“To make descansos means taking a look at your life and marking where the small deaths, las muertes chicitas, and the big deaths, las muertes grandotas, have taken place.
(“Women who Dance with Wolves “. Clarissa Pinkola Estes)
The ending of something. The loss of a path .
Regret. Sadness at what once was.
I am currently reading this wildly intense book and came to the part where I am instructed to map out my life’s descansos .
I was suddenly struck by grief. Grief that jolted up through the realms of my mind. Lost in the whirlwind of my life. The power of life’s flow and the pervasive way in which it blocks you out of yourself. Life can put the reins on , it can muzzle you , it can make you forget who you are and what you lost.
When I was 18 , I started taking drugs. I don’t know where the line is that marks you as recreational user or a drug addict , it really doesn’t matter. All I know is that drugs changed my trajectory .
Instead of doing a psychology degree at 18, enjoying the vitality of muddy hockey fields, cereal for all meals and 3 years of bonding with life long friends, I dumped the lot and went abroad.
Not long into my time in Europe I met a man who stole my innocence. Really it would have probably been any man , such that the path I was treading , but what struck me late last night , reading my book was the tidal of emotion; like a crashing wave , rushing over the shingle as my memories of that time flooded my mind.
Before this encounter which would affect my life for years to come , I had but innocent fumblings and first times with boys who were as naive me. It was all so bashful and lovely.
Really , this man was harmless enough , but he was a man , not a boy ; a good few years older than my trustful 19 year old self , he had a tough upbringing and therefore was one of those men who went through life only using people for what he could get. Fear of intimacy would be written all over him if he turned up in the therapy room now.
But he saw me coming. I was obsessed with him. I did what ever he wanted. I let him have sex with other people while I cried myself to sleep in a nearby beds , I lost so much weight as he compared me to ‘ other women who looked better ‘ . It was truly awful. I became a pathetic , bumbling acquiescing mess. But pretty much standard stuff in the hedonistic, yet darkly lined culture we lived in. We all took pretty much everything drug wise, it was a very rich , narcissistic place . There was no street corners or needles. We all had lovely flats, drank cocktails, earned money on commission , at the expense of gullible holiday makers.
But there , in those hot , vibrant tourist towns , the little girl that I was when I left my safe little sheltered town , got well and truly trodden on. Annihilated by a vacuum of pure desire. My own and others.
I would at times be so numb that I would spend the whole night in silence. At others, I would be wild and free , dancing with abandon , loving the freedom , enjoying the severing of the apron strings from my mother country .
And so I now see that some restorative work is needed on my young, fragile self , writing this post is part of that healing. I say to her , you were so young and sheltered. Life has so many lessons to teach you . I don’t blame you and I won’t allow you to feel any more shame.
After he left , I sobbed. But part of me must have been relived. My close friends certainly were. They probably had a secret party .
He left the coastal town we all lived in to go to Thailand and didn’t return for 2 years. In that 2 years I became a closed book , I didn’t so much as hold hands with anyone. I closed my soul. I ate lots of crap , took lots of coke and never really processed what had been.
Just before he came back , I had a fling. It still sits on the periphery of my mind , as one of those magical worlds , which are dream like in quality . Such intense romantic love. Grasping hands running down the moonlit beaches, staying up for days , not wanting it to ever end. That was a big healer for me. My Danny boy.
Then I met my husband. Which was a similar road. Intense , passionate , romantic.
So that’s one of my descansos. Today I am pinning this to the earth , so it no longer follows me around . .. A fragment of my eternity which was such a bitter sweet melody . Freedom , pain , shame , expansion , intensity.
When he came back , he came sniffing around. I took secret delight in snubbing his efforts. He never dared to declare himself in need of me as he was so twisted in his own hatred of himself , but I knew he felt the loss of something in another way. The loss of a pet perhaps. A loyal mutt who one can kick and they still climb back on your lap. Well she had grown up and found a new home.