Alexander Sylvester

Introspective Musings

# 6

A Note from the Other Side

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Our experiences, stories and introspective journey's are most powerful when shared and discussed. It is here that I want to share an intimate, personal experience with others instead of clawing through the noise of social media feeds. Couple with the visual art I've produced over the years, Introspective Musings is the bridge between audience and artist; a written account of how these visions come to be.

A Note from the Other Side

Sorry, 11x14 ink and colored pencil (2020)

There is no easy way to say what needs to be said, no simple way to convey the emotional landscape traversed in what feels like an endless stretch of time. Each day I attempt to put one foot in front of the other, in hopes that a promise of healing and progress will be achieved; that the effervescent light of purpose and life will rush back to me, cutting through the thick and viscous soup often known as dread (dressed in Grief’s clothing). 

In the morning I am aimless, lost and avoidant of who I once strived to be. Self medicating through bong rips and easy acts of escapism, the feedback loop has once again taken control; the void has returned my call. Pity, sorrow, and self loathing fuel these acts of defiance, reinforcing ugly and unhealthy behaviour. Each instance of this becomes a self-perpetuating reminder that I am unable to stand on two feet and face the world at this time. I no longer am myself as I navigate who I am when I am alone. 

In the afternoon I begin to return to myself, even if just for a fleeting glimpse into a moment. I see who I am becoming and who I am neglecting. I see it all through the haze of reluctance. I am not myself, I am not occupying this present and my mind is no longer on earth. But I am able to recognize this state, which means in time I may one day overcome my despair and the shackles that restrict my spirit from my being. 

In the evening I am back to making plans, setting goals and finding my footing. I allow space away from purely feeling so I can segue into doing, albeit baby steps compared to days where I’m functioning at my usual capacity for life. I see what needs improving, I acknowledge a path that I intend to walk. I then lay in bed, reminding myself that in the morning I will feel human again and return to business as usual. Lather rinse repeat after a semi-restless night of half realized REM cycles and looking for a comfortable position to rest my body. 

All of this internalized melodrama because a part of me, a part entrusted in the transcendental bond to another beings soul, has been broken. To no one’s own fault other than embedding trust into the promise of a happily ever after. Years of believing that when you find that other who fills in the blanks, that life will fall into place. But bonds, specifically romantic, operate on conditions wrought in hopes, dreams, needs, wants, desires and so on. And something as simple, organic and natural as a difference in sexual orientation can bring everything to a screeching halt. It’s not something to be contested with, but instead becomes the unrelenting truth that can not be changed. See it positively or negatively, either way it’s a matter of truth above anything else.

It’s a sad state of affairs anytime a relationship doesn’t work out for one reason or another, but there’s something additionally saddening that comes with the inevitable outcomes that stem from pure, unadulterated incompatibility. The toxic mental traps are endless, littered throughout the roadmap to emotional recovery. Again, at no one’s direct fault, but as a residual side effect to self discovery and the shedding of old skin. 

Why me? Why now? Is this a bad dream? Why can’t I wake up? What did I do to deserve this? Am I handling this okay? Is this right? 

And of course…

When will I make it through to the other side of this pain? When will it be over? 

The following steps in the process are all necessary but equally painful. Separation (physically, emotionally, or in many cases both) coupled with the building of new boundaries and the revocation of full trust and vulnerability. Little changes make loud noises as an entire world built has its foundation crumbled. Even if this experience remains blanketed in the love and respect that remains for one another, there is no easy way forward. If anything, this fact makes the experience feel all the more tragic. Amicability does not correlate to simpler grieving. Neither of us asked for this, wanted this or ever could have conceived of this being our future. Neither of us urged the other for divorce as much as it became the only logical, compassionate solution for us to simplify a complicated emotional space. 

And then there’s the optimistic platitudes, the well wishes and worst of all, the congratulations that fly forth from the thoughts and prayers of our peers. In the age of wishing to appear tolerant and “woke” to our LGBTQ+ comrades, one of the more common expressions thrown in the face of my still bruised and confused partner are sentiments of fervorous and vicarious excitement. But she desires nothing less in this current stage of the process than to be told by someone else that they are “So happy for you” and “Congratulations, you finally get to be who you really are”. The cost of entry for self discovery in this case is exorbitantly high, as it requires the slow and gradual dismantling of 6 years worth of love and passion.

Then there’s what gets tossed over my way. “Time heals all wounds”, “There will be others out there”, “Just try to look on the bright side”, “At least it’s amicable” and my all time favorite, “You got this, dude.” I’ve never been more tired of hearing something drenched in encouragement. The fact of the matter is all of these things may contain that kernel of truth, that little grain worth of nutrition for me to survive on. But in this time of allowing space for these feelings to wash over and pass through none of it really helps. I can only feel what is directly in front of me as I continue to maneuver my way back home. I am so fucking tired of being told I’ve “got this”. I don’t. I absolutely don’t. I will at some point. But right now, I 100% don’t “got this”. 

I must say now though, before I become completely consumed in the shadow of my internalized suffering, that the one thing I do not feel is regret. If I were to regret, I would resent all of the best parts of both myself, my partner and the bond we have formed all these years. For none of my personal growth or these experiences would have come to be as they are if it were not for being fortunate enough to have met someone I connect with so strongly. What we have is rare, what we have is to be cherished. Even if we must find a new mold for our friendship and bond to fit within, there are few things more important than who we hold near and dear. This is my reminder to myself even in the days that feel the darkest that I am not alone, no matter how lonely this feeling can become. 

There has been a major hesitance to create or write as of late, in part because I am afraid of showing off my coagulating wound. At this stage in my life I can only create authentically, through my own experience as a means to connect with others who may run across the energy I put out into the world. But all this time I have felt that after having spoken with several close friends and family members of my current experience, that maybe it’s important to talk about it publicly too. If not for me than for others to see the outcome of a relationship torn apart by failed expectations (of the life script, of co-dependence, of sexual compatibility). 

Nothing is guaranteed, nothing lasts forever and nothing can stop that fact. So hold close what’s important to you while it’s there. Because when the rug gets torn from underneath your feet, you’ll always wish you had loved more. 

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Hold close what’s important to you while it’s there. Because when the rug gets torn from underneath your feet, you’ll always wish you had loved more. ClickToTweet

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