Text me the word ‘question’ and you’ll get ‘tell me what you feel about me’ straight back.
Because say the word ‘question’ and my mind shifts straight to Destiny’s Child’s Independent Woman.
The woman is asking questions, and if there’s one thing there’s an abundance of in relationship breakdown, it’s questions.
What if I’d done things differently?
Was my whole life with you a lie? A waste of time?
The difficulty is that there often isn’t an answer. While Independent Woman’s questions are rhetorical, ours are unanswered or answered with something bringing no closure.
Accepting that we may never have answers to the questions we want to ask, or even the opportunity to ask them, is difficult. In order to feel closure it can feel essential to know why things have ended the way they did – that way surely we can make sense of them? If only we knew the answer to this question, or that question. Yet an unsatisfactory answer brings as little healing as having none at all.
The questions we ask are valid and justified. They evaluate all that has happened and decide whether, on balance, it was worth it. They seek to apportion or absolve blame or fault. They seek closure through a fuller understanding of circumstance and experience. There is worth in asking these questions, if only of yourself.
It might be worth writing down all the questions you wish you could ask. Perhaps there are pages of unanswered questions. To write them out is to acknowledge they’re there, even while unasked. In asking them aloud, it may also be possible to answer. Even if that answer is ‘I don’t know, and I may never know’, an answer helps to bring closure and acceptance.
The lyrics to this song are not so dissimilar from a question I asked myself throughout our separation. Did he notice how well I could do without him, even while I wanted him back? A question that seemed so important at the time, now no longer features in my mind.
And gradually, these unanswered questions are just that. They can remain, like pebbles on a beach eroding over time and no longer the boulders they once were. Do they exist still? Yes. But do they cause waves or change the course of life? Not any more. Your life moves on, and the questions fade. You may never know the answers, and somehow that becomes acceptable. Your life is more than a series of unanswered questions; you find freedom even while not knowing the answers.