I have permission to write. He doesn't have permission to read although I suppose he could because he found it. It's not that hard. Google the first couple of words from any particular post and you're going to find it. I write like a gonzo something or other said the pagan witch about six years ago so I'm bound to pop up and I was thinking it was going to be any post referencing the word Alecto. Any post I pulled out of the past and fed to him. Boundaries. We'd been talking about boundaries. It upset me. I communicated the upset very clearly. At least he told me he'd done it and it didn't look like the blog had been mined.
I read a book about 20 years back and I really wish I could remember the title or the author or something. Anything. You know what I remember? I remember the cover art. There was a woman sitting naked on a bed. All you see is her back and her long hair pulled over her shoulder I think. It's a mostly young woman and given the turn of her head you and the title of the book, the painting is devastating; or it is devastating if you are a young married woman and it hits like a blow to the solar plexus.
All I can come up with is 'The Death of the American Wife'. Google returns absolutely nothing. Well, Google certainly does, but not what I'm looking for. It's about giving yourself up. Young women burn their journals when they get married. I thought about that. Did I burn my journals, diaries, anything? Nope. But I hid a spiral notebook full of poetry. I couldn't even tell you why, I don't think, because I remember sharing it with my first lover when I was still in high school and he was twice my age and I had no fear of being judged. None at all. I had no fear of being lost or being put under a microscope or being asked to fit into some sort of box. That relationship was mostly hidden from the world. It was a little unacceptable. Interesting.
The first thing I thought was, DAMMIT, I'm going to have to unpublish the last 7 years of my life and this truly sucks. I'm going to have to bury it the attic with that spiral notebook and I spent a good amount of time crying over that and you know, I don't really care who else finds this space, not really. I think I've always been prepared to stand back and say, OK fine. Whatever. It's hidden mostly to protect other people and I try not to write much about my job anymore and where I have, oh hell, that shit went right to HR in the end. And I try to write from an accountable place.
I think about my last husband though. How much I withheld about what was really going on in my marriage; how I felt, what drove me to the edge, all of it. What would have come up for me honestly if he wasn't reading it? Would I have been able to save myself? Does it really matter? I guess the point is that if I care enough to not write about him then I'm pretty damn close to caring enough to let him read from some current point forward.
It's the history that upsets me; that he could, that he would rifle through my journal unaccompanied without filter or permission; me, flayed open, autopsy cut like I was already dead, without choice, feeling, rights or dignity.
A friend of mine found this last night because of a statement I made on a facebook comment and most people just wouldn't have picked up on this. It is absolutely NOT rocket science. On the other hand most people are just not clued in and not interested enough to go looking. Let's be honest, most people don't give a rat's ass one way or another. Hell, you can tell people outright that there is a blog out here and they're even in it. You can give them the URL and they'll never come out here. Truth.
So what's interesting is the first place I went with him was: BAD! I was laughing but I was horrified. You really want to go there? No. I haven't written anything about you. And then I had to stop and think about why I haven't written anything about him. Why not? What's up with that? I guess I don't write much about people in my life. I write about my children because they're right here and this is my life but I realized I'm not so much touching on anything or anyone else specifically unless there's a direct collision.
It's taken awhile to come up with Northern Man, by the way. That's the best I can do. The first place I went was, he won't approve and that's terrible (terrible that I'm even going to be concerned about this). Southern Man found my blog last night. Different relationships but it's interesting I'd hide my journal from both of them, interesting I'd have a similar set of boundaries. Interesting that I'm sitting here in a state of withhold and upset but spitting it out anyway.
So if I was going to share this with any of you, what would I say? Not withstanding the fact that he may or may not be reading this and for the moment I'm going to pretend he's not because I haven't given him permission yet and I do trust him.
I'm clearly backed up on that too. It isn't so much an issue of public revelation but what I'm willing to tell myself. Once it's in print, it's real. Doesn't really matter so much what comes out my mouth because those are words that vanish into the ether and while I can't take them back - not that I would - I can walk past them or, as Northern Man says, I have the right to revise or as Nomans used to do so damn well, say 'I have no idea what you're talking about'. I don't do that either. My point is, once it's in print, virtual or otherwise. There it is.
I struggle. And then I don't. I struggle with the fact that I struggle. I have found myself in absolute turmoil some days, looking at myself and saying, god, I just cannot do this. And then I can. I find that there is a giant mirror in front of me. It's so big I can't easily lean around it. I'd have to walk miles sometimes to get past it and most of the time my nose is flat up against the surface so I don't even know what I'm looking at until I back off, hyperventilating, hyped up on adrenaline, ready to drop to my knees or run like hell except I'm not a runner anymore, or at least I don't seem to have the capacity to run at the moment. I just stand here waiting for the storm to pass. And it's clearly my storm. He has his own. I have to parse, very carefully, what is mine and what is his. What are my knee jerk reactions to something I hear based on my past? I have to find those, identify them and pull them to the side. When I don't find them they threaten to eat me alive and you know, I don't find them until I'm in reaction. And he asks me, do you have something you want to tell me?
NO, DAMMIT! I DON'T. It isn't that I mind telling you, it's that I mind looking at it. I mind very much.
Now that's different, isn't it? I don't believe anyone has ever asked that of me before. On the other hand, I don't believe I've ever had anyone sing me to sleep. You can't count my mother. FaceTime. Novel. I nearly fell apart.
He needs something from me that I would never have been able to give. Not ever, not to anyone I don't think. It's taken me awhile to figure out why I can give it so easily and I've finally come up with two things. First, I don't really need this. I've been alone a long time. You can stay or you can go. If you go, I will be very, very sad. I will cry a lot. I will not fall over and have a very hard time getting up. I will not die. I will not even think I'm going to die. I won't break. Second, when I give to you, it lands. It doesn't go through a hole in the bottom asking for more. It's really very satisfying.
His communication skills are exceptional. I thought at first he might be just another version of my last husband except one who knew how to use his words and I thought, Alecto, really, you need to just run like hell. But I didn't and I had to question why. I didn't because I said I wouldn't. And that matters. You don't just get up and run in the first couple of weeks because you're periodically freaking out. Does this sound stupid? Maybe. Maybe I'm not explaining myself well enough. Probably not. That didn't last very long anyway.
And I didn't run because... wait for it...
We, every one of us, are so damn quick to judge. We're just awful. I'll put it right out there. We have absolutely no compunction whatsoever about saying to one another, he/she is not right for you. Move on. We say it to ourselves. We find fault EVERYWHERE. We do this constantly and more often the older we get. We have this idea about who our friends or family members should be with. We have this idea of who we should be with. And We. Go. Looking. For the evidence to support this because we are scared shitless.
You know what? I love the man. We only have one word for love. That sort of sucks. It's all I have so I'm going to have to use that one word. But I do. And I am in relationship with a man who is something or other. I have no idea. He hasn't said. Except he keeps showing up. And that's all I have to say about that because the rest of it is his story, it isn't mine to tell.
But I love a New England Yankee from the North who's opinions in some cases are so different from mine I have to back off and shut the hell up. I have to brace myself to be willing to open my mouth and say how I feel anyway and allow the differences to live in the same space and trust that mine can live in the space as well. Is this any different from the relationships I have with my closest friends? Not really.
I didn't grow up that way. It is hard.