Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Broken Plate - Une Assiètte Cassée

Are you one of those people who fixes broken plates? Do you patiently conserve all the pieces till you've got a free moment, a new bottle of super glue and then sit down and put back together that puzzle? It's a very Humpty Dumpty moment.

Of course, there is a brief moment of satisfaction when you succeed, after holding it together, pressing carefully, lining up those edges. But then you use it as you use all things, and it gets food on it, and put in the dish washer, and put away in stacks. All as if it were truly as good as new.

But it isn't, and inevitably, the day will come when it breaks again. Do you try to repair it again? or do you toss it? I suppose each person is different in this. Feng Shui masters toss broken pottery. It is bad luck. But there are those of us with a rather tenacious nature, and endless belief in the possible.

Yes, I'm one of the latter. I can listen, respect and observe the other point of view, but when it comes down to it, I repair the broken and try again, often two or three times, before the inevitable catches up to me.

What is this leading up to? Can you intuit? Yes, at long last, a separation that might have been cleaner and done with back in October, that had another chance in February, finally occurred for good yesterday evening.

And so, I face the world again as a single woman. Though in many ways I've been such now for quite some time, I did enjoy simply being part of a couple and having the occasional bit of help around my house, garden, etc., It was nice to make reference to mon homme, mon vigneron, etc.,

However, I am far richer in friends and possibilities than before. The cracks in the plate had prepared me for this moment. And so onward. I will still dance -- the Salsa with my girl friend, Tango with the supremely friendly Avignon-based association l'Ilôt Tango. The weather is splendid -- I always have a sense of coming back to life in the spring. My rose bush will soon be blossoming, and I've lots of work touring coming up in the next couple of months.

I'm a bit disoriented, sad, out-of-sorts. As usual, I've lost my appetite. But this is passagère.

Along the way I told myself that apparently I chose this man and remained in this relationship to learn something. And I do think I have absorbed a few lessons. He is far stricter and more disciplined than I, nearly rigid, but honest and straightforward, nothing slippery. He had a deep sense of autonomy and required that of me. He was as clear as his mastery of language allowed him to be in stating what he was looking for and in communicating with me. This didn't always make things easy. Blunt communication not being a favorite of mine. Nuances have their value...

From him I also learned quite a bit socially and culturally about his part of the French world, the world of the land-owner in a small Southern town, the life and style of apaysan. A girlfriend points out that had he opened his heart to love my children, to help me raise them, that might have jeopardized his own childrens' inheritance -- his land. He would have been torn and that could not be allowed to occur. Thus, to prevent any betrayal of his own blood, simply avoid the issue. I was baffled and hurt by the behavior, finding it sad that it was impossible for him to even contemplate loving, or learning to love my children. But he felt he'd not been enough with his own, and dared not betray them in this way.

It is not an easy thing to be accepted into a land-owning family. There is no neutral ground. There is family, and there are the outsiders. You are allowed to be present, but not necessarily to speak equally. I'd heard tales about the Corsicans... but here I experienced a variation of the same. There was graciousness, pleasant gatherings where I was given the position of honor of preparing the meal, but... I was never truly a part of it all.

Curious it all is. For so many people attempting relationships at a later date, blending families, contemplating the children of another, it just isn't easy. And the history a structure brings to the table. If it is an American ideal that both individuals sell their former homes to purchase a new one together, and thus to start anew a life as one... I knew from the get-go that this would never happen for us.

Yes, we never truly built anything together. A repaired chicken coop, a few dinner parties, the new wine label... but no more. You can't get very far if you're stuck in second gear.


Airelle said...

I understand you feel disoriented by the separation but it is as I foresaw: if and when it happens you shall be strong enough to deal with it. though I don't know you in person by the way you write I was sure you would be up to it. and even if it is never easy aren't painful things in our lives meant to learn us the lessons we need to learn? at least you have acquaired a lot of experience and have good friends to help you over this.
in my opinion in any relationship it is important both have same objectives, same needs and desires. you might love someone but if you don't want same things it won't work. for everyone to know if they will be content with an affair and fairwell or if they don't want to loose time but go at once find the person that suits them.
I wish you courage and better things

Madeleine Vedel said...

Thank you Airelle. yes, the signs were there from early on, but there was quite a lot of love too, and a desire to make it work from both our parts. But, the limitations were just too much in the end. I'll take time for myself, and then see what the world offers me... Take care!