Melville and Mel
"Call me Ish-Mel." The Voice came in loud and clear.
My head snapped around. My entire being ground to a halt. I waited. Wondering what the Voice was going to say next. It held endlessly. Then out of nowhere it returned. “Call me Ish-Mel.” I was in the kitchen parading through my late afternoon "what tea to enjoy" decision when like the booming voice of that classically trained actor projecting from the diaphragm for a rainy performance of Shakespeare in the Park I was invaded. When I realized it wasn’t going to stop echoing in my head I spoke out loud… “Okay. That’s kinda funny... Huh. Call me Ish-Mel.” The Voice stopped as my conscious mind picked up the hint driving me into action, looking up Herman Melville’s classic text in one of those convenient online libraries. (I love how readily and easily available for deeper inspection are the randomly intriguing thoughts of the brain when a computer is on hand.) After a few clicks I connected to the words on the opening pages of his master work. My heart skipped a beat, chills running up my spine. Oh… Crapbags -- “Call me Ish-Mel.” I get it. The deeper meaning of the novel emerged from the memory banks of my being.
My Ex Man was my Moby Dick.
How I missed this is neither a mystery nor a surprise.
I was forever stuck in an illusory Mel-ville journeying frantically to track down my inner self. My life, as they say had been spent “standing on the whale fishing for minnows” hell bent on chasing.
I was irked. The Voice, on the other hand, was all too happy to celebrate Mel making the connection.
"How nice of your father to take you out" was something I heard a lot when out with my Ex Man. Our age difference made the statement reasonable.
My Ex Man was an older cuddly, cherubic, salt and pepper man boy with a short man's complex. Oh wait, did I forget to mention that he had a Jekyll and Hyde like shape shifting instinct that at any given moment could go from adorable cuddle chubbley Teddy Bear into a drunk with power tyrannosaurus. One of his recurring statements about himself was "I'm a good baby" accompanied by this totally adorable self satisfied smile and energy. On some level I thought it was super cute.
MEL NOTE: At a company Christmas party staring at the collection of my (not sure how they were invited) ex boyfriends I realized that contrary to my personal belief I did have a “type.” I would have been able to process this fact and the reasons behind it if at that moment the friend I hired to be the party Santa now worse for wear from the many glasses of whiskey vodkas that were a favorite of the Russian bartender had not taken a punch in the face for making off color remarks insulting a guest whose fists were now flying in a Santa whoop ass moment that needed my full attention.
By the time you fall in Love with the “one” you are hooked. The energy of his being has entered your aura. There's an element of letting down after the long journey, you've surrendered your body and when the "I Love You" flows back and forth your defenses fall, resulting in a system wide relaxer and sense and sensibility shut down. Everyone takes a vacation as spirit has entered "Love" land. Once you are in love land all the pain of being different, of being separated from people falls away. I had been fighting myself for so long. All at once I wasn’t alone. I felt like someone got me. In whatever way it happens. There had been an awakening. A connection. For the first time in my life I could take a breath in. I had an experience where I wasn’t alone. I had a little buddy. (And. Yes. I am referring to the fact that My Ex Man was four inches shorter than I was.)
Because of the intensity of feelings and connection and natural evolution of being together, coupled with my repeated rejection of proposals of Marriage we settled in on “moving in” together. It seemed like the logical step forward that I could make. When you have let yourself move to the deeper levels you think "This is it... this is all of it." I got past my issues. Opened up to all the possibilities a loving relationship offers. I got through my struggles deciding what steps to take as the intensity of the attraction demanded movement and action. It was tough to choose to move in but I reasoned F-it. I'm in Love.
Love was there to bring up everything unlike itself. It was there to bring up the wounds. To offer the opportunity for both of us to learn. The transformational possibilities of Love were laid bare for me and My Ex Man to navigate the moments of fear and anxiety fruitfully because neither one of us had a skill set to see through. Just because someone is older does not mean they have grown wiser.
As I was playing Nancy Drew with “Call me Ish-Mel” a couple of things occurred to me… My Ex Man was brought into my life to navigate missing pieces of myself. He was a form of dragon I needed to slay for my own evolution. A way for me to navigate the horrors of my half known life, to break free of its grip from my psyche, past and through my debilitating comfort zone that was no comfort at all, to show me the part of my self I needed to own, to show me that chases, while entertaining, don't need to be undertaken. And to remind me that everything was within. Waiting for me to wake up.
In retrospect it became clear that My Ex Man was that mythic man boy, a creature walking around in the world in an adult body whose development never made it out of childhood. He was happy as he was, not interested in changing, living his core statement “All the lies must match.”
Just as there are so many reasons that people find it difficult to move past these parts of themselves that only serve to self sabotage, that feel entitled, that are so hurt that all they can do is continue perpetuating the wound and stay stuck in the illusion. There are so many reasons to remember that Love is all that is real, that the simplicity of release is always available, that we are not responsible for how the other person processes their experiences. We never know which path will lead the other out. All we know is we have a choice to know our true self.
In Herman Melville's text Ishmael turns to the ocean because of a feeling of isolation from society and disconnection from the deeper truth.
"For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half known life"
You will notice... it is not a horror of a half lived life, but "horrors of a half known life." Known. Accepted. Forgiven. All of you. I turned to the ocean of doubt and insecurity adrift because I didn't know any different.
Not knowing one insular Tahiti existed was my wound. Locating my well being outside myself meant peace was impossible. The parts of me that bunkered in, that went into deep hibernation that cried in pain, wanted to be free, released from the prison of my old limiting beliefs and habits.
There's a place we feel is waiting, inexorably part of who we are. It has many feelings in the body, a space in the heart and when opened brings us to this center of our being ness. I had to forgive myself for living in Melville that town a crack past reality not on any maps adrift in a crazy making crock pot.
When all is said and done.
I didn't play the Mel game seriously.
I didn't honor what I knew.
Not a part of me was living in the center of my being.
Where true power dwells.
When you are clear you honor yourself. When you are on a bender of illusion you honor no one. Herman Melville's words came into my life when the questions were forming and leapt boldly from the space of my unconscious. If Herman Melville could open up to the ocean and move through chasing after illusion or as I like to call it the delusion of living my journey out could be an emblem of the truth that lays waiting when I could remember what waking up means.
You do not need to be full and whole and complete to birth the truth. Herman Melville's words strike so fully at the core of humanity that in its reflection I was at once in the space of power and divine expansion understanding life's journey through destruction opening doors beyond the maze of thought into peace.
The Voice that echoed in my head “Call me Ish-Mel” wanted me to know. Peace was mine for the asking all I needed to do was be willing to see things differently, to move within and surrender to the peace of my being.
I had to let go of the wanting to know "Why?" Because the crazy making left me crazy. Even now, I have no answer. I don't understand. If I go there it is a complete and utter sense of confusion and fog that search and rescue teams can't find. I tried for ten years to have my own family and I have nothing. The only thing that matters. I don't live there anymore. I learned to listen to my internal “Loving Mel” broadcast and moved toward its soothing sounds into peace of mind. I learned to listen to the Voice that was cheering on Team Mel.
The last quote Herman Melville uses in Moby Dick "And I only am escaped alone to tell thee." from Job, before he writes "The drama's done. Why then here does anyone step forth? -- Because one did survive the wreck." To bare witness beyond the illusion out of the confusion.
The Voice offered me a clue that rose above my anxiety to offer a clue, a different way of looking. The Voice could be trusted. It could be relied upon.
Ish-Mel I may have been. Ish-Mel I do not remain. I watched the demise of my spectacular illusion. The quest had to be released and I had to open to the day of reckoning (whatever the outcome) becoming flows of peace and truth.
One does survive the wreckage. Your true self.