And so my story starts, the journal of my journey to an alien land:
Who am I kidding? Alien land? The land of infidelity has never really been an alien land to me. It is where I grew up and the life I seem to have set myself up for ever since. At a young age I discovered that marriage did not guarantee faithfulness. It was a discovery that all at once shook my world in disbelief. Confusion. How could this be? Isn’t this wrong? Are we not enough? While at the same time I assumed a dead sense of calm. Bad things were not supposed to happen, but apparently they did. And the way to deal with bad things? Pretend they don’t hurt. Be strong. Be better. Because surely by being better, then better things would happen around me. Better came and went on many occasions. There were fantastic moments that now fill my memory. There were darker days that also dance around the perimeter of my vision of what my life has been. A little girl needs her daddy. She wants him to be a hero, her protector. What does she do when he fills those roles and loves her well and yet while he doesn’t know that she knows, she knows that he is anything but a hero. He is a human. A flawed human. What does a girl take with her from growing up in that contradiction? That life is a contradiction. That people, even people you love, are a contradiction. That because of it all, I’m a contradiction. That you can’t trust that how things appear are how things really are. That regardless of how things are, your job is to appear as though they are perfect. That people have two sides. That a man cannot love one women a million different ways when the temptation of loving a million different women surrounds him. That men are weak. That women HAVE to be strong. That no matter how much love my dad showed me, or how perfect I tried to be for him, he might just be pretending. His love might be conditional. And from that I also created the fantasy that maybe MOST men are weak but a strong enough, good enough woman could find, might deserve, prince charming. The white knight would come, and if was enough, he would sweep me away with him. I determined that if I damned him for who he was, this person I loved so much, that I would be admitting our family was not the fairytale I wanted. And that I was probably a lesser being for that fact. It didn’t matter that I had friends from broken homes. That no one might have judged me or my family as harshly as I feared. In my mind I was part of something flawed, part of a darker messier side of life and that made me inherently flawed myself. Much better to go on pretending. Much better to work harder at being better. Much better to become a rock of stability and reliability for those around me. Because if the world was an unstable place, then who could we ever count on other than ourselves, right?
OK, I hear you. A little blown out of proportion don’t you think? Probably so. Lots of daughters find out their fathers are cheaters. Lots of daughters see their mothers through coping days and not so good days. But the heart is not a neat and tidy thing. Least of all in a 10-year-old child. We all develop our own methods for facing the world around us. I had many years to develop coping strategies and yes, apparently they became much more complex than I had realized. Layer upon layer and that became me. And so I began my journey toward a perceived requirement of order and balance, keeping the deep dark secret of infidelity, locking my mind to the reality of it and replacing it with a burning need for happily ever after while refusing to hear the tiny voice inside that kept whispering “happily ever after is all a freaking lie you stupid stupid girl”. While I never expected or wanted to be perfect, somewhere along the way I developed a compulsive need to be as perfect as I was able to be. All part of my need to feel stable and in control. Protected from hurt. But while friends and colleagues comment on how envious they are of this trait or that talent or this strength or that ability, deep on the inside I feel like three souls living in one body. The me who is optimistic, energetic, gregarious, rebellious, mysterious, erotic, nurturing, sexy, sensual, imaginative, creative, talented, giving, caring, compassionate, stubborn and at times hot-tempered. That is a me that pulls at me constantly. It says this is who you are! You should be proud. You should love yourself more. Embrace me! Let me live for God’s sake! And then there is the dominant me, the me who remains in control, organized, planned, only showing proper emotions, nothing messing, nothing in life out-of-place. Friendly, approachable, even likable. But not authentic. Not passionate. Not spirited in the way I know a soul to be. Then finally there is soul number three, the hurt and ashamed little girl. The weak me. The part I detest about myself. The part of me that says BE CAREFUL, they will discover who you really are. You’re not good enough. Now you’ve done it, they will see your anger and they won’t like you anymore. Be careful, they will break your heart. They will discover you are not so pretty after all. -And as such the battle begins. I am here because I have encountered infidelity on multiple occasions with most of the men in my life. But I’m here mostly because of my most recent discovery.