I froze for a second after reading it. My mind raced and scanned for what it meant and why someone would ask me that. I hope you’ll pull up a chair. I have something personal to share. l may leak some tears as I write. But they are tears of victory, joy, and just the poignancy of a messy beautiful life. Most of all they are tears of love for myself. I love myself more than I ever knew was possible. I am fierce about that love. I am filled with the imprint of the Divine. I will not give that a name because it is too sacred for me to have a word for.
But I didn’t always feel this way. And now…this story, happens to be one I never ever thought I’d repeat EVER. And here I am speaking it in a public arena. That, my friend, tells you how far I have traveled.
I had been married for 25 years to the same man and had 6 children with him. I was a devoted wife and mother, and had my head and eyes down for over 2 decades. As time passed, things got rough inside my heart and in that marriage. I had nothing left. Nothing. I wasn’t sure what to do. And then the unthinkable happened. I found myself attracted to another man. Even finding myself with the thought of that was a crushing terrifying realization. In the interest of space I will just say that I had an affair. It wasn’t overnight. It happened slowly and felt beyond my control. Of course it wasn’t. All I knew was I couldn’t stay…(he didn’t deserve this) and I couldn’t go. How could I burn down a family of 8. Who does that anyway? What kind of a human? I went. And the tunnel of terror and darkness and, yes, shame and fear was massive and dark and long and felt endless. I bring this up why? The major emotion that I felt was shame. And… I was shamed by most everyone I knew. The things I heard whispered about me and spoken aloud about me and that were spoken TO my face are too many to count and to horrible to repeat. Ironically I am very grateful today for the amount of shaming I endured because in a very real sense it killed a large part of my ego. The ego needs something to be proud of to exist and in those days there wasn’t anything anyone was finding redeeming about me. I had the church knocking on my door to “discipline me”. Everything I knew or was familiar with I lost. I had only one single friend who asked, “What now? What do you need? Tell me who you are.” I will always be grateful to her.
So.. this message came in today. And it came after 7 years of rebuilding and growth and intense personal work. Seven years of being meticulous that I never had to tell another single lie, no matter how small or insignificant. Not one. I can tell you that for at least 5 years I have not felt the emotion I felt today…it felt like bile and shame and fear rolled into one. I discovered that shame is a deep thing that may lay dormant and seem resolved. As I stared at the message I couldn’t figure out the purpose of it. Was it someone taunting me? Implying I was a fraud? Or was it someone asking a legitimate question? Or was it someone trying to see if I was interested in something with them? I have no idea.
After blocking the number I sat to think. I became very very VERY clear about who I am, what I do everyday, what my every waking breath is devoted to. I felt shame back away, That was an old emotion that had no place with me back then and certainly doesn’t now. I decided that whoever asked me that, for whatever reason, had zero power over me, even to disturb me in the slightest. I centered myself clearly in my
power and love.
And then I decided to write this. What is brought into the light cannot be held in darkness.
Back to the question asked…is it okay to cheat on your spouse? I think the answer is inherent in the wording of that question. That is why I assume it was not an honest question. However, I have a question of my own in return. “Have you ever done something at any time of your life that you regretted deeply and wish you hadn’t?” Who among us can stand if we can only stand with a clean slate?
I know for myself, I will never BE in another relationship if I cannot discuss openly my needs and my emotions without reprisal. I will never again BE in a relationship in which I have a desire to “cheat.” However, I cannot answer that question for you. I can tell you that if you want to cheat on your spouse, I am sorry. I’m sorry for how you got there. For how your heart feels. And for the turmoil. And for the shame you likely feel. And the fact that we can’t discuss this openly, instead of an anonymous text is proof enough of the archaic mindset around this. If the poser of that question was by chance trying to interest me, I can say with compassion, “not interested in the least” and I’m sorry for where you are. It’s a very hard battle to be in. It goes WAY deeper than the label “you’re a bad person.”
I will never EVER hide again. If you feel shame about something I hope you will join me. I will happily discuss anything in the light of day in an arena of love and acceptance. I thank the sender of the question, whatever the motive, for prompting this discussion. I only have room in my life for light…the brightest and purest kind. It surrounds and engulfs me. I live the most beautiful life I could ever have imagined now. I’m very grateful for every single thing that happened. But shame? no…the light is switched on.