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Don’t Do it Charlie Brown

(written 02-20-2017)

 

The day after I wrote You Can’t Have Hope and Grieve at the Same Time, I’m complaining to Rafiki.

 

I tend to do that a lot.

 

Rafiki has been busy lately and he also hasn’t needed to whack me over the head. My therapist is doing it for him. And I do it now. I hear his thoughts, or what I make up are his thoughts, filter through my brain daily.

 

Not this morning!

 

 

Polygraph Webinar

Last night I listened to a webinar about polygraphs which are used to rebuild trust in relationships due to the deceit, lies, and betrayal of sexual addiction. This was due to an email that my ex had sent me, thinking I might find it interesting to listen to.

 

Now, this polygraph webinar would have seemed more interesting to me if my ex wanted to rebuild trust in our marriage. If she needed this to verify that I’ve been honest and true to my word during recovery so that we could rebuild what has been broken. It makes perfect sense to use this as a tool.

 

But what does a polygraph matter now when we’re getting a divorce?

 

Nothing.

 

“Unless she wants us to get back together,” my little voice encourages. I get hopeful.

 

So, I listen to the hour and a half talk. Maybe there’s a a nugget in there.

 

What the fuck Phoenix? You just finished a piece on how you need to divorce her and co-parent only, so now you’re going to try to find a nugget. For what? Let go of the hope!

 

 

Reading a Book Recommended by My Ex

So, climbing into bed, what do I do? I pull out a book that talks about how to “open up” a woman, how to truly see a woman, how to make a woman feel loved and special. Once again another suggestion from my ex a month ago. “I can’t put this book down. It’s got so many good things in here. You should read it. I’d let you borrow my copy when I’m done, but it’s all marked up.”

 

When the only woman I think about is my ex and she’s suggesting a book that may help me see women better, I’m going to devour it. Of course, I am going to read it. Maybe it will teach me something so I can learn what I keep doing wrong and I can win my ex’s heart again.

 

As I was reading it last night there was as section on trying to find the beauty in the woman you’re with or if you’re single, how to appreciate feminine beauty in general. All I saw in my mind was my ex and her beauty.

 

I got angry and threw the book.

 

Why am I reading this if my ex doesn’t want to work on us? If we were working on our marriage, I’d jump in with both feet. But we aren’t!!!

 

Come on Phoenix, she never wanted to work on us.

 

I need to work on me. I can’t keep searching for her validation or love. As my therapist said, I’m killing myself.

 

I need to talk with Rafiki.

 

 

Text With Rafiki

Phoenix:

I got angry last night because I was reading a book, another thing my ex had suggested that I might like to read. It’s all about how to find a woman beautiful and understand a woman, how to make her feel special. As I’m reading, all I see is my ex’s face and her beauty. And I threw the fucking thing on the floor. I would have delved into the book 150% if she was “in” for our marriage, but why the hell would I want to read it now? It’s painful. Maybe when I’m ready to date I will pick it up again. Who knows? These confusing messages are bugging me.

 

Rafiki:

Why do you read and watch things your ex suggests? Is it part of doing the things you think she thinks you need to do to be lovable? Is there a fantasy? If I do this, then maybe….

 

Do you keep doing the things you think your ex needs so you can be lovable? Click To Tweet

 

Phoenix:

Yes, yes, and yes. Unfortunately you are spot on.

 

Rafiki:

It was a confusing message when she suggested it. But, you took action on that confusing message.

 

Phoenix:

I did.

 

Rafiki:

Is the high of the fantasy still worth the gut punch?

 

Is the high of the fantasy still worth the gut punch? Click To Tweet

 

Phoenix:

Good point. I want to say the answer is no. But truth is, I guess I am still going for that hit, that possibility.

 

Rafiki:

Did you ever scream at the TV as a kid watching Charlie Brown kick the football, saying don’t do it? I didn’t, I thought, this time she’ll let him kick it.

 

Phoenix:

I have used that analogy with my ex many times before. I need to hear it again.

 

Rafiki:

Why did Lucy do it?

 

Phoenix:

Because she knew he would always go for the kick?

 

 

Rafiki:

You know all the old Charlie Brown cartoons where Lucy tries to get C.B. to kick the football? He goes through agony trying to decide if Lucy is sincere this time–if he can trust her to leave the ball there so that he can experience one glorious kick.

Lucy always wants Charlie Brown to try, but she never allows him satisfaction. She pulls the ball away and Charlie Brown falls flat on his back–time after time.

I always found this scene odd for several reasons. For one, Lucy is never malicious. Her face is blank when she pulls away the football. The suggestion seems to be that Lucy, like the snake or the scorpion, is merely doing what is in her nature. She has to pull the ball away, because she needs to see people like Charlie Brown try and fail. She doesn’t even take smug satisfaction in Charlie Brown’s fall; she speaks to him calmly and walks away. For Lucy, the meaning of the universe is verified every time Charlie Brown makes his sad attempt.

For another, Charlie Brown knows what Lucy is. It isn’t a matter of wondering whether or not he can trust her–he knows he cannot. Therefore, there must be something else compelling Charlie Brown to agonize over the “to kick or not to kick” decision. He is Hamlet on the ball field, and Lucy is his existential agony. For Charlie Brown, it probably doesn’t matter either way. If he kicks it, he could fail. Since he is Charlie Brown, and has very little self-confidence, he most likely will fail. If she pulls it away, there is an excuse for his failure. Lucy is responsible.

Does this mean, then, that Charlie Brown NEEDS Lucy to pull the ball away, because it justifies his lack of prowess? And does Lucy, who dispenses “Psychiatric Help” for five cents a session, somehow understand this?

I often think that Lucy is too easily dismissed as a horrible person. Sure, she is a cartoon, but I find a great deal of existential truth in Charlie Brown.

 

Phoenix:

Where did you find that? That’s great!

 

Rafiki:

I Googled it. It made me wonder the whys. Interesting origin.

In fact, in the same strip, Lucy even lets Charlie Brown try again, without pulling away the ball. (Charlie Brown trips over the ball anyway, of course.)…Twice in the week before this early football-themed comic appeared, Schulz ran strips that featured Charlie Brown failing to kick the football all on his own.

 

Phoenix:

Great, I feel a little shame coming on.

 

Rafiki:

Don’t. The metaphor is connected in a comic because it is a common human struggle.

 

The metaphor of Charlie Brown and the football is a common human struggle. Click To Tweet

 

Phoenix:

That is my biggest struggle!

 

Rafiki:

The recreation of your mother’s dance? You are reliving it over and over trying to make sense of it.

 

Phoenix:

To read that I feel sadness. It’s so true.

 

Rafiki:

Was reading some WA stuff last night.

 

Phoenix:

WA?

 

Rafiki:

Workaholics and Compulsive Activity.

 

Phoenix:

Ohhh. Haven’t heard about that one. Not sure if I want to either. Another label that sounds like it resonates with me.

 

Rafiki:

We do not often experience true serenity.

We have an obsessive desire to understand everything in our lives, including our every emotion. We cannot allow ourselves to experience emotions that we do not understand, fearing our loss of control.

We have an underlying fear that if we give up control and allow our emotions to surface, we will become raving lunatics for the rest of our lives.

We judge ourselves by our accomplishments and hence have the illusion that we must always be in the process of accomplishing something worthwhile in order to feel good about ourselves.

We cannot sit down and just be.

 

Phoenix:

Yep! That fits me to a tee.

 

Rafiki:

This can apply to any addict really. It was interesting to look at keeping too busy in relation to compulsion.

 

 

My Head Throbs

Too much pounding on it this past week.

 

Just like I’m learning to turn my back on the fence and learning how to walk away, I need to not look over my shoulder either. When I look over my shoulder my ex entices me with the football. I need to do as she said to me last week. I need to “stay my course.”

 

It’s painful. It’s not where I want to go. But that’s the direction I need to go to be happy, healthy, and serene.

 

Someday, the fence and the football will be but a small dot in the distance…

 

Peanuts Theme Song

 

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