by cbcabeen on June 3, 2017

There are two narratives strategies / energetic configurations that I’ve been trying to navigate between: On one hand, I feel myself trying to keep all the pieces together, telling myself that if I feel like I’m on my own, it’s really just been a bad year, and that after the bumps everything will fall back into place and our status quo patterns will work again. On the other hand, I have the idea that this unstable moment carries its own truth and questions we shouldn’t ignore, that we’re called to let our awareness here and now transform us, to twist the kaleidoscope again and let the pieces fall into new patterns.

The place where this is trickiest for me is in relationships. This year both my partners pulled energy away from their relationships with me and the kids, and it’s not something I’ve had much say in. I understand their reasons, and I know I love them and they love me, and I still feel the loss.

Sometimes I get impatient with myself: I’ve been in this relationship 20 years / I’ve been in this relationship 9 years, can’t I deal with not being a priority? There are seasons without rain, after all. Sometimes I react by disengaging, trying to need less of them and build my own projects and support structures as an individual. But my days are still so immersed in and pre-empted by family that it’s tricky—structurally, I’m not an individual.

I notice how Sibyl reacts so positively to symbolic statements of our relationship, even something as simple as emphasizing the phrase “Sibyl and Mommy.” The four-year old in me wants the same kind of thing maybe, and judging from the weight of civil religion and other statements of community identity, it’s the four-year old in a lot of people. I remember articles too about how kids with a strong sense of family identity deal better with adversity. I want all of us to be more than a list of individuals.

So I’ve been talking with Ted and Tom, talking and talking. I suspect that once I finish mourning for things that haven’t worked out, both of my narrative strategies will be true, that we can keep the important pieces but arrange them differently. It feels good to talk, even without easy solutions.

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