Talk to Me – Or Not…

“You talk too freakin’ much.”


I was taken aback by that comment, but I understood it. And within a few minutes of hearing it, I had to laugh. Yes, at times, I talk too freakin’ much (though my accuser did not use “freakin’”). But not in all circumstances. I went through four years of college barely saying a word in class, and in certain social situations I still tend to cling to the fringes and observe others more than I dive in and assert myself.

But some nights, it can be another story. I’m sure it’s partly because of the structure of my work day: home alone, rarely even the smallest phone contact with anyone, just me and the cat. God knows I talk a stream at Callie sometimes, poor dear, but despite the occasional caterwaul response, I think she mostly  misses the nuances. And of course I talk out loud to myself, often repeating something I’ve just thought (a weird habit, it seems to me; why not let it go with the thought alone, or simply say it right away?). The more-than-occasional curses at computer recalcitrance or my own stupidity don‘t count as conversation.

So the real outpourings begin to flow when the day is over and I see another human again for the first time in hours. A brain dump of thoughts, feelings, observations wry and silly and unnecessary.

But it looks like now there’ll just be more hours of deep confabs with Callie.

I started Crisis? What Crisis? almost two years ago. As it says on the author’s page, I was hoping to chronicle the ups and downs of midlife and one writer’s lingering crisis trying to deal with it. And as the first post noted, way at the bottom, a series of pretty drastic upcoming changes marked the initial period of documenting this part of my life.

Now, to my surprise, the Crisis is going extremely critical.

Twice in my life I’ve initiated a divorce. It’s not a fun process, even for the person who says, “Enough.”  Now, in what I suppose is a sort of karmic pay back, I am the one being told I am not _____ enough (one could fill in the blank many ways). Or “It’s not you, it’s me.” Or “I need something else.” Or some combination thereof.

And you know what? Hearing that your partner of almost 12 years and spouse of 10 wants to divorce you really sucks.

So the shell shock is still reverberating through my body, especially in my gut, where I think the pit is hunger and I fill it with food and nothing changes. The pit of loss, I guess. Of uncertainty. Pain.

But let’s not make this a pit-filled pity party, right? People get divorced all the time. Three-times losers, like me, might be a little rarer, but hey, it happens. Just don’t put it on the ol’ resume, you know? And while I’m sure issues relating to separation and loss will pop up at C?WC? as this goes on, I do not want to make this a diary-of-a-divorce blog. I didn’t check, but I bet they’re pretty freakin‘ ubiquitous. And I certainly don’t want to vilify the future ex. I love her. Despite our problems, I would do what it takes to try to keep us together. But there is no point now, I‘m told.

I do hope that when appropriate, I‘ll write some posts that offer some humor or insights other 50-year-old, anxiety-prone, male writers can use as they go through divorce. Or maybe even normal folks too.

Another thing I don’t want to do: wallow. In self-pity, the past, or fears about the future. I want to use this experience as a lesson. That‘s how I‘ve tried to see it, since I got the first head’s up a few weeks ago. A lesson in some of the Buddhist teachings I have known and failed to truly live by for most of my adult life. What lessons? Well, impermanence. Of all things: emotions, relationships, people. And letting go. Letting go of emotions; not refusing to feel them, but acknowledging them and then letting them pass on. Being in the moment – forget about the past events that got you here, and the future ahead of you. They are not real. Neither, ultimately, is the ego. Detach from the ego, and the pain of being dumped dissipates. The ego suffers, but the ego is not my essence. And compassion. Buddha was big on compassion. Even toward those who hurt you. Especially.

Of course, as I’ve  said here before, I am often not skilled enough to do things I want to do, be the person I want to be. Naturally, I am a bad Buddhist, which is why I don’t  define myself as such, even as I try to live by so many of the teachings. But maybe this seeming moment of loss and pain is really an opportunity, the catalyst for spiritual and professional and interpersonal growth.

Or else it’s just the first step toward your seeing me in some West Haven alley, bottle of Mad Dog cradled across my lap, the last few precious drops running onto my stained, ripped pants, two sizes too small, but all that the local charity had. No teeth, except for the few caps I’ve been able to get these last few years, when I still had insurance to retard the decay of my middle-aged body. And talking, like I did for so many years, talking to myself with no one to hear.

Yeesh, we can’t leave on that image. All right, here’s one positive spin on all this. I face the Next Big Crisis with a large support group at hand – something I would not have had in my beloved Chicago. Friends and loved ones will be there to help, I know. Guys, I will try my best not to talk too freakin’ much.


~ by mburgan on May 11, 2010.

8 Responses to “Talk to Me – Or Not…”

  1. we are all here for you. I am a true believer in Karma and that everything happens for a reason, and yes we don’t know the reason, but it will become apparent at some point in the future.

  2. I try to comfort myself with that thought too…

  3. Hey Michael,
    So sorry to hear about your marriage. Please, whatever you do, don’t stop talking!! I’m glad you’re surrounded with love and friendship. Take care.

  4. Thanks Colleen. I don’t think I am programmed to remain silent for too long. And yes, the relationships that give me support and love will be crucial. But at times even that isn’t enough when you’re losing the one relationship that matters most.

  5. Been there and yes, it sucks!

  6. AT first I was thinking how it sucks that you gave up Chicago and all, so I’m glad you have the positive side of it- the closeness to such a support system.

  7. and hey -I’ve got the 3 divorces to- shud we start a club?

  8. Yeah, the support system has been key, and I would not have had it in Chicago. But other things would have been easier if I had known sooner. Oh well. As far the club–could be a pretty small one, but why not?

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