Thursday, March 28, 2013

the gory truth

November 2010-May 2011

Mr. Scabs betrayal is a bottomless pit that's sucking my beating heart right out of my chest, leaving me stammering and vapid.  I am unrecognizable.  Almost instantly the dark, numb fog rolls in from the harbor.  Nothing can be believed in.  Not even the fog can be trusted.  All at once the Fog is my guardian and my hearts deepest traitor.  The Fog looks a bit like Christopher Walken, who is simultaneously my favorite and least favorite actor.  With his pale skin, muddy eyes, cold fingers and nervous habits the Fog teeters between protecting me from pain and knocking me into dull denial.    

The Fog teaches me that pain is pain no matter how it comes to you.

And after some time, the Fog nervously floats off in his tiny boat with a small ash-colored sail.  He is always skirting near the shore, his muddy eyes watching for that paralyzing moment he can both protect and destroy me.  The Fog will always be a blessing and a curse.

May 2011 began the uncovering of all the gory details.  And I suppose every betrayed spouse must decide...

"Do I want the gory truth or not?  If I pursue the gory truth and come up empty, how will I move on?  If get the the gory truth, how will I move on?  If I don't want anything to do with the gory truth, how will I move on?"

The gory details can cause violent dry heaves and nightmares.  They can inspire hatred and revenge.  The gory details can sink you into the deepest depression of wondering, "why wasn't I good enough?".  Or, they can put and stop to your endless imagining.  

I needed a "stop" and so I choose to hear every gory detail.  My imagination unfolded an underworld of perversion and weirdness I never knew before.    My mind had predetermined Mr. Scabs guiltiness of every possible and impossible crime, despite reality.  And so, we began an uncovering process.  

I imagine there is a rotting fear that paralyzes a man in Mr. Scabs position.  Looking back I see the incredible amounts of humility and trust it took for him to uncover that hidden man.   To tell the unblinding truth.  To speak his fearless moral inventory.  

With the most livid lips I use to scream, "You risked everything by screwing around and lying!!!  It was all for WHAT??!!"  I'd throw my hands in the air and string along a few other slurs of insults and swear words (that was Insanity).

Now, I see something I could never have seen amidst the Fog, Insanity or any other characters I've met along this journey.  Along side the Big Thaw there is an undercurrent and I am just beginning to feel it.  It is revealing itself and this is it: 

It wasn't the mistakes and choices Mr. Scabs made that risked it all.  Of course, he never should have done what he had done.  Anyone can lie and cover and delete internet histories and text messages and pretend, and cycle and repeat and lie some more and build a happy exterior persona for the world to see but it is with fear in your bones and faith in your heart that you speak real words.  That is the true moment you risk it all.  The moment you share the knowledge of what you are, the vulnerability, the open heart surgery.  

Everything is at risk then.  That is the moment you either live or die.  

And just an observation to all those who are trapped.  I have an infinite amount hope for your own change and I have noticed that those who risk it all, live.  That is the truth.

So, today, it is with the deepest compassion, respect and love that I look back at the Mr. Scabs of 2011.  Among the cycling mistakes and mis-steps, he found enough bravery, courage and love for himself and I to risk it all--really risk it all-- and tell the gory truth.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mr. Scabs, "detachment stinks"


It's been more than a year since Eat My Scabs came to life on the world wide web.  In this last year, you've  shared with me the ebbs and flows, the cycles, common threads, pivotal moments the umbilical cords that tie us together.  One of those threads is detaching, disengaging, disconnecting.

It was the first of my greatest discoveries.  The action that changed everything for me and one of my most powerful tools, a steel-toothed 106 cc gas-powered chainsaw.  Yep.

So, when it comes to detachment, how does Mr. Scabs feel?

Mr. Scabs and I have worked together to write this post.  Although I form the sentences  
many of these words are his own.  
Trying to capture raw honesty from the past.

I cringe and my teeth grind at the thought of her detaching. 

We weren't always this way but addiction, lies, control, resentment had us desperately entwined in a frenzied ball of bloody fish hooks.  Their spikes ripping our skin and jabbing into our most vital organs.  Clawing and forever binding us together in a selfish, defeating torment.  That was our cycle.

At the first signs of detachment, I'm in such anguished pain.  You see, as terrible as the fish hooks were, I preferred them to being cut off.   Abandoned.  Alone.  I wanted a partner in my misery.

Muttering under my breath, I encourage myself to get angry, to accept bitter resentfulness, to feel my heart go colder and blacker.  I whispered excuses and blame to my heart telling myself no one cares.  The lies ballooned in my head, my abandonment exaggerated and I searched for ways to act out, to sooth my self-hatred..

This is where the distortion mutates into the belief that nothing matters and there is no hope.

Although I made mistake after mistake and continued to cross clear boundaries and lie, lie, lie, lie I felt I deserved more.  I felt I deserved to have that which I did not earn and I wallowed and fell into a selfish tantrum of self-pity when I didn't get it.

That is when the crash happens.  The fantastic and terrible collision, a careening fall through hell.  And once I was laying there, dismembered on the rock-bottom of the world, splayed out I felt desperate for change.   That quiet broken moment gifted me the chance to choose.  Would I reach out and change or would I fall deeper and darker into my prison?

Sometimes, I'm still drawn to the cyclic ball of bloody fish hooks, but I've surrounded myself with safety nets.  Nets that remind me to stop.  To breathe.  To stop blaming everyone else.  To put my desperate feelings aside for a moment.  To validate.  To read.  To pray.  To empathize.  To reach out with kindness and warmth and compassion.

Detaching stinks.  I don't want to go through it.  But, if she hadn't detached so abruptly our cycle of jabbing fish hooks in each others flesh would have gone on and on and on.  It's an endlessly painful way to live.

Detaching released me from that cycle and put the power to choose recovery back in my hands.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Interesting thoughts on masturbation from the quotable C.S. Lewis.

"For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back: sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect love: no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself….

Masturbation involves this abuse of imagination in erotic matters (which I think bad in itself) and thereby encourages a similar abuse of it in all spheres. After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little, dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison."

C.S. Lewis, letter to Keith Masson (3 June 1956); cited from Fair Podcasts

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dusting off the Laptop...


You're notes checking up on me have been so sweet.  Thanks for being here.  I feel so lucky to have connections with so many of you.  To answer many of your questions, I am doing well.  Thank you for asking and please forgive the slowness with which I answer emails.

For my first post back, I thought I'd write something fuzzy and nice.  But this isn't always that kind of blog, is it?  A few ideas and experiences have been itching in the back of my mind the last few weeks which I can't seem to spit out on paper.  So, here it goes...


Years ago I decided we needed a cat.  Mr. Scabs said "no". 

"No" was one of his favorite words.  And in our marriage, I hadn't once done something Mr. Scabs didn't agree to, until I decided to get a cat.  

Eddie-Jumper-Cat meowed from the little cardboard box which sat next to my daughter in the back seat of our car.  I handed over some green bills for the animal shelter adoption fee, bought some cat nip and we fell in love!  A week later, Verna, a crazy, feline-smelling, white-haired, cat-lady told me the desperate tale of another abandoned pregnant cat.  Her husband had said,"no" and so did Mr. Scabs, but with defiance in my heart I took the cat to the vet, got her shots, had her spayed and bought her a pink collar with the tag: Twyla-Girl-Cat.  This is how we became a 2-cat family.

Mr. Scabs, the addict, is stingy.  Scroogy and miserly.  He always bought the cheapest crap cat food.  The rock-hard, dry, sandy, tasteless kind.  The kind your cat sniffs wondering why crusty tree bark is in her dish.   

Change at our house has been slow but sweet.  Over the last year, as he has changed and as we have been experiencing the Big Thaw, I've noticed a sweetness and compassion that didn't exist before.  Mr. Scabs has begun to care for things outside himself.  Empathy.  He buys the premium cat food.

There's a rotten reality underlying all this and I want to acknowledge it; many addicts don't change.  Many of our marriages will end in divorce.  Many of our children will feel the pain of the world far to early. Terrible things can happen.  Things that have no explanation.  Things that make no sense.  Sadly, there are no guarantees in life, even if you do everything "right".  

Lots of cats don't get the premium cat food.

My BFF was recently pregnant, then suddenly miscarried.  That is a loss all it's own.  I've already told you of my friend James who felt so hopeless that he took his own life.  Today, I looked into the puffy eyes of another friend who is grappling with the fuzzy unknown of her husbands infidelity.  I ache for another friend dissolusioned by her husbands endless cycle of addiction.  I watch another friend hardening with denial, whispering to herself. "everything's fine.  everything's fine."  I stand by the side of another friend deeply damaged by sexual abuse as a child, the abandonment of her first husband, the terrible death of her twins and the rape and domestic violence of her second husband.  She is navigating life again as a single mother.  And on the darker side, just the other day an old man, a grandfather,  a retired police sargent a community leader was arrested as part of a Federal investigation into a child pornography ring. Our community is reeling.  

I guess what I am trying to say here is that life can be so hard.  A lot of times it's hard because of the choices of others, the repercussions of another's actions.  Abuses of sexuality in our lives is terribly difficult for me to tolerate.  What we accept now with grimaced faces is what our daughters and our sons will come to know as normal.  Boundaries are paramount.

In my circle of BFF's we have been asking ourselves, "How do we protect our children from all this?"  And, this is when I think, from no fault of our own, sometimes we don't get the premium cat food.

Is this incredibly depressing?  Sorry :)

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