This is part fifteen of the Homey and Me Love Story. It is when my marriage to Rusty had just ended – a few years before I met Homey, but an important part of the story, nonetheless.
It was a Sunday, after church, that I told Rusty I was going to file for a divorce. When he heard the news, he called His parents, and made arrangements to fly back to Utah. Everything was coming to an end. Although I was heartbroken, I was feeling hopeful. I knew that divorce was the right thing for me and for my family. I knew everything I needed to know about Rusty and his affairs. I had spiritual confirmation of my decision. I don’t want to say that I was over it, but I was happy about moving forward with my life.
Throughout this time, I was talking to friends incessantly, including Snoopy. My heart simultaneously leapt and broke every time I heard his voice. He was both comforting and unsettling. We would have conversations where he would make me laugh (he had always been one of the funniest people I had ever known. A little bit about Snoop: he was kind of quiet. He was one of those guys who would sit off to the side of a room, and just kind of chill. Then, when he said something, it was always the best, most hilarious thing anyone said. I loved that he didn’t talk too much. I loved that when he did it was important. There was so much that I liked about him.) All of those feelings were resurfacing, and I was getting confused.
One day, I was talking to Snoopy, and I told him that Rusty was gone and I’d be asking for a divorce. I can’t really remember how it came up, but I told Snoop that I was really happy about it. He seemed a little surprised.
“You have to realize, Snoop, that I’ve been in a bad marriage for a long time.”
“I know, but it seems so soon to be happy about it.”
“That’s what I’m saying, though. I’ve been lonely for years. All along, I couldn’t make sense of how I felt. When I found out the truth, it was hard–really hard–but it was also…liberating.”
He seemed a little surprised.
Then, he started asking me questions.
“If it is so easy for you to get over Rusty, then why did you marry him in the first place?”
“What do you mean?” I knew what he meant, but I really didn’t want to have this kind of conversation with Snoop.
“Why did you marry him? If he was a lying jerk, why would you marry him?”
“Well, I didn’t know he was a lying jerk then.”
“Oh. Okay. Well, what was it about him then that made you marry him?”
“I thought he was attractive,” I said this hoping that I’d be able to think of a way to change the subject.
“What do you find attractive?”
“Well. I don’t know.” In a way this was true, but in another way not as true. At that point in my life, I didn’t know what I found attractive anymore.
“Sure you do. What do you find attractive?”
“Well, when I got married it was a little different than how I feel now. Things are different now.”
“What was it when you got married?”
“Okay. When I first met Rusty, I thought he was cute.”
“What made him cute?”
“He was tall. He had brown hair and brown eyes. He had a nice smile.”
“Is that it? Tall, brown hair, brown eyes?”
“And nice smile,” I said, teasingly…hoping to change the mood of this conversation.
“I’m tall with brown hair and brown eyes.”
“Yes you are. And you have a nice smile.”
“Okay. Then what was it about Rusty?” Have I mentioned that I hated this conversation. Couldn’t we just pretend that Rusty never existed. That seven years passed because of some mystery and I somehow had these two kids, too?
Even though I hated the conversation, I finally just tried to be as open as possible. I supposed Snoop deserved answers. “I fell in love with Rusty because of his vitality for life. He was charming. He was always in the middle of it all. It was intoxicating at the time.”
“Charming, huh. That’s what girls always say. What is so great about being charming?” Snoop didn’t let me answer. “I guess I need to be more charming. Then I’ll get all the women.”
“No, Snoop. That’s not what I’m saying. Rusty’s charm is what made me like him at first. But it also is his greatest downfall. It is why he cheated so much. It is what made him such a great liar. Don’t you see, I was an idiot. Being charming means nothing. Rusty’s charm didn’t do much for our marriage. Because I have kids I hate saying this, but sometimes I feel like marrying Rusty was the biggest mistake of my life. But what can I do about it now? Nothing. It happened. And now I’m getting divorced. I can only be grateful that the Lord blessed me to get out of it now, and that I still have my entire life ahead of me.” Snoop, though still agitated, genuinely listened.
“I guess,” he finally replied.
“Look, Snoop. When I think of you, I’m honestly in shock. I don’t know how you made it through BYU without getting married. You’re attractive. You’re hilarious. You’re smart…I mean…did you get your money back when you graduated without finding a wife to marry?” (I was still attempting to add some humor to all of this).
“But…I’m not charming.”
I can’t really remember the rest of the phone conversation, and perhaps this is more than one conversation I’m remembering getting lumped together, but I do remember getting off the phone, and once again regretting that I had ever met or married Rusty. I especially remember regretting hurting Snoop. I wished that he would be able to forgive me. But there were too many offenses. There was the boy I talked to at the blues festival. There was the time I took Rico Suave to the prom. And, above all, there was Rusty. Despite the pain I must have caused to Snoop, he would still call and check on me. He would still tell awesome jokes and have me laughing in the worst time of my life. He was still my friend.
One night, I was lying on my bedroom floor, listening to John Mayer (huge mistake for a girl who has recently been through a rocky relationship), and daydreaming about Snoop. I had a clairvoyant moment, and had to laugh. I was sixteen all over again! On the floor. Doodling. Writing in my journal. And crushing on Snoop! Admittedly, this time around it was much worse…and it was funny knowing that my kids were in the room next to me, rather than my brothers.
But this moment made me begin to realize that I should probably stop talking to Snoop. I wrote him an incredibly long email, in which I told him how things happened that made me want to marry Rusty (including how things didn’t work out with him, so it made me open to the idea of dating Rusty very seriously). I was as honest as possible. I apologized for hurting him. And I told him that I had to stop talking to him, so I would appreciate it if he didn’t call me anymore.
Obviously, I wanted to talk to him every minute of every day. Snoop helped me to ignore what was going on in my real life. But, I knew that this was not the healthy way to get over my divorce. I had to attend to my own mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health for my own sake, the sake of my kids, and the sake of any other person involved (including Snoop). So…I stopped talking to him.
I hated not talking to Snoop. Prior to my insistence that we stop talking, we did not talk every day. Not even close. Maybe once a week or so. But I loved those conversations. We’d talk for hours, and I cherished every second. I tried to remember each word he spoke. I laughed. I ignored everyone else on earth. Then, after every conversation, I’d call Spunky, or Freckles, or Blythe, (or all three) and recount everything we said, with sighs, giggles, oohhs, and ahhs. Not talking to Snoop, in a way, meant not having hope. But, the Spirit* prompted assured me that not talking to Snoop was the best thing to do.
The night before I went to see the lawyer to file for a divorce, I read a poem by Adrienne Rich:
Diving into the Wreck
First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.
There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
it is a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.
I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.
And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
you breathe differently down here.
I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed
the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and sway into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.
This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he
whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass
We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
our names do not appear.
I was reassured by my choice to stop talking to Snoop. I knew that I needed to dive into the wreck of my marriage, and that I needed to do it alone. Even though doing it alone was so hard, I thought of a plan to help me. I was going to “dive into the wreck,” but first I needed supplies. Instead of flippers and an oxygen mask, I needed three empty journals, the old journals I kept throughout my marriage to Rusty, and time. The next morning, I got up and found the box that my journals were in. I brought them to my room. I then bundled up in a coat, and made my way to the appointment at my Lawyer’s office.
My lawyer and I discussed the divorce, which was easy since Rusty and I didn’t have any shared debts or assets. I paid the lawyer $800. (I would pay him the balance when the divorce went through in 3-6 months.) I left the lawyer’s office and headed to Barnes and Noble where I procured the rest of my supplies for my voyage into “the wreck.” I bought three journals:
My first journal was a sleek, classic Moleskine. It would be a place that I recorded my daily thoughts. I was keeping my normal journal on my computer, but I wanted to have a small journal I could take with me everywhere. Often, I had horrible thoughts, horrible memories. Sometimes, I would write them down. Sometimes, I would write something else down to get my mind off of the memory. Either way, I knew I needed something a little bit more portable than a computer. I also knew that if I was going to dive into the wreck, then I may stir up even worse feelings–likely to come at any time. I wanted to be prepared with a method to both address and dismiss these feelings. A Moleskine would do the trick.
My second journal was the cheapest, crappiest, ugliest journal I could find. Unfortunately, Barnes and Noble doesn’t have many ugly, crappy, cheap journals. I found a black journal with gilded edges for $4.99. It would do. This journal would be dedicated to Rusty. While I was “diving into the wreck”, I knew I’d feel angry. I knew that I would want to yell at Rusty. I would have these dreams at night–where I was doing things to Rusty–screaming at him, hurting him. One time, I had a dream that I was beating him with a lawnmower. I would lift the lawnmower above my head, and heave it, smashing him again and again. He always just stood there without saying a word, unscathed.
This journal would help me to satisfy that angry itch in the most positive way possible. I knew that I didn’t want to actually hurt him–and not because I’m a good or noble person–only because I fear God more than anything else, and I knew that if I was to expect any kind of healing from God, then I’d need to learn to forgive Rusty. So, I resigned myself to imaginary violence by buying myself a journal where I could channel my angry thoughts then leave them.
My third journal was beautiful. It was red leather, with a pretty heart imprinted on the leather. It was simple and classic. This journal was dedicated to Snoopy.
I knew that diving into the wreck would be hard, and that I would crave support. Of course I had the support of my friends, and I wanted their love, but especially wanted support from a man. I had been betrayed and humiliated by a man. I wanted there to be a man who would hold my hand, support me, say nice things to me. In many ways, I wanted a man to save me.
Though I was a damsel (or dame, I guess) in distress, I knew that I would have to save myself if I wanted to really be healed.
So, I bought this beautiful journal, and whenever I felt like talking to Snoop, I’d write him letters. Long letters. I’d write about observations, funny things, sad things, happy things. And so, I began an imaginary relationship with a real person through this journal.
Diving into the Wreck
Now that I was fully prepared. I “dove into the wreck.” Every day, I spent about half an hour, reading through my old journals, “to see the damage that was done and the treasures that prevail.” I needed to search to find “the thing I came for: the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth.” In other words, I needed to see the damage of my marriage and life, find the treasures, the wreck of my marriage (and not just the story of the wreck). I needed to know the truth and not the myth of what I believed my marriage to be.
This poem taught me that I needed to look at the wreck of my marriage from the most objective point I could muster.
I gave myself a time limit each day (30 min-1 hour) and an overall limit A month and a half.
So…I began to analyze my wreck, I tried learn from it, and I promised that I would leave it forever.
*The Spirit you will notice that I often say this. Obviously, I’m a spiritual person. In the Mormon faith, we covenant with God. When we are baptized, we promise to remember God, and Keep His commandments. He promises to bless us with the gift of the Holy Ghost, who will be a constant companion, comforter, and guide to us if we are living worthily. Throughout my life, and especially at this time, I leaned heavily on the Spirit to help me know what I should do.