Secret Lives

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.

600 words

My dad is dying of lung cancer, and I started an anonymous blog to help me deal with his impending death. That’s words 1 through 21.

The blog eventually became more of an anchor than a balloon, more salt than salve. I was spending too much time pondering a death that had not yet occurred, in lieu of celebrating a life that was still going on right before my eyes. So I decided to let the blog go. But not before it brought about one pretty surprising realization. That’s words 22 through 93.

The realization was this – I loved writing. So much so that I created a second blog to further explore other topics and interests. As with the first, it was anonymous in nature. Partially because I’m rather reticent, and partially because I wanted to be able to be honest with my thoughts (which translates to: I would hate for someone to read the words and – knowing the man behind them – determine them to be lies). That’s words 93 through 175.

Of course, while it began anonymously, it wasn’t before too long that I wrote a post I was particularly proud of. One that seemed to get good feedback, from all but one. The one, I realized that I needed the positive feedback from, was my dad. The very man who started the whole thing in the first. The man whom, I suppose, I’ve been seeking approval from my whole life. So, I scrunched up my best “determined” face and boldly decided to print the one post that thrilled me so and present it to him, thus “blowing my cover”. I made it very clear to him that this was a secret and that he in no way could tell anyone about this besides mom (you always have to exclude telling mom in promises like this, since there hasn’t been one instance in over forty two years wherein a secret given to dad, has not at some point then been brought up in conversation by mom). To date, he has kept our secret – with the mom clause being taken advantage of – and as fate would have it, they both loved the post even more than I. That’s words 175 through 377.

Of course – with mom being mom, and dad being dad – they made mention of the fact that this was truly worthy of being published, that people needed to be able to see writing such as this. When I tried to explain to them that it actually was already “published”, and viewable by the public, mom came back staunchly with “well, I’m talking about all of us who don’t have the internet”. Now, I love my mom, but I’m not to sure if she realizes that the “all of us” without internet is – at this point – really much more “her and dad and maybe another retired couple somewhere in the west coast – you know, for balance”. That’s words 378 through 503… Come on, wrap this thing up.

So, at mom’s request, I promised her that I would submit the post to our local newspaper, to see if I could get “published”. I went (online) to submit it, only to find out that they had a 600 word max. My posts average about 1,200 words, and this one was no exception. Mom was upset to hear the news, and to help soften the blow, I promised to try to write a post that would fit within their requirements. This is that post. Now at word 598.

I suppose that if the paper does publish this, my cover will be forever blown and my secret out. And I suppose that the promise of that occurring sort of scares me – maybe even to the point where I might “accidentally” sabotage the post, to help prevent it from ever seeing the ink-and-newsprint light of day. But that is not at all why I am now up to writing word 670.  Nope, not at all.