The Rudest Awakening

“And no, you can’t always get what you want…
No, you can’t always get what you want…
Well, no, you can’t always get what you want…
But if you try sometimes, you just might find…
You get what you need.”
~ The Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

All right, I confess: my Aries Sun seems to have endowed me with an innate sense of entitlement (though some might refer to it as arrogance.) Throughout my life, any time I found myself wanting something (or someone), it never occured to me that being unable to make it (or them) mine was possible. I naturally assumed, Ram that I am, I would get anything and anyone I wanted…one way or another. Failure was not an option, nor was it part of my vocabulary. I viewed obstacles as mere nuisances to be brushed aside as I stubbornly forced my way toward the desired result. More often than not, I succeeded in obtaining whatever I sought. This personality trait has bestowed me with a tremendous drive which has benefitted me in nearly every aspect of my life.

Conversely, it has also taught me that I’m not as infallible as I always believed. Because – gasp! – sometimes, things aren’t going to work in my favor, or at least in the way I intended. (I know, I know…it was a rude awakening for me too.)

When my 8-year relationship with the complicated Cancer-cusp who was, and still is, the love of my life, ended in January 2011, I told him I did not want to lose his friendship. I had managed to remain friendly with many of my exes (not random boyfriends I’ve had; rather, long-term relationships/marriages) and given the fact that my Cancer and I had been platonic friends (okay, platonic friends who secretly lusted for one another) for ten years prior to beginning our relationship, I thought we would have no problem salvaging our friendship. The thought of him no longer being a part of my life in any capacity was, well, unfathomable. And we did stay friends (with benefits, as well) until I left Kansas in late April 2011 when I foolishly ignored my intuition and moved to Arkansas. A few weeks after I left, my estranged Cancer-cusp texted some tremendously hurtful messages to me, to which I replied with my own brand of sarcastic, equally cruel comments. That was on May 10, 2011: the last time we communicated in any way, shape, or form.

Lo and behold, I had officially lost the friendship on top of having lost the relationship. I was absolutely crushed, devastated, grief-stricken, nauseated, regretful, shattered, along with around 47 other adjectives…but the bottom line? I was so incredibly hurt by his absence in my life, it literally ached. As the Red Hot Chili Peppers once sang, I don’t ever wanna feel like I did that day.

It was the first day I realized that I, the Jen Montgomery, the headstrong, determined Aries who had always managed to somehow get her way, was in no way exempt from the human experience of plans not working out in the way I assumed they would or should. I understand how arrogant that sounds: “Really Jen?” you ask incredulously. “Are you seriously so presumptious that you are just now discovering you can’t always get your way?” You heard me. I’m not proud of it, but I never claimed my delusions of grandeur were accurate. Once I came to the realization that they were delusions rather than a law of physics, it was a jolt to my system. I learned that, in fact, I might not and will not always get what I want.

What I wanted was my Cancer-cusp to remain in my life, even if only as the friends we once were. What I got was my Cancer-cusp removing himself from my life altogether…and it happened so suddenly, it was akin to ripping off a band-aid, taking some skin and hair along with it. Quite painful.

In the midst of my anguish, I had an epiphany. In a nutshell, it went something like this: “Fuck that.” I concluded that being angry would be much easier than allowing myself to continue to feel the unrelenting sadness, guilt, and loss. So what did I choose to do? I became angry. No, wait; allow me to rephrase that: I was pissed. I tried to convince myself, whilst venting to anyone within earshot, that I hated my ex-Cancer-cusp with every fiber of my being. My new pasttime was ranting to the world on a regular basis about what a worthless, drunk, heartless, hateful, lazy, no-job-havin’ bastard he was. I truly hoped terrible things would befall him (perhaps with the exception of death.) I raised my imaginary glass in a toast to his (hopeful) eventual failure, poverty, misery, herpes, and a lifetime sprinkled with unhappiness.

There was just one problem with this approach: every time I made such abrasive statements, I felt terribly guilty. After all, I knew none of those characterizations were true. I certainly didn’t hate him. It was the exact opposite: I still loved him with all my heart and soul, and I knew I always would. But it was simply easier to convince myself to hate him than to cave in to the feelings of loss, grief, and the pain of losing him. So I threw myself into my hatred and anger toward him, expending enormous amounts of energy into convincing everyone, including myself, that I hated the man.

As the months passed with my erstwhile love securely in my rearview mirror, I had another revelation: although his severing of contact with me was against my will, I conceded that it had probably forced me to move on rather than be a slave to my Pisces Ascendant and hold on to my past. I became acutely aware that had he not chosen to uproot himself from my life, it would have been infinitely more difficult to move forward and there was the (albeit slim) possibility we might have ended up back together again, which could have been a giant step backward.

I hadn’t gotten what I wanted. But I had gotten what I needed…even though it wasn’t clear to me at the time.

I needed to move on. I needed to release the death grip I had on the past. I needed to focus on what was to be, as opposed to what once was. I needed to step back, take a deep breath, and rediscover who I was as an individual, rather than who I was as one-half of a relationship. I needed to learn that sometimes, it’s really okay to say goodbye and part ways, even if it hurts like hell. I needed to understand that frequently, it’s the most painful lessons that are needed the most.

I never asked for, nor wanted, any of those lessons.

But I definitely needed them.

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4 comments on “The Rudest Awakening

  1. sounds like you actually went thru the grieving process, you grieved the loss of your marriage then your friendship. It’s human and it’s healthy. Now me, it was always hard if not impossible to keep a friendship going after a breakup. I didn’t want to see him happy with someone else, I may not have wanted him anymore….but damn if I wanted someone else to have him either. Yeah selfish I know…..but again human. I have learned to let past relationships go…….and just walk away and not look back. For me thats the healthiest way…..for others maybe not so much.

    • Actually, I delayed the grieving process for so long that it’s really starting to hit me after all this time…and it’s powerful. I am all too familiar with the I-don’t-want-him-but-you-can’t-have-him feeling. Selfish for sure, but it’s nothing if not an honest statement. I wish I had the ability to let go and just focus on going forward, which you seem to be able to do. I’d like to learn how to do that. Life, at least in my world, would be much more pleasant.

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