“For there to be betrayal, there would have to have been trust first.”
― Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
“He, who had done more than any human being to draw her out of the caves of her secret, folded life, now threw her down into deeper recesses of fear and doubt. The fall was greater than she had ever known, because she had ventured so far into emotion and had abandoned herself to it.”
― Anaïs Nin
It's one of those days. It's one of those days when you search the internet for articles to make you feel normal, when you try to find like minds, which is interesting when you're not a support group kind of gal. I'm not even particularly keen on buffet dinners -- "competititive eating" Mr. Mackenzie used to call it. It's one of those days when I'm trying to understand why I still feel this way 21 months on, when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing and the hills are alive with the scent of skunk (Bean was skunked. Yay!) and there have been six wonderful people staying in my house, and Easter was a treat, a charm, and all was well. And then I made one false move and we're back to square one. "Be kind to yourself" it says. "Do things you like." "Take long walks in nature." "Have a bubble bath." "Drink lots of water." I do all these things. I do all these things and I take my meds which have become necessary for the last nearly two years, and I read books, and play with my dogs, and reach out to friends, and ask for hugs, and try to ignore the fact that it's been years since I was last kissed, properly. The wind is swirling through the eucalyptus and there is a high-wind warning in the canyon. The wind chimes are going crazy but I feel safe here in this house, surrounded by the deer and the skunks and the circling hawks and the crows that make their woodpecker noises.
The thing is, I stuck my neck out. It was all going so well that I thought it would be fun to do another family dinner and I left a jolly message on his mobile, all full of spring and even, mistakenly and quite subconsciously tacking a "love you" on to the end of it. Such a stupid thing. It's why I'm embarrassed. It's like those dreams where you're naked and you're running around and you feel fine like a child until someone points it out and then there's pricking, numbing, red-faced, cringeworthy shame. I was too happy, too glib, too sure it was going to be okay. Too hopeful, too fucking optimistic for my own good. And he didn't reply. And I waited. And still nothing. And I felt like a ninny. Again.
I don't know why these days are so painful. I have a big announcement going out tomorrow. A very cool thing for one of my clients, a non-profit. I've been writing to my friends in the press and telling them it's coming, and I've been setting up distribution lists and figuring out innovative ways to have people tweet out the story, and I should be thinking only about this, but in between, I'm just lost in this miasma of betrayal and of feeling that trust isn't possible and googling things like "how long does it take to feel normal again" and wondering why there isn't any Cadbury's chocolate in the house. I've got One Hundred Years of Solitude by my side. It's a go-to for these times when you want to feel the magical in life, when you want to read those words and live in a culture altogether more like an opera, with Big Emotions that meet your own half way, at least.
"There are two ways to live" says Lucy, "With Faith or Fear. And sometimes you have to remind yourself every single hour of the day that you have Faith."
Or you could throw yourself into the cold, salty ocean and feel the water chill your face, your eyelids, feel the salt on your lips, reminding us to be alive, to live, to not dwell in what we cannot change.
He does not love me. That is all. But it is that acceptance that I find so hard to deal with. He does not love me. The man who for so long was my rock. Who propped me up when I felt like a rag doll. The man who I could make laugh whatever mood he was in. The man who knew what I was thinking from across a room filled with a hundred people. The man who brought me tea in the morning and called me petnames and gave me piggyback rides when I jumped on him. That man no longer loves me. And they always thought I was the strong one. I'm not.
My fingers smell of skunk. I washed Bean in Organic Strained Tomatoes from Whole Foods because I could not find tomato juice. And she shook in my bath tub and sprayed the tomato pulp around the room so that it looked like a death scene from The Borgias. Monica washed her in baking soda and she lay in the sun to dry off, a sparkling white dalmatian. We boiled vinegar to get the smell out of the house, apple cider vinegar mixed with white vinegar. And I lit incense sticks from Tulum that are supposed to get rid of ghosts, and we opened all the windows and the doors, but still my fingers smell like skunk. Apparently it takes a while. Like everything.
Faith or Fear. Fear or Faith.
When we were small, when I was about seven and my brother was about five, we were at the Bucks County Show, or it may been the Herts Show, but it was one of those big agricultural shows with heffers and prize porkers and showjumping and cakes for sale, and rows of Massey Ferguson tractors, red and sparkling. And I didn't remember this till my brother told me a couple of days ago, but my parents had us wait for them by the showjumping ring. They told us to sit down and they may have given us an ice cream and they told us they'd be back soon. And in those days no-one worried about paedophiles or kidnappers or anything like that. They were the days of Innocence. We dutifully sat and I became entranced in the horses and wasn't paying attention to the time, but my brother was worried. He didn't much like horses and he was scared they'd gone forever, so we decided to Get Help. Apparently I found a policemen and they announced on the tannoy "Will the parents of.... kindly return to the police tent" and still my parents didn't come. They probably hadn't heard. So we had to sit with the policemen in his special tent. And my brother was crying but he said I didn't appear to be worried at all. In fact, so little was I worried that I asked if I could go outside to continue watching the horses. Eventually, a couple of hours later, my parents showed up. I've been thinking about this since he told me the story. Why wasn't I worried? Why wasn't I terrified? I think it's because I trusted they'd come back. Isn't that faith? That unflinching belief that all is well and all will be well?
I look at my brother now and realize that he truly believes in what I'd like to call the goodness of folk. He doesn't judge people. He's incredibly kind and always behaves like a gentleman. I rather wish he lived here all the time because he fills me with confidence, makes me trust my instincts again, makes me laugh my head off (oh we have the same dreadful humor). And he loves me, despite the fact that I was more interested in watching horses, age 7, than comforting him (what a horrible big sister!)
I want to put a picture of him here, so I can announce to the world: this is my wonderful brother:
I leave you with Michael Buble. I know. I know. Everyone has seen this already. And no, I'm not a fan. But it's so good.