Man of Constant Sorrow

For in this world I’m bound to ramble,

I have no friends to help me now

–        The Soggy Bottom Boys


I’ve been meditating a lot more than usual. There’s a simple for reason for this. My relationship with Kim ended a couple weeks ago and I thought it was all my fault. My sponsor set me straight on that one though. He said something very simple that threw the curtains back on my view of things. He told me when a relationship ends, it is only half your fault.


And he is right. It is only half my fault. The other half is for her to deal with. But when you strip back the rage, self-pity, confusion and despair that always accompanies two people splitting up in a half-way healthy relationship (which I like to think Kim and I had), the stripped-down, stark reality is that I have to look at the things that I was guilty of, own them, and figure out if, when, and how I might correct them.

See, Kim stated that I was too self-involved. Not selfish, but self-involved. The reason for this is pretty simple. Since I got sober 6 years ago, I have been on a personal crusade to make up for the 8 years I spent in what my brother oh-so-accurately described as the Waste Land. I first strapped on my boots and started my journey into the Waste Land 13 years ago when I started my recovery from my traumatic brain injury. And it took until I got sober 6 years ago to fully realize how completely, totally and catastrophically I had messed up my life. But after I first forgave myself for getting sick (which thankfully first happened when I was still in rehab in O’Neil, Nebraska and continue to do at least once every couple weeks since then) I embarked on a personal journey to try to make sense of my life in recovery. Along the way, I discovered Buddhism, kicked my personal exercise regime into high gear which culminated in running a half-marathon a couple years ago, reformed my diet and eating habits, acquired an adorable puppy named Zimmer (who is outside patiently waiting for me to finish this post and meditate so we can go for a good long walk), changed jobs 5 times, enrolled in Vet Tech school, dropped out of Vet Tech school, and moved in with Kim. Little did she know (and, to be honest, little did I know) that adhering to my personal agenda would ultimately be the death of our relationship 2 ½ years later.

And it’s okay. I quoted “Man of Constant Sorrow” up there with half of my tongue firmly planted in my cheek (I say that metaphorically of course. In all my changing, adapting and evolving, I didn’t also evolve into a bizarre half-man, half-snake shape-shifter, although how wicked cool would that be if I did?) No, I am not a man of constant sorrow, although being a 42 year-old, single janitor with a college education who lives with his ex-girlfriend because he is too broke to afford a new place (hell, I’m too broke to afford a new pair of boots right now) is certainly grounds for feeling sorry for myself. But if my parents have taught me anything (and they have taught me an awful lot) it’s that you are on your own in this life. So yes, it is completely understandable to take a half-hour or so for yourself to let the misery in, feel sorry yourself, cry rivers, punch walls and anything else I gotta do. And at the end, I wipe away the tears, spackle a patch in the dry wall, put on your shoes and buck the hell up because I am in control of my own happiness. If I want to feel sorry for myself and burden others with my misery, mope around all day just yearning for someone to ask me how I am so I can unleash a torrent of my own personal chaos on them, I can certainly do that. But you won’t win friends that way and even the ones you have will probably stop calling.


I love Kim. I don’t think that’s going to ever change. But I am not in love with her and she isn’t in love with me. Not anymore. I don’t know when that ended, but I know how it ended and I’m absolutely terrified to examine my personal dossier to find out if and how I can alter myself enough to fully let myself allow another person in to my own rigid personal regimecfor fear that I will lose the person I have so carefully crafted myself to be in these 6 years of sobriety.

But I have to. It’s the nature of my reality. Because I have also learned that connection and community are so important for the social beings humans are that to eschew them is its own kind of death. I just lack any tangible idea of how the hell I’m gonna that. So, for the time being, I’m going to secure a second job, move into a new apartment, stick my TV in storage and continue to study up on the blog/podcast to be named later that I hope to release by June.

As far as me and Kim are concerned, we still live in the same house with relative peace and harmony. I don’t know if there actually was a harvest moon the night she finally ended our romantic relationship (it would be so wicked poetic if there was) but after we had “the talk,” I went to the gym and as I roasted in the sauna, the song “Harvest Moon” by Neil started playing in my brain and it summarized exactly how I was feeling about Kim and still do:


When we were strangers

I watched you from afar

When we were lovers

I loved you with all my heart

But now it’s getting late

And the moon is climbing high

I want to celebrate

See it shining in your eye

Because I’m still in love with you

I want to see you dance again

Because I’m still in love with you

On this harvest moon


I am still, in a peculiar way, still in love with you, Kim. I want to see you dance again, see the moon shining in your eyes. Turns out, we have to go our separate ways for me to see you dance again. So I will watch you from a far and be thankful I could be such an intimate part of your life, even if only for a short while.

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