Friday, May 25, 2007

the beginning, more at the middle, I suspect

This blog was born for one reason: someone told me to write.

When S left, and I first discovered the cheating, I ran to the only person on whom I knew I could count. I didn't know what I wanted from him, but I knew that I needed him. I called.

It was my best friend.

When I explained -- between sobs -- what had happened, he simply told me, "Put some shit together and I'll be down there to pick you up. You're coming up here for a while."

I was dizzy. I didn't know why I was leaving, or why I had to, but he did. I surrendered to him.

When he arrived, I hadn't packed a damned thing. I didn't know what to pack. He told me, so I did. And I stayed at his house for a week.

That first night, his then-girlfriend came over, and she let me (encouraged me, really) to cry on her shoulder. She cried, too. For me, as well as herself.

The next day, I didn't have that shoulder. Of all the million ways that Scott helped me -- saved me from myself -- his strength was being strength. He gave me what I didn't know I needed, and what I certainly didn't want, in retrospect: he insisted that everything would be okay.

Like Mom consoling you after you've skinned your knee.

And he was strong.

I recall one moment when he let it slip: he was also very, very angry. At S. But for that one moment (which, in itself, tells me a lot,) he was as stoic as a father. He listened, and he only talked when I asked him to. He didn't give me unsolicited advice or lessons or wisdom.

That same day -- the second -- he dragged me out of the house and we walked together to the grocery store. (Oh, and he fed me. Though I didn't eat.) We walked in an uncomfortable silence. We were silent only because of me. I didn't want to talk.

But then I started talking. Or asking, really. I asked question after question. I didn't expect him to answer them. The questions were for S, not Scott. But they came in a flood. Most of them started with "Why."

When we returned home, I asked him what I was supposed to do. How I was supposed to not go crazy. He suggested I write. Just like that: simple. He went directly to a drawer from which he pulled an old college-ruled notebook and pen, and he handed them to me. He said, "write." And then he left the house.

Over the next four hours, I wrote non-stop. Seriously -- non-stop. The words I wrote, the questions I posed, the emotions I committed to history -- they are Part One. This blog, of course, starts with Part Two.

(S took Part One. I left it in the house hoping she'd read it. I didn't know she'd keep it. I hope to get it back, some day.)

He told me to write. And I did.

When I had no other choice but to return to my house, I took that notebook with me.
For the next two and a half weeks, I wrote in it constantly. I didn't go to work. I wrote.

When I had to leave for this deployment, I realized that I wouldn't be able to write as I had been. I would run out of paper, ink. I wouldn't have any privacy as I wrestled with the demons that forced me to write.

So, I decided to start this blog. To keep writing. And to make a deliberate effort to find others in whose story I might find solace.

Someone recently shared her own story with me in an email. A letter, really.

She poignantly and unintentionally reminded me that I'm not alone. As inclined as I have been to internalize everything that has happened and claim it as my story -- my goddamned story -- I was also climbing up some sort of martyrdom ladder. As though I owned the rights to being hurt.

Increasingly, I am learning that good people do get fucked over. With an unsettling frequency. Change the names, and minor details... yet the stories are essentially the same.

In learning again the obvious lesson that I do not own the rights to the story, or the emotions, or the pain, I have again been inspired. Though I had told myself over and over again that I didn't really want to, I can say "Fuck S" a little easier now. It even kinda feels good. Not as empty as I thought it would be.

I am reminded of what could have become a flame-war with some pop-psychology assessment I received in a comment to an earlier post: of cause & effect relationships.

Where I'm at now, well... I refuse to believe that something I did brought what S did on. Nope. At risk of perpetuating the martyr complex of which I've just written, NO. I didn't deserve it. Neither did you. Or you. Or you. Or you.

And as cold and as dark and as lonely as it seems sometimes, at least I remember this:

There's no threat of that hopeful flame dying. It is perpetual.
Our struggle is with knowing it is there and untended by those we wished were warmed by it.
Of learning that someone else is likely better suited for it.


IWon'tBeLost said...

Writing can be a very powerful tool.

Almost everyone in some way or another are connected by the fact that even though the stories and details are different, we've all been hurt. We all feel like we're the only one to feel that way. The only one who's been through it.

To be able to connect with other people via writing to share, learn, and even vent is a really great outlet.

gn said...

I agree with iwon'tbelost: Writing (and especially blogging) is the cheapest form of therapy a person can get. It's amazing to write something so personal and find out that all these strangers identify with what you're feeling, what you're saying. Happy typing!

Lisa said...

You are right. It's very true and important to remember - good people do get fucked over sometimes, just because. And you are never, ever alone.

simply scott said...

One day I'll show you three years worth of writing about my relationship with Jen -- the amazing highs, the unbelievable lows. The blog was my therapist, for frankly what do therapists give us by an ear and a chance to work out our own shit.