A Fox & a Snail | Scotty & My Breakup
As I watch, I am stripped down to my vulnerability, gutted and left raw and open…
While browsing local galleries to potentially show my art, I turned on a film by Nick Abrahams of Ekki Múkk by Sigur Rós that Scotty suggested I watch. Several hours later when Scotty called from Alaska I said, “I watched it.” We then said at the same time, “It’s us.” Independent of each other and thousands of miles away we knew they had intimately channeled us in doing this piece. Never has a piece of work, either audible or visual affected me stronger. I was stripped down to my vulnerability, gutted and left raw and open until I acknowledged my feelings. It’s been a genuinely wonderful few months. I had been unaware that under my contentment hid pain and loss.
When Scotty and I found each other 3 years ago, we were both in pain, and lost in different ways. He noticed I walked in circles. I saw his wounds no one else could see. Together we found love, direction and comfort. We are very different people, with incredibly different backgrounds. At the beginning, our relationship surprised many, but our decision to end it surprised everyone. When describing our break-up to a close friend I said, “I feel I am abandoning my child in the woods.” We were fellow wanderers, I was his guide, his companion, his rescuer. I called him my fox, my freedom, my advocate, and though 7 years older, and 8 inches taller, ‘little one.’ It was the image of him alone in the woods I couldn’t shake. how could I walk away? Within the first few seconds of this film with the words, “You think that these days you couldn’t get lost.” I forgot the galleries I was looking for, and the past 3 years roared through me: how we found each other when we least expected it, and formed a surprising, immediate bond. I felt the pain, and the joy of our 3 years all at once. Every moment of the 10 minute film was a mirror for me, every frame, note and word. I watched it through twice. I could feel Scotty mourning with me as cries rocked my body. We always felt things as one. I was shocked by the intensity of my primal emotions. I had thought myself over it months ago. During the conversation that followed I learned he’d had the same experience a couple days earlier, also unprompted. After this release of emotion, I am now ready to open up about the past few months, my breakup with Scotty, and what has happened since. This is my first blog post this personal. Since so many of my photos and experiences that will be shared in this blog include Scotty, I feel it is more authentic for my readers to understand and know who he is.
Scotty suggesting I watch a short film was not a strange request. From the time we met we’ve wanted to share our experiences, places, food, people, music, movies, art, ideas, etc. If we share it, we know it will grow on the other. For example, I now go to the occasional hardcore show, and Scotty recently bought an opera album. From the moment we met we couldn’t hide from each other. It is a relief to be vulnerable. We symbiotically felt along with the other. When we met, Scotty had a broken, quiet pain he’d kept from everyone in his life. I saw through it in a couple hours. I had 100 excuses why I couldn’t live how I wanted. We found safety in each other, that gave the other permission to be happy and whole. When I told him my farfetched dreams, he looked me in the eye and said, “Why not?” He said those words to me enough, I still hear them when I’m holding back. Without him, this website, my adventures, photos, and the book I’m writing wouldn’t be possible. Instead of pushing or judging him, I gave him the support he needed to make the changes in his lifestyle that he wanted. With me he learned how to let go of his pain, forgive, communicate and love fully. With gentleness he listened to me, and understood my spirituality, as my personal experiences as an emotional release facilitator grew.
Our joy as a couple opened doors, and drew people to us. We met people and had experiences we would never have had alone. We had an instant connection. After knowing each other less than a week we planned a 2 month trip to Southeast Asia. Over the course of almost 3 years, we went to 14 states, and 10 countries together. We were never bored. On our wanderings and locally, we met hundreds of people who only know us as one entity. They opened their homes and lives to us. We think about them often. They have shaped our lives and thoughts. The things we experienced together permanently changed who we are. There was a comfort and ease in our time together. We knew we could wake in 65 years and not notice time had passed, and though it would have been incredible, we both knew we would miss something. Scotty and I broke up in January. I’ve found most still don’t know. For those who do, it clearly came as a shock. Slowly I’ve received comments and notes from our friends around the world, with varying reactions. Some remark on our synergy, and authentic love for each other, while others don’t feel comfortable bringing it up. All are confused, or wonder what could have gone wrong.
Even after our breakup, we have continued spending much of our time together. We spend time with our friends and neighbors, and announce arm in arm that we have broken up, and respond with smiles at their surprised faces. At times we feel deep sadness as our chapter together came to an end, but our trust in each other and our mutual decision sustains us. We have always mirrored the other’s emotions, and have perfect empathy during this change. Here is the truth of what happened:
Nothing went wrong. No one let the other down. This was not a failed relationship, it was a success. Anyone can ask us anything about it. There was never a lack of love. For a while our shared life has been naturally fading into two. Like the moon steadily pulling the tide from the shore, we were helpless to stop it. At first we ignored the inevitable shift as the gap between water and land grew. When it could no longer be ignored we responded with terror and sadness, each reaching for the other, “Stay on the land!… Join me in the sea!” The current was too strong for us, though we fought against it for a long time, in the end we were subject to the elements. The truth is, one of us is made for the water, and the other is meant for land. Why am I writing this now, after 5 months? As nature willed, and as we feared, It is now low tide. The distance between us is vast. I’ve been gone for 2 months in Argentina, and now Scotty is living more and more on his ranch in Oregon, as well as fishing in Alaska. We’ve been talking through our lives a lot this week while he’s getting his boat ready for the Bering Sea. We’ve realized we won’t be in the same proximity for many months, and have already made memories without the other. There is something painful and real about having wonderful experiences without the other. We are happy, but also in a state of mourning. Instead of looking out to sea, I am moving inland, and instead of pining after the land, Scotty is fully immersing himself in the sea. This is how it should be, and the natural flow of things. We have stopped fighting the currents. There is something honest and beautiful about being wrenched apart, and being left alone. It is both primal and natural.
Even as the moon goes through its fazes, and the tide rolls back in, so do we. We are looking forward to seeing each other again. Our connection is not over, but we are no longer one entity. We know the moon will pull us apart again. One is now of the water, and the other lives on land. For those who know us, please don’t ever feel the need to choose between us, since we are part of each other. To do that would discredit who we were as a couple, and who we are now as individuals. One reason I felt to write this, is because I often hear people badmouthing their exes, and those they have loved. There is no excuse for this. I hope people will think twice on how they treat those who have shared their lives. Those we love in the moment, remain our teachers for life. And for whatever reason, such as in the film, we have to trust that we can “find our own way home.”
I’d like to thank Sigur Rós, Nick Abrahams, and all others who helped with this beautiful film. A test for fine art is if it resonates and emotes personally. I’m sure countless people can watch this, and be equally impacted as it reflects their own experiences.
And Thank you Scotty, for helping me write this.
Wholeness through going where nature pulls you.
Love, “Whole Hannah” – inner i art