Okay, I have lost it again and am opening a can. But this is good, so don’t worry. I didn’t even cry when I wrote this.
The Franny came back today, bursting with news. The unholy wedding of Seattle Federline and That Poor Woman came to pass. Franny said the best part involved some other children (new cousins?) and some bunkbeds, and “Oh, yeah, the wedding, too.” Sometimes her polite diplomacy really reaches toxic levels. She was the head flowergirl, one of five (!!!). I asked if her baby sister was the ring pillow and she said she wasn’t, but the baby was made to wear a tutu.
“How was that?” I said.
“It was dumb, she should have been wearing her normal clothes.”
And she totally remembered to ask about the tattoo! She told Supa and me at lunch today. This was the trigger that made my can open, so to speak.
“What did he say?” I said.
“He said No.”
“No?” I said. “Like, no, under his new tattoo is not my name?”
“Yeah, Mom, he said no.”
Supa’s eyes goggled out of her head.
“Your dad lied,” I said, surprised in spite of myself. She looked at me and kind of blinked.
“I saw it,” said Supa. “I saw it after he had it done.”
“That Poor Woman has seen it, too,” I said. “He had it for the first few months they dated. People know it existed.”
Franny looked from me to Supa and then shrugged. What can you say?
I don’t mean to go after my kid. I don’t know what to say to her at times like this. I told her about the tattoo offhandedly one night, and I told myself that she probably wouldn’t remember, but she did, and she asked him, and he lied about it in front of his new wife, who knows about the tattoo.
So I have decided to stop saying things like this all together. It doesn’t change anything, and it just puts her in the position where her dad lies to her. This has been happening since the divorce, where she comes back and tells me something that he’s told her that’s really untrue. His new wife has said a couple things to me, too, that he told her that have no basis in reality. My reality, anyway. I’m prepared for the possibility the sky is actually orange, I guess.
When they first got together, when he was still telling me he wanted to get back together and have another baby with me, he told me his plan for dating TPW was not to tell her his secrets, meaning about his past. I have often wondered how much she knows, but at the same time I don’t think she cares. So I am laying down the aggro and walking away from it. Franny’s dad will find other things to lie to her about without my involvement, because he’s the type of guy who lies needlessly to people.
I know we all do this with history. Our memories are bad, and get worse with age and children. We want to portray ourselves in the best light. The real story comes from whoever wins the wars, or the one with the loudest voice, right?
I remember early on, when he and I were still speaking. Before he sexually assaulted me. I didn’t tell you about that before. That was the second event in my life that almost killed me. Franny remembers waking up to me crying in my new apartment but she doesn’t know what happened. I wrote a cartoon about it and court in general here.
Now I feel like my silence is totally unbroken: Hey, my husband sexually assaulted me after we were separated. How about degrading someone you can no longer control? It’s the new fucking purse dog, yo. Now you know part of the reason I hate him so much. He went to court and said it was consensual. Of course, what else was he going to say?
Before I filed for divorce he used to call me at my office and tell me how we could knock boots and that my companion and TPW didn’t have to know. We could have another baby, it will be great. I WOULD KNOW. IT WOULD NOT BE GREAT. I’d rather stick my arm in a fucking thresher.
Anyway, I was going to tell you something that happened when he and I were still speaking. The subject of my mom came up, and he turned to me and said, “Your mom says she never disowned you.” My mom disowned me when I was seventeen. She said, “Come into my bedroom, I want to talk to you.” I sat down and she said that she didn’t care what I did anymore. “I disown you,” she said. That was the first thing that almost killed me. I moved out shortly after that. And hey, guess what? I got back on the honor roll before I graduated. Go, Asshole.
It is like scrubbing your insides with sandpaper to hear that people never did things that almost killed you. I know what being torn in two is like. That tore me in two. I thought I was going to die of a broken heart right there.
My mom called me up in February and told me I need therapy, because of some of the stuff I write about people (meaning her; I deleted the post I wrote about our falling out over Christmas).
I need therapy. She should know, she watched me go from loved and secure and well-adjusted to fucked up when she took me back from my grandma’s to live with my new stepfather at six years old. THIS IS MY THERAPY. Damn, what am I supposed to do? I keep running is circles on these things in my head, and in my art, but I am feeling better. Things are getting better. I don’t have anxiety attacks anymore. I haven’t cut myself for eleven years.
I was afraid to write completely openly about these huge specters in my life, my ex-husband and my mother, but I am not afraid anymore. Both things are out of my immediate space now, and I feel better. For a long time I hoped I could get away from things like this, but you never can, really, because they will still be in your own head. So I guess it’s okay that I hear about things from afar.
How do you rebuild your life when you are torn in two? I don’t know. Watch this space, I am still working on it.
I can still see the ghost of the tattoo of his name that’s on my shoulder, under my newer one. I am going to show Franny when she gets home, and that will close the matter on my end. I am trying to tell her you can try to rewrite history, but sometimes the ghosts are still there.