Friday, February 22, 2008

ACK! On Telling the Truth but Suffering it Badly


I start writing this while I sit with my notebook in my car, with Rover, in the parking lot at the Pasadena intersection of El Molino and Cordova, where I spend a lot of time. A few driveways up El Molino, is Regency Park, where my mother lives and which we refer to euphemistically as "the hotel." I am parked in the lot at my friend and dentist Nick’s practice while Leo is visiting his orthodontist, in the same building, for the fifth time in two weeks, due to broken wires. I have outworn my welcome at Dr. Nick’s, having parked myself there, availing myself of magazines, restroom and laptop juice for several hours the day before while, Leo underwent a further metal installation. Nick’s office is more peaceful than the orthodontist’s, who while mellow himself, has staff that is prone to fits of pique. But, I dare not take advantage of dental hospitality, so I write in the car. The orthodontist almost crosses the line out of laid back and blames the fifteen year old for breaking the wires. According the fifteen year old, he is blameless in all things. I have nothing to do with broken wires except the dread of paying the bill for the credit card they were charged to and I am weary of driving to Pasadena.

Writings about my husband’s disinclination to note my physical beauty have been misinterpreted in some quarters to mean that I do not feel desired by him. My husband loves me for the truth of me and because I cherish the truth of him. I feel that he desires me more these days, not because I am unburdened of fat, but because I am unburdened of secrets. My casting away of shame and lies has been met with mercy and sweet forgiveness and from this comes true beauty and true desire.
Sometimes there’s a perceived slight or some sort of weird Pavlovian trigger and I slobber back to the fat girl, "I didn’t want to go to the prom anyway…" and I’ll wish had a husband who boasted of my prettiness. My mother was pretty. And thanks to that new front tooth crown I sprang for (and why the fuck do I feel guilty for using the electricity at Dr. Nick’s?) she is pretty. My father went on about the prettiness of his three wives almost as much as he did about how when he saw Elvis the Pelvis on Ed Sullivan he knew that the music he cherished was dead.

I was taught to want to be pretty but jeeze, look at what I have. My husband needs no trophy and I shouldn’t need to be one just because I have shed a lot of weight after growing up in a household where physical beauty was thought the key to the kingdom. I would do it again but the pain of losing the fat gives the pain of wearing the fat a run for its money. Fat people are generally treated derisively and survey says that most people would choose having a mentally retarded child over having a fat child. I like not being fat better than being fat but my husband loves me now, and he loved me then. Fat and then through surgeries and blood soaked sheets and drug withdrawal I was loved. What could make me feel more beautiful than that?

My husband writes here that he does indeed indulge my fat girl fantasy and notes my beauty but out of my earshot (although he still won’t use the friggin’ cellphone). I pray for this to matter less. The prettiness thing. Not the cellphone. I will never not be irritated about the cellphone until it is TURNED ON) I pray to live in truth and experience the completeness of being loved heart and soul. And for my children not to lose further cellphones and for my beloved to turn his on.

I grew up with a family that took to lying when the truth was potentially unpretty. I don’t want to brag, but I think I could get signed documentation from Leslie, that I have worked hard in therapy, towards stepping towards the light of truth. I suspect a certain teenager who can sometimes be found in the basement, occasionally does not himself bask in the light of truth.

For all my self righteousness and living in light blah blah blah, I realize that perhaps I have not necessarily fostered a climate where the truth can be spoken with ease. ACK which a friend in the north uses to mean "I really may have fucked up here but I’m gonna try to do better." Double ACK fried with bacon. My life is so much richer for the mercy and understanding that have been meted out to me but parenting a teenager sometimes raises my hackles to the point that anger flows more readily than compassion.

Shabbat approaches and we are but two sunsets from the Oscars. My fifteen year old and I are united in hatred of Juno. I am trying to remember being fifteen and it is hard but I am afraid that if I don’t, my legacy of unprettiness and lies bodes to make a hardness in me that may in turn harden my own fifteen year old.. But if I have to replace another cell phone or drive again to Pasadena for wire repair I will go out of my friggin’ mind.

Shabbat Shalom and good Oscar Juju (except Juno) May the healing light of truth lead us all to soft forgiving places.

1 comment:

FionnchĂș said...

So, I take this space to admit both my culpability at not using a cellphone at all times (if I tell my students not to play with them and use them and fondle them during class, however, would I stand accused of hypocrisy if you called in the middle of my droning on to them?) and my ability to continue to be marvelling at your boundless optimism despite my endless pessimism. Thanks for all the love that you share that eases all the pain that we resist together. xxx me

P.S. And, at least Leo's not a fifteen-year-old GIRL in love with the message of "Juno." I hate that damned Brooke Busey-Smith from the mean suburbs of Mpls. who's such an opportunist. Stripper for a few months so she can write a book on it, like George Plimpton; name change; then calculated blog self-promo leads to media love-fest with no signs of abating. We may well tire of the toothsome Ellen Page soon too, methinks. And enough with the ironic typography and cute t-shirts, kids. We saw it all the first time in the 70s and it was not pretty.