Who Am I? And What Has Happened to the Real Me?

Alison...a girlfriend, an ex-wife, yet not a mother?
Grants & Contracts Manager, Choir Director, Minister of Music...maker of nummy edibles?
Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe of California, City of Arcata Parks and Recreation Department, and the UCC First Congregational Church of Eureka
What about my past? What of the LaPietros? The Zinks?
What of Venice and Marina del Rey?
What of Europe and College and my days of adventure?
What about who I want to be...my aspirations of a Masters Degree in Music?
What of the dream of a girl I used to know?
I closed my eyes and she slipped away.
More than a feeling has come over me...and I know that this is reality, and my dreams seem ever distant and unreachable.

The Ring. My Ring. Our Ring. So many things run through my mind as I gaze upon the unhappy jewel. Dulled and in need of cleaning, it encloses my finger in its golden clutch; snuggling close to that finger leaving a mark even when it is momentarily off.

“I may not be there, but you see me still, do you not?” It calls to my mind, and whispers words of seduction. “You know I mean security, and you fear to be without me.” The Ring speaks to me and drives itself into my skin, branding me who I am. Or who I should want to be. Or who he wants me to be.

He said the blue jewel at the center of the setting reminded him of my eyes. Given in love the Ring meant so much to me at first. He picked it out without me one day at the Mall while he passed the time strolling about. His bus was being repaired and he had free time on his hands. It made me feel loved that he thought about me enough to get me a ring.

Now I have new feelings associated with The Ring. Feelings of failure, and self-loathing permeate my mind whenever I look upon it. Depression and guilt go hand in hand with the Ring just as the small twelve diamonds go with the blue topaz at the heart of my engagement ring’s setting. Guilt because here on my finger is the pledge of his love and devotion which he has kept according to his beliefs and abilities. He fulfilled his duties to me, yet I did not fulfill mine to him. I did not give him happiness and he lost interest in me. Where was my devotion to him? I could not achieve his expectations for me. I could not be whom he wanted. The Ring reminds me that I am a failure as a wife, a lover, and a woman, at least in Mike’s eyes; too messy, too fat, and too aggressive to be attractive to him any longer.

The Ring attempts to glitter and it begs the question I don’t really want to know the answer to, were my needs too great or were his? Yes, he deserves to have his needs met yet so do I. Why then should I feel guilty? No. Guilt is not necessary. I need not change for anyone. I am who I am and he should have loved me for me.

The Ring…it was a shackle. It was his mark; the symbol of his right to dictate to me who I should be. NO MORE! I take away that power. It is nothing more than stones and precious metal, and my will is stronger! I shall be what I want to be on my own terms, in my own time and that’s that! The only power the Ring has is that which I give it over me.

I had a conversation with a friend this evening and here it is:

Alison says: Can I tell you something Rach...this is really hard
Rachael says: Anything. What's up?
Alison says: My therapist gave me a writing assignment
Rachael says: Ok...
Alison says: “Well, in the last three weeks I haven't written much cause I have been so busy with the divorce and depressed and yet so oddly happy because ...well, not too oddly, well, anyways...happy
Rachael says: Uh huh *sits back and listens*
Alison says: Here I am feeling mired in the past with Mike *sigh* I have no words to express my feelings...and I have major writers block. This is a totally new feeling for me. I'm scared.
Rachael says: Because of the feelings or of not having any words to describe your feelings?
Alison says: Yes, because how do I say how I feel when I am sad and happy at the same moment cause even saying that doesn't describe it?
Rachael says: You just have to distinguish between your happy thoughts and your sad thoughts, and explain what is making you feel that way for instance...you're depressed cause of the divorce.
Alison says: Yes, but that doesn't describe it fully either its not just depressed or sad its tormented or guilty or...frustrated feeling like...a failure
Rachael says: You're not a failure, it's not your fault, or Mikes...it just happened, it seems. What do you feel guilty about?
Alison says: That I am leaving him. That he'll be alone and I won't.
Rachael says: That's not your fault though who lost interest in who, here?
Alison says: I know that *shrugs* he lost interest in me.
Rachael says: Exactly. Keep that thought, and get rid of the guilty feeling.
Alison says: *hugs* I'll try
Rachael says: If anyone should feel guilty, I think it would be Mike for how he has treated you. It's NOT your fault. You have no reason to be guilty. None at all.
Alison says: Well, I have been thinking about it, and I wonder if there isn't something wrong with me though if...maybe there was nothing wrong with what Mike wanted, and acted like, but like there was something wrong with ME cause I couldn't live that way or up to his expectations of me.
Rachael says: No. No. No. Don't think like that. You shouldn't have to change yourself to be what he wants. He should love you for who you are. Don't ever change yourself to be what someone else wants, cause then you're not you anymore. Does that make sense? If he can't love you for who you are anymore, then that's his problem don't try and change yourself to make him love you, cause you'll be miserable.
Alison says: Yes, that does make sense *sigh* I'm looking at my wedding ring. I have been miserable for a while now. But...*sigh* I don't know...why can't I just be what he wanted...was it so bad what he wanted?
Rachael says: Because you've been trying to change to make him love you more, huh? It wasn't "You" obviously. Alison, you should never have to try and change who you are.
Alison says: Yes. That's the truth see, ....I get this major self-doubt thing and it just spins in my head and its hard to shake and here my therapist asks me to write about my ring
Rachael says: What about the ring?
Alison says: Well, she wants to know what it makes me think of.
Rachael says: So tell her. What does it make you think of?
Alison says: And this shit...all this stuff that I am telling you is what I think about the ring
Rachael says: oh...ok..so tell her that it seems that maybe you see it as something that made you feel like you had to change in some way to make Mike love you, either love you more or love you again...
Alison says: It's just so difficult to write for others to read...my feelings that is...Yes, or that because he gave me the ring...it was his right to change me, and my obligation to change for him