Monthly Archives: August 2018

Marriage to the Truth

“No legacy is so rich as honesty.”
– William Shakespeare

I was talking to my dear friend Vanessa recently and she used a phrase that will not leave my head. Vanessa, like me, is a writer. Vanessa, unlike me, doesn’t realize it. She will though. We all have to arrive at our destinations on our own time. However, while she’s in the process of this impending realization, she said she has discovered a similarity in all of the writers she knows.

We are all in a “marriage to the truth.”

Wow.

She went on to elaborate a bit by saying that we are the people who can’t keep secrets. We have to share. The things that are inside us simply have to come out. They just have to. Anything else is not an option.

I’ve honestly never thought about it that way. (Thanks, fellow writer.)

But, she’s right. At least for me anyway. I physically cannot keep things inside me. If I try, I get sick. I throw up. Isn’t that crazy? It’s like I have a disease and writing is the only cure.

Now, I don’t necessarily mean that every time I get upset, I have to sit down and write a novel. No, writing does not just consist of creative writing. Writing is simply an expression in words.

And boy have I been expressing lately.

If you are my Facebook friend, then you know I’m hurting right now. Bad.

However, in some crazy, misguided attempt to keep the details a secret, I’ve only expressed my hurt without some of the more important factors. And, in doing so, I think I may have led people to an incorrect conclusion. So I want to clear this up. Not just for my husband’s sake, but for my integrity as well.

My husband did not cheat on me.

Yes, I’ve posted memes about lying. About hiding things. About hurting the person you love. I’ve posted statuses about being heartbroken and about seeing a woman I despise out around town and not killing her. (Still proud of myself for that one.) But again, let me make this clear. Both for myself and for you. And for him.

My husband did not cheat on me.

I still won’t give all the details because this is his story too and not just mine. But if I’m going to live a public life like I do, then I have to live it honestly and without leading people to believe something that just didn’t happen. To sum it up, I found out about something (two things actually) that happened prior to our marriage.  One, he confessed to. The other, I found out on my own.

Yes, both instances involve another woman.  However, it’s not quite that cut and dry. There are other factors in play. (As I’m sure there always are in these circumstances.)

Am I excusing his behavior and saying he did nothing wrong? Absolutely not. He hurt me to my core.  And he knows it and accepts it. But the “standard” definition of cheating isn’t the only thing that does that kind of damage. Please don’t deduce from my public displays of hurt that my husband cheated on me during our marriage. He did not. He betrayed my trust and he kept secrets from me. This part is true. But he did not betray our wedding vows.

I’m hurt and I’m screaming out in pain. But there’s no need for me to inadvertently do more damage than what already exists between us. In more ways than one, my husband is a good man. If you know him and are surprised by him hurting me, then you’re right to be. This is not who he inherently is. Do not “hate” him on my behalf. Do not judge him based on my pain. This is my pain. Mine alone.

I appreciate everyone’s love and support. I’ve seen more good through this pain than I ever thought existed. Practical strangers have reached out to me to try to soothe my hurt by telling me they’ve been there. Of course, all of our stories are unique. No one has ever been exactly in another’s shoes. But regardless of the circumstances, I’m sure most of us have felt betrayal. And each time someone reaches out to tell me I’m not alone, it’s like another stitch being placed in this gaping wound.

Thank you for helping to heal me. Truly.

But don’t let your healing lead you to despise my husband. He’s not a bad man. He made a few mistakes and betrayed my trust. There are specific circumstances that make this not your “typical” cheating story. And again, even though my pain is public (because I don’t know how else to be), he is in pain too. He just grieves privately.

Our story is ours. Not just mine. Ours.

And I have no idea how this story is going to end.  But thank you for understanding that I need to tell it in my own way.  My marriage to the truth is one marriage that is not going to end any time soon. Of that one, at least, I’m certain.

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Pokes from the Past: The Scrapbook

“If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future.”
– Winston Churchill

So, I was digging through my past a few weeks ago (a/k/a an old trunk) and I found a scrapbook I had made once about 10ish years ago. I didn’t tell many people about finding this thing – not even my husband. (I guess he knows now, though.)

Heh.

So, yeah.  Sigh.  The scrapbook.

I debated writing about this at all.  But see, I have this problem. I’m a writer. And when something wants to be written about, it will NOT. SHUT. UP.  Seriously. It won’t leave me alone. I can’t do anything else until I vomit this mess out onto a page. So here I am. And here’s my vomit.

Enjoy. :/

So, why was I digging through that old trunk anyway? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I was lonely. Maybe I was bored. Maybe it was because my daughter’s getting ready to head off to college. Maybe it was because I was getting ready to turn 40 (yep, I turned the big 4-0 on August 2 — yay).  Maybe I was stuck on this precipice between my past and my future and, in an unwillingness to move forward, I decided I wanted to move backward instead? (Dude, that’s deep.)

Heck, I don’t know. I don’t know why I decided to take a headfirst dive into the past but, alas, I did. And I found this scrapbook. It was a scrapbook I made as a gift for an old boyfriend. (As you can see, the relationship must not have worked out because I’m the one that ended up stuck with the ‘gift.’ But anyway…)

Okay, let me describe this thing to you. Yes, it was a scrapbook but it wasn’t what you’d expect. It wasn’t filled with photos and ticket stubs and dinner receipts or whatever it is that you scrapbook people do. It was actually just a scrapbook full of emails.  Yep.  Just…words. This boyfriend and I were actually only a couple for about three months total. (He’s still a very good friend of mine, believe it or not – life is weird…) But, the way we started out was almost what you’d call “pen pals.” This was before texting became such a big thing so emails were the latest non-phone-call means of communication of the time. We sent each other these long, flowery (and sometimes hilarious) emails over the span of about a year before we ever even dated. Then, once we started dating, I decided to put all of those piles of words into a book and give it to him as a gift for Valentine’s Day.

Long story short, he loved it.

But.

We broke up shortly thereafter. (Switching from friends to a relationship had been a HUGE mistake at the time.) He gave the book back to me. I hid it from myself. Years passed. We got over it. Became friends again. Life is fine. I found the book.

There.

You caught up?

So, since all is well, the book shouldn’t have bothered me. It should have just been some fun old memories to chuckle over and then toss back in the trunk. That is fully what I expected.

But it didn’t quite work out that way.

I started reading that book and…no exaggeration here, people…I started SOBBING. Seriously. And I didn’t even know why. I mean, this guy isn’t some lost love from the past. He’s my friend. He’s still in my life. In fact, we still talk about things almost as much as we did back then. What the heck was wrong with me? Why did the past tug at me so hard? Obviously I wasn’t missing him. He’s right here.

So, what was I missing?

Oh yeah.

Me.

Yep. It was me. That girl that was writing those long, heartfelt emails is definitely not the girl who is sitting here writing this blog. What happened to her?  My gosh, that girl felt things. She had so much to say. She gushed about movies and books and her kids and…love. Yep. Love. This cynical old 40-year-old used to believe in that crap.

Okay, yes, I’m married now. I must have believed in love again at some point. But y’all, it’s not the same. This 40-year-old’s form of love is much different than that 30-year-old’s form of love in that scrapbook. I mean, that 30-year-old made a scrapbook. That’s enough evidence in itself.  Who has the time or energy for that mess?

But seriously, what has changed?

I mean, I was still a working mom back then. Kids. A house to take care of. And alone at that. Can I really blame a lack of time for my change? No. I can’t. Honestly, I don’t know what to blame.

All I know is that I miss her. I miss the girl who trusted people. That girl had been through a few heartbreaks of course, but they didn’t damage her. Made her a wee bit more cautious maybe, but she was still willing to see what was out there. This 40-year-old version of that girl just isn’t like that anymore.

I guess the older you get, the worse the sting.

I don’t bounce back so quickly anymore. Each hurt – each blow – hangs on just a little longer. There’s no longer a need to put together a scrapbook of memories because I don’t really want to remember. And who cares anyway? My family fights me within an inch of their lives when I just want to take pictures for Heaven’s sake. No one cares about maintaining and saving these memories except for me. And frankly, I’m kind of tired of that.

My missives have turned into grocery lists.

I don’t really know what the point of this blog is. Like I said before, sometimes something is in a writer’s head and just has to come out. I guess it’s not always going to make sense.

All I know is that I found a piece of myself hidden away in a trunk and I had forgotten that that version of me even existed. And I wish she’d come back. I kind of liked that girl.

 

***

“Is it really him or the loss of my innocence I’ve been missing so much?”
– from the song Strawberry Wine by Deanna Carter