The Story I Never Tell Part 14-One Is Uncomfortable
A post to tell you some bits of the worst thing that happened. Understand if I cannot give you more details. Understand if this reads like fiction. Believe me that it is not. Understand if this sounds like poetry. Forgive me if I seem coy. Forgive me if this is unsatisfying. Forgive me if this leaves you not understanding what I am saying. Again, this is for me and I bring you along if you’d like to come. Understand that I still have to live in this life and some stories are hard to tell and then to survive having told them. This is one of those.
I imagine it might be hard to be married to a novelist, or to an actor for that matter, to a poet, to a painter who paints real things people recognize and ascribe meaning to. I don’t think it would be hard for me, but then I am a writer myself, so I get that way of being. I understand that what goes down on the page, or on the canvas, or in a scene, is not exactly true and it is not exactly false, and that it is not meant to be any of that. When artists create, they are making something where before there was nothing. To do that, the artist digs deep from many wells and into many plots of personal earth. I am not an actor, but I imagine that to portray grief on the stage one must draw from one’s own understanding of grief. How one derives that sense of grief is entirely individual. How it manifests is entirely individual. Sex scenes, kissing scenes. I have always wondered about those for actors. So many actors actually do end up falling in love after acting together, don’t they? So much passion might translate from fiction to reality, I guess. I imagine that the partner of an actor knows this too. It must be hard, right? It might be hard for the partner of a novelist to be okay with a novel that has adultery, and sexual abuse, and deep and abiding love that has manifested in no way like one’s own relationship with the novelist. It must be hard to read those words and not wonder what others will think, if one is inclined to think this way. It must be hard to wonder where the novelist got the motivation to write those words when the words are so replete with passion.
A person inclined to harsh judgement against others might also ascribe similar inclinations to humankind in general. One might find oneself put completely ill-at-ease at the situation one’s spouse has put one in by her unwillingness to do what other people do and just work in an office like she used to, or get a job at the university like she used to have, or to write fantasy, or YA, or anything besides the sexually graphic, emotionally wrenching, love story/family saga, literary fiction replete with all manner of bad actors and misaligned heroes that she had the audacity to write. One might be upset about one’s spouse’s novel being reviewed poorly in the newspaper because it draws attention to the novel, more because it draws attention to that novel that one wishes would disappear into obscurity or never have been written at all than one is upset because it broke one’s spouse’s heart. One might feel this way…
Suddenly, one might find oneself looking in dark corners of the internet for proof of wrongdoing where no wrongdoing exists. One might make oneself miserable and paranoid while one readjusted to living a life with one’s family one has not been able to live with for years because one was both getting 0ne’s education and also serving one’s country oversees. One might not have come back from the war wholly unaffected. One might feel one was being mistreated because one’s wife pursued a goal that was entirely her own, and which one had never taken seriously before, because one was so totally immersed in one’s own goals. One might not have agreed to one’s wife’s demand, that she not get a job because she wanted to write a novel, if one thought she would actually succeed. One might never have expected that. One might have been completely gobsmacked. One might have been so uncomfortable with the whole thought of a novel, that one might not have actually read the novel until very shortly before it released, nearly two years after it had been bought by a publisher. One might have been completely shocked to discover that one’s wife was immensely talented. One might not have known what to do with all that, because not only was there graphic content, including sex and adultery, but it was written like small, small poems, so beautiful that one had to wonder, where did she get this? Being not at all a creative sort, and being one who hadn’t read a book of fiction in 20 years, biography and history being one’s preferred genre, one might not understand that just because it was vivid, doesn’t mean it was true. One might not understand the depths of a creative and artistic mind. One might have been completely overwhelmed. One might have felt abject humiliation at the thought that others would think this was true. One might have made one’s wife feel very sad that rather than pride and support, one felt humiliated.
When one is completely overwhelmed by, and yet very much in love with, one’s novelist partner, one might find oneself being mean and terrible, and simultaneously inexplicably heartbroken and paranoid. One might look at this person with the caul off. Suddenly one might realize, and also resent, the reason one has only ever loved this one person. Perhaps it is this spirit in her that wrote this that is the both the reason one loves her and also the reason one is so miserable at this current moment. One’s spouse might have to accept that she makes one uncomfortable. She may have children to raise. She may be Indian and therefore unwilling to walk away from difficult times. She might be a fighting sort who would not back down, but at the same time a conciliatory sort who just wants things to go smoothly, too scared to just write what she wanted to write. One might have spent hours google stalking her so she was unwilling to put much out there. She might have been too scared to write magazine articles like her agent told her to because one would find them and one would not be happy. She might have decided to lay low. She might have lain low for many years. She might have let the whole thing just work itself through until her 49th birthday when she decided that enough was enough and it was time to be herself again and let what happens happen. She admires and appreciates one’s discipline, one’s constancy, one’s honesty, one’s goodness and one’s decency. She appreciates one’s steadfast devotion to her. Nonetheless, she is allowed to be exactly the way she wants to be, and she doesn’t need anyone to sign off on that.
Her dragons grew powerful and strong in their dormancy and hibernation. Their skins are glossy now; they gleam in the wildfire of this particular, long held, and completely fucked up of fucks. She has emerged from the dark cave with her dragons fully knowing that she is allowed to be exactly what she is.