Saturday, July 24, 2004

Parallel Lives

There's something I am thinking, but I don't think I'll be able to think it all the way through, unless I write.

In his book, "My Life," former President Clinton writes about how living "parallel lives" has affected him. As a child, he was the son of an abusive stepfather, even saw a bullet being shot at him and his mother.  His stepfather drank too much and was not nice to him or his mother when he did. Still, the young boy Clinton, continued to go to school with a smile on his face, hiding this private torture, which is far more extensive than I’ve described it here, from his friends and community.  He felt less of a person because of that part of his life, so he didn’t choose to make it a part of his “public” life.  As time passed on, the world came to know about the parallel life he lived as an adult, as a womanizer and adulterer, most admittedly with Monica Lewinsky. But it wasn’t until the world came to know his secret that he admitted to himself, through intense counseling sessions, that he had chosen to live these parallel lives as an escape mechanism. It was the tool he learned to use.

As I heard him read his book via audiobook, and heard what he had to say, I knew that what afflicted such an amazing politician and charismatic person was the same thing that afflicts me.  I know that I am working toward “fixing” those problems … but I feel far from overcoming them. As a child I was sexually abused, my father drank, we were poor, I wore yard sale clothes, I hid all of this from the kids at school, and became an academic achiever, later going to college, hiding there behind hot checks and credit problems. I carried that into my adult life where I developed my addiction to the Internet and to sex first in 1995. Somehow after I got married, I was able to live what seems like in hindsight a fairly normal life, but I’m supposing that I somehow lived a parallel life at that time too. I’ve certainly held on to BV all these years and think I always will. Or maybe I’m afraid that by getting better, I’ll have to admit to myself that I have to let him go. He has been my promise of true love all these years … an untouchable one, but there and a very real feeling inside me.  Someone to excite me, and to love me and hold me close, if only in his heart, when I needed to be held. At times, I’ve felt he was my survival tool.  Him, this man I’ve never met, never touched, but loved in a way that is very real. And now again, my addictions have returned, covering the feelings of anger, hurt, frustration, isolation, loneliness. I’m not dealing with those things – why should I, I can live another life?

Even one of the members of the Internet addiction support group I belong to online asked that question … is it possible that you’ve always kept a secret life and you think that you have to continue to do that?

And as I look at everything I have just written I see parts of it that I can tell to some people, but realize that there is nothing that I will ever feel comfortable telling to all people. I am afraid of rejection, afraid I will be left with nothing and no one, in shame and complete disgrace.

As I go through counseling and read what I have read on co-dependence and self-esteem issues. I know that the first person who has to accept that this is who I am, is me. For my life to come together, I have to be willing to see all of that, and know it is me, and find a way to love the person that is hidden underneath all that.  It sounds like a far away dream … like, “Oh yeah, right! As if I’ll ever reconcile all this in a lifetime.” Yet, it feels obtainable too.

Sort of a weird aspect to all this is that as I feel myself beginning to feel, I feel less and less inclined to write here, in this blog of “Rae’s Confessions.” In my “real” life,  I am not Rae, and I have nothing to confess. In my “secret” life, I am willing to tell the world about the men whom I have met through the Internet and just what I have done with them. I’m not willing to share with that same audience the person who is healing and becoming stronger, even if not as quickly as she’d like. She’ll come back and write notes to her past lovers, but never one to herself, her whole self.

I wonder if Rae and I will ever meet?



Summer said...

Very interesting Rae. I'll have to think about this one for a while. Hope you're well. I'm back.

Rae said...

I didn't see your comment until today. I'm glad you are back. Sorry though for your pain. None of us wants to be pitied, and I don't pity you, only wonder how life can go this way for some of us.