Friday, October 10, 2008

Liberation Day

Ten years ago today, give or take maybe a week or so, I climbed into a U-haul truck with my cat and my best friend and drove east, away from Michigan and an emotionally abusive marriage.

I've been aware for a while that I've been here for 10 years, and every time that milestone crosses my mind, my reaction has been "Oh? really? has it been that long?"

Until this morning. For some reason, the realization that I had been here for ten years sent me into a fragile state.

Perhaps it has something to do with the collapse of the economy. Not that it is making all that much difference in my future. I'm nearly 60 and for quite a while have already been thinking that I'll never be able to afford to retire. I'm nearly 60 and I suspect I will never be able to afford to live alone. Do you know how demeaning it is at my age to have to worry about whether my housemate will be around to hear my screams when the fiend beats me? I'm still dealing with the psychological damage inflicted by ex-hubby #2, so can you blame me for wanting him to die so I can collect my widow's benefits from Social Security? (Yup, it seems I do still get the pay-off, even though he's got a new wife, because of how long we were married. I guess there are some specks of justice in the world.)

I've been thinking a lot about my submissiveness, and realizing that I was in fact very submissive with him. Except that he wasn't holding up his end of the contract - largely, I suppose, because he wasn't aware of the contract and didn't even understand the implication of the marriage contract. Both require some measure of attentiveness to the other person. A dom can't just ignore his sub. He can for a while, but eventually the relationship won't exist any more. The interaction is key. It takes some effort to control, and there does have to be at least some form of praise every so often. So ultimately there I was, trying to do everything, trying to be pleasing, drowning in depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (this was Michigan, after all) and being told that if I wanted to spend the winter in the Southwest I could just go.

One of my darkly favorite memories was from one late fall night when he was carrying on at me for not having balanced the check book for months. We were standing in the dining room, and I was leaning against the wall in a serious state of clinical depression. Finally I said "You're upset about my not balancing the check book, and I'm wanting to be dead!" I was safe from suicide... you need energy and some measure of a focused mind to kill yourself. But I would consciously think that if I came down with cancer again it would be ok.

So the residue of 20 bad years - on top of the self-hatred for being so weak and needy and dependent and afraid of a future on my own that I didn't escape the marriage until he decided he didn't feel like being married any more - all this toxic sludge rose up into my overly susceptible psyche today and had me feeling weepy. Not good. Not good at all.

And then I did something either really stupid or really brilliant, depending on whether you look at the act itself or the outcome. I wrote a self-indulgent message to my sadistic Svengali.

I knew right away that it was stupid. He has assigned himself a certain role in my life, and maintains a certain persona. Personally, I know that this is not all there is to him, but it is all he chooses to activate in dealing with me. So he was by no means sympathetic, and gave me a good kick in the ass. Actually, a better characterization would be a kick in the face. Followed by a writing assignment. And it worked, like in the movies where the correct response to hysteria is a slap in the face or a bucket of cold water over the head. I snapped out of it, and started scrawling all sorts of goodies in my little notebook which now just lack editing before I send them off for his amusement. You will never see them. They are his, and they contain personal details that should not be shared with the public.

However, I won't leave you empty-handed. This seems an appropriate time to post here an amusing little piece I originally wrote for the delicious blog Smart Girls Who Do It. Do check them out. It's the least I can do for them, since that one piece is the only one I've delivered since being invited to join.

The assignment was to write about one or more of the firsts in our life. Which is why I called it You never forget your first.

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