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Success, Failure...some of my greatest failures have been a springboard to my greatest successes...the terms are truly fluid.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

10 Defeat and Surrender




     It felt like a crushing defeat just before I had to drop my courses.

     It felt like a crushing defeat to lose yet another perfect man and find a good friend in his place.

     It felt like a crushing defeat to lose my house and my way of life and try to cobble together anything that resembled a life that was comfortable.

But……

     ….defeat has an odd nature to it. It really feels like one thing but turns out to be another thing altogether…..sort of like the life of a caterpillar. Defeat looks like something bad but if you know in your heart that it is fleeting by nature, it doesn’t seem to last as long. All of my caterpillar moments seem to culminate in butterfly endings so I have learned to meditate and pray through the storms and caterpillars. Sunshine and butterflies will always follow. In fact I try to actually avoid noticing my discomfort and apparent failure too much. I have seen dear friends get lost in the dark stage seeming to prefer it. There is nothing worse then watching someone you love get swallowed up by the storm or caterpillar…and not come out, as if they seem to prefer the darkness.

      Such thinking has earned me an embarrassing reputation. I am a Pollyanna, or Space Cadet, “Little Miss Sunshine,” or worse. I cling to it though since this version of truth seems to serve me and I am content with living it, at least for now.

     I have loved 2 George Clooney heart stoppingly beautiful men, and I mean that they were beautiful inside and out, and I know my future holds another one, if I feel like going there again. I could get my dream job…or get paid more to write…or finish school a success and add some initials to my name….or not.

     Yesterday was the first day Spencer and I have ever lived truly alone- just the two of us.  My good man is now clearly out of my life and all of my belongings  are being moved without me. I sure hope they remembered all of our Christmas  things under the house…and my independent and affectionate black cat, Whiskers.

     None of this went down the way I would have wanted it to. I like to imagine that I would have wanted it to…I like to imagine that I would have wanted the big messy confrontation and the perilous task of dealing with a situation that clearly could have gotten out of hand and perhaps even dangerous. But that is only my ego talking. The hard fact is that I desperately avoid exciting stories like that. Even when it is a Made For TV movie I am prone to switch that sort of drama off since it feels too heavy for my tastes. 

      My heart and soul prefers this time line where I am on a distant continent away from the heart of it.  When I return home, the ache of the worst part will be all over and Spencer and I will be happy to start our new adventure of picking out a new house and life to live….and we will have a blast doing it. But right now I  am painfully aware of the feeling of defeat, even here in paradise.

     As we muddled through life without a Master of the House, (I am thinking of Manny here), we played songs on the recorder, studied Italian phrases and then meandered over to the store at precisely the wrong time, (business hours in Italy have a big gap as life revolves around meals with family- not what I am accustomed to). We spent too much money at the Coffee Bar and then I made a horrible dinner and served it to my friend here Gabriele. We apparently blew a phone call with Spencer’s friend Teresa and haven’t heard from her since.

     There were so many little defeats in just one day, I should feel like it was a disastrous day, but I have to say, I felt very accomplished when the day was said and done.

     During the day we had two ladies from my tiny street drop by at different times, neither speaks a shred of Inglese….and we had an hour long conversation in which I missed the point of each subsection of talk. Imagine missing about every other paragraph and smiling your way through this sort of uncommunicative communication. We sat in the sun of the terrace and muddled through and I loved hearing every word of their part of the conversation. I heard myself break every rule that my professors at Monterey Peninsula College and Oregon State University had taught me so carefully to respect in Italian, but couldn’t help beaming with pride. Spencer played with his Legos as we progressed through our talk. 

     I would say my comprehension hovered around 50%, but I did get that Rita had to give up her beloved dog for a relative with allergies. She desperately misses her chihuahua, and loves cats of all kinds. Her smile lights up the street and she makes me ache to sweep since she seems to always be doing it…and making it look like fun in the process. She told me much about herself but I would not put money on any of my facts being straight.

     Apparently my mouth was putting together some sentences that made sense. I know because after my first week here, I am meeting people who already know everything I have managed to say to others here. This is a small tightly woven town where everyone knows everyone else. I think word has spread about the lady from California and her son.

     Anyway I have the odd sensation that I am victorious somehow since so much of my time I am listening to and studying Italian. It is a true victory to speak in a long rambling sentence in Italian and be understood.

      As I flopped into my cozy Abruzzo bed, I heard Spencer’s heavy snore, and I  enjoyed the steady rhythm that helped me meditate into sleep. I mull over my day and feel successful. I just can’t help it. Sure, my life back home looks like a rocket crashed smack dab into the middle of the best parts of it, but somehow I am not going to blame anyone or anything for it. I think for now, I am treasuring every moment of delicious adventure and will chalk each part of this up to a success yet to be realized.

     I always have been frustrated reading about my heroes. None of them seemed to appreciate that the best parts of their life were going on while they had their biggest challenges occurring. I promised myself, I will work really hard to keep my eyes open and my heart aware. I would hate to wake up one day and find that this was my greatest triumph and I missed it while it was going on because I was too busy whining through the experience!


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