About A Breakup, Part 3 of 5: The Atom Bomb

Note: Make no mistake. “About A Breakup” is a story of hope and overcoming adversity. In order to experience a breakthrough, you must experience a breakdown first. Don’t get all caught up in the tragedy. Understand that any descriptions of tragic events are written  for the purpose of illustrating the breakthroughs which will follow. Stay with me, friends.

Tyson QuoteI’m standing alone in the small parking lot of a local nature trail. I hear her peel out with a vengeance, that engine madly revving like a speed dragster that can’t get out of first gear, fading slowly until the only sound remaining is the wind moving through the trees. I start the first of a half dozen laps around the entire park.

I had a plan on this day, which turned into an expectation (bad idea). A solid plan with no holes. A plan that did not involve guilt-stricken explanations or crying or screaming tires punishing the black top. Or second thoughts.

A few hours before, we are wandering to the end of the trail, discussing light topics like the kids, and work, before moving on to deeper things, and the biggest shouting match we’d ever had. She apologizes for some of the things she’d said in anger recently. I apologize as well. I am positive she knows where this is going. I’m wrong. 

“I’m tired,” I say. “I’m tired of this tension. I’m tired of arguing. I’m tired of being in purgatory with our relationship.”

I watch as she comes to realize the conversation about to transpire. We’d had breakup conversations many times before, but this one is different. The threat feels imminent. I watch her go into shock and shut down. The details are fuzzy. I recall her telling me to go ahead and cut the cord.

“What’s there to talk about?” she scoffs. “If we’re breaking up, let’s break up.”

I find myself getting furious at the ball being in my court. Again. In retrospect, I see her need for closure, to leave no chance of getting sucked back in, of false hope. I get it. She would later admit that she’d felt the same way for a while, and would apologize for projecting her anger onto me.

“So I guess that’s it then.” She picks up her bag and begins the laborious trudge back to the entrance. I catch up and walk beside her. I feel like a traitor, and this will become one of the biggest personal challenges in the days to come: overcoming my mind’s compelling argument that I’m a bad person and a failure (I DID overcome; stay with me, don’t get caught up in the bad shit).

I watch her move from sadness to despondency, from despondency to fury; Irish-Italian Catholic fury. I’d witnessed this unique fury exactly three times in the six years I’d known her, twice toward another, once toward me. In each instance, I briefly feared for the life of the party on the receiving end.

When we finally reach the parking lot, she gets into her car and asks me if there’s anything else. I make a half-assed effort to have her see that we’ve exhausted every option. Didn’t we try everything? I realize I’m speaking as much to myself as I am to her. Regardless, she’s not listening. She mutters a goodbye under her breath before speeding away.

In the half dozen laps I make around the park afterward, I recall the futility of attaching oneself to an expectation, and the power of creating possibility. Expectations are static. You lose, you fail. You win, you realize it’s nothing special. Possibility, on the other hand, is different. You lose, you create a new possibility. You win, you create a new possibility.

Though I don’t believe it in that moment (remember, just because it sucks now doesn’t mean it will always suck), in the days to come, I will recover. And I will conquer. And so will she.

Somewhere in the distant past, I sold myself on the belief that there’s not a tragedy in this life that will make me give up. You have to decide that sort of thing BEFORE tragedy strikes. 11055343_10206828659705775_5582084695053198937_oI shared that belief with some of my closest peers and mentors, who true to their commitment to love and support their fellow human beings, incessantly and tirelessly reminded me that this is who I am. A survivor. A gladiator. Fearless. And the same applies to you who are reading this. Stand on me. It DOES get better. I swear.

Look for “About A Breakup, Part 4 of 5: The Fallout.”



A Surreal Moment At My Ex-Wife’s House

Well, to be clear, the house actually belongs to my ex-wife Catherine’s folks. Catherine and her husband are visiting from California with our two children and staying there during their visit. My girlfriend Alex and I are visiting for brunch. So there’s my ex-wife, her husband, her aunt, her parents, our two kids, their newest edition, my girlfriend and me. If you are getting a slightly awkward vibe from this scenario, you are among the majority of people who consider this sort of gathering bizarre.

Here’s the bizarre thing: It’s not bizarre at all. The impossible has occurred. A permanent shift has happened inside my way of thinking that wasn’t present before. Seriously, hop into the nearest plutonium-powered time-traveling Delorean, go back in time two years, find me, and ask me if I think there’s a chicken nugget’s chance in a shark tank that I’ll find my way to complete resolution with my ex-wife, and to absolute peace after divorce. My answer would have been worse than a “no.” I would have told you that I’m as resolved and at peace as I’ll ever be. A gnat’s sneeze away from suing for custody of my children, refusing to step across the threshold of the home of my ex-wife and her new husband, holding most of the blame over her . . . I’ll show you bizarre: That was my definition of a peaceful resolution!

At this present-day brunch, I look around the house where I once resided (we had to move in with her parents for a spell). I briefly notice the furniture, the smells, the pictures, the layout of the house. And I am suddenly aware that there is no meaning attached to any of it; no burdensome memories. I am struck with the unmistakable realization that I am absolutely at peace. The world briefly stops spinning as I reflect on a time when I couldn’t have set foot inside this house without having a mental breakdown, surrounded by the dark memories and broken dreams attached in some way to every object inside those walls. And here I am, at peace with everyone present, the kids as happy as ever, with the added blessing of an amazing girlfriend with a spirit strong enough to gracefully share this experience with me, surrounded by the family of my ex-wife.

Dear friends, this is the very essence of The Impossibility Movement: Taking something which previously existed outside the realm of possibility and watching it move into the realm of what is possible. The Movement is not limited to finding peace and resolution in the wake of divorce. This is only a minor representation of what is possible. The end of world hunger, harmony among religions, alliance among politicians, a planet without war, these are among the things that are completely within the realm of possibility where hopelessness once existed.

No one ever generated anything great, powerful, magnificent, or miraculous by operating within the realm of what everyone accepted as possible. No, my friends. Operate within the realm of what is impossible with the intent to make it possible, and watch the miraculous happen.