I got this letter today.
I am in such an awkward position and I am flooded in guilt, for doing nothing. Fortunately I am not a Christian because if I were, I would be going to my priest and kneeling in front of him and saying “Forgive me father for I have sinned” and he’d ask me to go ahead and I would tell him all my thoughts and he would say “But Child, you have done nothing wrong! Go in Peace“, and then I would walk out of the church and feel rotten, because I .. because I what? I would have preferred the scolding? Because I would have been happier had he said “These are bad thoughts and you are a bad wife and a bad mother go wash your mind with soap?”
I would make a very boring Christian, these days but not even just these days: my sins are my words and my sins are my thoughts and so they are not sins at all and so they deserve no attention. Do you get that Dear Billy?
I am a good girl. I have always been a good girl. I have always had the well-being of others in mind, I started with the animals that were the main companions in my life, and it extended to family and friends, to the best of my knowledge, I would never do anything that would hurt them. Except speak my mind. Now that, if I look back to all the harm I have ever done to anyone, was the only thing that might be hurtful… for a while. Because you know what Dear Billy, in the end, the only one who was REALLY hurt by her own words, the only one who REALLY missed out, who lost, who was punished, was ME.
I don’t want to be forgiven for sins I haven’t committed. And when I say sins I mean: “Doing something you knew perfectly well that it is going to hurt somebody, and doing it anyway“. That, to me, is a sin. My whole life I have been so obsessedly careful with it that it soon became something I didn’t even have to worry about. I have never struggled with my conscience. My conscience stirs me and I never sway. Forgiveness is useless to someone who hasn’t sinned. So a priest would be useless. And you know why I said I was glad I wasn’t a Christian? Because I was thinking of the waste of time I’d had been for the priest, not because it has even done anything bad for me, quite the contrary. Despite not being a Christian, some of the sweetest people I have ever met were priests, or deeply religious people. From all sorts of religions, may I add.
Dear Billy, I cannot have an opinion. As I am not blind to the other side, as I am part of all sides, I cannot… but I digress, I escape.
Dear Billy, I think I want to leave my husband. He is good, more people love him than they love me and so they should. He is talented, and funny, and laid back, and supersexy. He loves me to bits and despite my body not being at all what I’d like it to be, he is always loving it, even when we don’t make love for weeks now, because I just cannot get into the mood if I have no communication. All he wants from me is to for me try and be happy. Lacking that, he just wants me to “be”. He has been a massively important presence and a stabilising one for my boys, and I know my daughter would miss him terribly were he to move out, despite while he’s here usually choosing me to be with. All our friends would be surprised and I am sure very few would not try to make me see sense: why would you want to leave someone who is the only person that you love, the only person you’d ever want to have sex with, someone who is good to you and that you know your life would be sad cold and miserable without? I don’t have a lover, nor would I want one. I don’t love anyone else, I don’t even fancy anybody else.
The reason why I want to leave my husband is because I need to talk. Endlessly, in loops, or straight, for hours. I want somebody who will listen, for hours, and with a smile, who loves me for it. Someone who asks me everyday how my mind day was, what thoughts crossed it, and how I solved them. Someone who can smile at my convolutions and evolutions and epiphanies. Someone who never is keen to see anything I write, and knows when to come home and just hug me and propose ice cream or something fun, or play cards, or play monopoly, or play scrabble with or just sit and watch tv shows with. Someone I can joke about and have that clumsy sense of humour of mine that occasionally people find hurtful and I still haven’t got that completely understood and he will just get it. Someone who will…
I stop there, Dear Billy. The above does not exist. I saw hints of him in so many men. So many, many, many men. Always the potential, never the actuality. There are bits and bobs of him in a few friends here and there, some have gone now for good, so good bits of that husband of mine which by my sin I desire, have gone forever. He stands mutilated before me but I still see him, I still crave this imaginary, crippled man.
That is why I mourn, and I feel, and this is my sin, that I want to be allowed to mourn. I want to be allowed to feel like I’ve lost him, instead of constantly trying to find him in the amazing husband I do have. At least I would be creative, as I can be when he’s not around. At least I would have outbursts of crazy happy and wild ideas that I only get when I am alone.
I think of what would happen if I decided to be resolute and go ahead and split us up. I think of the baffled voices of those who know us, I think of the malicious voices that would soon ensue, who would say well she was crazy all along wasn’t she? I think of how miserable he and the kids would be. I think how terribly I would miss him and how I would curse myself for being such a fucking idiot, and not having stopped while I still could. I think of me thinking and despairing on how much I’d lost and all the pain I’d created for nothing. I’d curse and damn myself for creating problems where there are none. I’d think of his words “why can’t you just be happy???“. I’d think of how I would answer my kids if they asked “why …?“. So I want to stop there. A thought comes in, as always, and says “Maybe if I told him this or that, maybe then, he would see what I need. He would see that it isn’t much, not from my point of view. He would see that really what I’m asking is that he love ME, the way I am, and that he indulge me and spent some time on what he loves and some on what I love. On my way of doing things“. So I try. Every few weeks, every few months, in countless different ways, I try. When I do finally get my thoughts across to him clearly he just says “Well that is not the way I am. That’s just not me! If you don’t like what you have, then for god’ sake do leave“. And then I feel it was unfair of me, because I do adore what he is. But he doesn’t believe me anymore. I think I cannot leave my babies behind. I cannot break up this family.
I look at a couple of our best friends who either cheated or were cheated on, and look at how much they talk, and the counselling they are getting, and I am ENVIOUS. I am envious of their talks. Is this my sin? Envy?
I could never cheat on my husband, so does that mean I will never have those endless talks?
Dear Billy, this is my sin: I have a happy, beautiful, enviable family, and I want to break it up so I can unhappier, but I can be me. I have tried everything, from prescribed drugs, to counselling, to friends, to talking in timed spurts, to talking randomly, to crying, to waiting, to yelling … but nothing will change. I either stay in this limbo and learn to be happy without that companion I would have wanted and appreciating the companion I love, and stop asking for anything else, or I mess everything up, everything, and all I gain is pain and horribleness and loneliness caused and felt, and all for the sake of not another, because there could never be another, but for being lonely, but feeling me, being me.
Dear Billy, is this my sin? I will do nothing. Indolence?
I see the consequences, for everyone, and I am a conscience driven person, and I cannot willingly cause harm to anybody. My sin is… Dear Billy, what is my sin? I have to identify it, so I can beg forgiveness, and be free. Be done with this ceaseless prattling of mine.”
I have no idea how to respond. This will take a whole new post and some thinking.