Recently I’ve found myself wanting to write again. Not about work, not about art, or the plight of the artist or what it means to design a creative life or any of those others clichéd inspirational phrases that show up in every other post on my Instagram feed. True, sometimes they help and the right words will float by me at the right time and I’ll feel a twinge somewhere on the surface of my heart. But the words that almost always snuggle deep inside there, hang out, and take up space, become part of me, are the ones that occupy more of the screen, the page. The longer form – and the longer form can be a few-lined-poem. Or an article. Or a behemoth of a book.
I’ve been feeling the need to write because I’m rediscovering just how much words matter most to me. Even if they’re not ‘perfect.’ Even if they’re not the ‘right’ words. I spent nearly 5 years in a relationship with a man who would slam down an impending fight with impenetrable silence. Relentless silence. Stubborn and shut. This is also the same man that could talk at length about a climb he wanted to do, or how he was learning to ski and it was his new favorite past time, the struggles going on at work, but who wouldn’t engage in the meat of most conversations that dictate the difference between casual fling and committed partnership. What do we really want, and how can we support each other in making it all happen, over time, together as we grow?
I’ve been mostly struggling with my part in the end. Did I push too much to have those conversations? Was it unreasonable to ask the questions? Could we have survived even though we had different levels of ‘excitement’ about his interests – things that I happily tried, happily engaged in, woke before dawn to partake in. My philosophy on passion is that it gets to hop around. To everything. Bringing passion to my creative work, the business I’m building, my day job, my relationships, a day on the slopes, this dinner I’m building from scratch for the both of us, a trip to Italy with my sister and cousins, to me that means living with passion. Having passion. Embodying passion. A passion? That’s too much pressure – finding just one. And in deciding to take that ultimate leap, that risk, and enter into a relationship with someone, it’s unwise to think that the level of passion for a singular thing, event, idea, interest between both people will be equal at all times. Passion for each other though – for each other’s happiness and level of joy – that’s the thing.
As I work through the conversations and actions, my own attitude, how I carried myself, the expectations I had, I’m floored by my level of responsibility in our ending. I’m tackled by grief and regret and loss. I’m uplifted by knowing that I’ll do better, and saddened by the very real probability that the retry won’t happen with him. For all my flaws, and his, that love had snuggled so deep in my heart – like the words of writers who just know, you know – that it had dissolved. It’s still running in my veins. And like any blood transfusion, these feelings have to run their course. They have to travel through my entire body before the process of transformation is complete.
I wish it would be painless and quick. I wish I could look at a photo of him doing something he loves and feel nothing but joy and good-will. But just like the passion I bring to making my home feel like mine, to a drawing I spend hours on, to a hike up the Presidential Range, and the simple-but-delicious oatmeal I made this morning, the passion (remember, there’s another definition for that word too) that lives in the time after a break-up is strong and pungent. It may take far longer than I want. And I likely will write about it again. Bear with me.