Writing Myself Out

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As a child, I have a distinct memory of my mom telling me by no means did I need to be married to have my own children, that I could have as many children as I wanted on my own so long as I was able to care for them, that I did not need a man to have children.

Yes, my mom is amazing and progressive and wonderful, this I know. But that’s not what strikes me most about this memory. What stands out is my desire, even back then, not to be married.

I was never the girl who wanted the ring and the wedding and the man (or woman). I never fantasized about my wedding day or my dress or my name next to his (or hers). When other girls did the same, I wondered at their desire to be suffocated by another because in my mind that’s what marriage represented: a lack of freedom, a loss of independence, submission of my desires and dreams to another.

And yet, I was one of the first of my family and friends to get married.

I should have known when he told me to hide my engagement ring from his friends the same night he gave it to me that everything about what we planned was wrong. I should have wondered at his insistence we marry when he knew full well I wanted to do nothing of the sort. In fact, I told him once while we were dating that I could be with him always, I was loyal, I was a taurus for god’s sake, I just didn’t want to be married.

And yet, I said yes.

Over the years I’ve often thought back to that moment when I stepped out of the shower and wrapped in a towel, he gave me that ring and I said yes. Why did I say yes when I knew in my gut, my answer was no. Or maybe sometime later. Or maybe this is moving too fast and we should think about it a little more. Or maybe let me breathe, motherfucker, you already moved your ass into my apartment when you knew I didn’t want you to, now this, too?!

And yet, I said yes.

There is much about myself during those years I don’t understand, but mostly is my inability to stand up to him. Ever. Prior to him, I had always been in control, the holder of the reins, the one with all the answers, all the plans. With him, nothing of the sort. I gave into all his demands and desires, setting mine aside to keep him happy and feeling like a Man.

Because that’s what attracted me to him in the first place – he was a Man among boys. He knew what he wanted, he was brilliant, he was sexy, and he had a panty-melting voice. He took charge of a situation, made decisions, didn’t ask what I wanted because he could make that decision, too. And after a string of guys who couldn’t be bothered to make the most of their talent or brains, he was a breath of fresh air.

Little did I know the very qualities I found attractive in him would become the very qualities I also grew to abhor, the qualities that left me gasping for air and wondering how to escape. And even though those qualities began getting under my skin during our earlier moments, I remained with him seventeen years.

SEVENTEEN YEARS.

Because not for nothing, I was a perfectionist, so even when my life was not so great and I was hardly happy and I wanted out, I remained and I made sure everyone, and I mean everyone, thought we were rock solid. We were “that” couple to most who crossed our path and it was my job to maintain the image, not expose any of the cracks and fissures, the impossibilities of being “that” couple.

And then I started writing.

And then I turned forty.

And then everything exploded.

In an article on poetry and her work, Emily Carr discusses writing herself out of her marriage – the second I read that phrase, it struck a chord. It’s exactly what I did.

I wrote myself out of my marriage.

My worlds, my characters, my words – they captivated me in ways nothing or no one had or could. They empowered me, fulfilled me, became my obsession and once I gave them freedom and allowed them to escape the confines of my jumbled up, cramped-t0-capacity, full of dragons and swords and skin-tingling sexed up brain, they became my everything.

I wrote.

And wrote.

And wrote some more.

The words poured out of me, morning noon night, landing everywhere in our lives, taking up my time and space and affection, pushing him further into the recesses of my here-and-now, and in the process, they gave me strength and fortitude and goddamned motherfucking balls. And somewhere in all of that, I became me – ME – and he became not so important, rather insignificant, more an equal than someone to consider first.

He often asks in frustration and anger for me to list the things I did wrong in our marriage and because I do not want to engage him in such pointless conversation, I say I did nothing. But I know exactly what I did.

I wrote.

And through writing, I rediscovered myself, that badass girl who loved her girlfriends and laughing until she snorted and rough kisses and tangled bedsheets and whiskey and taking chances and the beach and the woods and living life loud and hard. And who wanted freedom wrapped in tenderness and love, but most of all, freedom. Freedom to be herself in whatever form she might take at any given moment.

Freedom.

Freedom.

Freedom.

So I wrote some more. And kept hacking away at that thing called our marriage.

Once I found myself and stopped putting him first, all hell broke loose, gently in those early days, so gently we both believed we were having fun, but then not so gently. And even so, I kept writing and he complained and grew distant and changed and I didn’t really care because I had my words and my strength and fuck him, this was about me – we’d done enough of him.

And yes, I did a lot of other things to destroy our marriage – I am far from perfect and I am most definitely not easy to love – impossible, if you ask him – but my main nuptial crime was finding my words because once I found them, it was only a matter of time before I would circle back and find myself and once I found her, the rest would be easy.

I wrote myself out of my marriage.

Thanks to Wyatt and Dev and Ryker and Jools and Darby and Jedda and Abha and The Sanctum Trilogy and Dutch and Juma and The Keeper Series, that’s exactly what I did. Thanks to poetry and sex and love and rhythm, and their interplay, their beat, their uh-huh, that’s exactly what I did. Thanks to my friends and my family and my tenacity, that’s exactly what I did.

I wrote myself out of my marriage.

I never intended this to happen and despite what he might believe, I never intended to hurt him, but nor was I ever meant to be captured in a net and placed inside a jar. I was never the girl he imagined, I simply snuck into her closet and borrowed her clothes for a while, all to suit his purposes. And then…

I wrote myself out of my marriage.

And in the process, I gained what I’d always wanted, since I started asking questions, since I could remember:

FREEDOM.

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*this piece was also featured on The Huffington Post
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13 thoughts on “Writing Myself Out

    • thanks babe – our journeys seem similar in certain respects so it makes sense our writing speaks to each other. glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the reblog – BLUSH. xx

      • Blush – you’re silly! I love hearing how you shed that old skin that didn’t fit. I totally get agreeing to things and not knowing why. I had second thoughts about getting married, but it felt like an out of control train (The invitations! Showers! Parties! Dresses! Gifts! I can’t back out now!). Thank god and every other higher power that I got myself out – as you did. Mine was defeating me, slowly but surely. Xo you’re an inspiration.

  1. Madhuri—–I don’t know if I’ve read a better or more liberating piece from you (or anyone, for that matter). To place writing as the engine that motivated you and found you and broke open the doors and windows for your future—amazing. these are wonderful lines: “My worlds, my characters, my words – they captivated me in ways nothing or no one had or could. They empowered me, fulfilled me, became my obsession and once I gave them freedom and allowed them to escape the confines of my jumbled up, cramped-t0-capacity, full of dragons and swords and skin-tingling sexed up brain, they became my everything” in a fit of depressed feelings, I told myself this week, “you don’t need to go on writing, you don’t need it”, but you show me so vividly how much I need it, just to keep that freedom alive, to keep me alive. Thank you, dear Mahduri, for sharing this. It meant a lot to me.

    • my dear dear Daniel, do not ever stop writing. good god, writing has saved me too many times over the years, when I felt so close to just slipping into my deepest selves and getting lost for a bit, my writing always pulled me out for the mere fact that to write I have to be present. And to be present, I cannot sink into myself too deeply or for too long. I find tremendous comfort in living inside my crazy imagination, but such behavior doesn’t work so well when trying to live with and among others, so writing has always helped me bridge this gap. I’m so glad my piece spoke to you – it felt really good getting it out this morning. The idea – writing myself out of my marriage – hit me suddenly and just as quickly, the words of the post poured out onto the page. Sometimes the process is just magical. Keep writing, keep living, keep making magic. xx

      • oh Madhuri—-thank you so much for your reply….it was so uplifting….yes, discovering this “magic” that writing makes it so you have to be “present”….how much I appreciate you for taking the time to guide me!
        love,
        Daniel

  2. Hi Madhuri,

    Wow. Poignant words. I wondered why I wasn’t able to find your blog. When I checked Google+ and saw the name change, I knew.

    You have to do what makes you happy. We’ll talk a little more through e-mail.
    I’m proud of you for finding your truth and happiness! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Spark – I Hold Your Heart

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