C and I keep secrets from each other. Well, they’re not really “secrets” so much as they are simply things that are never expressed. I know it’s confusing, so let me explain.
A secret is something that you do in private, afterwards covering up any evidence that the deed was ever done. With C and me, what is done in private is never covered up per say, but never exposed either. It just sort of lays there. Noticed if looked for, unnoticed if not. How do I know? Well, I look for it, of course! Yes, I have the “wonderful” attribute of not being able to trust anyone fully at any time. A family trait I place firmly upon the shoulders of one – and only one – relative (thanks mom!). True, I am a child no longer, and responsible now for my own hang-ups, hiccups and snafu’s, but still I wanted to at least acknowledge the fact that my issue is much more imported than homegrown. Much more nurtured than natured.
I’m not sure where C gets her “issue” from. But for her part, she has this drive – this undeniable and unrelenting force – to be her own woman. Her own person. No matter how close she will ever be to anyone, that anyone will do well to understand that there will always need to be at least a small little mental room that is all her own. Sort of like an attic with a hidden door, and a window for only her to look out of – and in through. I know that as her husband, I should be that anyone, and I should heed my own advice. But the little old paranoid Polish woman takes over my mental steering wheel far too often and drives me – us – smack dab into yet another wall of marital suffering and strife. I’m working on it, but it quite often feels like C’s patience (not to mention my own) is wearing thin on this bit, and I can almost see the suitcases being prepped for the packing of a one way trip out.
“So what types of ‘secrets’ are we talking about here then?”, questions the therapist who may happen to be reading this, while stroking their chin in a majestic, yet intelligent fashion. Well, take for instance this very blog. C knows of it, and has even been “invited” to peruse if she’d like. But she’s never actually been given the web address. No, she’d have to access it through my phone app, I suppose, in order to actually read the damned thing. And similarly, C too has various social medias that she makes use of. I only know that because of my tendency to “look”. Which equates to my sneaking about and digging through any number of apps and histories for some sort of sign. One that proves that the one who I love the most is most assuredly getting ready to high-tail it outta here. Or to begin carrying on with another. One who is richer, better looking, nicer, better with gardening… you get the point. So, while she never told me about these creative outlets, I “found” them. And when she found out that I had done so, the cat was out of the bag – and not-so nicely slammed up against yet another wall – little old paranoid Polish woman-style. As a result, much like my offer to her, she made it clear that I am free to sift through any of the rooms in her online world, but I can only enter through the front door that her phone provides as well. And while it’s most likely obvious, it should be noted still, both of our invitations to each other were presented in a spirit very similar to that of how a five year old would normally “apologize” when they realize that desert will not be forthcoming without first a mention of regret. With very much a “here’s your hat, what’s your hurry” flavor to boot.
“Now, hold on just a flip t, what gives with C not being able to have secrets, but you’re being able to?” I’m glad you asked. Because that was the very question that gave birth to this post. Why IS that? Why are my secrets-that-aren’t-secret totally harmless, but her secrets-that-aren’t-secret surely to be the cause of our demise? Why are the things I do but don’t make mention of quite fine and/or dandy while her activities must be called into question and monitored ceaselessly? I suppose if I had to answer that, I would first look downward and shuffle my feet while sheepishly making some sort of excuse about how my actions (which are no different from hers) were somehow inconsequential because they were only first and foremost in reaction to hers. And besides, I don’t mean any harm by them. I would then inch slowly backwards and hope to get clear out of the room before your dropped jaw worked again, and you rebutted with the obvious fact that her actions most likely don’t mean any harm either.
But there is another little twist as well, and it might serve to at least salvage a bit of the reputation that I pretty much just cut off at the kneecaps with this post. Part of me doesn’t trust. Anyone. It’s true. It’s ugly. It’s the second biggest thing I hate it about me, and I would wish anything in the world to be able to be rid of it, if I could (and I just might be able to, some day). But another part of me is jealous. Jealous of that attic. That attic that needs to be there for C, for her well being and her mental health. That attic that I need to respect and acknowledge, but never access. That damned attic that will go to the grave holding a piece of C that I will never be able to know about. To experience. To touch. To love.
I’m pretty sure I might have a similar room myself. But I suppose I see mine as more of a basement than an attic. More littered with trash than adorned with treasure. And I suppose maybe that is the REAL problem in all this. Maybe it’s not just C’s attic I’m jealous of, maybe it’s C herself, for having her attic. For having her self. And maybe if I want to stop slamming us (not to mention innocent cats) up against walls of marital suffering and strife, I need to recognize that. I need to let C be free to have her secret life. Just as she allows me to have mine.