I’ve been feeling a bit uncomfortable about my last post.
I knew I would.
I had been thinking about writing that post ever since I started blogging but just hadn’t had the courage to do it. It’s not just that it’s obviously very personal, but that I actually have no wish to embarrass my ex-husband and for that reason there are things I’ll never write about.
And despite the things he did, he is not a wholly dreadful person, and we were not unhappy for every moment of the 21 years we spent together. I’ve always known that he did not do the things he did to deliberately wound me – even though they did. And like most things the situation was complex at times and I certainly was not perfect.
The reality is however, that this is/was my life.
After publishing that post though, I received a lovely email from my equally lovely father. He said;
I love reading these writings; but as literature, not as missives from my daughter! They are beautifully written and if they (hopefully) become more varied in content, they will become maybe a collection, like Norah Esson, or Dorothy Parker, or even Virginia Woolf, which people all round the world will read and admire and eulogise about.
But they tear me apart as a Dad’
I love my Dad. He genuinely thinks I am capable of doing anything (even being Dorothy Parker. He’s a big fan of hyperbole). I remember when I was graduating from University, he would tear job adverts out of the paper and post them to me (yes, I am literally that old…). Some of them were way beyond my capabilities at the time, and some of them probably still are, but when I would say this to him, he’d say
‘If you apply you’re only risking the cost of a stamp’
which I suppose was true. It’s a wonderful thing to have a father who is so unrelentingly positive about the possibilities for you and your life. Even at the times when you’re kind of fucking things up and you both know it.
Anyway, my Dad is concerned that my writing about my marriage and divorce might be evidence that I am not moving on.
The thing is though, five years ago, I couldn’t have written that post without it becoming incoherent in a sort of crazy lady way, and I wouldn’t have written about it because I felt kind of ashamed.
Really, when I write about this stuff it’s a way of owning my experience and integrating it into all my other experiences. I enjoy the process of writing from an intellectual point of view regardless of what the content is. So the fact that I’m writing about what happened, and how I felt about it then and now doesn’t mean I’m not moving on. It just means I’m writing about my life – some of which has been imperfect but kind of fascinating.
And I particularly wanted to write about how I feel about his new partner because I know that lots of women have problems with the ‘other woman’ especially where children are involved. It’s a common struggle these days, and until I was in this position I could never understand this tension. And perhaps writing about how I feel about it might be useful for people who have found themselves being the ‘other woman’.
So anyway – what I’m saying is – no one needs to worry. I didn’t feel sad or upset or anything negative really whilst writing that post. I don’t sit sobbing over my laptop, swigging from a bottle of Chardonnay* whilst blogging. I enjoyed writing it – because I enjoy writing. And if I write about my own personal experiences I can’t possibly miss out what happened in my marriage, as I’ve no doubt it is the most transformative experience I’ll ever have.
You’ve got to love my dad though, eh?
*I’d never do that. I don’t drink Chardonnay**
**my dad’s email also said he doesn’t like the footnotes
One thought on “In which I ponder…over sharing”
My motto, from Anne Lamott: You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.”
And, also, I have to be okay with it being dealt back.