please other people, and one day I woke up and realized that the man I’d chosen as my partner in life  was emotionally distant and verbally abusive, controlling  and manipulative.  Though  I  understand  now  how  he  became that way and  how  our relationship  spiraled into one of despair and oppression  and  though  I surprisingly  hope that he can break that pattern one day with someone else, I decided that I either had to die on the spot or leave him. Since I already felt dead-and that wasn’t working-I filed for divorce. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done in my life, but it was my first step to reclaiming me and dreaming again.

Along the way,  I had begun  a study  for the pagan clergy. It took  years and the introspection  and clearing out   my   shadows   were   extremely   difficult.   I   finally achieved my  elevation  to  Third  Degree,  then  the  next morning saw something  in my organization’s  leader that reflected the exact behaviors of the man I was divorcing. As much as I loved my spiritual family, I knew then that I could not remain under her leadership when I was breaking away from the same behaviors at home. It was not the hardest thing I have ever done, not by any means. The power I felt from seeing patterns of destruction in my life and realizing I could change my path….well, that made it very easy.

Along the way, I finished the divorce paperwork, kept my girls for most of the time, adjusted to a new financial situation, and soldiered on, still not able to write full-time, but able at least to write again. A year or  two before, I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but I resurrected  the dreams I’d buried in order to keep everyone else happy. I started writing  again, publishing again, traveling, making friends, losing them, too. A whole grab bag of feelings I hadn’t felt in years-both grand and awful-and spiritual experiences that amazed me.

Along the way, I said goodbye to my marriage  and then suddenly,  unexpectedly, totally fell head over heels for a man I’d known and liked  for years, but had never thought of in that way because  of our professional relationship (plus the fact that we were both “happily” married). I still find it hard to fathom  the intensity  of my emotions  when it comes to him, even now. There were things that  passed  between  us that  changed my  life  in ways no one will ever know, probably not even him. I will always be grateful to have had him in my life, even for a short period, and for the support he gave me when I felt so unsure of myself. Seems we only got to see each other at our worst, but maybe one day we’ll see each other at our best. In any case, wherever he goes and whatever be- comes of him, he will always be special to me and I will always think of him as The Treat.

And so in summary, those are all things that happened along the way  since we were friends in college. They all helped make me who I am now, some tearing me down to the ground and others planting seeds to  rebuild, but it’s still all in the past. What’s important now is the transition I’m in from those things in the past to where those dreams are real and fulfilled in the future.

All those things have happened, but I am still here, still me and more me than ever.