The emotions of shame are there. I feel them swirling around me with the opacity of a bridal veil. But I’ve always been stubborn. I don’t like those moments where I feel like a victim, and there is something about such a long silence, that drives me to speak. That pushes me to talk. That makes me want to explain all the things that no one ever understood.
But I can’t. Not quite yet. Not as openly as my soul desires, as it wants to be seen, and understood, and forgiven for the misunderstandings and the friends that turned away because I seemed uninterested or distant.
But it is not the time for such full-blown honesty. There are legal matters to finalize. We must sell our home. Settle our debts. Go through the paperwork for a divorce. I still have to deal with him (though I limit it to weekends, whenever possible).
I have to pretend a little longer. Or he could make things difficult. So I lie to our mutual friends. I say that we are only separating, and I don’t mind if they are friends with both of us. (I do mind. I want to beat my fists on the wall and yell out that I gave him everything and he took, and took, and took.) Instead, I just say that he can’t know anything about me anymore, and I need them to respect that. Some of them suspect, I think. They have started to examine their memories and come up with startling realizations I can only answer with, a vague, ‘that’s some interesting insight’.
At first I didn’t want to do anything that might ruin his reputation. I still don’t want to do anything that might throw a stone into the gears of his own therapy and attempts to deal with his very real issues. But I don’t want to be ashamed, I don’t want to be afraid. And if I continue in silence, how would anyone else realize that they are not suffering alone? It feels like this experience would be wasted, if I can’t do something with it.
But for now, my family knows. My closest friends. And the friends who are mine alone and are distant and safe, out of state and out of touch – they know a very little more. But not everything.
What will happen once the divorce is finalized? Once I have severed all official ties irrefutably? (Yes, I realize it is not quite so easy as to sever ‘all’ ties. Not after twelve years of shared associations, friends, interests and living in roughly the same geographic area…) Will I be able to speak out? Or will I be afraid of reprisal?
Who am I protecting? Is it still him? Is it me?
All I know, is that someday, someday, I am going to be heard. There will be no more secrets.