I’ve gotten a lot of feedback, much of it good, from the Proof would kill me duet. If you haven’t read them you should. Pause, go now, and resume reading afterward.
Anyways… A good chunk of people can relate to the tragedy of infidelity because they’ve experienced it themselves. I don’t wanna say it’s common place but it’s certainly not unusual. I’ve had experience with it on both sides. Because I’m an asshole.
The “cheating” part isn’t something that we really like to talk about either. Or even acknowledge. The only reason I talk about it openly now is because it was so long ago. And I’m not married to Kathy any more either.
The “I’m not enough” feelings that are front and certain during it are downright crushing. And to be completely honest, I wasn’t enough for Kathy during that time. I was emotionally crippled by my own issues and other bullshit. I couldn’t be there for her in ways that she need me to. She deserved much better than what I had to offer. You want to have a healthy relationship with someone? Clean out your fucking basement.
Some people have asked me why I still think about it. It’s not like I don’t have closure there because I do. There’s nothing more that I could say or would want to say to Kathy try to fix any of it. It’s not broken today. It’s as closed as it’s ever going to be.
I think the reason why I think about it now and then is because, well, Sara and I were watching an episode of Westworld and there’s a scene where Jeffrey Wright’s character is talking to his wife or ex-wife and she says that maybe they should stop talking about their dead son. And then Jeffrey’s character says, “the pain is all that I have left” or something similar. Not talking about shit has done me more damage than the actual shit itself.
The Westward scene doesn’t directly translate to my situation with Kathy but it resonates in that that short-lived, 3 1/2 year era we shared — all of those experiences, for better or worse, shaped me into who I am today. And I don’t want to necessarily forget about them because some 20 odd years later they help me be the best me that I can be. In the here and now. I don’t want to ever forget about the lessons and the heartache because I want to take those tragic experiences and use them to keep me on a spiritual path today. If that makes sense. It’s the classic doomed history repeating itself.
It’s like I’m not as much of an asshole now because I haven’t forgot how much of an asshole I was then.
How much of an asshole you ask? One time I had a picture of another girl in my pants pocket and forgot about it. It was just a picture, nothing more than that but a picture of another girl nonetheless. On laundry day Kathy found that picture while doing my laundry and laid it on top of my folded clothes. She didn’t say a word either. Ouch.
Back to the here and now… I want to be able to share my experience, strength, and hope with other people if that helps them move beyond something that’s been holding them back. We deserve to live a life with less pain. Life’s fucking hard enough without carrying yesterday’s torments around.
I had one other thought on all of this, too.
John Roderick said something on his podcast about walking into his class reunion with preconceived notions or something. I don’t remember exactly what it was but you should listen to all of him and Merlin Mann’s stuff. It’s really that good. Go listen to the Roderick on the Line podcast. DO IT.
When I think about Kathy now I just remember the girl I knew all those years ago. Just the same as when I think about the people I went to high school with. I remember them as who they were back when we were in school together. I guess I’ve never really thought about them growing and becoming bigger and better people. But that kind of discounts their whole ability to grow as human beings. I’ve grown and changed and would hate to think that people still see me as the asshole I’ve been in previous lives.
Going on a brief tangent… I hear people say fairly often that they don’t care what other people think of them. Well, I care what my family and friends think about me. I don’t want them to think that I’m an asshole or whatever because I did something shitty five years ago. And I’m sure they don’t because I try to be a good person today, most of the time.
Other people can grow and change, too. I should let go of the notion that who people were in high school (or whenever), that isn’t necessarily who they are today. I’m Facebook friends with a lady I was in high school with. We were in different social circles, never hung out or whatever but I’m better friends with her now than I am with the best friend that I had in high school.
We get older, we get bigger, we see things differently. We become more than who we were. Limiting myself to seeing you as you were years ago, well, that’s being an asshole.
So back Kathy. I’m sure she’s a wonderful person in the here and now. I would imagine she’s moved way beyond the person she was way back then. All the good qualities that made me fall in love with her, I bet she’s beaming with them now.
And it took me a lot of years to think that, too, to find that peace with her. 😉
I try to be an optimist, be hopeful even though I joke and tell people my soul is black. Being positive feels good. Being negative for this alcoholic just gets me drunk.
I try to see you as a good person because it helps me see myself as a good person. I forgive you so I can forgive me for the horrible things I’ve done. I’m not good at forgetting because that’s not how I’m wired. And forgiveness doesn’t happen over night but it is always my goal.