The Other Half

I love my husband unwaveringly. I have loved him for many years - most of them spent apart.  As much as I love him, though, I have loved others.

In those years that Matt and I had lost each other, I loved someone else.  A man who matched a different half of me at another time.  We were, at times, so perfectly complementary that it seemed like that fit was the only thing.  When we parted company - because of a mutual agreement not to change our plans for each other - there were tears.  There was heartache.  And I missed him for a long time.

The other night, Wilbur asked me if I still loved that other man - even just a little.  I knew what Wilbur meant.  I said no and meant it, but then when I thought about it again, I had to say that yes, I do still love him just a little.  But it's not love in the present tense, really.  I say 'still', but I think that instead of loving him, it's more that I still remember how it felt to love him.  I remember why he was so important to me.  I know it was right - for then.

I don't miss him anymore.  I don't love him anymore.  But I kind of I miss the other half of me that loved him then.  I wonder what would have happened had that been the half of me that had become the prominent half.

I was a pure idealist.  I had the absolute courage of my convictions.  I hadn't yet had my hopes dashed cruelly over and over again.  I had faith that people are inherently good - given the opportunity (actually, that's still true).  I had endless energy and no need for sleep.  I could write grant proposals for non-profits, campaign for reproductive rights, host phone banks for independent candidates who shared my ideals, write my research papers, and still have the vigor to meet my friends for drinks and sneak into the botanical gardens to have midnight picnics.

The half of me that has taken over is more subdued, jaded, and much less inclined to speak in absolutes.  It's the more experienced half.  It's also the half that has found peace, yoga, and contentment.  I still have my convictions, though I don't feel the need to shout them from the rooftops anymore.  And I still do what I can for the causes I believe in with the time I have - although, admittedly, not always as much as I should do.  I don't have the boundless energy anymore, though.  And sometimes I am more complacent than I ever imagined I'd be.  I know when to stop screaming myself hoarse because it won't change anything.  I know that sometimes you actually do have to work from within the system.  I also know that, as much as I love grassroots activism, there is a lot of internal conflict that often renders the organization in question useless.  My idealism has given way to realism.  I often think in terms of what I can accomplish vs. what I want to accomplish.  Sometimes I let myself down.

All in all, though, I love my life.  I'm glad that the idealist is in the background at this time in my life.  I can always dust that off and let it out if I need it...But I can't help but wonder - just a little bit - where the other half would have led me...

And then when I think about it more, I realize that it still led me here.  All roads lead home if you have the time to walk for a while.