I’ve been reading Circe, a novel about the witch by the same name who lives on the island of Aeaea, famously visited by Odysseus, and known for transforming men into animals.
Circe finds life in exile both empowering and lonely. She has unlimited time to perfect her craft, but also unlimited time to ruminate about her loneliness, her perceived mistakes, the imagined judgements of others, the dangers of being a woman living alone–and there are dangers.
But eventually, she accepts that she has no control over the comings and goings of ships and their crew. She surrenders to the powerlessness that comes with exile.
Remember to surrender, my sponsor told me yesterday. It’s only when we admit that we are powerless that we become empowered.
It’s only when we let go, that new possibilities unfold.
My life seems filled with clever sayings and acronyms of late–helpful tools to avoid codependent crisis. I rely on them often. They’re helping me understand what I really want and need. They’re helping me suss out the hidden fears behind the thoughts and behaviors.
But just because I choose different actions, doesn’t mean my thoughts necessarily follow. When this happens, my sponsor advises, you fake it till you make it. And I make it, more often than not.
Today, I’ve found moments where I’ve quietly adjusted my thoughts, refocused, and kept going.
He is not feeling well today and when he’s not feeling well, he is different. He calls it “being out there” or “tunneling.” His humor is sharper. He makes comments about other women I’d rather not hear. But I remind myself he is not feeling well. This is not an excuse. This is acceptance. Acceptance of how he is when he’s ill. It’s something I cannot control. I can control how I react. I cannot control what he says or does.
He is aware that these comments are inappropriate, unkind. He also knows he’s not of his right mind in many ways.
I look at him after he makes a comment about a waitress at a restaurant he frequents, and tell him, “I hope you’re feeling better soon.”
He sees in my eyes that I’m tired of hearing these things. He nods in agreement, “I need to, I know.”
I am surrendering.
I’m also surrendering when I’m authentic–when I present myself organically, as my sponsor says.
I contacted my ex-husband. My boyfriend wants to join me in Oregon this time. It’s been over a year since he’s seen my kids. A year. A year in which we broke up–quite publicly (my codependent doing, mostly)–went back and forth for months, I moved out and moved back in (times three or four), a year in which I seriously contemplated moving to Oregon with no job, no plan, and hardly any notice.
But it’s also a year in which I’ve devoted myself to counseling, reading vast amounts about borderline personality and codependency, started my recovery from codependence, and started to ground myself.
Needless to say, my ex-husband is not my boyfriend’s biggest fan. And he knows of our breakup and he knows of my boyfriend’s less-than-desirable traits because–yes, the codependent me shared those with him.
But my ex-husband also has custody of the kids. And moreover, he has the right to say who he wants and doesn’t want them to be around. So, I had to ask him. Could my boyfriend come with me?
I tried to approach him authentically–organically. I was open and honest.
He’s asked to come. I understand you may have reservations. I’ve had some myself.
Then, I’ve heeded some of your advice. I’ve been working on myself. I’m in a good place.
Finally, my focus will be ensuring that the kids and I have a great time together.
And now I wait. I admit that after I sent that message (we only text anymore), I nearly jumped every time I received a text message notification. I felt my stomach lurch with nervousness. Still, no response from him.
And then I remember my sponsor’s words: Remember to surrender. When you admit you are powerless, then you become empowered.
I am powerless over whatever my ex-husband’s response will be. It serves no purpose to anxiously wait for his response, to imagine what he’s thinking, to catastrophize.
I am surrendering.
And that’s all I can do. By choosing to surrender, I can focus on other things: researching airfare, picking our Airbnb, thinking about all the fun things I’ll do with the kids. And oh, the fun we’ll have.