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Sunday, January 30, 2011

And some more drama...

Strikes me as your world is falling apart, and by that I mean my marriage and daughters behavior, you should probably skip "Blue Valentine."  Granted, Michelle Philips and Ryan Gosling are terrific.  But, the tense marital relationship is not an area I need to explore right now.  Now, the Mrs thought it did not have any parallels to our ongoing struggles.  However, the underachieving husband rings a little true.  Her insistence and belief that I am a real man and success is both welcomed and frowned upon.  For the time being we can agree to disagree.

"I used to be, carried in the arms of cheerleaders."

More disturbing than the movie's dark tones, was my physical reaction around Act 2.  Ms. Williams' character was about to follow through with an abortion.  The procedure and its scenes were all too realistic to me.   A very non-descript office/clinic with a robotic Dr. and nurse telling her, step by step, what was happening to her.

Every since my Freshman year at Pburg Catholic I have trouble with such imagery.  I forget exactly what the video was the nuns showed us, but I do remember it being the first time I fainted.  I am sure it was a preventative video detailing the perils of sex.  It was shown in our library on the biggest screen the school had.  Figure 20" or so.  Something happened midway through and I distinctly recall the warmth all over my body.  Then the ears ring...  then nothing...

Happened in Biology class on College too.  Professor had a very detailed account of blood, accident, hiv...

Who knows the rest?  I was busy passed out on the floor to hear the conclusion.

Much like last night.  As the scene moved along, seemingly forever, I warned T, I am going down.  At that moment when the first warmth hits, you cannot do anything about it.  I closed my eyes.  I chattered my teeth to avoid hearing the instructions.  "Ok, you are going to feel a little pinch."

And I am gone...

Minutes later, coming to, I see people around me asking if I am ok.  Who are they??  What the fuck just happened???  Oh, the movie.  It is still playing.  I remember and look at T as she is panicked.  "I had to get a manager."

She had never seen this before.  She may never want to again.  I laughed, hard.  "I am ok.  I am fine."

Nursed my giant water and moved on.  After a while I looked over and asked:  "did you have to do the is there a dr in the house thing???"

Mortified.  Yet, so amused.  What the hell am I?  And why, after I managed to get to the car and get mostly home, did I have to vomit like I was drunk.

The stress and guilt can do many things to you.  Tears turn to laughs.  Laughs turn to more guilt.  Sleep is not to be had.  Food, but an afterthought.

Gotta be better.  Gotta move forward.  One day at a time.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More disarray

Over and over I play the Avett Brothers song "Head Full of Doubt."  Looking for answers, reaching for conclusions.

"There's a darkness upon me thats flooded with light.  In the fine print they tell me whats wrong and whats right."

Do I even have the time to go back to my childhood to get out of the situation I am in???  Might be too late.  Too futile.  Essentially, the Suburbs brought me to an idyllic little neighborhood in Madison, NJ.  Several couple and their young families surround us.

In many ways the neighborhood reminds me a lot of the street I grew up on.  2 story Colonials with driveways separating each home.  Each house slightly different from the next.  Siding or subtle color differences.

And although the houses look different I am certain the problems that exist inside are universal.

Married couples trying to keep everything together.

Doing it for the kids?  So they are not ostracized at parties, PTA meetings, youth sporting events.  Keeping up appearances at best.

But deep inside the walls of these hundred year old structures exists a world of children, trying to raise children, trying to become adults.

Never fully grasping what it means to mature.  How, with every action you make, you affect the lives of others.  How, with one word, or action, the deepest of hurt can be inflicted upon someone you love.

Do I start with my life of lies?  Can I face it just yet?

Probably not.  But, in one hour I head to therapy.  There, I imagine, I must focus on how I carried on an affair with a neighbor thus destroying my marriage.  How, although she was a friend of my wife, I became close to her.  How, we were aware of the hurt it would cause, yet proceeded with reckless abandon.

Nonsense.  Craziness.  Ill advised.  Now, I stare at the prospect of what I have done to my family.  To my wife who I love fervently and grown up (barely) with.  To my daughter, who may be too weak to handle this type of adversity.  My parents.  My sister.  My friends.

For we were always the rock.  Couples fall apart all around T and I.  We rise above.

Or do we??

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Real Suburbs

Its funny.  When my wife and I moved from the Pocono Mountains to the New Jersey suburbs several years ago, it was in large part a way to escape.  Years of college and boozing, drugs and parties.  Concerts with friends.  Working at bars, offices, more booze, drifting aimlessly through life and afraid of getting stuck in that same aimless rut we saw our friends spiral into.

Losing some to jail, addiction and worst of all, unhappiness.  "There was no way we would be able to succeed had we stayed" we said.  Often we joked about how parts of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had the most bars/funeral homes per capita in the US.  Also, other than Florida, the highest population of senior citizens.

Essentially, this is where people come to die.  Surely we will, hell MUST, go out and thrive.  We would never drink ourselves to death and work at the plant.  We would take our liberal arts degrees and make our mint.  Show all you miserable fucks how life is to be lived.

And here I sit...  10 years later, staring at my life as if it has just begun.

Nearing 40 with nary a career, a marriage very much in shambles, a lovely, sensitive 8 year old daughter who can very easily spiral into depression at a moments notice.  In many ways, far more questions now than when I received my degree and walked off stage.

What has brought me to this point?  Where did things go wrong?  Are The Suburbs where dreams die?

A few weeks back there was a nice Christmas party/send off for some friends who were moving overseas.  There were probably 15 or 20 couples there about our age.  Most were still with there first and only spouse.  Some were divorced and/or going through a divorce.  I cozied up to some friends and brought up my usual deconstructing of couples rant.

"Look over there at those two."  I said.  "They are not happy.  How many years do you give them?"  I continued.  "Shit, they look great now.  They keep having kids, work is great.  Talk to me when the 4th kid is going to college." I remembered the husband was a paper company Executive.  "Talk to me when paper is like the fucking dinosaurs.  He is going to have to pay for tuition forever and all of his kids are gonna ask him what the fuck paper is in 10 years, either by text or some other new invention that made his life's work obsolete."

And this is a happy couple.  This is a couple I should not want, nor dare to deconstruct.  Maybe they are happy.  Maybe this life and how they are living it is exactly what they want.  Yet, I cannot leave it alone.  Why the anger my friends wonder?  Why the rage?  Why the hostility???

No easy answers I guess.  And maybe that is why I start this.  Maybe because years ago I visioned myself a writer and life has slowly passed me by.  Yet, as I sit here nearing 40 I am very much in the fight of my life.

Fighting for my family.  Fighting for my sanity.  Fighting for my dignity.

Never too late to learn I tell myself.  Never too late to make a difference.  Trying to remember all the things that got me to where I am and learn from them.

Thinking of all the friends I have known and their tumult.   I guess the answers start from the beginning. Maybe I need to go back to what, by all evidence, appeared to be a normal, bucolic childhood.  Maybe, as the reflection begins, things are not as they appear.

For now, I move day to day putting on the brave face and plow forward.  I consider myself a good person with flaws, like very many of us.

But the flaws are eating me alive right now.  And that has got to stop...