Saturday, March 24, 2018

No Idea Where You're At--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Thursday, April 25

     Golf Guy gave me a free lesson this morning. I know he didn’t do it just to be nice. I’m attracted to him, however, and I’m not attracted to many. But he's a golf pro, and they have a reputation.
     Golf Guy worked on my swing. He showed me how to move my hips. He shot video. He played it for me in a shed off the driving range and hovered close over my shoulder pointing things out. I thought he was going to kiss me.
     “How long have you been divorced?” he asked.
     “Almost 24 hours.”
     “Oh,” he said, taken aback. “That soon?”
     “Fresh out of the box.”
     Golf Guy visibly downshifted.
     Later, I had dinner at Dani’s, played pool in her basement, and chain-smoked. I’d quit smoking years ago and would bum maybe one or two a year. But I recently started back up.
     “We look at people in a very black or white way, you know?” Dani said between drags of her cigarette. Dani's a therapist. “We need to stop doing that. I can tell you’re processing this thing with JB in a healthy way. You recognize JB’s abilities and inabilities. People don’t have sharp tools for everything in life. We need to acknowledge that.”
     “Writing helps,” I said. “My thoughts have to hold up to scrutiny. Thoughts ping around in my head and a lot of them don’t do me any favors. It helps I know I’m not my thoughts. I watch them when I meditate. Epiphanies, dinner recipes, judgments, vacation plans, resentments. They’re fragmented downloads. Sometimes they're wise, sometimes redundant and boring. My mind is processing past experiences, the ways I’ve been conditioned by society and family. It’s trying to help me survive. I have to make sense out of those thoughts when I write them down. When big things are happening, I can’t write. Sometimes I can’t do anything. I lay on my couch and stare at the ceiling feeling paralyzed. When I start writing, I relive this stuff over and over. It hurts. It sucks. But I come out the other end better for it.”
     “That totally makes sense,” Dani said, taking another drag. “You have no idea where you’re at when hard things are happening. You’re all over the place. Only after you’ve had time to process can you put it down.”

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