To use a composting analogy, when I talk and write and listen to other people (friend or therapist) about my problems, it is like picking up a pitchfork and breaking a bit of a sweat by turning a compost pile, incorporating oxygen so the process goes faster. Stuff can compost anaerobically (without oxygen), too. But it is a stinkier process, and often takes longer, and some parts of the pile (like earthworms) die from lack of oxygen. Whether someone composts aerobically or anaerobically is not always just a matter of choice. Neither is the way one spends their time during the healing process. We all should use the resources we have available, but some of us have more resources than others.
I have had two "serious relationships" in my life. Between those two I felt like I was in love for few weeks, but it really didn't count as anything serious, in hindsight (panicked, manic, rebound). My marriage was serious, and my relationship to my youngest child's dad was serious, but only after I got pregnant. We were in an exclusive relationship (at his request, but I left an "out" in case my ex-husband wanted to reconcile at some point), but we had no intention of it being long term. Of course, that changed when our child was born and he chose to have joint custody.
I was thinking today about how, if my men were like ice cream, my ex-husband would have been my favorite Pistachio Almond Fudge, standing out among the 30 other flavors. I think when we got divorced, the ice cream got dropped, not onto the ground, but onto a relatively clean surface, say it dropped on the counter and somehow rolled back into the freezer. I still wanted it, but couldn't reach it and make it mine again, but for a while, nobody else wanted it but me and I felt like it was waiting there for when I was ready and somebody would pick it up and put it in my hand again. But after he got remarried and redivorced, he had lost his appeal. It was like another woman had picked up my scoop of ice cream and licked it all over and bit into it and there was a chunk missing. I found that even though I could have taken that ice cream cone back, part of it would always be missing, taken by the other woman, and by this time I had decided that maybe Pistachio Almond Fudge isn't quite my favorite in the world, after all, especially after my scoop had someone else's germs all over it and part of it was in that someone else's stomach. Someone did pick it up and hand it to me again, but I said, "No, thanks."
Now, my little one's dad brings a totally different image to mind. After my scoop of my favorite ice cream (my ex-husband) was dipped out and put into my hand and I got to enjoy it for a while before it fell off and rolled back into the freezer, all the other ice cream was removed. I didn't care; that was the only scoop of ice cream I ever wanted and thought I ever would want. Then the other woman picked up my scoop of ice cream that I could not reach. She looked like she had every intention of eating it all up herself, but I hoped she would decide she didn't like it and would put it back for me, but I couldn't stand to watch my scoop of Pistachio Almond Fudge slowly being licked away by this strange woman while I stood there empty handed. I looked again and saw that the freezer had been restocked, but with practically empty cartons. There was one, almost empty carton of slightly freezer-burned Cold Duck Ice (the least desirable flavor, to me, but I can eat it under duress) but there was enough to scrape together into one decent sized scoop and on a sweltering hot day, it was better than nothing, and at that point, "nothing" was my only alternative because at that point there was another woman holding and eating my precious Pistachio Almond Fudge.
For a short while I found refreshment in that Cold Duck Ice. It was different than what I was looking for, but it was cold and wet when I was suffocating from heat and thirst and since it was available, I felt like it was best to enjoy it as much as I could while I was waiting for the other woman to decide she didn't want my Pistachio Almond Fudge, after all.
Sadly, nothing went as I might have hoped or expected. When I got pregnant, I dropped my Cold Duck Ice onto the ground. It rolled a little ways away and picked up some dirt, dried grass clippings, and a tiny twig or two. I tried to pick it back up, but I never could get a good grip on it. It was melting so fast and when I tried to scrape or pull the dirt and debris off of it, I found that I was actually pushing some of it in deeper because it was in the hot sun, melting, and it was so soft and not only that, every time I touched it, it rolled farther away, getting dirtier and more melted. I was so sad and felt so hopeless.
The freezer was still totally empty and the other woman was still licking my Pistachio Almond Fudge.
After a while, I gave up and stared sadly at the dirty, blob of melted Cold Duck Ice, sprinkled with all the dirt and debris it had picked up when it fell and also as I chased after it, trying to make it mine again.
I suddenly noticed that nearby was a shady, cool spot with a water fountain and relieved, I went there and cooled off and my thirst was quenched. I felt more calm and peaceful. I decided that I don't want the Cold Duck Ice anymore. It wasn't really ever right for me. It is melted and dirty and not something I want to eat anymore. It is still there, I still see it, but I just don't want it anymore. I know it isn't anything that can give me even a moment of satisfaction anymore. And maybe it is serving a better purpose melting into the ground and feeding the ants than being my refreshment.
I see the ice cream trucks have visited the ice cream parlor and the freezer is once again full of 31 flavors. There will never be another Pistachio Almond Fudge, nor will their be another Cold Duck Ice for me. But there are lots of flavors I haven't even considered. The ice cream in the freezer now isn't the freshest and best. But there are some nice ones I can enjoy. And there may be a new favorite hidden somewhere. There will always be more ice cream (until I find and settle on another favorite), and I will always have a cool, shady spot and a water fountain available if I simply don't find myself in the mood for ice cream.
Life is good.