Monday, June 11, 2012

Samskaras. (A cross-post from WCO)

Yesterday Hee Haw remarried.

Now there are all sorts of juicy tidbits about his wife that make for shallow (gallows?) humor so I'll share a  few of them here: she's 15 (!) years younger than he; her parents totally don't approve; her extended family who live in my home town (!) approached my mother years ago to express their concern and to do research (my mother told them she didn't think she could discuss him with grace and so declined to comment); the one time I met the poor child (in 2008 - at the time Hee Haw and I were dog sitting for one another occasionally) she was literally mute with fear (she was also dressed to go for a run with a bow tied around her ponytail; I sort of suspect she wears a retainer at night). So enough of that. She's probably a very nice girl...that's how he likes them: young and nice.

On the day after the Derby as I was nursing a bit of a hangover my cousin called me. We are close. I lived with her and her husband, (we’ll call him “Turd”), for a month after my divorce from Hee Haw. I cared for their eldest frequently, and he stayed with me while they delivered their youngest. The whole family stayed with me for a couple of weeks during a housing crisis. In other words, we are a support system for one another.

So cousin called to tell me that she would be attending Hee Haw's wedding with Turd. I suspected that they were invited, as Hee Haw and Turd also grew close over the years we were in Atlanta, and they had done a couple of "guys trips" with several of Turd's then-neighbors. Cousin told me that she didn't want to go, but that Turd was insisting (my mother heard from her sister yesterday that Hee Haw had overridden Turd's reluctance to go with assurances that his new father in law might be able to throw some business his way). So I thanked her for telling me, said I understood and told her, "I don't care about Hee Haw remarrying--far from it--I do, however, worry greatly for this young girl he is marrying. Cousin, we've never discussed it but life with that man was simply awful!" She seemed uncomfortable with this line of conversation so I stopped and we said goodbye.

This Friday I got a text from Turd that was a photo of an alligator on a golf course with the message "Holy alligator!" I thought to myself "that's a little strange and insensitive of him to send me a photo of what is clearly a pre-wedding golf outing with my ex, but he's kind of stupid so maybe it's conciliatory?" I wrote back: “Wow! You don't see that every day." To which he replied "Ooops, that was meant for the boys. I hope all is well with you." (Their children’s nanny has a name very similar to mine)

I replied "Snort".

I decided to let his wife know what a blundering ass he is and so I sent her a text that read "Your husband mistakenly texted me from the golf course. I feel sullied by the experience. Hope you're having a massage or something wonderful."  24 hours later I got this from her "Oye. I know and he feels so badly. He cares for you both."

To which I replied "Enjoy the beach!"

I hopped in my car to meet Ms. Bubbly for a trip to the yacht club for the Commodore's Review. And on the radio (of course) was the song that I used to listen to over and over during the uncertain days of our marriage, while crying, on my way to and from work. "How to Save a Life" by the Fray.

As he begins to raise his voice
You lower yours and grant him one last choice
Drive until you lose the road
Or break with the ones you've followed
He will do one of two things
He will admit to everything
Or he'll say he's just not the same
And you'll begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life
So at this point I am either having a Pavlovian reaction to this song or I am finally grieving my marriage to Hee Haw as I drive and weep hysterically.

This morning I woke up and began to read my new delightful book "the thing you think you cannot do" by Gordon Livingston. And I read this

[G]oing outside the marriage reflects deep-seated anger at one's partner and is a tactic in the power struggles that characterizes so many relationships, especially those in which gender-roles are blurred and the partners are expected to be on equal footing. The betrayal that infidelity represents is a profoundly hostile act that permanently alters relationships whether or not reconciliation and "forgiveness" allows them to continue. If the choice is to reconstitute the marriage, both people live with the knowledge that, whatever they meant when they promised their love and imagined that their hearts would be safe with the chosen other, that person intentionally hurt them in the most profound way. This is more than a violation of a promise ("forsaking all others") it is an unmistakable indicator of selfishness, even hostility, on the part of someone in whom we have reposed our best hopes. 
Yep. That's how it felt. And that's why it happened. As I faced graduation from law school and certain, very good employment, Hee Haw began to get antsy. First he tried to make me move to a very small town, but I was NOT going to my firm and reneging on my acceptance of their offer! So I bargained for a year of practice in Atlanta. Before I had even been admitted to the Bar, that asshole had applied for a job with the CIA that would take us overseas. By Christmas he was having an affair with a coworker.

I realize now that the whole thing was control. He couldn't stand that my employment would cause others to see me as his equal, as opposed to being the little lady who stays home, tending to his needs. I told him when we divorced that he ought to marry a teacher, because then he wouldn't ever feel threatened by her job and she could spend the summers tending his unweaned ego. And so now he's marrying someone very much younger than he, in order to more definitively stay in a superior position. He used to say to me "I just don't want you to have to make the mistakes I have; I’m older and I have experienced more" as a reason for why he behaved like such a controlling bully.

He needs to feel superior to someone at all times, and so he uses his romantic partner as a whipping post to maintain his sense of superiority. At heart he has no faith in his value. And he should not, at this juncture. His life is an exercise in smoke and mirrors, fooling people into believing that he has the values and qualities that he understands are valuable in society, so that he might attain a certain status. He has no idea why he behaves the way that he does, has not reflected on himself, takes no responsibility for the considerable damage he has caused in the lives of those who cared for him and, tellingly, does not care.

So perhaps the alligator text was a message to me, to remind me of the quote Yoga Spinster sent a few weeks ago:

Did you know that Samskaras are unconscious patterns that rule over us because we are not aware of them? Found in the second Chakra where the animal energy is the mythical crocodile that lays half submerged in the water, Samskaras are the sum total of all the previous experiences in our lives that have formed impressions, which tend to then reabsorb and channel energy in the same ruts every time. The key to living in power is to be aware of these Samskaras, have a sense of humor about them, then simply enjoy the process of living a life free from the past.
When I first received the email containing that quote, and as I was reading it, picturing the half-submerged croc, my 2 year old daughter walked up to me, put her hand on my knee and said “Alligator.” There was no image in the email that caused her to say that, it was like she pulled the image from my head. I told Yoga and Goth Spinsters this and we all got chills. We all also decided I needed to be very alert to alligators and crocodiles appearing in my life.

So thank you, Turd, for the alligator.

Finally, finally I feel free.

This was the actual picture sent. Eerie, is it not?

This is a cross-post from a private blog I participate on. I have edited it for anonymity but if anyone knows me of course it is all too obvious. I wasn't ready to publish something so personal until now. Possibly becuase I am more thoroughly and completely healed and moving ever further from the past. And maybe that's in part because my little girl asks me every day if she can "Push the alligator" when she means call the elevator.

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