The lengths to which we’re willing to go for others in spite of ourselves… are often the same limits that keep us locked in place.
The other day, as I bounced out of my room, dressed in a new pair of pants, my mom looked at me and shook her head,
“Those make you look wide,” she said.
I smiled woefully, because those very words had come out of my own mouth, commenting on my own daughter’s outfit one day.
So I knew what she meant and I knew how to respond. The new me said,
“Mom, I am wide…
An honest look at the real cost of trauma… and how a body, heart and mind can heal.
Ted took a toll not only on my mental, but on my physical health, as well.
I just can’t stop wondering just how his demanding, egotistical circus of a life so consumed me that I basically took leave of my whole self? How he so forcefully imposed his agenda in our lives, that I was no longer concerned with or even connected to my own limits at all? How I stretched and twisted and contorted my body to conform to his wishes…
Where did my consent even begin and where would it ever wind up?
I grapple everyday and often in the night with the shame and the trauma of having accepted Ted’s agenda and Ted’s bullying.
Mostly, when I talk to others, they ask me why I stayed?
They don’t seem to wonder if abuse became a comfortable posture or if I was posturing to stay comfortable in spite of the abuse?
They wonder how I ever consented to Ted’s never ending games of hurdles and hedges and barriers, calls to perform, as well as obstacles to confine me into actions…
You can never judge a box by its cover!!
People have referred to my life with Ted as a golden cage. But a cage is airy and spacious in comparison.
The box Ted kept me in resembled those I used to get for Christmas or birthdays as a child. Covered in shiny, pink opalescent fabric, embossed with silver, piped in gold and with jewels… for the sparkle.
Remember the ones that opened to a tiny, little, plastic ballerina dancing in circles to a tune in front of mirrors that reflected what was supposed to be her graceful dance, but…
What should a girl have done…?
The contract was a surprise… Just days before we married. For real.
In February or March that same year, Ted proposed to me… By text.
« On le fait?* »
« Oui. faison-le!** »
« Is that a yes? »
« Yes. What a great idea! »
And by end of May, I’d organized this whole fantasy-weeklong-pre-wedding-swinger-extravaganza in a rented apartment perched on Montmartre with a spectacular south facing view of the whole city, complete with a fake rooftop ceremony at sunset. All for him.
But then, just after that, in July, only 10…
Behaviors and expectations relating to partnership… which snuggle right into patriarchal societal views.
I thought to be a good wife, I had to do what he wanted, be what he wanted, have what he wanted…
I thought to catch a husband, I had to be at his beck and call.
His mother. His mistress. His secretary. His slave. His salope*.
I thought a good wife had to plan and organize and manage… in order to fit into his dreams. His schedule. His agenda. His fantasy.
I’d learned young about accepting what men wanted when they asked for it. …
When a husband’s smoke and mirrors dirty a divorce…
It was a hurried moment, the notice. Frenzied. Because we were always, then, somehow, in a frenzy, of some sorts.
I don’t know when it had become that way… It had seemed exciting and purposeful in the beginning. Or perhaps I just gave it that meaning then. I’d made the doing, mean accomplishment.
Surely because my first husband had been a hesitater. Things had taken ages to get done, even to decide. But not with Ted. Ted was a doer.
So that day, in a usual doing frenzy, again, we crossed…
Praise to the freedom of female pleasure, solo satisfaction and especially to self love.
I don’t think I was a precocious masturbator, because I have come to know some really interesting women who’ve confided in me to masturbating as children (which is either really weird… or super natural)… And I don’t pretend to know their family histories, but do know for myself that growing up with an Irish-Catholic-raised mother, in a protestant country like the United States, self pleasure and maybe even self care, were somehow taboo.
Women feeling free to explore our bodies, was and still remains a rare…
Welcome to Ted’s world of financial domination where cash & cards were his kink and control was his fetish… only without the actual ropes and chains!
We shopped a lot with Ted. That’s what we did, because that’s what Ted had always done. That’s where he was most comfortable.
Ted’s family had owned THE big « department » store in his home town, so it could safely be said that commerce and shopping ran through his blood.
He was good at it too. He was fun and crazy and generous, at first.
Shopping with him was like shopping with your…
The Rabbit hole of domestic violence… and how a woman gets trapped.
I guess no one starts out looking for a psychopath to marry. I thought I’d found this great guy. And then things just went terribly sour.
I was surely seduced by his sophistication, money and power… But I was especially charmed by his humor and I found him the sexiest man alive. So I backed myself, without hesitation, straight into his financial corner.
At his suggestion, I invested my only spare money in our secondary home which generated no income and thus no profit for me… because Theodore…
One woman’s navigation, survival and healing within the biased rules and gender expectations of a masculinized, patriarchal society.