Excerpts From a Diary 44
Starting to talk about the depth of my pain in the rooms – very lightly. My dissatisfaction with my marriage – how I miss my career – my inability to find a job. Always stressing that I am gratefully sober but I realize that something is missing. & I want to find out what that is.
I went to Mooncircles with Shera – what a beautiful store & what lovely ladies who own it. I bought the 10th anniversary edition of The Spiral Dance – I’ve wanted that book forever. I have most of it copied from Anna’s original version in my BOS. There were so many books there I wanted to buy – also jewelry, clothes, tapes, candles, incense. We met J. there & all of us went up to the Lexington Food Co-op & then to The Wild Thing & a Stained Glass Shop. Then to the Towne Restaurant on Allen Street for a bite to eat. At the Towne, we met a guy named Andy who plays in the Outer Circle Orchestra. We hit it right off. He’s Buddhist – the Tantric Yoga variety. It seems that even when I am out with women, I meet a guy.
Finally trying to talk with Teddy. Telling him how I feel – how I don’t feel – how, why. What to do. What I’d like. Why I have so much trouble expressing myself.
6 months without a drink.
I have a job interview at ABC Hardware at 4 p.m. It’s just a cashier’s job but it’s within walking distance.
I got the job! I start tomorrow!
A Mabon dinner: roast chicken stuffed with rice with onions & celery, mixed vegetable, peach crisp & ice cream for dessert.
Walking to the store to buy ice cream, I looked at the sky crowded with grey & black clouds & felt the wind sharp against my face. Cold inside my lungs. My spirit soared & I thanked the Goddess for all my being. Thank you for everything.
I dreamed about Pat again. Making love again. I wore a white eyelet petticoat & camisole. We were at Shera’s house or a place like it – a Goddess place. Jasmine incense burned. We made love again & again until we were bathed in a white light. We were Goddess & God.
I could feel really sad after these dreams but part of me feels like if I can live like this in my dreams, maybe I don’t need Pat in real life. That maybe the Goddess is giving me these dreams to keep that part of me alive & I am going to be OK without Pat in my life.
I quit my job at ABC. My new boss was a total jerk. He had to control everything & everyone. I cannot work with someone looking over my shoulder – constantly telling me what to do & how to do it. Something else will turn up.
I love when I read a section of Anaïs Nin’s diaries & I recognize a corresponding section from one of her novels. Often the incident is lifted verbatim – only the names are changed. How I hope that I can do it so well. Lift & rearrange & rename.
I work at my novel – working on the Chaotic Bliss novel – drawing on memories & imagination. It goes very slow. How can it not? The fact is – I am a very slow writer. But also – I’m constantly looking for work – which is full-time job in itself – I go to three meetings a week or more – I do all the housework, laundry, cook all the meals – plus a spiritual practice – & study. That doesn’t leave much time for writing. & hopefully, next semester, I’ll be back in school. I really hope so. I really want to finish my degree.
But – I am in no hurry. I used to get so anxious – worrying that I was running out of time. Now I don’t worry. I live one day at a time – live it to the fullest – no matter what I am doing that day. If I am writing, I am writing to the fullest. I am doing something else – no matter what it is – I am doing that to the fullest.
Today is our eighth wedding anniversary. I cooked us a special dinner – filet mignon, baked potato, salad, ice cream for dessert. Teddy gave me a card – I have to admit, I never even thought of getting him a card – & I felt really bad about it.
& then I think – is this what I really want?
I feel like the Fool in the Tarot – blithely stepping off the cliff’s edge.
I just wish this was all over with. The tension of living day to day with Teddy – talking about what we will be doing in November – December – next spring – at the same time – mentally packing to leave in a few week – deciding what to take & what to leave – deciding what is truly important in my life.
No wonder I can’t sleep.
I am so hideously depressed I can’t believe it. Another cold rainy day. It’s hard to believe that anyone can be so depressed & go on living. Teddy is so determinedly cheerful – it grates on my nerves.
Darryl went to Virginia to detox but he’s back now & he’s been calling with all these deals & Teddy wants to go down there & party. & that’s the last thing I want to do. I don’t want to spend the money & I don’t want to blow my sobriety. What did he think I was doing in Lowell? Vacationing? Seeing the sights?
No – I have to get out of here. I’m never going to stay sober if I stay.
I will miss Teddy terribly. I worry about him – I know he will be terribly lonely – terribly depressed – especially as the holidays roll around. Knowing this has stopped me dozens of times in the past. Paralyzed me, in fact. But I’ve got to do what I must do – I must do what I think will make me happy – & healthy. It hurts. This is the hardest thing I have ever done.
I feel really good right now. I had a long talk with Alex from the Sunday night AA meeting. She studied psychology for seven years – she wanted to become a psychologist but marriage, babies & having to work got in the way – she said she noticed how nervous & unsettled I am around Teddy – like I didn’t want to upset him – like I just want to keep him calm & settled – she said that we only go around once & we have to be happy. & it’s pretty obvious that I’m unhappy.
I just talked to Tish. She’s real supportive – real happy I’m making this move. Now I’m excited. I can hardly wait!
Teddy & I went to see “Postcards from the Edge”. I thought it was really good. I could really identify. At the end, Teddy was crying. “What’s the matter, honey?” I asked. “This movie hit so close to home,” he answered, “I’m so afraid you’re going to leave me – like our relationship is on borrowed time – I love you so much – I feel like any day now, you’ll be gone.”
What could I do? I felt terrible – but it’s true, isn’t it? I was as gentle as I could be but I was lying when I said, “Teddy, I’m not going anywhere.”
Sitting here, with Elvis Costello on the tune box, I realize that’s what Jon Kudzma told me too.
There’s nothing I can do. I can’t stay & remain unhappy.
“My mother wanted me to be someone other than I was. She was shocked when I defended D.H. Lawrence. She disliked my artist friends. She wanted me to be as she had been, essentially maternal…Very early I was determined not to be like her but like the women who had enchanted & seduced my father, the mistresses who lured him away from us…When I first feel this? When did I repudiate the model of my mother & decide not to be a wife or a mother but a mistress? In spite of this I did inherit from her a strong protective instinct toward human beings. But I also cultivated what would give me not only their down-to-earth needs, but euphoria, pleasure, delight.” – Anaïs Nin
As soon as I read that, I thought – that is me. That is my experience as well. I read it this morning & it has been with me all day. I think this is one of the problems I have – the essential problem with the marriage with Teddy.
Because I never wanted to be a wife – anyone’s wife. I am good at being a wife – I like keeping house but I would keep a lovely home even if I wasn’t a wife – it’s how I am. I am best at being a mistress – I am most comfortable in that role – I am a passionate person & I want to be passionate about everything – being a wife, being a mistress, cooking, cleaning, writing, dancing, loving, making love – oh, I want to make love endlessly – & for some reason, I can’t get into Teddy as a lover. I don’t know what it is. It isn’t just because I’m in love with Pat. Or Jesse – or anyone. Except for the first few months – when we were doing so many cool drugs & falling in love because of that – we haven’t had much sex. & we really didn’t have much sex then, either, it was really a lot of cuddling & kissing. & after Jesse – I knew that something wasn’t right on a fundamental level but I have never been able to put my finger on what it is. Surely two people who love each other & who are best friends can find a way to have good sex. Why have Teddy & I never been able to?
Why was this? What happened? Again, Anaïs Nin holds a key: “At times Lillian remembered her husband, and now that he was no longer the husband she could see that he had been, as much as the other men she liked; handsome and desirable, and she could not understand why he had never been able to enter her being and feelings as a lover. She had truly liked every aspect of him expect the aspect of lover.” (From Ladders to Fire)
I first came to Teddy as a customer. I always liked him. I always considered him a friend. When I returned to Buffalo in the spring of 1981, I was lonely – & confused about my relationship with Donovan Murphy – & still smarting over my break-up with Jon Kudzma. & although I had a job, I couldn’t survive on my own – I needed a partner. I had never done well with roommates. I needed to be in love with someone – live with someone – more than who the someone was. It just happened to be Teddy. Really – if Mac McAnders hadn’t moved into that crappy basement apartment on Richmond Avenue – if it had been an upper apartment in the same building or the carriage house apartment – I would have moved in with him & everything would have been different. But that’s not what happened. The luck of the draw fell to Teddy. Teddy’s love soothed my heart but it really wasn’t Teddy’s love that I wanted – it was the soothing of my heart.
Throughout everything that’s happened to me – the affair with Jesse – the stress of being a stripper – my whacked-out moods – Teddy has soothed my heart. I have to give credit where credit is due. He wasn’t perfect by a long shot but he did take care of me when I needed it & generally asked no questions – I wouldn’t have told him the truth anyway – not because I’m a liar but because I don’t think it’s any of his business & he’s better off not knowing, anyway. No matter how badly he pissed me off – & he pissed me off all the time – I liked him – I liked his personality – I liked partying with him & I liked doing stags with him. I still like him. I care for him – deeply – but I’m not in love. I haven’t been in love with Teddy in years. I want to be in love – & I want to live with the person I’m in love with – I’m tired of the split personality game – I want to be wife & mistress to one man – one man only. & that man is not Teddy.
Still – I feel genuine sadness & grief over the end of my life here with Teddy – after so many years – I lived with him longer than anyone except my family – for eight years he has been my family. & he’ll be all alone – I feel tremendously guilty & depressed about that.
It was easy to stay married to Teddy when I was working as a stripper & needed him to drive me around & play my tunes. He held onto the money & he watched my back. & it was easy to stay married to Teddy when I was in love with Jesse – who was also married – because Jesse wasn’t going to end his marriage so there was no reason for me to end mine.
Pat changed that entire dynamic. He wasn’t married. He didn’t care if I was married. It was like all he wanted was to break up my marriage – just to break it up. He didn’t want me. & I knew better than to want him.
I always thought triangles could work but they don’t work. Someone is always left out. Someone’s feelings are always hurt. They don’t work. One person reaps the benefits but the other two suffer. & it’s just a whole lot of angst & drama for something that is never going to last anyway. You think it’s undying love but nothing lasts forever. Not passion, anyway. The most passionate love is always going to die down. You can’t keep a pot at a full boil – it’ll boil away to steam & burn the pot. You have to have a nice simmer – which I admit is not as exciting – by a long shot – but it’s easier to live with. & honestly – that’s the kind of love I want. One man – one love.
I called my mother & told her that I felt like my sobriety was in danger here – living with Teddy – & that I wanted to come to Cleveland. I said that I really wanted to find my own place – I wanted to bring my books & all my clothes & everything that was mine. She said she understood. I’m going down in a few days & staying there. I’ll look for a small apartment & a job & then come back to get my stuff. I really hope Teddy doesn’t freak out too much when I tell him.
It also occurred to me that one of the reasons I have hung on to my relationship with Teddy all these years even though I was really quite unhappy – since no happy person drinks to excess, does loads of drugs & has affairs – was a reaction to losing my dad. Like everyone says. Not that Teddy is remotely like my dad. I don’t mean that at all. & there was a certain amount of insecurity always with my father – he was always gone – or going somewhere – very rarely coming home & then when he was home, it was always a treat but somehow – I’m just realizing this now – the kind of treat where there was a trick attached to it – or it was damaged in some way – it was never as good as you thought it was going to be. I suppose it’s because my father was a drinking & there was always drinking when he was around & that is an insecure place for a kid to be. Even when the father is famous & you live in a beautiful house.
Teddy hooked up the cable again. Now we have our locals plus TNT, HBO, ESPN, USA & a dozen others.
He is in such a good mood – TV makes him happy – playing with the cats – talking on the phone. Next week the truck goes in the shop – I’m not even sure what needs to be fixed – & then it gets registered in two weeks. He is so excited. He wants to make plans to travel in the spring – go out West – the Grand Canyon, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco.
My heart is breaking.
I watch the news & it is so depressing. Recession, budget crisis, oil prices rising, food, clothes, everything. “This is not a time to be taking a chance, to be going out on a limb.” & what am I doing?
Last night – a heavy conversation with Teddy. He initiated it. He wanted to know what was “the matter” with us. Why have I “shut” him “out”. I didn’t know what to say. Finally I admitted that I was thinking of leaving. He was devastated. I hated to see it. He was almost crying. “I want us to be a team,” he was saying, “I want to be your man, I want to plan our life together, go on vacations, do everything together – sometimes I don’t think you’re even here.” Well – he’s right about that – I’m not here a lot of the time. I’m not sure where I am but it’s not here. He also said that he thinks I’m mentally & emotionally unbalanced.
I said, “Listen, I’m not going to get sober with Darryl calling all the time & Felix dropping by with fat doobies & all the bars I used to drink at right around the corner & you know it. I just want a fucking chance.”
Naturally, he accused me of wanting to go to Cleveland because Pat is there. Which – honestly – I almost wish that I could go back to Boston or go out west or anywhere other than Cleveland. I really don’t want to see Pat again. But my mother lives in Cleveland, so that’s where I have to go. I don’t have anywhere else to go. But once he was on that track, he refused to get off it. So he’s all pissed off at me & says I don’t really care about sobriety at all – it’s just an excuse to see Pat again.
I told Teddy what day my mother was coming for me. He should have gone to work but he didn’t. He made a big scene in front of my mother & all the neighbors & now my mother is suspicious about why I’m coming back to Cleveland. I really am leaving Buffalo because I want to stay sober. It has nothing to do with the fact that Pat is in Cleveland. Like I said the other day – I would just as soon go to Boston or Seattle or any other city at all. Just a place where there’s AA & good coffee.
Samhain. I feel very fragile today. Actually, I woke up feeling OK but very tired – as usual, I was awake in the middle of the night – I no longer have any trouble getting to sleep but I still wake up in the middle of the night & remain awake for at least an hour – it’s very frustrating – especially when I want to be up early & out to look for work. Bob says to go to meetings & say that I’m looking – sober people like to hire sober people. I’ve been getting to a meeting a day since I got here & sometimes two a day. This is the city for meetings, that’s for sure.
Teddy called today – he had to have been fucked up – demanding to know when I was going to be getting all my “stupid books” out of the apartment & that he wanted the dishes – they’re my dishes, in fact they were my mother’s – & he wanted all the Tupperware – the Tupperware! – & he had a whole list of demands that I can’t even remember.
I played the piano for almost an hour. It’s so nice to be able to play again.
Robert Kirsch is a Dharma instructor & a divorce lawyer. I met him Tuesday at Arabica Coffee. He knows Pat – he told me that Pat is in rehab in Minnesota – which is why I haven’t seen him at any meetings. I told Robert about my marriage with Teddy & how it fell apart. I said he was pressing me to get my things out of the house but I didn’t have a job or an apartment yet & I was a little afraid to go back until I had all my plans set.
I tried to joke, “Well, not to sound like a soap opera but I’m afraid if I’m alone with him, he’ll commit me or something!”
Robert laughed but he was serious. “It’s not a soap opera, it’s real life! I deal with this all the time! A husband has full right to commit his wife. I mean, there has to be a has to be a hearing but it can be done.”
Well anyway – Robert is now my lawyer. I am not going back to Buffalo. Not right now anyway. I don’t have to do what Teddy wants me to do. & he can’t touch my things – I have a right to leave them there until I come back for them. I have to make a list of everything I want – everything that’s mine – everything I feel I deserve.
Now the fun starts.
Another beautiful day. Overcast today. Yesterday the sky was a clear, stunning blue. Such warmth – amazing warmth. “Unseasonably warm,” says the radio stations – it’s in the mid 70’s. It’s at least 10 degrees warmer than Buffalo.
Another beautiful day. I raked the front yard after sitting in meditation a half-hour. I also cleaned the kitchen today. Mom & Bob went to Akron to visit Dr. Bob’s house & go to a meeting. I like having the house to myself.
I called Teddy last night & told him I wasn’t coming up Monday. We got in a little argument but I kept my cool. I had just been meditation – a full moon ritual – & before that, an AA meeting – so I felt really serene anyway. I wouldn’t let him get to me. Regardless, I feel sorry for him.
I went to early Mass this morning – to please my mother – then went to the Dharma house for the Sunday meditation. The Dharma house belongs to John Bembo – like the Renaissance poet – he knows Pat, too. Pat’s been art of the Dharma group for years, apparently – they’ve seen him in all stages of addiction & recovery. Nobody is surprised that he’s in rehab. There’s six guys in the group & two women – Robert’s wife Wendy is one of them. They have four kids, all very young.
Today was 3-hour meditation – sitting meditation, walking meditation, chants & instruction. I received instruction from both Robert & Val & I told both of them how much trouble I’ve been having sitting – sleepiness, leg falling asleep, slouching – not feeling like meditating on a daily basis – I do it anyway – & they both said that was good – my ego putting up a good fight – & I was doing alright – just keep sitting & studying & it would get easier.
In the Cleveland Arcade, having a coffee. The bus got me here 45 minutes earlier than I needed – I have a job interview at P Publishers at 9:30 – so I stopped here. The coffee’s so nice & warm – Yemen – smells so good –
I hope this interview goes well. I have to take a typing test & a math test as well as the actual interview. I certainly look the part. I plan on going to the public library after the interview. Cleveland’s library is beautiful – gorgeous old building – beautiful reading rooms – paintings & murals – just lovely.
& there is nothing like the Arcade in Buffalo. I love sitting here & looking up at all the glass & iron. & all the coffee shops here in Cleveland – like bars, almost – serving so many different kinds of coffee from all around the world. There are nowhere as many bars as in Buffalo. It’s funny – I thought a bar on every block – or two or three to a block – was normal! I guess that’s normal for Buffalo but not everywhere. Oh well – it was fun while it lasted. I don’t mean to imply that there are no bars here. But they are much quieter – I mean, their signs & façades – they don’t seem to jump out at you like they do in Buffalo – like “Look at me! I’m a bar! Drink here!” – one or two neon beer signs in the windows as opposed to five or six.
Of course, it may be different over in West Cleveland. I’ve heard it’s much more like Buffalo over there. I’ve never been over there very much – not at all, really.
I called Teddy last night – a very mellow conversation. I’m going to get my things as soon as I get a job & my own place. I’m dying to get my own place. I miss Shadow & Missy. I want my own place so I can get my own cats & be a family again – even if it’s just me & the cats. That’s family enough for me. For now, anyway.
& I’m not feeling well today. My head aches, my throat is sore, my sinuses congested. & I’m dying for a bump. I don’t know why but I do. It’s really strong, too – the strongest jones I’ve had since I got sober. I don’t know where it’s coming from. Unless it’s because I talked to Teddy. & I couldn’t help but wonder if he had gone back down to Lackawanna & that was the trigger.
Incredibly homesick. Last night – dreams of Teddy, his face unbelievably tender as he told me “the door will always be open” – Shadow, laying on his back & purring as I cover his belly with kisses – I had no idea I would be this homesick.
Was it only last week I was the happiest girl in Cleveland & I never wanted to go back to Buffalo?
I tell myself it’s because I’m broke – I’ve got cabin fever big-time – I want my books – & my sewing & my embroidery. I want my drawing paper! I want, I want, I want – that’s me. Never satisfied.
Last Friday night, the Dharma group went to hear Gelek Rinpoche talk. Robert studied with him years ago. A small man – Tibetan – round & merry – with smiling eyes & very white teeth. I felt good about my practice. So often, I feel defensive – since Pat used to tell me that “witchcraft” was ego-glorification – or now, how Robert says the best way is the Buddhist way. This does not seem very different than the “one true religion” talk I heard when I was a girl. I don’t believe in “best ways” & “one true religion” – there are as many ways as there are people – to say your way is the best way is arrogant. Talk about ego! But I didn’t get that feeling about Rinpoche at all. At the end of the talk, he embraced Robert & they talked a little bit & then Robert introduced me to him. He held my hand & looked deep into my eyes. I said, “I only received instruction a month ago.” He said, “That is good!” & gave me a bear hug. I felt accepted. I hope I get to see him again.
I had to get a State I.D. I was told it was on W6 so I took a bus downtown & got off at the Public Square, walked on Ontario Street to Prospect Ave & Prospect to W6. There was a State Building there but it wasn’t the right place. I had to go another 5 blocks to the “Licensing Bureau”. It was windy & rainy but still warm – clouds of fog were moving through the buildings like large ghosts. As I walked up W6, I felt a sure sense of déjà vu – I had been here before – in a dream or in a past life – some time or another. Anyway, it was a great street – old store fronts being remodeled or renovated – whereas the same street in Buffalo would be all boarded up or hit by an arsonist or torn down already.
I got to the Licensing Bureau & there was a sign on the door announcing that they weren’t issuing State I.D.s today! Another sign said that to get a State I.D., you needed a Social Security card as well as a birth certificate so I wouldn’t have been able to get an I.D. anyway – my SS card disappeared years ago. Maybe it’s in some scrap book somewhere but it’s not in my wallet where I need it. So I asked where I could get one & I was directed to the Federal Building – E9 & Lakeside. So I took off again.
Lakeside Ave is a real nice street. The wind was blowing, the rain flying – the lake was grey & misty – low dark clouds moved over it – seagulls & pigeons huddled on the ground, unable or unwilling to fly.
The Federal Building is across from the Galleria, which is a much smaller mall than the one in Buffalo. But much more chíc.
Luckily, I had enough I.D. on me to get my SS card – my library card & my Sheriff’s card from 1978 & my birth certificate – or else I would have been plumb out of luck there too! So then I went over to the temp agency & got all my I.D.s together & I was hired. I got my picture taken by Deb, my new boss & now I have another I.D. – this one for the temp agency – to identify myself when I show up at an assignment.
The job I’m starting on Monday is for the temp agency itself – addressing Christmas Cards for various clients – because I have such nice handwriting. I guess not many people have good penmanship nowadays!
So then I walked back up Euclid Ave – through the Arcade – said hi to Ragtime Annie, playing the piano – then went to the library. Last night, after class, I took my little notebook & wrote down all the titles of Goddess books I haven’t read. I searched them in the computer & then went to the second floor where I hoped I might find them – I found all the books on my list & more. Of course I could not begin to take out everything I wanted so I have to limit myself to just a few. I also got out some novels for fun.
I’ve been reading “The Coventry Reader”, a newspaper of poetry. I’m definitely going to submit some of my work.
I went shopping today. I went to the Goodwill store. I bought a denim skirt, full & ruffled & a grey wool suit. The suit is fully lined & it fits like a dream. The suit’s skirt is very straight, ends at the mid-calf, with two small pleats at the bottom. The jacket has a round collar, no lapels & buttons down the front. Very feminine, very plain, very serviceable. The skirt was $2.50 & the suit was $5. They have more thrift shops here than I have ever seen anywhere & the deals are amazing.
Tomorrow I’m going to look at an apartment on Euclid Heights Boulevard. I hope i can get it – I want to be moved in by Christmas – New Year’s by the latest.