On Tuesday, March 20th, a 7.2 earthquake struck Mexico. The Genius is in Mexico.
It never once occurred to me to ask him if he was alright. Clearly, since we had to speak that day (oh, the joy!) he was alive and well. Pre-Pocket Call I would have certainly asked if he felt it, if anyone was injured, are his colleagues okay. Post-I’ve Been Living a Double Life for the Past Four Years I didn’t even think to ask how he was faring. It wasn’t that I stood on ceremony and said, “No matter the natural disaster I forbid myself from ever inquiring as to his health, well-being or whether or not the sex is still rocking with The Happy Dance Chick.” It simply just did not occur to me to ask.
Have I moved on? Pfft. Hardly. I’m sitting right here. In the moment. Being whipped back and forth like the tail of a ticked-off cat, as I metabolize emotion upon emotion, looking for the meaning in it all. Have I embraced the challenge of working through betrayal and slogging through my divorce in a way that I believe will work for me? You bet your sweet tuchus I have.
I don’t even really understand what ‘moving on’ means. If it means that I don’t care enough about The Genius to check in on him after an earthquake then I’ll send out the change-of-address cards. I just think it’s that I don’t care anymore, period. (Again, he was clearly alive and well. Obviously, I don’t want my boys to be without a father. Especially not a good father, which is what The Genius is. It’s the only prop I can give him, so I shall.) Perhaps that’s why I am able to emote but not drown in it. Or give him free reign to come and go as he pleases to see the boys. Or not freak out when I come home and he’s folded my clothes. Although I have to admit, it makes my skin crawl to know he’s touched my underwear. (Because we share so freely here I have to add that the word ‘panties’ is on my list of grossest words ever. Right up there with ‘moist’. And ‘gonad’. Dream job: rewrite all the words for private parts so that they aren’t so un-sexy.)
From the night of the Pocket Call onward I have made one thing clear to myself, and through HGM, to you, which is that I will not curl up in the corner and cry. I’ll cry, just not in the corner. Arachnids live in corners. I will not inhale pint after pint of Ben & Jerry’s to ease my pain. A few glasses of a spicy Zin however are essential, and according to some studies healthy. I will not pity myself, and no one pities me. Not my family, friends nor anyone kind enough to comment on HGM. I won’t fight with The Genius. I won’t bring the boys into this mess. I won’t allow stress and anger to course through my veins, turning my cells on end and brewing up toxins that will only make matters worse. I’m a big believer that dis-ease is the cause of disease.
I will live life. I will respect the gift of each day by being grateful for the beauty that is all around me. I will laugh. Freaking hard. At most anything. Because it feels good. I will treat my body well. I will tear down the walls and build sand castles in their places. I will keep my eyes peeled for signs that will guide me along my path, like the encounter with Mr. Jackpot, the Sherpas at my Anniversary dinner, the myriad of women that have appeared as if sent from beyond to steady me at just the right time. I will be fearless. 100% fearless. There is no way I am getting to the end without having taken risks, pushed myself to go beyond what I thought I was capable of doing, and been truly vulnerable.
And I will write. Because it’s healing me. Every post pulls a nail from one of my many walls, sheds a tear that needs to be freed, and clears up a bit of my very own hard drive. I’m rewiring through word count. And it’s working.
Instead of moving on, I’m moving inside. I spend at least an hour a day, and three when I’m writing, inside my being. Add two hours for gym days, and when I take an epic hike you can add another five. I look at my feelings, thoughts, aches and pains. I notice how a thought can lead to a change in my facial expression, a tensing in my chest, or turn of my stomach. So I sit with that thought. Give it its moment and send it up to the clouds attached to the basket of a hot air balloon. (We all have our own pet images. Mine comes from the Wizard of Oz.) I’m not leaving anything by the side of the road again. I want to meet these feelings, concerns, fears with arms outstretched. Ignoring them is what led me to the Pocket Call. By not ignoring them I expect to be led in a much better direction.
I’m always moving. And I’m always healing. A little bit each day. I’m going to honor that achievement and not subscribe to a timetable as to how I’m supposed to be feeling 7 months after The Pocket Call and 5 months after The Big Reveal. I’m not moving on from anything.
I’m living my life.
Lion Ma says
I have a loved one who is going through the same thing as you but has not yet found the courage or self-respect to leave. Most days I feel like shaking her. When I read your posts I wish she would magically turn into you.
Through you I feel that I have a window into what must be going inside of her heart.
One of these days I’ll find a way to sit her down and read your beautiful story. Maybe then she will be able to face her horrible reality. Until then I’ll continue to rush to your site each morning and quote you the rest of the day to anyone who will listen.
And remember…you’ve broken the cycle of cheating. When they grow to be men, your boys will appreciate this valuable lesson; that a woman must be treated with respect and honour because she is someones mother, sister, or daughter.
Thank you Cleo.
First, can I nominate your latest Tweet (“I wish people would have conversations before having affairs.”) for Quote of the Year? Good. I’ll send it Time magazine or something.
Second, you can do your Dream Job right now on Urban Dictionary. No pay, but you get a thumbs up or down pretty quickly.
Third, I’m constantly amazed how this life thing works. You go on for years thinking everything is okay and then one day everything changes. You look around and expect life to stop… then you realize it keeps moving, like the tide rolling in and out at a beach. Some of the sand goes, some stays, some comes back. But it’s always there. Gives me a sense of reassurance.
Have fun on your date tomorrow
Thanks for your blog. I am going through the same thing and feel quite alone. I haven’t been able to tell anyone…for some reason, I feel very very shameful. And i’m petrified that if i admit it to someone, that things will start to happen very quickly and I haven’t absorbed it yet myself.
Was at the salon yesterday and of all magazines and articles, came across this one
what do you think?
I’m here for you, C. The first thing I want to do is take your shame, hug it and send it to the clouds. You can then feel love for yourself, embrace your sadness, and center yourself. Prepare to ride the wave, m’lady. Feel no shame, only love and support. You will be amazed by the strength you receive form those around you – even those you don’t know! Please talk to someone. Gather with a close friend, or 10, and let it rip. Do not be afraid.
I promise to always be here for you. I hope I can count on the same from you.
Whoops – forgot about the article! Need more coffee…
Interesting read. She has a way with words. Not sure I’m down with her thoughts, however. I just think cheating is unnecessary. It really is. There is no excuse, no reason, no need for it. There are so many people in the world that it’s simply laziness and cowardice that results in affairs. All for the thrill? Please. That’s sleazy. I’d rather get my thrills without a dose of moral bankruptcy. They are there to be had. And I aim to have some thrills. You can too, when you’re ready. XO
Cocoon, I felt exactly the same way when i first learned about my husband’s infidelity. When you’re ready to talk you will be amazed how freeing and healing it is to get that ugliness out. Be patient amd loving with yourself. You will also be amazed how many others close to you have had simiilar experiences. Somehow it’s a comfort. Sending you a big hug.
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Beautiful words of guidance…especially this: Be patient and loving with yourself. The value of conversations with one’s self in the mirror cannot be undersold. I’ve spent a lot of time looking into my own eyes while saying something like, It’s all going to be fine. The things that matter are already better than fine. The boys and I are going to have fun, learn, explore, and make memories. It’s all good.
It works. I always feel better. It’s like my mind can’t fool my heart when my eyes are looking into my soul.
Ever grateful for the hug!
I am so inspired by your words. It seems you are reading my mind and feeling my emotions as I go on the same hike. Being tossed around by thoughts and emotions that seem to come out of nowhere with no apparent meaning. I am dealing with my own betrayal and impending divorce (seems a lot of your readers are dealing with very similar situations). It seems we have an epidemic of narcissistic, self-serving, sociopathic men in this era of social networking (is there a correlation? methinks HELL YES!) You don’t need me to tell you to stay strong…sounds like you’ve got that well covered. Let’s hope that the near future brings more good days than bad. Sending you a warm hug.
I was just about to go and write (a much less moving and prolific) post on my own blog and thought, “no, first I am checking in with Cleo.” As always I am moved and astounded by your strength, your ability to see beauty so clearly in the midst of such a trying time.
I first started blogging as a way to start writing as I have for a long time wanted to write a book about my family. And then, boom, my daughter got diagnosed with autism. Writing has helped me in ways too many to name. It helps me to process my thoughts and feelings, it helps me to keep things in perspective, it brings to me the love and support of some wonderful, amazing women (although not as many as I would like and certainly not anywhere near the effect you have had). It just helps me keep moving forward.
Moving forward is the thing, not necessarily moving on. Moving on will come perhaps but it is really moving forward that you are after. Moving forward will help you to not live in the past but will also give you the time you need to acknowledge, process and grow from your experience.
That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. I’ve never been a huge fan of that saying. Partly because I am not sure that it is a certainty. I see many people, and I myself at one time in my life kept repeating the same patterns which did not bring me what I wanted in life, so therefore the same crappy things kept happening. After each crappy thing, I quickly (thought I) moved on. I told myself I did, that it was over but rarely took the time to really explore the crappy thing and to really try and understand why I brought this crappy thing to myself. It was only after I took some time, not moving on, but moving forward that I started to get better acquainted with myself and started to finally get a grasp on why I didn’t have the life I wanted and deserved.
So, what I am trying to get at in a very roundabout way is that it is great that you haven’t moved on, that you are taking the time to explore yourself, your relationship with The Genius and to find yourself. The investment you are making now in not moving on, but in really trying to get to know yourself will bring you to a better place. I am sure of it.
No less anything. We are so easy to elevate others and not ourselves. You, your blog, your every breath are all spectacular. Your children? Off-the-charts amazing.
I wanted to have something passionate to write about as well, and then BOOM, The Genius’ phone unraveled his double life. But your child’s diagnosis (journey) is so much more important than some guy’s inability to keep his penis in his pants. I am forever here to support you as you take on what I consider to be the most important and challenging role ever. My love life does not compare. Does not even warrant attention.
I am so in awe of you.
You are very kind, thank you for your beautiful words. Don’t minimize what you are going through though. I cannot imagine how I would handle life without my husband and I would be no good to anyone, including my daughter if my husband threw our life away. It’s a devastating and life changing thing, perhaps without the same lifelong fears but still. The very foundation that your life has been built on has been pulled out from under you. That’s devastating.
One thing (of oodles and oodles of things) that my journey with autism has taught me is that is that anything can happen anytime and it is what we do with our disappointments, challenges and heartbreak which matters more than the actual nature of it. So, I am learning from you and I hope maybe you can get something good from my writings too.
‘…it is what we do with our disappointments, challenges and heartbreak which matters more than the actual nature of it.” So VERY true. In a sense I am standing to the side of the actual events that have occurred in my life and am focusing instead on how I work with them.
You have helped me so much, D. I am with you in spirit.
Have you ever wondered how someone who can cheat on their wife be such a good father? I’ve always wondered that about my own father. Has he so compartmentalized that part of his life that it does not affect the other parts of his life? Now that I’m a wife and a mother, I consider being a good spouse as part of being a good parent. I’m not questioning whether the Genius is really a good father–I’m sure he is per your assessment. But I’m really baffled by the idea that someone whose so awful a husband as to risk the well-being and health of his wife can be such a good parent. I’m processing this as a child of someone who was a serial cheater yet whose father was wonderful beyond belief. My father is so present in my life, a constant source of support and unconditional love yet when I stop to think about what he’s done to my mother, I stop and think “Who is this man?”
Have you ever asked him? I’m quite curious as to his response. It is baffling. And a thought not to be ignored because I believe there is something large to be learned through pondering it. Maybe it is just the ability to compartmentalize, but I feel it’s something more.
Maybe, post-double life reveal, it’s guilt? Trying to make amends? Or is it a desire to shine in the eyes of the children before someone else comes in to take his place? I don’t believe anyone can ‘take the place’ of a Dad, but I imagine The Genius wrestles with that possibility. Especially given his grueling travel schedule.
I also wonder if The Genius realizes that one day our boys are going to ask me what happened. Perhaps he’s starting his PR campaign now.
I’m thinking it’s guilt that drives some to really step it up on the parent front as the family implodes. Hopefully, HGM will show that the time to step up is before you bed down.
I never thought of it as guilt. Perhaps it is. The kisses, the hugs, the support, the talks–perhaps it’s all propelled by guilt. I had asked him years ago during a especially painful phone call when things had come to a head with him. No screaming, no hysterics. I was calm. For the first time in my life I felt like I was the adult. Why? I asked. He said, “It’s not true.” He kept saying it. That’s all he kept saying. He could not even admit it to me. He sounded ashamed. And I hope, he was.
Have you thought what you will tell the kids when they ask? Has the Genius?
Dads and daughters…it’s a powerful relationship. Dads never want to let daughters down.
I have thought about when the boys ask why we divorced, and I imagine The Genius has, too. He probably wants to simply say we grew apart. I will tell the truth. But not crucify The Genius in the process. I need to stop the cycle of infidelity in The Family Genius. So the boys will, when they are MUCH older, know the truth. My hope is that they will love their Dad the way you love yours. Accepting of their failings and able to see the good in the man.
Love yourself, G.
Just wanted to say that I thought about you grilling your steak last night. I’m wondering how it was for you and I hope it was the best ever because you so deserve the best.
I marvel at your openness, honesty and yes, leadership as you create this new life of yours just months from learning the truth about your former relationship.
My experience is similar to yours in that it was a betrayal and a double life though it was close to a decade long.
I had no inkling whatsoever about the double life my former husband lived.
Looking back now I can see where I saw the signs and discounted them. I lived in a pretend world. I did myself a huge disfavour by not following my gut and my intuition.
Today I listen to my gut.
When I found out about the betrayal I knew in an instant that my life as I knew it was over. I felt as if a horse had kicked me in the stomach. At first I did whatever I could to make amends, pretend all was well and move forward. I was in shock. I did this to shield my family from the horror and never-before-seen-in-my family betrayal and split up of a marriage. Who knew? I pretended all was well for a very long time. I came out from this mess, the horror and the shame of it all when I accepted that my marriage was over and I was going to be just fine, even better for this whole experience though I wish it on no one.
I learned that the day I felt a horse had kick me in the stomach was a gift.
It has now been over three years since that meeting with the horse’s hoof. It does get better with time and it’s true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Living a wholehearted life, open and free is pretty fine. I am in the midst of creating a life without compromise and one where I listen to my heart, my soul and my body. They do not lie.
Lots of lessons learned and one day I will write that book.
Thank you for your courage to stand up and make it all right to speak the truth. You have inspired me and countless others I have no doubt.
Loving myself again, W
Wow. A decade. Holy arachnid. That’s a lot to swallow. Thank you for sharing and for setting a great example. We have a choice as to how we meet these challenges. It’s clear we’ve chosen to meet betrayal with grace and compassion. It cracks me up how powerful (or shall I use my new favorite word?), how potent it can be when we meet deceit with love. It just takes all the power out of the lies. It disables the betrayal. It fills us with love. We earn karma points by the bucket loads. I can vouch for this and so can you.
My steak was divine. My company even more fabulous. But I will say she gave me quite the talking to! I, like you, became the great pretender and she wants to be sure that defense mechanism is permanently disabled. I assured her I’d take care of that.
Thank you so much for sharing and for spending time here at HGM.
Annah Elizabeth says
My ex-best-friend-who-had-an-affair-with-my-husband almost died recently. One of my good friends told me. Her husband works with the other husband. Why she told me I don’t know. And me, who is delivers pot pies and homemade, frozen lasagnas to neighbors in need, didn’t feel a thing. Not a twinge. Not a pang. Not a I hope she’s alright. It didn’t move me one bit.
I immediately noticed this absense of feeling, and chose to love myself. I don’t wish her ill, but I don’t wish her well, either. It’s okay, this lack of emotion…
“I’ll send out good thoughts to her husband and the boys,” I said. And I did. I don’t want to see them suffer such tragedy as having this woman snatched from their lives…but what happens to her is up to the universe…not up to me…
“I immediately noticed this absense of feeling, and chose to love myself. I don’t wish her ill, but I don’t wish her well, either. It’s okay, this lack of emotion…” Yes it is, m’lady.
Sometimes we’re in the audience and sometimes we’re on the stage, but if it’s not our play it’s not our play.
Moxie Clementine says
Yes, yes, yes….the worst word in history is panties. I do not even like typing it.
Moxie Clementine says
Yes, yes, yes….the worst word in history is panties. I do not even like typing it.
Cleo Everest says
M, Followed my moist. And a new one I have recently discovered…congeal. Eek. Thank you being here, M. Love yourself, Cleo