As a professional in the Policy Field, I can't help but reflect back, look ahead and appreciate the present. Daily shifts in perspective help to highlight life's amazing adaptability. This blog is a focus on perspective.
Since that moment when I almost drove into
the Pacific Ocean, I have been savoring time
and relationships. I cut out what hurts as if my very life depends on it since
now I know it does. Cutting out a relationship that hurt was really my aim…I
have to explain why I am more then OK with losing the man that I loved before I
left for Europe.
We had already felt the strain of not
sharing many of the same values or interests. He is a wise and loving man and
worthy of keeping by all standards but we, as a couple, were unhappy with being
together long before I left on my dream trip for Italy.
He was big on casinos…I hated going to
them and could only endure them when I brought tons of books with me to study
on the premises.
I am big on quiet family weekends…he was
uncomfortable with such close family structures and found little joy in
I hiked 5-6 miles along the Boardwalk with
my dogs each morning while he refused even once to join me. Often though, he
complained of not enough physical activity in his life with me. I think I am
very physical, hiking and running all the time without him wherever we had
lived. The problem he really had was that I was not into physically being competitive.
I quit running regularly, even though it
had been a lifelong habit, the second month we were together in Salinas. I had a hard
time with his “coaching” me about how to run better. You see, I don’t run to
lose weight, or improve my speed, or for anything at all.
Running to me is a meditation, where my
brain stops and my feet take over. I can’t spell anything while I am running. I
am without language when I run. I am clumsy awkward and joyful as I run since I
am not running with any goal whatsoever but to feel air in my lungs and calm in
When I run, I go fast and push myself with
ease until I feel like stopping. Period. There is no rhyme or reason to my
running. Except that I feel like I got rid of a burst of activity that was
twisting around in side of me somewhere and had needed to be let out.
So why would I care about the WAY I ran? I
tried to ask him to stop “helping me” but he could not understand my reasoning.
He came from a different place where running correctly for speed or endurance
was part of the joy of running.
Because we were definitely feeling the
strain of our ill fitting life together I was not surprised that he refused to
go on the trip to me with Europe. He had loved
Europe when stationed there in the ‘80s but he
was clearly not all that excited about making it happen with me in this decade.
I had jumped through every hoop in order
to get to Europe, even getting a scholarship
that paid for the tickets and supplies to go abroad, but not the $13,000 for
schooling. He had seemed to pay little attention. He was ahppy for me but also
seemed happy with the idea of 3 months without me.
As I prepared to buy the tickets he became
more skitterish and edgey, being angry at every little thing around the house.
Spencer and I spent a lot more time away from the house. I remember when
Spencer was gone at his dad’s house, I stepped up my long walks with the dogs
away from the house and his seeming moodiness.
When the scholarship came in, he suddenly
needed to go to a casino. Let me rephrase that, when my money for school
came in, he suddenly wanted to go to a casino. This was a day after he felt we
had no money at all for a drive to Monterey,
which was a half an hour away.
I think that was the moment I realized
that casino trips seemed to coincide with my money disbursements for school.
Quite often I did not have the money to buy all my books for class, but we
always seemed to have money for these trips, that inevitably cost us hundreds
of dollars and long hours in the car driving large swaths of a really big
I headed to an Alanon meeting and found
myself crying as I came to the point with the group, “…I am realizing, I have a
problem…and I sure hate to get rid of him but he is now interfering with my
college career. Or perhaps I am seeing how life with an alcoholic is
interfering with my schoolwork only now, but I will never forgive myself if I
do not have the money for my tickets abroad. I think it is time to let go of
someone I truly love, before it destroys both of our hopes and dreams.”
As anyone who has attended such meetings
can attest, the looks I received were not only full of compassion but also
knowing. Everyone had been there before. Many were still trying to figure out
what to do about the issue but I knew in my heart already I had made my
I went home with new resolve. I knew I
would not budge.
I had my money for the travel agent the
next week. In the meantime though he asked me to consider pushing off the trip
until next year when it would be easier for him. I also was told to consider
not going for other reasons as well. My heels were dug in. I knew I was flying
out of San Francisco’s
airport when it was time. I did ask him again to consider going with me too,
but I was not surprised at his wishy washy answers of why he could not. He
seemed to relish the idea of being alone more then anything.
I woke up one morning before leaving to do
schoolwork and at 5 am checked my Facebook after finishing one of my
assignments. A shock went through me as my home page had a picture of the man I
loved, standing next to his favorite Disney Princess, Jasmine, announcing my
engagement to him!!
I could not believe it! I was instantly
horrified on many levels, mostly since this was a most public way to announce
anything in my world, as if it had been posted on the front page of my hometown
paper, only worse…a paper that only went out to 200 of my closest friends and
relations…people who knew who I was…
I knew I felt as if I was on the last legs
of my relationship with someone I loved with all my heart but while my back was
turned, our relationship had been ratcheted up a notch!
I was in damage control over the next few
days….talking to all my family who were a bit miffed that they had been left
out of the news BEFORE it went on Facebook.
In my man’s defense, he was as
embarrassed as I was when I brought it to his attention, immediately picking
out a different picture aside from the one that featured Jasmine and picking
one of the both of us instead. He also apologized swearing he thought he was
simply changing his status on Facebook from “in a relationship with Terri Pugh”
I was surprised that he did not want to
see us off when we were flying out, asking that we say goodbye to him at a
parking lot in Scotts Valley instead.
He was very emotional and I was very
I figured out he was missing in action and
out of touch while I was in the Cinque Terre in Italy. Spencer was playing in the
cold water along the black beach and my Ex and I sitting on the beach, like
Americans at all the beautiful sights in the world, checking his phone to see
if we had a connection. It was stunning…the sun was setting and we could see
our son’s silhouette as he held back from getting completely soaked in the
chilly water of an early spring evening.
I knew my man had been lost since we had
no contact via Facebook for days. I also knew I had reached the end of my rope
on his unpredictable behavior long ago…perhaps the day I sat in an Alanon
meeting admitting that my priority was not my relationship but school at this
point. We were almost somewhat unreachable, as we roamed around Italy, except
through Facebook. Cell phone usage was extremely high priced and unpredictable
too. He knew he should be monitoring this only avenue but there was simply no
word from him.
It is odd to say but in a matter of weeks,
while I was in the UK…I had
already given up on him and had barely felt it since I was having the time of
my life with Miss Kimberley and Elliot in Wales. I knew that at this point it
was far more painful to have kept my son and I involved in that unpredictable
world that he found himself living in from time to time.
Painful as it is, I understand how to cut
out what I do not need anymore. I honestly am not angry with him for being
himself. I do not think I am mad at myself either…I think I am just understanding
the value of seeing when my discomfort outweighs my comfort.
Last I knew he was living with a younger
female co-worker who had a crush on him. When she wrote me in Europe
I found myself worried about her, not jealous. That also told me my relationship
with him was over.
The moral of my “romance on the rocks”?Well,…when it hurts too much, don’t worry
about cutting it out of your life and letting other things that make you happy
in its place. I hope with all my heart he feels the same about losing me…maybe
his tension is now gone and his life flows beautifully…at least I hope that is
his fresh reality.
Now that time slot that was I used for time
with my man....is filled with a job…and my son…but there was so much more time
left over once the man was cut out of my life of his own accord.