The Rebuild started as my little internal project in October. I was going to walk to lose weight, then work some side jobs to get some money to pay down debts. Then, ruminate on how to be more positive in the world. I thought the outlook element was the least of my worries having sunk a lot of time into that previously.
Then January happened. My marriage came to a sudden and abrupt end. It was a car crash, not a curtain fall. A break up can be set of arguments and tense meetings to divide stuff up. The end of a marriage is a protracted process of separation, lawyers and legal documents to bring about the divorce. The car– the metaphorical vehicle of our marriage– hit a tree in January. The paramedics (i,e. counselors) were a long way off . The doctors (well, lawyers) won’t operate on the victims until Summer. In the mean time, I sit there, strapped in with seat belts that were meant to protect me. I can’t reach out to the other victims in the car. I hear them suffering and there’s not much I can do. I can’t free myself. I’m a victim, not a rescue worker. I am not in any shape to help. All sorts of things could be wrong with me that I am not yet aware of because I am stunned from the crash. Too often do one of the walking wounded help with the accident only to go home and quietly bleed out because they didn’t get the attention they needed. We’re trapped together in the car until help arrives.
The first people to show up are those closest at hand. They’re not medically trained. They don’t know what to do. I used to work in first aid. I feared these people more than the accidents themselves. They would lift people with broken spines. They would give juice to someone who needed to be whisked into surgery. Well, our car crash had many bystanders. Some of whom said, “you’re careless” and others who said, “you’re not a good driver.” There are a few who turned around the caution signs so that the curves were unknown. There are a couple who put sugar in the gas tank. Bystanders will rubber neck. In some cases, they get a thrill out of the twisted wreckage and the sorrow.
There is a caliber of the public who call for help. They know what they don’t know and tread carefully. They call 911 and give good directions. Some of them know to go up the road to wave in the emergency crews. Even without training, they may only jump in if the car catches fire and a sloppy extraction beats immolation.
The paramedics eventually arrive. That wait for qualified help can feel like it takes eons. I have presided over people with heart attacks and strokes who are not dead, but teeter on the brink and they could submerge before your eyes. You want to freeze time, but that’s no good. If you freeze the world, those helpers will get no closer. You have let the second hand move and lean on faith. Faith that some little trigger inside of the fallen won’t come down. So many things can go wrong in that wait for help, but one has to resist the urge to do something. Waiting and surviving are some things.
Our first line of defense should have been counselors. In my case, I deputized my girlfriend*. I dumped so much on her shoulders without asking her to bear it before I dumped it. She should have been one of those good bystanders who called 911 and waved in the emergency crews, but she got too close to the car because she cared. I clutched out the window, I grabbed onto her and bloodied her. Making a bystander into your first responder is such a bad approach. They are thrust into delivering a level of care they cannot fathom. They don’t have access to tools of the trade. They also don’t have detachment. I know lots of doctors and paramedics. Patients die on them. When that happens, it’s a shame, but you need to be able to move on. Healthcare professionals know about boundaries. They know when to not practice heroic measures to rescue someone who they will lose regardless.
This is February. The paramedics are on site at our car crash. The bystanders have been corralled. The crash happened and now I have to look for ways to stabilize the accident scene. Extraction can be painful– sometimes more painful that the accident itself. That’s where this is at. A car crash leaves physical trauma. A relationship crash leaves psychological gashes. I’m one of the walking wounded.
On January 1st, I could focus on exercise. Now I use exercise to channel my rage and despondency (look for an upcoming post on that channeling). The “divorce diet” wherein I do not eat, do not exercise, was good to skim off 10 lbs., but I can’t get into a life altering catastrophe every month.
On January 1st, I shared 30% equity in a house. By August 1st, I will hope to have a 10% down payment available for an undetermined house.
On January 1st, I had my year planned out. Now, this is a very different year save for my key goals:
- better health
- better finances
- better outlook
The Rebuild has transformed from a fun exercise in fitness, to a life saving process. It’s high stakes. If I fail, my health will plummet. If I fail, I will go from divorce to bankruptcy. If I fail, I will spew psychic poison on everyone around me. I deserve to go the other way. I deserve a good body that I can enjoy. I deserve to be financially nimble so that I can use my new found freedom to explore the world. I deserve to have happy and fulfilling relationships with those around me. I deserve the chance to chart my way through this and share what I have learned with others. I deserve good stuff in my present and my future.
Divorce? Girlfriend? Uh, what’s going on here? There is a lot going on with my situation and I will elaborate at a later time. In short, elaboration right now would be akin showing everyone accident photos.