Reality check is my weekly confessional. The good, bad, and ugly will go here so that I can just... be. Be real. Be authentic.
Remember during #reverb15 when I said I was prepared to suffer youth jetlag in the name of feeling young by staying awake all the way through new year's eve? It's right here, ICYMI. Well... this year, for a variety of reasons, I ended up sleeping through it. And, guess what? I still don't feel like a grown up! I actually felt like it was a little bit rebellious. I slept for more than 9 hours, the best sleep I can remember in a long long time. I got younger on new years eve, actually.
I have spent WAY more time in front of the television this week than I care to admit. Binge watching is the most mindless productivity-suck ever! But I enjoy it so much. Escaping from my typical reality of intense focus into another world is highly addictive for me. And, I guess if I'm looking for some plus-side it's that these story lines thought up by genius writers these days really opens me up to a creative world. My imagination doesn't take me to places as complex as those I get immersed in.
During the holidays G and I completely devoured both seasons of The Affair, which airs on Showtime. We finished it up just this past weekend. It's pretty dark - lots of psychological drama and crazies. It makes me feel quite sane and boring and normal. Kind of in the same way sleeping through NYE makes me feel. The Affair is about just that, an affair, and the exploration of why affairs occur, the terrible and tragic ways people and families cope, the destructive power of lies, and the battling emotions of love, lust, and guilt.
As a person who has emotionally stepped out on a relationship before, this stirred up many old thoughts and even a little bit of bygone guilt. My situation being a mere 1% of the complexity of that of the show, I was certainly not drawing any parallels. However, some of the awful things the characters said to one another during the difficult parts of the plot made me wonder if my ex-husband ever thought those things about me, or wanted to say those things to me. He never did. We were very business-like in our separation, as was to be expected since our entire relationship was conducted that way as well.
At one point in the show, the husband, who had the affair, says to his wife whom he is divorcing, I can't believe I wasted the last 25 years of my life on you. I have often wondered whether my ex-husband thinks that the 12 years we spent together was a waste of his time. That he could have found the right girl to be with at Virginia Tech all those years ago and be still happily with that person today. I struggle to remind myself that it is not my business, nor is it my responsibility. I did the best that I could at the time I was in it, as the person that I was then. The person that I am now would not have chosen that relationship. The person I was becoming would not allow me to stay in it. I don't regret any of those years- they were part of the evolution of this person I am still becoming.
This show has really made me think about why affairs are so taboo. Why is it so shameful? When really, the only reason we find it so shameful is because no one ever talks about it, and when they do it's only to gossip about how horrible the person is who stepped out. Taboo subjects and shame hold hands on that downward spiral into silence and fear. Our society loves to slut-shame and fat-shame everyone to death. I take that back, not everyone, women specifically. Affair-shaming is no different. There is a huge difference between a narcissist egomaniac who cheats in a relationship in order to sabotage and cause pain and a moral person who is on a simple journey to find themselves and improve their life. Sometimes, an affair is simply meeting the right person at the right time, while being in the wrong relationship at that same time. So, before you start judging, remember that you can't possibly know the whole truth because it's not you. You can support and love the people in your life who are on either side of these difficult situations.