Balancing Act

Yes, I managed to allow myself to just go ahead and get sick.

I fought that sore throat for about 3 days before I finally just told myself, All right. I’m just going to submit to some sort of overall ill-ease and then just move on.

The message exchanges between me and Mob Guy #2 continued for a couple of hours on Monday morning and then sort of came to a peaceful place of rest.  But, really, I was just astounded by the beautiful things he told me, about how he’d felt back then, that I simply had not known. I of course apologized for having been so fucked up back then that I couldn’t hear what he’d been saying.

He said, “You weren’t fucked up. You were just in a  one-sided marriage and really unhappy.”

Wow. Was it really that simple? All my insanity? I was desperately unhappy in my second marriage, especially toward the end of it, as I became a successful writer/producer and my husband belittled all of my triumphs. ( And they were triumphs. I hate to play the “woman” card, but at that time in our culture, I was one of a key group of women in America who were making amazingly beautiful and powerful changes to the sex industry through not only publishing but also through the Internet as a multi-media producer. This was in the infancy of the Internet, before it got completely cannibalized by unimaginative, hardcore porn — produced, frankly, predominantly by men.)

As that marriage wound down, I was always at odds with my husband. Always. Daily. He was just as unhappy with me as I was with him. I can’t go into personal stuff about him because that would be invasive, but for me, I don’t know; I just never knew how to be “normal.” Couldn’t be “normal” if my life depended on it. I don’t even know what normal is. When I see someone who sort of looks like maybe they’re “normal”, I wonder, wow, isn’t their brain, like, unraveling inside? Isn’t there some great un-normal thing they’d really dearly like to be expressing right at this moment?

Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe most people really are okay with falling in line and having simple, manageable lives.

For me, though, what has to be removed from who I am in order to become simple and more manageable,  leads to madness.  It truly does. And I never wanted to be like Virginia Woolf, going off to the river with rocks in my pocket. I have attempted suicide twice in my lifetime, and I guess there’s still plenty of time left to get it right the third time. But I really, really do not want to be that person. Because of that, I simply have to allow myself to be who I am.

My first husband didn’t have any kind of picnics with me, either, but he was raised Buddhist, and perhaps that helped. He pretty much took the attitude early on of: Well, I’m just going to let this pony run. He was pissed off at me most of the time, especially when I left him & moved out, but he refused to divorce me for years. Not until he saw that I was actually going to be okay and so he went off, finally, and had a life of his own.

But my second husband? He was a much more hands’ on kind of guy.  I think he was determined, for a while there, at any rate, to figure me out.  But I just totally wore him down because I was always, always, always all about sex. Not only did I always need to have sex every 14.5 seconds of every single day, it was always really complicated sex because I was a fetishist. He was not.  He put up with it, really  tried to accommodate me at first . ME (on a comparatively simple Saturday afternoon on the Upper West Side): “Wayne, can you go get the drill and put in a couple of really sturdy eye-hooks right over here?” HIM: “Now? Like, right now? I’ve got a hard-on, for chrissakes, can’t we just utilize that and then I’ll  go get the drill afterwards?” (The answer was actually ‘no’ in case you’re curious.)

A lot of fetishists I knew in NYC made their “straight” marriages work by having above-board outside arrangements. But I hated dungeons and play parties and orgies, etc., etc. And I never wanted to hire somebody to simply go through a set of rigid rituals with me. I wanted to just be with one person who I loved, who loved me and was into what I was into.

Turns out that’s a super tall order to fill. And I am only now, in hindsight, seeing just how unhappy that made me. How emotionally isolated I allowed myself to get for so many years.

You know, I actually really like to do things like clean house, sew, cook and bake, I really like to do laundry and go grocery shopping. I honestly love doing shit like that. On the outside, it looks like I could be a really good wife. I honestly get excited by things like a new washing machine. Really excited. All these new clothes-washing options at my fingertips– come on, dude,  let’s do laundry! But the rest of me is on some distant, lonely planet, far, far away.  I used to try to perfect my apple pies. I was so intense about getting the crust just right, the filling at that perfect texture, the flavors balanced just perfectly. I took my baking seriously (and did it professionally at MoMA for a while).

But eating the pie was not the pay-off; creating the pie was the spiritual connection for me. And for some unknown reason, spiritual connections for me are always erotic. My husband would come home and see “pie!” Let’s have a piece of pie! ME: “Okay, but first, I was thinking, you know — I went down to St. Mark’s Place today and bought an amazing outfit at the fetish store. I could go put that on, and we could play Pony Girl Lounge for awhile, and you could tie me up and –” HIM: “And it’ll take you forever to come because all you do anymore is plateau and plateau and plateau, and then I have to work really, really, really hard to finally get you to come, and then it’s 5 hours later, and I’m exhausted, and then I get to have pie? Marilyn, I just want to have pie.” ME: “Fine.” But secretly saying: That outfit looks really good on me, dude, and I put it on your freakin’ credit card and it was expensive. Enjoy your pie.

We developed this really intense way of hating each other by the end there. But I didn’t feel good about it. I was always feeling so intensely guilty. About just being me.

I left Wayne 15 years ago.  And I didn’t really learn how to let go of all my intense guilt until last year.  Seriously. Last year. When I moved out to the Hinterlands and left everything and everyone I knew behind me in a city in Ohio that I despised. A city I had returned to because I thought it was going to make sense for me to do that, but I was wrong. The only thing right about that move back was that I finally went into Divinity School full-time and became a minister, after years of fits & starts doing that in NYC.

I make jokes about my being a sinner in regards to my ministry and my fetishes, but I really did have a tough time accepting that I was a fetishist when I went into the ministry.  I didn’t go blithely into that. I really did examine myself and what I thought Jesus was saying to me.  I really do believe that Jesus couldn’t care less what my sex life is like; what the contents of my mind is like. He wants me to love people, and to try my best to love people as he would love people, and then of course, bring people to him if it seems like that is what the person is seeking to make them feel whole.

So I guess what really bothers me most, as I look back on all these passages of my life, because I suddenly have a Muse that is so alluring and so inspiring and keeps showing me these unexpected passages of my life — what is bothering me the most is seeing how I allowed myself to get so tangled up with who I was or wasn’t supposed to be, so many judgmental voices in my head, that I couldn’t really hear what anyone was trying to say to me. For years. I only listened to the harshest voices. I blocked out so much love because that’s what I had been taught to do.

I feel terrible about that. I’m trying not to let it weigh me down, though. I’m trying to just look on it as “yesterday” and let today be brand new. Wide open. More loving.

And if I spend more and more time with the Muse right now and less and less time with actual people for awhile, it’s going to be a really good thing. Yesterday, my Hurley Falls Mysteries blew wide open for me, when I was least expecting it.  Suddenly, around 10 AM yesterday morning, the Muse put an awesome picture in my head and I realized, oh my god, this is Hurley Falls! So I sat down at my desk right away, re-wrote what I’d written a couple weeks ago, then wrote 14 more pages that I absolutely loved, finished Chapter One and was at it until 8 o’clock last night.  Even though I was sick the whole time. But that was ecstasy. For me, there is nothing finer in the world.

So it’s working out. My life is working out. I still keep certain people’s energies away from me at all costs because I can’t balance them; still happily isolate myself out here in the Hinterlands, but I’m letting a lot of other people off the hook, as well as allowing that for myself, too. And the results I’m seeing, just in my writing, are just exquisite. I am so blessed.

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