Funeral Song for a Friend


Skinned raw, bleeding, humanity’s keep limps illogically along,

Leaking the source first in torrents, later in eviscerated rivulets.

No tourniquet wide, twisted nor absorbent enough to suck it all.

No One can gather it up, mop it up from the dance floor, untie it 

From the back alley fences or unstain it from the consciences of 

Ignorant name-shamer, tunnel-visioned politician or us cowards.

No formulas, statistics, truths or lies will rescue the dead-harmed

When ends and means are meaningless as exhorted truth-slayers,

When ebony bones shine word shadows projected upon the screen 

Of the inner war we wage, brushing aside ivory clarity like clouds 

dispersed in sneery derision, campaign slogans and catchphrases,  

One mind and only one will change the hearts of all, only one-kind.

When will dress rehearsals end and the real revolution begin–again? 

Meeting Her: Guest Post from Patricia D, Volunteer at Infidelity Counseling Network

                                        
For those of us who have experienced infidelity, there is one particular moment we truly dread: meeting our husband’s affair partner (a.k.a. The Other Woman). Here is my story of that encounter.

                                                                             Meeting Her

Here’s what is going to happen. Prepare yourself. Imagine the worst thing you have ever experienced, death of parents, losing pets, awful natural disasters, locusts, any of it. Take all of those things, put them in a big truck, have the truck run you over, and maybe that will give you a tiny fraction of the pain and madness you will experience when you discover your partner has been unfaithful and your marriage is done.

Flashback to our Kentucky Derby party. And may I say, the last Kentucky Derby party we would ever host, and likely my last as well. My husband invited a number of women from his gym, where his workouts consisted of Zumba class, Skinny Jeans class, Ripped class – you know, activities where lots of women would be.

From the moment she showed up, almost everyone at our party picked up on something that was off. She walked in to my home like she owned the place; as it turns out, she had been there before. She brought a hostess gift, although it was addressed to “Kirby Baby”, complete with bubble-dot I’s and hearts. She barely acknowledged me. But I was committed to trusting my husband. She spent the afternoon drinking bottles of chardonnay, and suddenly was telling anyone who would listen about how her husband of 23 years cheated on her. As the evening progressed, some my family members pointed out that everyone had gone home except for her. At this point she was so wasted that I couldn’t let her drive, so I told her she could sleep on the couch. I thought since she was a friend of my husband that it was the right thing to do. The rest of us — except him — settled in to watch TV. She went to find another set in a different room, and then it was radio silence.

About twenty minutes later I went to find my husband. Boy did I find him. On top of her, in one of the guest rooms, full-on making out.

I never thought I would be in this place. I’m sure many women have said that exact same
thing. Everything had seemed too good to be true when we settled into our new house; I’d worked my ass off to be able to buy it, completely on my own. We don’t have kids, by choice, mainly because my career kept me traveling, and so for ten years we seemed the perfect married unit. We never really fought, and I never once pressured my husband to get a job. It all worked, or so I thought.

What was going on in the background? His father had recently died; I was traveling a lot for my career; we had lost all the equity in our first home in a bad market; our beloved Labrador had major surgery; my father became sick and died a horrible death six months later; his sisters were feuding over the estate after his mother’s death; I had put on 30 pounds; he had many years of career troubles. Or maybe it was something else. Something different.

After his father died my husband decided to lose some weight. He had always been a big guy, and this was good for him from a health standpoint. Although, as it turns out, his motives were altogether different. He began to drop weight, spent a lot of time with a woman in our apartment complex, and then he started telling me lots of things that were not true.

The first time I found out my husband told me a major lie I was completely devastated. In hindsight, it’s possible that there have been lies all along, but in my mind they were just small, harmless lies. The big lie though, involved a hockey game (I love hockey) and the woman in the apartment complex. She became a divisive factor in our relationship, and turned me into someone I didn’t want to be — a jealous, angry, suspicious wife looking for evidence of an affair. Of course, I had every right to be suspicious, and after a year and her saying just horrific things about me on text messages, the kind of things that typically only a mean teenage girl would say, he abruptly ended their “friendship”. A few weeks later he had a new one on the line. This time I wanted to trust him, so I did. I assumed the lunches were innocent. He said the texts were just flirting. Know this ladies, no good can ever come of flirting text messages. Ever. Ever. Ever. And this was no exception.

When you think about those moments in your mind, or you see them in movies, or hear about them from your friends, you always think you will react a certain way. I’d assumed I would become enraged, loud, vindictive. But this assumption was diametrically opposed to how I actually reacted. Looking back, I am really proud of how I handled it, that night at our Kentucky Derby party when I caught her and my husband making out in our home.

I politely told her she had to leave.

I calmly asked how long this had been going on. They both denied anything was going on.

And just to show you the type of person she was, she insisted on driving home even when I told her she was unfit to drive because she had drank four bottles of chardonnay.

So I explained that I was not concerned about her wrapping herself around a tree, rather the possibility that she might harm someone else and my potentially liability in that situation. Her response? “Well, that’s why you have insurance.” My response? “Get the hell out of my house, now.”

Crossposted at http://www.drpsychmom.com/2015/04/17/meeting-the-other-woman/ and http://eldamlopez.com/female-chronicles-story-two/

By Patricia D.
Volunteer at Infidelity Counseling Network
Get support to heal from infidelity – http://infidelitycounselingnetwork.org/counselor.html

Donate to help keep our services free for all women – http://infidelitycounselingnetwork.org/donate.html

On Rebelle Society–my intimate journey to self acceptance

Please visit Rebelle Society to read “my intimate journey to self acceptance” which has been published today. I hope you enjoy it.

Peace

Evan was not my first love. My heart framed in poetry books, I sought love early. By fourteen I had had my first heartbreak and by sixteen, I was initiated to the world of embattled sex my mother fear-burned into me: woman as fortress and men as invader.

It was the 70s and free love was the slogan but not the practice. I was not the only young woman who paid the bodily price of losing what I did not understand I had–self-love, real love.

So when I fell in love with and married a French man a few years later, love was permeated with heady visions of Romantics like Byron and Wordsworth, but sex was informed by the attitudes of Plath and Sexton, hardened and cynical.

In my mind, love and sex were distinct and only the former was indispensable.

I loved Jean-Marc, but we were not so much “in love” as we were good friends. To me, that was more important.

Besides, it was clear I was not his physical type. He had had a girlfriend when I met him in college, a French goddess of natural beauty, as if she emerged from the heather, golden smooth skin delightfully coating her delicate bones and showcasing her eyes of sea blue.

She was the essence of what I deemed poetic femininity at the time. And I was nothing like her, not delicate, soft, supple, petite or graceful. I wasn’t French. I was New York, bookish and big.

But several years into our marriage, I grew thinner, more athletic. I struck a lean, tall figure with improved grace and balance from running and tennis. I had transformed the book worm smoker of pubs and diners around New York to an outdoorsy athletic competitor in California.

When I separated from my husband, I was in the best shape of my life, 28 years old with a hard body everyone noticed but me.

That is when I met Evan.

Evan taught me to love my body. I met him after my husband confessed that he was in love with someone else, a friend he had grown up with in France. Even though that relationship did not pan out, both of us needed time to sort things out.

In reality, the separation between us occurred long before, had been growing inside me. Jean-Marc’s vision of me affected my own. I was a rebound, the consoler and good friend when the goddess dumped him one New Year’s eve.

I was no beauty, but I was comfort.

His eye for aesthetics and style were distinguishing features of my attraction to him but also the very features that attracted him to others, beautiful, lean, olive-complected men I later came to find out.

So why did I choose someone who could not love my body? Over the years, I have considered that question.

Perhaps the body-mind division I fixed early on, prioritizing the intellectual over the physical sublimated my bodily emotions–etched the picture of an unlovely woman in my mind.

But I imagine, poor body image grew out of many seeds: my parents’ relationship, genetics, cultural dictates, social influences and my own love relationships.

Though Jean-Marc and I shared a love that made us grow in the comfort and safety of that umbrella love of young adults, he could not love me intimately, the way a lover sighs at the sight of his beloved’s nakedness. And we couldn’t talk about it for the pain and the guilt. But the elephant in the room nearly crushed me.

Eventually, I was flattened. I no longer had desire–until Evan.

I fell in love with him in a cafe in New York. He spoke soothingly about presence–being present in each moment–and though I had read my zen and Heidegger, I was witnessing the words rather than thinking about them.

He warned me beforehand and then he touched my hand and said, “You’re a writer; describe the experience of my hand.” Of course I didn’t know what he meant; I only said I wanted to be a writer–not that I was–and I was off balance with his touch.

So I described how I felt uneasy with a near stranger’s touch. To which he asked, “Does it feel warm? soft? rough? Can you feel the arced tips of the nails unforgiving yet pleasantly smooth?”

I hadn’t even thought of the physical sensation. I never did. All passed through my mind first and the physical was always sublimated, denied or ignored. Probably why I rarely saw a doctor, going about my business trying not to think of what ailed me.

Later, his first touch of studied tenderness opened my eyes and aroused passion I buried long before I knew its heat, its colorful flavors. He touched me, what was before his eyes, not a projection of me.

And then he took me on a tour of the secret vales and rich verdure of my body. It blazed real love.

Love–true love–is presence in touch; it needs no longing, fantasy, style, grace or poise–merely acceptance in being.

When I embraced my own beauty, uniquely my biological experience, replete with singular angles and curves, scars and splotches, I learned to be heart-wise loved by someone who could love me–all of me–and confirm I was worthy of another’s hand softly sweeping the hair off my brow.

My feminine, I learned, was desire—being—in touch.

How can we ever know how others sense the world? The question should evoke a yearning to find out without the hope of ever doing so. However, it is the practice–the focused being of and with others–that matters. It’s how we connect, avoid loneliness, while maintaining our own integrity.

It is how we find love, real love.

Touch led me from interpreting the world to experiencing it. Getting out of my mind, possessed with others’ formulations of love and sex, and into the moment–breathing presence; it brought me the fullness of acceptance, as a body, my body, with someone else’s.

No, Evan did not teach me acceptance by his touch; eventually, I was able to receive his touch by my own clarity–of space, moment, nearness of another’s presence becoming my own.

He taught me to “see” like the scientists and philosophers and lovers we are–empirically, intellectually and emotionally.

I wasn’t rushing headlong into someone else’s story for me. I had learned to better integrate my body and mind, which took examining inherited perceptions: those of my mother, husband, authors, and culture.

It took practice to own my body. It still does.

And being in the precise moment recalled by someone’s touch–healing in its grounding.

Evan lies next to me now, his pillowed head in the shadow of mine. I am reading, elbow-propped, turned away.

We are prone, bare, having just settled into bed for the night. Humid heat of a New England summer makes flannel impossible and silk torturously sticky. We sleep this way most nights four seasons long.

His body is serpent shape mirror of mine with inches of space between us, creating the comfort of a cooling air canal. We are art in symmetry.

His hand, open palmed, smooths across the contours of my hip, waist and shoulder, smearing heat like oil upon the line of curvy seas in the imagination of his hand–port to starboard to port again. The slow rhythm of his caress lulls my lids to half mast as the warmth and tingling skin sensors combine, dance me to lullaby languor. These are the moments.

I stop reading to softly lower my head to the pillow, ever so slowly, avoiding the slightest ripple in the water of his soliloquy wave. I hold my breath the whole way down.

Releasing, exhaling in measured silent wisps of warm air through my teeth and the pebble O my lips make, anchor hits bottom, the sync of his hypnotic oar undisturbed; it continues to brush the still of my anatomy’s ebb and flow.

I breathe just enough air to live, causing not so much as a flutter-by in the sheets. If I fill my lungs too deeply, selfishly, I will signal sleep’s onslaught, killer of this powerfully peaceful moment of breath, body and hand. No dream could be better than this. I own it–to the coral depths of fibrous memory.

There is a Leaving

  

credit:  https://timrwalls.files.wordpress.com


There is a leaving that must be done
everyone knows when that it is too
when the pastels of the sky deepen
at dusk and pink becomes orange-red
a time when the ending paints true
the beginning and hope is contained
in darkness.

There is a leaving that must be done
when fall leaves and winter begins
a dying that prefigures anew the new
the hatchlings of sea turtles and fins
of mermaids spied prancing the deep
in imagination veered round the din
of darkness.

There is a leaving that must be done
when the face utters no more sighs
and a voice thinly reaches a mind’s ear
for none but the countryside cottages 
of someday adorned remain in dreams
plans of then dissolving soon too to
the darkness.

Guest Post: Telling Everyone



credit:  http://f1.bcbits.com

The week after my husband told me he thought he was in love with someone else, I emailed a
group of close girlfriends with the news. My words must have been hysterical because the very next
night they stopped their busy-lives-kids-husbands-making-dinner-supervising-homework and told me to
meet them at a local café, which I did, where we sat and drank tea and I wept and wept and wept. And
they listened.

After that night, I decided that I simply had to tell people. Everyone. Anyone. My friends, my
family, his family, a few co-workers, the woman in front of me at the supermarket, the moms of my
daughter’s peers. I remember thinking that if I tell enough people, it won’t hurt so much. If I tell enough
people, no one will blame me. If I tell enough people, they will nod knowingly when we get divorced (or
when I kick him out, which I inevitably did, in my rage. He came back though. That’s for another blog
post).

And soon, hearing the news, friends and family began to react in ways that told me more about
them than about me and this infidelity experience. My closest girlfriends started to call, phoning to tell
me they love me, they are here for me, an invisible army out beyond the house where I can’t see them,
rows and rows of people who support me unconditionally, waiting there to hold me in my arms if I
needed holding or walk with me to happiness when I was ready to walk. My mom, in an atypical
expression of outward emotion, told me she would be there for whether we got divorced or stayed
married. A few friends, both male and female, told me they’d happily get in line to kill, maim, or
strangle my husband (one of them sounded uncomfortably serious). A couple of girlfriends admitted
they were so angry
with him that they didn’t know how they were going to work through that (they are
still struggling, I think, because their manner is different around him now). One friend never mentioned
it, not for the entire five months of the affair nor the following two years of marriage recovery; to this
date she does not bring it up or ask me how I am.

I know that my story, and my telling everyone so openly and forcefully, was terrifying to many
of our friends. “If this could happen to her, could it happen to me?” went the unstated refrain. “Would
my husband do this? Is he capable of such a choice?” No one ever spoke those words but I knew they
were there. My experience was a threat, something “other” that loomed on the edge of our nice middle
class world.

And yet. While this support was so beautiful, so unwavering, and so key to my eventual survival,
there was something missing. No one said, “Hey I’ve been there.” No one ventured, “My sister has been
through this.” I felt as if I was the only human on earth whose husband had betrayed her. Of course I’d
heard about infidelity in movies and books, with celebrities and politicians but I did not know
anyone else like me who had been through it. Anyone else like me: educated semi-suburban wife and
mom, married 20+ years, seemingly happy (though the marriage bore cracks) and basically successful.
Feeling so uniquely marked in this way was like a scarlet “I” (for infidelity) worn, invisibly, on my
forehead for an entire year. It was only later, once we began to rebuild our relationship and I started
sharing with people too about that effort, that three girlfriends came to me with their own infidelity
stories. Suddenly I was not alone.

Cross-posted on http://betrayedwivesclub.blogspot.com/, http://counselingwithcaroline.com/blog/, and
http://eldamlopez.com/category/blog/

Laura S.
Executive Director
Infidelity Counseling Network
www.infidelitycounselingnetwork.org