What started off as a dreary, seemingly uneventful day, turned into nothing short of revelatory.
I met with my counselor in treatment today. I went in like a blank page. Still sickly and feeling that I had such a sad, unchanging lot. Feeling, once again, stuck. I had practically nothing to offer him. Except of course, my inner anguish, which I held onto tightly, my hand firm, as if it were clinging to a rope holding down a hot air balloon. Something in me wanted to be free, floating upward into the atmosphere. My counselor could see my balloon and he pressed me for information.
Our conversation turned to Lars. He’s been the center of my thoughts and the center of my inaction. All these feelings, each one like a little secret, I just can’t let out. All this fear around being hurt again. How I just want to give something of myself, but, when I’m in the moment that would be just perfect for me to open my soul to him, I clam up. I convince myself that moving too quickly is the last thing I need. That, time, time will allow everything to come out into the open.
But, it isn’t really about time. It’s about me. It’s about my ex. It’s about the secret I haven’t told. The secret where I say, it’s really over. Even though I’ve said those words a million times, they haven’t been true. How can something be over when I’ve replayed everyday, sometimes every hour, in my mind like an old movie. A VHS tape. One where some scenes are fuzzy, with lines running up and down the screen, all because I’ve watched it so many times. And, it’s always the same movie. You know what to expect. You know how it ends. You know how it makes you feel. You know you can watch it again, and again, and again. And the moment you pop it in the VCR, that comfort of the world you’ve known returns to you. And, it’s safe. There’s nothing you can’t predict from the the first minute to the last, and then you rewind.
Lars isn’t someone I can replay or predict. We’re not over. There’s an expanse in front of him, of us, that I just can’t see. So rather than venture into the theatre and see a new movie, his movie, I keep returning to the old one. The one that I thought was the one. But, it wasn’t. It wasn’t the one.
My counselor asked me what it is that’s stopping me. What is it that is so unnerving about Lars? He asked me to tell him all the things I know about Lars, the facts. He then asked me to tell him all the things I know about my ex, the facts. And, after stating all that truth, rooted in what is real and what has happened, I felt better. I couldn’t tell you why, but I did.
It wasn’t until I was in my car later, driving to my women’s meeting across town that it slapped me in the face. The thing that my counselor was trying to show me. The truth. My ex: he’s gone. The truth is, no matter how many times I watch that movie, hoping it will be different, it isn’t, it’s always the same, and, it’s never going to end the way I thought it should end. The truth. Lars, oh Lars: scares me. All the things that bother me about Lars, that hold me back, that allow me to make excuses for my own inaction where he’s concerned, they’re all things I see in myself.
My counselor tried to tell me, but, I didn’t see it until I was cruising up E. Burnside, radio blasting and cigarette burning. I’m not scared of Lars. I’m scared of myself. I share many of Lars’ traits, tell tale signs of addiction or not, we have common themes. It’s those themes that I return to, because, I’m still afraid to be that person, so, how can I be with that person. If I learn to accept these things about Lars, do I then have to accept them in myself? Can I accept them in myself?
When I view Lars as another version of me, the idea of being truly honest with him, well, it isn’t quite so frightening. I sometimes forget that we’re all a little broken. That all of our tapes get worn out. That sometimes, in order to find that new movie you want to watch over and over again, you have to pop the old one out of the VCR. And, driving along in the drizzle, I came to realize that as well as I know my ex’s movie, as comfortable as the replay has become, it’s time to eject.
I’m think I’m ready. I’m going to the fucking cinema. And, I’m praying for a blockbuster. Please God, let it be a blockbuster.