This is very much like being naked. In public. In No-Shave November. I like writing this blog, it’s helped me to get some clarity, work out a few kinks in what I’m thinking, and what I’m doing, even though it is such a narcissistic enterprise. I’ve promised to be honest, and in doing so, and certainly in some stories to come, it’s exposing. This is new for me. Those that know me, know that I’m much more inquisitive of others, much more comfortable asking questions, than divulging my shit. I deflect with humor, I’m a bob and weave girl. My friend, Whit, texted me the other day, she had just read Liars and Fires. I’ve known her for 13 years, and she said, “I didn’t know all that. I should have been a better friend.” It broke my heart a little, she’s been a wonderful friend, I should have been better. I should have shared then, opened up to her, but I’m hard wired in such a way that such intimacies, even with those closest to me, makes me wildly uncomfortable. So, like an alcoholic being a bartender, fuck it, I’ll write a blog on the internet and let the naked shit show commence. Every time I hit the publish button and a blog goes live, it feels a little like doing a walk of shame out of the fraternity house on parents’ weekend. A little sticky. A little hangdog. This got me thinking this week about feeling exposed, laid bare. There are two instances where my private business was made public, where I was called out on social media, where my metaphorical dick was shown, for all to see.
The first was right after Tim’s professional life imploded, y’all remember from earlier. More detail is needed. Tim wasn’t just fired, he was accused of embezzlement. Tim had worked for the owner in many capacities since he was a teenager, the owner thought of him as a son. He and his wife were our closest friends. The FBI was called in to investigate. We lived in a small town, and the news spread fast, and it went down hard. In one day, we were social pariahs. My world became very small. There is a gossip website called Topix, with forums specific to geographical areas. Very quickly, Tim made our local thread. A viscous one, and guilty by association, I was included. I was stripped raw. The post had over 500 comments, folks were tuning in. Daily, there was a play by play of my disgrace. I wanted to share some of the worst, but the site is now defunct. I was humiliated, scared, ashamed, unsure, and all of it, true and untrue, was unleashed and devoured by my community. I was naked. I read things about myself on the site that took pieces of me. I was embarrassed – morbidly ashamed of my husband – of what he was accused of, undecided if it were true or not, and utterly exposed. My business was out on the streets, and Lord, I felt it. To my core.
The second time was two years ago. Dean remarried in 2007-ish. His new wife, Angi, and I have a complicated relationship. We will visit Angi again in the blogosphere, but in regards to this story, we will illuminate only that which is important for context. She’s an esoteric squirrel, so it’s a hard boil down. We were friendly. Before she had her only child, my sons’ half sister, she knew everything there was to know about child rearing. She was that girl. If you haven’t stayed up all night covered in vomit, rocking a baby, sobbing, begging God for a half hour of sleep, well, shut the fuckupcakes. Childless at the time my sons were visiting, she disciplined my youngest son, 7 then, with shame, ridicule, and embarrassment. I lost my shit. We had a very loud conversation. This is how that conversation ended:
Her: Dean is my husband now.
Me: Mozel, you can fucking have him, but you might want to check his e-mail, he tends to hide his side piece in there. *insert evil laugh*
We didn’t talk for a few years after that. I was good with that. After her and Dean’s daughter, Grace, was born and old enough for Angi to be humbled, there was a truce. A weird one. She would call to complain to me, about my ex-husband. Uncomfortable much? She was like the drunk aunt that mouth kisses everyone at weddings, I endured. The truth is, she, Dean, and Grace were fairly far removed from the boys and my life. They lived in another state, and only saw the boys once a year. In the words of Matthew McConaughey, we just kept living’. They had their life, and we had ours. And we were fine with it. Two years ago, she texted me asking if Grace could come stay with me for a week or two in the summer. Without her or Dean – just this 9 year old child, that I didn’t know. Had it been a family emergency, I would have helped – but this was something else. Oddly enough, it felt like she was asking me to take time off work, so she could have a break. Dude. I’m not wrong, that’s weird, right? Who does that? I texted back, I thought very diplomatically, that I didn’t think it would work out, the boys and I had a lot going on that summer. Two of the boys were in their 20’s, the other, 17 – what did they know of entertaining a young girl? And, straight up, it’s not their job, and it’s most certainly not mine. Angi took it to FaceBook. I saved it. I’m that girl. The difference this time was I felt right, I was embarrassed that my friends and family, and especially my children, were seeing Angi’s venom. But I was on the side of the angels. I wasn’t mean and I didn’t respond publicly, but I was still exposed. She wanted a public fight and I declined. I’m that girl, too.
I’m going to post this. I’ll feel sticky, I’ll feel hangdog, but just for a little bit. But this is how I grow. I have played my cards so close to the vest for so long – this is terrifying and freeing at the same time. I am showing you, kind readers, some of the worst things I’ve seen about myself in writing, and in doing so, it takes away all its power. I read it, I lived it, and life goes on. It always does. This is an exercise in letting the ones that love me in -really in. Stop the games, stop being the good time girl – be real. Be exposed on my terms. Be authentic. Be grateful. Take the love offered.
Go forth and conquer.