Monday, September 1, 2014


While I can’t conceive of being more happily married than I am now—the bliss I feel actually has a color; I can see it. It’s that saffrony color but more gentle and it’s also a dusky blue and it's cobalt, actually my ecstasy is all the colors, even ones that I’ve never seen; they're in order, out of order, tinting stuff that used to be in grayscale—even though I've got all of that, sometimes my sense of loss is overwhelming. Even though this, my new marriage, is weighty and important and came about by way of things like signatures and witnesses and includes cohabitation, sometimes I feel like the affair is the only thing that’s ever happened to me. 

I can’t figure out how to write around the damn thing. The loss I feel and mourn so certainly isn’t for the ex-husband. I’m glad for that. The loss I feel is for the ability to write and confidence that I could do it well.  

When the affair happened and the marriage cracked, tritely put, splitting the one back into two, I forgot how to do the things I knew. No, I just couldn’t do them anymore. Before the merger started dissolving I was writing so much. I felt fluid in my design work. The words and the images came easily enough. But then the affair and then nothing. At a low point when the rise and fall of my chest seemed just too hard and I wondered where I’d gone, my mom assured me that the me I knew wasn’t dead, that I’d be myself again. I’d again be able to do all the things I was proud of being able to do before. I’d even be able to put away the clothes strewn through my room.

A year later I conceded that she had been right. I could pick up my clothes and do the dishes again. I could feed myself more than Swedish Fish. I could build muscle instead of lose it. I noted those points of progress and thought, “Okay, she was right. I’m me again.” But in acknowledging and celebrating those triumphs, I forgot about the other things. The words and the pictures. Those things still haven’t come back.

With the artwork what’s gone is the impetus, even a slim desire. I don’t have it. Before, I was compelled to take fonts and words and make them marvelous together. I could put together a decent logo. I don’t at all want do to any of that anymore. My drug career helps; I can use it to fill the spaces of time that I used to use to design things that people hang on their walls.

And with the writing, well, I feel like that’s just gone because I can’t figure out how to write anything that doesn’t have to do with the damn affair. Somehow my fingers on keys think that it’s my only story, and while I’m not opposed to writing that story and I’m interested in how my tone in writing that story has shifted, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of writing that story. When I think that I need to be writing I can’t figure out where to start because I don’t have subject matter anymore. Greedy, bloated, and moaning, the infidelity ate all my other stories. 

There was such a clear break. On June 28th in 2012 I could write and write and write and my writing was working. But after that day, after finding out about the cheating? There’s nothing. Yes, I’m back to being able to keep the house tidy and I can eat normal food. But Mom, where’s the rest of me? Will that come back too? Is it just gone? Were those tens of thousands of dollars on a Masters degree designed to teach me how to artfully string words together a waste? Because I just don’t know how to do that anymore, and it leaves me lost. I don’t want all the time I spent on school to have been naught more than a costly lark. I was supposed to do something with all this word stuff. I can’t even figure out how to be creative in an email. Dammit, I used to have words and they aren’t there anymore.

So I land here: while losing my first husband was the single best thing that has ever happened to me—dead weight lost, I was left open for a happiness that I couldn’t have sketched up in a dream—the fallout of the infidelity, those months of ache and mourning and hope and hell, stole completely my talent and my drive. I'm in therapy. Emotionally, I've been good at moving on from the affair garbage. It's my writing that won't progress or even come back to me, really. I’m mourning that loss and sort of waiting for its resurrection. But just waiting won’t do it. I have to actively pursue the writing. I have to write in order to be able to write. But I can’t avoid writing about the affair and that’s just not what I want to do right now. So, stuck. And lost.


Lydia Kelley said...

While I've never been through the hellish year you did, I understand your loss of words. The stories that were always revolving in my head shut down and went away. While I've never gotten it back for real, it comes back in fits and starts and they are magical, sunny times. Your words might come back in a different pattern, but I'm pretty certain they will.

Megan said...

One of my dearest yoga teachers said the same thing after reading this. She said that maybe during the first marriage I needed the solace and support of my writing but now I don't feel a void I gotta fill with words. She said perhaps my words will come back when I'm actually ready and not when I think I should be ready. It's a good exercise in patience. I need those.

Thanks for being here and reading, LydU. I appreciate you.

Ashley Thalman said...

I love this and I feel it is one of the best things you've written. I see the irony in that but there is a huge space to explore of the in between and the loss of things that got us through and defined us. Keep writing about that. It is not all lost.