A steely resole with a heaping side of porn

My friend sat at my dining room table eating one of my famous concoctions of salad while commenting she would never think to put all those things together. As she ate the blend of lettuces and radicchio riddled with non-nitrate salami, parmesan cheese, carrots, candied walnuts, dried cherries and sliced jalapeno olives, I pondered if  I had indeed come to be overly familiar with all things incongruent mixed in a caldron in what seemed like much of my life. There was definite irony in her statement and it made me laugh out loud. Possibly my salads reflected my life. 

After I said my final goodbye to the man that held the title of Love, I turned fully toward what was now going to be my life without him. I couldn't continue remaining stuck after all these years. I had been barely present going through the motions of life. Like wearing boots coated in cement, I pushed myself forward. That life without him now became someone named Chuck.

I had known Chuck's family most of my growing up years. We had our first few dates just weeks before I let loose of the man who still consumed my heart. Considerably lost I was in figuring out who I was, how to loosen my grip on the past while taking hold of what was in front of me. What a disastrous way to embark on the life that lay unopened before me - empty tank and dulled senses. Youth is partially dumb. I was that.

The loss was still there. This time I just drove it deeper inside, tried to bolt the door and turned up the music of life. I was 18 years old. Chuck was 24. He drug with him a past of trauma and addictions which were clearly seen by me. Other internal issues worked their way to the surface with time like most things do in a relationship.

Naively I believed the Jesus that had recently saved him was enough to counter what I saw. Warning signs surfaced definitely, but the contrast of what seemed like his desire to serve God glossed it over.  The view from my head and heart said, "He's a good guy, I can make this work."

There is not one molecule in me now, standing this side of age and experience, that would buy into that atherial shit. Not one. Addictions not dealt with properly just resurface in other addictions. I was lacking a full and accurate understanding of how grief and loss color our choices. and how youth makes it virtually impossible to see clear. It made mine cloudy and gray! 

Several times over the course of living have I embarked on therapy, both to remove the toxic in me and change my reactions to others toxins. Therapy helped me lighten the load, be validated, encouraged and let loose of junk. It was in one of those sessions the grandmotherly therapist asked who I was angry with the most.  ME, I said quickly and strongly. My anger at myself for my own role in the whole shit show of my life choices was always running in the backdrop. The tears I have gulped down have been at least half due to anger at me, myself and I's choices in responses to things. Far easier I am on others than myself.

One of our first dates was to a hole of despair strip club. He definitely wasn't shy about his obsession with pornography. I hated it then and abhor anything nearing that genre presently. I didn't get off on it, didn't want to participate in it, and wanted to wash that marginal cheap ass crap off me. Why I didn't speak up, I really don't know. Why didn't I run far away, I do not know either. My voice and heart hadn't fully revived themselves. I wasn't whole either so how could I demand that from him. It's what I deserved I told myself. I missed being picked for the A team so this was life on the B team I concluded. What a dumbass train of reasoning and a stepping stone to co-dependency. I boarded the train with a hint of fear that I shoved down in my hiding place. Boy was it getting crowded in there!

Is this really his thing?  I was disgusted by this consumption of the twisted. I can't have what I really want, so I guess this will do. I'll make it work. Presuming any of us can fix an addiction is preposterous. But, I presumed and moved forward with Chuck. Three months into dating he asked me to marry him. I so wanted to move ahead in life. Unsure of myself, hating college, wanting distance and a life that would take me away from the loss of my deepest love, I said yes. With a call to ministry and a large heaping side of pornography, we were married 8 months later.

I knew on my wedding day, as well as most days leading up to that day, I should not marry Chuck. I knew it like I knew I hated crowds and loud noises and knick knacks. I think my dad knew it too. It was etched across his face as we stood at the back of the church, my arm in his on the verge of walking the aisle. I felt it all, the pause in my dad, my broken heart, the voice that was telling me to run. I braced myself as it flooded through me with each step I slowly walked toward the front of the sanctuary.

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