TESTicles with The Besticle: A Euglogy

by P. Braithwaite

Both of my best friends have said the following to me on one occasion or another: The fact that you do your inner work, makes it impossible for me not to do my own.

The Besticle and I are no more. That probably doesn’t mean much to you. Typically my blogs get better when I’m broken-hearted a la Taylor Swift or sad Mary J. Blige, and truthfully, I’ve stopped blogging about him as frequently. So besides the loss of a clever nickname – ya’ll won’t notice that he’s gone. But he is. This time (not to be confused with the last 70 times) he left with purpose. I woke up the night before he left and I knew it was different. The atmosphere had shifted, the tides had changed – our souls had separated from one another.

Here on earth, however, he left with epic flair. Sometimes you have to make yourself hate someone in ordered to leave them, and so he listed events that made the relationship intolerable for him (only the highlights though, I’m sure he could’ve listed more). He mentioned how over the last several months I’d systematically made him feel threatened and inadequate. He cited a phantom female friend who’d told him he’d “lost confidence” – something he blamed on me.

The fact that you do your own inner work, makes it impossible for me not to do my own.

I am blessed to have people in my life who both love me and see my flaws. I am blessed to have a life built on honest relationships – relationships where friends and family call me out if I’m being crazy, and celebrate me when I’m on track. I am blessed to have spent 3 years in an MFA program where, week after week, I offered up my deepest and rawest creative work only to have them critiqued, rearranged, messed with – in the service of making them better. I am blessed to be a believer in revision, in life and in art. I rise each day with the sincerest desire to be authentic and transparent.

I have real fears of criticism and I fear that I’m not enough, but I would rather fail authentically than succeed as anyone other than myself. I am always striving to embrace myself more fully. I am always striving to live my best possible life.

The fact that you do your own inner work, makes it impossible for me not to do my own.

It’s interesting, after a year week of endless fighting, The Besticle, someone I’ve often referred to as my favorite person in life, and I broke up with each other around the same time. He sent me that email, and I sent him a text. We’re both equally fucked up…there are no victims here.

It is strange to sit in the aftermath of a breakup that you’ve helped orchestrate. There is sadness, but no longing. There’s loneliness, but no pining. There is profound and painful loss, but no real deep regret. I cannot pinpoint a moment, in this entire relationship, where I could go back and make things different. This ending could not have been circumvented by my actions alone. There is no event where I feel like I could have acted differently, because, for better or for worse, I showed up as myself. Please do not mistake the term “myself” for “perfect” or even “easy-to-be-with.” I showed up vulnerable. I was messy, I was naked and a little crazy. I was, as my friend Briseason calls herself, Hot-Headed Bri Mcgee. I showed up bossy, and moody and slightly jaded. I came with baggage, I came with hurts, I came with questions, I came with doubts, but for all of my flaws (and there are many) I came self-aware, well-intentioned, clear-minded and full of love. I came completely honest about my intentions. I came with more love than fear. I came knowing where I had been, and where I was trying to go. I came with a wounded but very open heart. I came knowing exactly who I was….I leave knowing who I am. I leave owning both my flaws and my power. The two are not mutually exclusive. The two are irrevocably intertwined.

The fact that you do your own inner work, makes it impossible for me not to do my own.

I write this, as I write all things, in an effort to release any shame. There is Buddhist saying: pain is inevitable, but suffering is the choice. I write to keep the suffering to a minimum. I write to tell on myself, so that I do not have to let the fears of inadequacy around in my head. I write to be free, because freedom is both who I am and what I strive for in this life.

I write this because I’m still grieving, and I’d like to feel less alone.

This is a long post today. And it’s not very life coachy. But today, in telling on myself, I’ve made a choice that I will keep making for the rest of my life. Who I am will never be solely about what I do. I will never be perfect; I will never be flawless. Who I am is messy – it’s sticky and a little inconvenient. I’m honey dried to your fingers. I’m both annoying and delicious. I have fears that failing at another relationship makes me a bad lover, and I have fears that a bad lover makes me a bad coach. But I know those are my gremlins, and even if they aren’t, THIS I absolutely know for sure: If I had to choose, I’d rather die with a clear conscious than a full coaching practice.

But I’m striving to live happily ever after with both

We are all works in progress, my loves. We are all so beautifully and remarkably imperfect. I will never have the perfect life or the perfect relationship, and really I need to give up that expectation of myself. Just because I write nice thoughts, doesn’t mean I’m more evolved. I’m so human it hurts, and (trust me) I’m hurt. So, if there’s anything my sad emotional blogs tell you…it’s that we don’t have to hide who we are. It is safe to be yourself. I promise, from the red carpet of my post-breakup pity party, we are all utterly and completely enough.

And so it is.

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