For Chester, For Me, For You

There's a thousand places, (to match the thousand pieces of my broken heart) where I want to start this writing, but I'm so fucking mad, and sad, so so sad, that THESE THINGS about which I must write (or be crippled by the confusion, and pain) are things at all, that words come to me in rushes, and I think them, and write them, hate them, then delete them. And I have emotions colliding against each other with such ferocity I've felt literally for the first time in my life, over the last few days, that I might pass out. If this is where I am at, I can't begin to imagine where must be those whose pain is mine only by association, admiration, and friendship. By history. By love. This writing which had started out about 2 heartaches, I am refining, which is not to say making shorter, to be about just 1.

I want to be very clear about something; I am gutted by Chester's death, and it is a HUGE  loss for everyone who knew him, loved him, and loved his music. And this time "one of us" for me, for my huge extended Arizona family of ridiculously talented creative feelers, really was ONE OF US. But I do not seek to appropriate the pain of those who REALLY lost him. The one who lost her husband, the children who lost their father. The parents who lost their son. The friends since youth, business partners, and band mates. To them I send endless amounts of love, because if my pain is at 11, theirs must be at 11,000,000.

Chester and I were not BFF's. We were more like super casual F's, (friends, just in case that might read other than intended) who were part of a brilliant, ridiculously talented, absolutely insane in the best, and worst ways, group of people in the music scene in Tempe, (really metro-Phoenix) AZ, at the same time. "Tempe Jangle Pop" was big then, with bands like The Gin Blossoms and The Refreshments making names for themselves on the national stage. But also, The Meat Puppets and their punk/country thing, and Jimmy Eat World, were (and are in the case of Jimmy's band) kinda big time too. DJ Z-Trip, The Phunk Junkeez, Dead Hot Workshop…these are just some of the bands/artists who "made it" to varying degrees, from that time, and place, and only representative of a small percentage of the talent that existed then, in the Valley of the Sun.

By now the world knows that Chester in the mid to late 90's, was the vocalist for the band Grey Daze, with his Club Tattoo business partner, Sean Dowdell on drums. I, when we first met, was working as an independent Booking Agent/Band Manager. Having also been a singer, and writer,  most of what we shared was the arsty fartsy creative thing. I was later to find out we also shared being molested at age 7, and drug addiction. Lucky us, right?

Its not very often I know the exact date I first met someone, but thanks to how we met, and the internet, I know the first time I met Chester was September 10th, 1994. I think he was 18, but maybe 17. I was the Booking Agent for, "Tripping With Grace" and Grey Daze was the support act for them that night. It was my first show with Tripping With Grace, and my first show in the Phoenix scene. Literally in the hundreds is the number of shows I've been to in my life, so thousands is the number of bands that I've seen, and I will NEVER forget that night. Not because he became CHESTER BENNINGTON of LINKIN PARK, but because "who the f is the skinny kid with the braids and the HUGE voice, radiating raw passion, and energy as he sings?!" Truly he was riveting to watch, to listen to, even then. That voice. THAT voice. And him, on stage, so young, unpolished, not yet having perfected the front man thing, but riveting none the less.


Forever in my mind I see his stance, singing, bent at the waist, leaning forward, which anyone whose had any vocal lessons knows is the exact opposite of what you're supposed to do when singing. Cupping the mic in his hands, which anyone who has done any singing into a mic know is the exact opposite of what you're supposed to do. Unless you're Chester Bennington.

This is DAYS worth of writing, attempts at writing, and so little said. Because I stop to cry, and remember, and wonder, and to FEEL my sadness and my anger.  I find myself unable to read most of what is written in the last week about him, except the memories written by my friends, his friends, our friends, and the tributes paid to him by fans. These precious memories we carry of this man who touched so many. Not just with his music, but with his genuine kindness, and humility. I'd say I've strolled down memory's lane, but it has been more like a sunshine filled day – running through broken glass. Looks shimmery and pretty in the light, but hurts like a bitch.

I wrote a blog a few weeks ago, after Chris Cornell committed suicide titled "Who Cares if One More Light Goes Out? In A Sky of a Million Stars… I do." Click Me Taken from the Linkin Park song which Chester, with great emotion, sang the day after Chris's passing. This particular blog is about how us ridiculously talented creative feelers are sort of fucked up in our own ways. But how some of us, inexplicably, make our way around, or through, our fucked-upness, to the other side. The side where we're still fucked up, but we're not actively, or passively, trying to off ourselves because of it. And I wrote of  3 (anonymous)  people whose lives to greater or lesser degrees I have been privileged to be a part of. These 3 people who have had certain situations and circumstances  sadly similar to each other, and mine, and each rose to such amazing heights, in spite of bullshit, and pain, and for a couple of them, (and me) in spite of stupid choices. And Chester was one of those of whom I was speaking. The one of whom I wrote "Rise doesn't begin to describe this story's (not yet finished) end." Because he had "made it." Until he didn't.

The last time I had a real conversation with Chester before he became CHESTER BENNINGTON OF LINKIN PARK, has always been for reasons I could never quite understand, indelibly etched on my brain. 4 years had past since the first meeting. I'd been to who knows how many Grey Daze shows, gotten my first tattoo by a Club Tattoo artist at an event called "Club Sex" which was basically live music and tattoos happening all under one roof, on my birthday (known to some as Valentine's Day), and had seen him out and about every now and again because; music scene.  Now working for Never Records Group as the Local Marketing Representative, I had one of our bands playing a show at Gibson's in Tempe. (Either Lords of Acid or Curve, I can't quite nail down dates)

At one point in the evening I was outside the venue, and Chester came walking up. We hugged, exchanged hellos, and "what are you doing here" sort of questions. And then we talked about real life, and heartache. His heartache. And I see him now, just like I do every time I've thought of this the last 20 years, I see him, leaning up against the wall, hands pushed in his pockets, back curved, leaning forward, head down, one knee bent, and one foot on the wall behind him. When he'd look up, the emotion, the hurt around what he was sharing with me, was written all over his face, and reflected in his eyes. His life, and hurt at that moment in it is not my story to tell the world, and is ancient history now. What I can say is that he told me of new opportunities, and changes he was going to be making because he had to make them. I don't recall what I said, but I'm sure I offered some words in which I'd hoped he'd find comfort, and hugs, and wishes that all would turn out for the best. Then we went inside, him to enjoy a show, and me to work my show.

Within a year or so of that is when he started to become CHESTER BENNINGTON OF LINKIN PARK. Every time I've thought of that conversation over the years, I've thought about how desperately sad he was. How he had no idea that the choices, and changes he felt he had to make, were going to lead him to heights none of the rest of us ridiculously talented creative feelers in Tempe, Arizona, could in our wildest dreams imagine achieving. I know by his own admission that even in his happy moments, he was prone to self sabotage, but I'd like to believe that there were at least some periods of time where he was able to ride the wave of happiness.

Grey Daze was set to do a reunion show in Tempe on September 23rd this year, and I was flying home for it. Having only seen Chester a couple of times since 1998, and always in some sort of mob fest meet and greet situation, I've never had the chance to remind him of that day, and how sad he was, and how far he'd made it. Not just in music, but in life, with the work he did with MusiCares, and in love with Talinda, with his kids, with Club Tattoo. I wanted to tell him how much hope he'd always given me, and how privileged I'd always felt that he, the human being Chester, not the eventually famous guy, had shared something so deeply personal, and allowed me to hold that space for him. And like so many others around the world I wanted to thank him for music, and lyrics, that brought me a measure of comfort in so many moments in time when nothing else could. Even if it was just because his was a voice from home, and a challenge to "scream" with! In this last week I have mourned the loss of that opportunity to say those words, which I do know he is aware of anyway.

This really has been a tough one that has brought back around my lifelong deep think about why so many of us ridiculously talented creative feelers go so low, even when soaring so high. I have grieved for him, for the pain he must have felt. I have cried copious amounts of tears. And screamed. And sang, And danced, And walked. And run. I have asked WHY god bless it WHY? I've sent waves of love, and peace, and healing, to the hearts that need it most, so that I could at least do something. I've been moved by the tributes to him from ALL OVER THE WORLD! Over and over reading words, or watching videos in which someone is talking about how they owe their life to Chester, and Linkin Park. I have had coworkers, and friends tell me that they directly credit Chester with getting them through some of the worst times of their lives.

Tonight, the day after the memorial for Chester, I have found myself in the place I feel I have to be, and that feels right, with all of this. I, as usual, have no answers, but, what is a possible truth that resonates for me, even while knowing it doesn't comfort those he left behind, is that his work here was done. He has touched thousands upon thousands of lives with his music, and with his heart. He has been a voice to give courage to those struggling with depression, and addiction. He has literally saved lives because of those things. And now, he has "leveled up." With his passing people from all over the world are coming together to celebrate him, to mourn the loss of him, and to comfort one another.  Funds are being donated in his name, which will help a someone in need someday. People who may not have reached out for help, are doing so. Suicide prevention information is being spread across social media at a rate I'm certain is much higher than usual. Chester's friends in music are openly speaking of his passing, and urging anyone who needs help to seek it, and to reach out to each other for support, and friendship. People are coming together, sharing love, trying to make a positive difference in the world, because of the skinny kid with the huge voice.

For me the loss of Chester has brought about the renewed desire to have the conversation about how the paradigm of the tortured/suffering/starving artist is played out. How there must be a way to create, and be happy, all at once. Not always of course. Not fake "church lady" happy. But that we don't need to be unhappy because its what we're "supposed" to be. We don't have to self sabotage when we do find ourselves happy. We must tell the ridiculously talented creative feelers that it is OK to be those things when they are tiny humans! Nurture that. Give them the opportunity to explore that. Don't bullshit them about it either. It's not pretty, and it sure as hell isn't always fun. The music business and all of the arts don't often give, but when they do they also have a habit of taking away. Allow the tiny humans the space to create because they need to, but maybe also help them find a practical application for their creativity that will provide a steady income. But don't tell them they HAVE to be a Dr/lawyer/scientist whatever. Teach them the value of taking care of reality, while pursuing their dreams!

I get that I'm not solving the problems with this very 101 "choose happy" sort of thing. See above and "I don't have any answers." But I am willing to shine a light, to be a light, to give a hug, or be the ear or shoulder that is needed. There can't be anything more important to do in this life than that, right? If I never remembered another time when I made a difference in a persons life, I will always know that even for just a minute, I helped a sad someone feel, if not better, heard.

The last thing I want, need, to say, is Thank You to that skinny kid, with the braids, and the HUGE voice. Thank you for crossing paths with me in this reality. Thank you for the music that was the sound track for so many moments large, and small in my life, and not just sad moments, at all!! So many happy memories of you, with Grey Daze, and Linkin Park. Thank you for writing lyrics that I understand at a soul level. Thank you for your courage in being forthcoming about your abuse, your addiction, and your depression because it helped me when I was in my deepest, most dark place, where I didn't care if I woke up the next day, feel not quite so crazy, knowing it wasn't just me who'd ever gone there.. Most importantly, thank you for giving me your trust, and the opportunity to be whatever you needed at that time, all those years ago. I will not say goodbye to you, I will simply say see you later, for whenever later may be, and I love you.


Photos not mine but were found via Google Search


“…Remember You’re Loved, and You Always Will Be, this Melody Will Bring You Right Back Home…”

There are words. So many words. But exhaustion, emotional and physical, keep me from finishing what I’m trying to say to work through this fucked moment in time. Not that it will fix anything or even help anything to make sense.  

Meanwhile, I need to say, you matter. You are important. You are needed. You are loved. Whoever you are. Even if I don’t know you, I care. If you need someone, I’m here. I’m nobody special, except I absolutely am someone special, because you are too! And I will pour every ounce of my love into you if it is what you need to help you get thru. No matter who you are. I will be your sun today, as best I can.

Rest In Peace Chester. I’ll see you on the other side. 

And fuck you cancer. Just fuck you. 

Thank you to my not heros for once again helping me to remain standing in the moments my knees begin to buckle, which are many too many this last couple of weeks. I love you. 

“…you can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life…”

Listening to: A Star Is Born soundtrack – Specifically Kris Kristofferson & Barbra Striesand “Lost Inside of You” – “….lost in the music, and lost in your eyes…”

So, day 4 of being sick, and day 2 of being on and off hyper emotional, along with – I can literally feel my fever breaking as I’m typing this, so, crap shoot as to whether anything is going to make sense, or accurately reflect my thoughts…

One of the biggest parts of me writing in a public format is, just in case what I have to say gets read by someone who might need to hear it. Because along my path, I really could have used a no-bullshit accounting of someone’s experiences, to which I could relate. I read a lot of stuff, including very personal accounts of what women had gone through, but none of them that I saw, were my vibe. There wasn’t anything wrong with what I read, because a persons account of their own experiences can never be wrong, but for me, anything that is too dogmatically religious, or too fluffy spiritual, or too “all men suck” angry, or too victimy (not a word),  causes me to peace out a few paragraphs in. This is probably much more a reflection of me than anything else, but, its my truth. I figure that I’m probably not the only girl on the planet who is convinced that she has a disco ball in her pretty little head,  so everything is spinny, flashy, and just a little bit strange, in a cool way. This isn’t about intelligence though, this is about tone, and tempo, and quite possibly the use of expletives.

Today one of my most long time friends commented on my Facebook post about my blog, that what I’d written really resonated for her. She’s just recently seen the unexpected end of a long-term relationship, and now that she’s kind of coming up for air, is realizing (or maybe for the first time, vocalizing) that it was emotionally abusive. Reading what my darling friend wrote was a FUCK YEAH moment for me. I mean, not because of her pain, and shitty situation. That part of things was more like, awww, fuuuuuccccck. The fuck yeah was that in maybe even the most minute way, putting the life that used to be mine, and my mind, and my heart, and my soul, out in the world for people to see, and feel, made a difference for her. That is what makes being so raw, and vulnerable in a such a public way, absolutely worth it.

I feel that it’s important for me to go a bit deeper about this particular friend, even though I don’t know exactly what were her experiences with the twunt who abused her. It is enough that she has said he was abusive. In one of the very first things I wrote about being abused, I wrote something to the effect of “if you want to know what an abused woman looks like, she looks like me” because I KNOW that I am not, to those who know me, the person anyone thinks would remain in an abusive situation. If I’m not that chick, my girl is even less that chick, times a thousand.

When I met her, she was an on-air personality (read: DJ, when there was really such a thing) at a rock station in Arizona. She also happened to be a champion for local bands, which in part took shape as having a weekly show featuring local music. I was at the time, in addition to whatever my day gig was, working as the Local Marketing Rep for a record label group/music distribution company, and working as a Booking Agent for a Music Management company, and also managing some of my own bands.

Our literal first meeting was when she was doing a live-remote at a local record store, and I was working some new releases for the label, into said record store. Enterprising chick that I am, I introduced myself to her, gave her the CD of one of the local bands with whom I was working, and we swapped business cards, each of us happy to meet another woman working in music. The rest as they say, is history. Crazy, messy, blurry, amazing, silly, dirty, secrets-to-the-grave, trading men like PokeMon while playing strip(ish) poker, middle of the night after a concert and against the rules wearing only our knickers swimming in a glass sided pool at a super swank resort, knock-down, drag-out, Jager Meister infused, shroomy at a Tool concert,  singing ABBA songs into hairbrushes, yelling at mean boys who broke or bruised the other’s heart, history.

About her though, let me tell you. This woman, when I met her, in addition to being a DJ, was a single mommy to a baby boy. And a full-time college student working on her Bachelors Degree, and then went on to obtain her Master’s Degree. I remember sitting in the station with her during her air shifts, and she’d have her books spread out all over the board, studying while songs were playing, while taking calls, while yapping to me, while applying makeup so we could go out after her shift was over. She, in a male-dominated industry, was hugely respected, and in addition to her on air success, ultimately became Assistant Program Director/Music Director. Even though Phoenix is a B market in radio land, or was then, our scene was HUGE at the time. All the Tempe jangle pop breaking out across America.  Which also mean, all the BIG national acts rolling through, and they wanted to know her, ’cause she literally played a huge part in their future success in that market.

She’s a Black Diamond snow bunny skier too. Which means a lot if you’re me, and went skiing with her, and spent most of your time rolling down mountains, and knocking 6’4″ men off their skis by skiing into them. Even though it was my first time skiing, and,  I looked cute doing it, I’m not all shoosh/shoosh graceful, badass, jumping moguls and shit, her!

This is also the chick who interviewed Stephen Tyler, while sitting on Stephen Tyler’s lap, because Stephen Tyler ASKED her to sit on his lap. The interview was, at least on her side, and as always, intelligent, insightful, and professional. Because she is that crazy amazingly cool. Well, except for that one time when we were at soundcheck/pre-show BBQ with Queensryche, neither of us having met them before, and she, as we’re introduced to Geoff Tate, fan girls the fuck out and says “We Love You! Teeheeheehee” all 12 year old at a Bieber concert! And kinda won’t give him his hand back after shaking it. And even though that is a true story, in all honesty, the fact that she fan girled SO hard makes her that much more cool, to me.

Have I mentioned that she’s also in the Naval Reserve? Because she is. Her baby boy is now a college student. And although she’s put radio behind her, she has been super successful in her other career pursuits.  But somehow, this woman, who had done so much that so many would give their left, whatever, to do, who is SO intelligent, and driven, and strong, was in an abusive relationship. And she stayed, as I did, much too long at the dance. Because that’s what we sometimes do, us strong women, who are intelligent, and have a lot going for us. And now she, my dear friend,  says she had been walking in an emotional black hole, but is now on a brighter path to healing. FUCK YEAH!

So for anyone who reads this, who might need it, please know that no matter if you’re being emotionally abused, or physically abused, it doesn’t mean you’re not strong. It doesn’t mean you’re not brilliant, and beautiful. Don’t get down on yourself if you, by all outward appearances, aren’t the “type” that this happens to, because we are all potentially the type that it happens to. And you’re not alone.

Listening to Queensryche – “Someone Else”  – “….All my life they said I was going down, but I’m still standing, stronger proud. And today I know there’s so much more I can be…”


It Wasn’t Just Cheating

Monday morning I got a text from my mom saying that C (my husband) had contacted her asking for my address, so he can serve me with divorce papers. He sent the same text to my daughters. Last Wednesday he asked me for my address, and I told him that I won’t give it to him until I speak to my attorney. Thursday he told me never mind, he doesn’t need it. But Monday he felt it acceptable to send to my mom and children what was very likely the only text he has sent to them in years, that wasn’t initiated by some sort of event, or encouraged by me because of said event. He declined coming to New Jersey with me to visit my daughters in the past, and was reluctant to see them when they came to Michigan, because of how guilty he felt for all that he’d done (that they knew about.) He was regularly invited to get togethers with my family, but always declined, for the same reason. There were times after he did see the girls that he’d comment on, or like their Facebook posts, and a couple of years ago he actually made pics of us and him, his FB profile pic, but other than that, nothing. But when he needed something from them, texting suddenly wasn’t a problem.

I guess it is important to interject that my daughters really love(d) him. When he was good to us, he was really good to us. He was there for my oldest daughter at a particularly difficult time in her life, and she in fact lived with us for  some time. And he flew my youngest daughter to AZ to visit us, as a surprise for our birthday, because she and I share the same birthday. Their father having had his own addiction issues, for my girls to now have a father figure who was loving, and caring, and for us to have our family, was really a big deal. They were all “stepbuddies.” It KILLS me to write about these happy times, and the good things, because it was those things that kept me holding on for so long. There was a point in time, after his first affair came out, that they were both very angry at him, but since I kept forgiving him, and encouraged the relationship between them,  they forgave him too.

But back to Monday, I called him and reiterated that I’d give him my address after speaking to the attorney. I also told him what a dick move it was to text my family when he needed something, after not having bothered to be in contact with them in the past, and when they know he’s a cheating douche again. (Which is really more of a still than an again.) He said he’s willing to hear anything they have to say to him, as long as he got my address, and that he loves my girls, the end. I told him that I had to, for my own well being, tell my full-truth about what had happened, especially to my girls, and he had his network of enablers, band, groupie bimbo, and that he, in refusing to get well, chose addiction, rage, and bullshit over my girls and I, again, and that he might love them, but, he sure as fuck didn’t make sure to keep in touch with them in any real way most of the time, so doing it now was bullshit.

In the interim, one of the girls sent him a text saying she didn’t want to be in the middle, and offering kind words to him. And then he sent me a text telling me that his stepbuddies love him, no matter what happens, and they know that he loves them. And I lost it. After making his friends and family hate me with his lies, after me covering for him to my girls and most of the rest of the world because I wanted to believe that he’d get his shit together and we’d be the family I always wanted and for a while thought we were, he used the kindness from one of my kids as a taunt to hurt me. Because that’s what a sick, manipulative fuck he is.

It didn’t happen anywhere near the way I planned for it to happen, nor was I quite ready for it to come out, but come out it did. For the first time I spoke to people who know me about having been physically abused by my husband. I spoke to the only 2 people whose opinion of me really matters to me. The details of all of it aren’t important for the purposes of what I’m writing here, but for my own healing, the words have finally been said.

He knows they know, so I thought he’d have some shame and actually fuck the fuck off where they are concerned. But today, in true narcissist/sociopath/don’t know what he is but definitely fucked up, form, he “loved” the pictures of my grandson, posted by my oldest daughter of his 6 month photo shoot. The man who was too busy recording with his band and playing shows, and then fucking his groupie, to come meet baby boy, in spite of having said he’d be coming here to see us, a lot, 2 days after my kids found out he beat me up, thought the appropriate thing to do was “love” those pictures. “I can’t even…”

There is the tiniest sense of relief in having done this, but unfortunately it didn’t make me feel dead inside where he is concerned. It didn’t make me stop missing the memory of what we had for a while, and it didn’t stop me mourning what I’d so long held out hope for. But the words had to come out. I have to not let him keep hurting me, and absolutely fuck him for trying to use my kids against me.

This is all so black and white and clinical and un-poetic, and uninspired, and I hate how it reads, but maybe its the topic, or the utter exhaustion I’m feeling.

My ultimate intention for this blog is to be a place of healing for me, and encouragement for others, as well as to shed light on the reality of sex addiction, and domestic violence. I fully recognize and acknowledge that in order to be those things, at some point my posts can no longer be about him, what he did or is doing, or anything but me. But I’m still bleeding, and kind of profusely. Hopefully this mess scabs over soon, and healing can begin.






Don’t Follow In My Footsteps

(Originally published as a “page” but meant to be my 1st blog post.)

To my daughters when someday they read this, to other women in relationships with sex addicts or abusers, don’t follow in my footsteps. Be wiser than I have been. Don’t let your love for another be more important than your love for yourself. I told myself over and over I wouldn’t walk away from a cancer patient who chose to not get treatment, so it stood to reason I wouldn’t walk away from someone with the disease of addiction. In a way it still makes sense to me, but, in the case of addiction, the disease kills more than just the one who has it.

To anyone who sees this, pornography/sex addiction are serious and growing issues. This isn’t about religious morality or anything like that. This is about the minds of people who are fathers, husbands, wives, mothers, sons, daughters, being damaged, warped and twisted in ways that are not imaginable to most of us. Porn/Sex addiction is so much easier to hide than a substance or gambling or even food addiction. But that doesn’t make it less real or damaging.If those affected by this addiction continue to remain silent because of the shame surrounding the nature of this addiction, nothing will ever change. We are so desensitized to sexualized images, and nudity, and technology has made EVERYTHING available at the click of button, and literally anywhere, at any time, that if we don’t start speaking, this addiction will grow exponentially in future generations.

To C’s friends and family to whom I have reached out at various points over the years in a desperate attempt to have a “united front” of people doing whatever it took to help him, help himself,  who instead chose to enable him, help hide his affairs, get him high and drunk, or just turn a blind eye and hate me, while ultimately there is only 1 person responsible for taking the steps to get into recovery, each of you have done him a great disservice. Should something more horrible than what has already happened to him, happen, or should other women be hurt, (and no addict gets better without help) you are all culpable. It was easier for you to help him stay sick and small than to face your own fears. Maybe if just one of you would have helped me support and encourage him, things wouldn’t have gotten as bad as they did. Maybe he’d be healthy now instead of denying that he’s a sex addict. Maybe our marriage wouldn’t have ended.

And to C, I hope that someday you get the help you need.There were never enough words to express the depth of my love for you. And it is who I still believe you to be, underneath the addiction, I still love. I know you believe some of my actions of the past were taken with the intention of hurting you, but it was never that. The shear, utter desperation to reach you when you got to the point where you stopped trying to get help, led me to do anything I had to, even if it made you hate me. Raising the bottom is a real thing, and there were times I had to put my sanity, safety, and well-being first. Those moments were few and far between. I know to you it doesn’t count when I apologize for the things I did wrong if I don’t list them in detail, but every single day I play scenarios over in my head from our past wondering “if only” I had done this not that, maybe you’d have chosen health, and it rips my heart wide open, over and over again. I loved you in spite of your flaws, and hoped to have the same in return.

Michelle Ann Montgomery

Trust, the refusal to change, and the erosion of partnership

I read an article the other day posted on “The Good Men Project” site  written by a man whose wife left him, because she couldn’t trust him to be the partner she needed. Not because he cheated or hit her, but because he didn’t hear her, and he resented her for how she had changed toward him. The part of it that stuck me the most was this:

“…It was the little things. Often, it is the little things that scratch and claw and chip away at the integrity of a marriage until the union and its participants look nothing like they did when first formed.

She was a youthful, fun, vibrant, happy, joyful young woman.

She grew tired, weary, anxious, frightened, sad and angry.

I begged and pleaded for the girl I knew to come back once I stopped recognizing her. I grew sad and angry when she couldn’t or wouldn’t. I blamed her for not trying.

But I think maybe she wanted to. I think she wanted to feel like her old self again. But she simply couldn’t.

Because she couldn’t trust me.

So she kept her guard up.

Because she didn’t feel safe…”

Full article here: The Good Men Project

After reading that article, I realized just how early on my trust had begun to be eroded. It was long before affairs or DV. It wasn’t even the recurrent viewing of porn, while doing recovery work, that started it. It started with things like not placing value on having health insurance unless I had a job that offered it. We wanted to have a baby, and I wanted to stay home with the baby, and that required health insurance. But he didn’t seem to think that was important, or, something.

It was things like him buying a laptop to feed his addiction, while saying we didn’t have the money for health insurance, and starting a business with someone else, when we’d discussed as one of our goals as a married couple, starting and building a business, and quitting a job, spur of the moment, while not having a new job lined up, without talking to me about it, when we had just moved into a new house with higher rent. Or buying a ticket just for himself to visit his son, when both of us were supposed to go, but he was afraid I’d “make waves” with his son’s mother. It was things like not sending the retainer to the lawyer when his son’s mother was trying to take away his parental rights, and me having to be the one who made sure it was sent out at the last minute, so that didn’t happen. And going to Sedona with his mother instead of telling her no because that was THE place I’d been dying to show him, just he and I, romantic get away to my beloved Sedona. I stopped trusting him. Stopped trusting that “we” were the priority, and that my voice was being heard, and that I could rely on him to be my life partner, because of things like that.

I think I probably could have more “easily” dealt with the acting out associated with the addiction, if I trusted him in those ways. But I DID become guarded, and WANTED to not be, but I didn’t feel safe. I didn’t feel like his partner. I didn’t feel like his priority. So in turn I became the person HE couldn’t feel safe with. I stopped hearing HIM. He’d tell me how little things I did hurt his feelings, and I wouldn’t change them, because I didn’t feel safe. I know still today that some of the things he said I did that hurt his feelings were due to DEEP insecurity, and I could never make that all better for him, and I tried to impart that to him in as kind a way as possible. Walking on eggshells because someone has extremely low self esteem, courtesy of their parents, is hard as fuck to deal with. In particular when you see them putting more effort into mending bridges with their parents, which they didn’t break to begin with, than they put into mending the bridges with you, that they did break.

As I have been sitting here writing this I remind myself that if I were having a conversation with anyone, and gave them the full and honest accounting of things that occurred in our marriage, they would likely think I’m crazy for even feeling remorse for having not heard him. Because some of the things that went on were really big, and bad, and ugly, and while in an esoteric sense they are forgivable, in a real life sense, they are “get the fuck away from that person and don’t look back” things.

Considering that he now is claiming to be 100% not an addict, or a man with a history of DV that dates to before me as well, and that all of the problems were because he was married to ME, maybe I’m a little crazy to even be giving a fuck what I did wrong. Maybe since he just didn’t seem to give a fuck that I couldn’t trust him on so many levels, and hence was so guarded and reactionary, I shouldn’t care what I did wrong. But I do. It wouldn’t have made him not an addict because that was always his choice, but at least I wouldn’t have the regret.

To My Husband’s Girlfriend

One would think that phrase would be very hard for me to type. And that the computer screen would be obscured by the tears that should be steadily flowing from my eyes. Maybe because you’re not the first “other woman” in my marriage, the Jerry Sringer-esque nature of the phrase isn’t foreign to me. Maybe because I’m finally sitting down to write again and opening the valve which has to remain firmly in the off position so that I can do things like go to work, and interact with other humans without being a blithering mess, my heart knows that the teeniest fraction of pain will be released in these words, so tears aren’t needed. Or maybe its just that I woke up crying, and cried in the shower, and cried driving home from work, so my tears are on pause.

As these things go, affairs that is, the other woman shouldn’t be the main focus of anger, in my humble opinion. I know my husband, and I know how he pursues what he wants with laser focus, when the object of his desire is a new woman. I’d like to say it’s just because I was that which he pursued, but unfortunately it’s also because I know the lengths to which he’s gone in the past in pursuit of a new flavor, a new high, to satiate his addiction. You’re the new heroine, so, I was prepared to let you off the hook for any culpability in this steaming pile of bullshit. I actually felt sorry for you because, barring a miracle, you will someday be in my shoes, because the addiction started long before I was in the picture. But then you answered his phone when I called. With a fake English accent, laughing in a way that suggested you were mocking whomever was calling, knowing it was me, you answered the phone. 3 times you answered the phone. The 3rd time you’d miraculously lost your accent. Imagine that. And you told me that my husband didn’t want to speak to me, and hung up on me. In that moment, I knew everything about you that I need to know.

As if the lack of not just class, but decency and maturity you’d demonstrated by answering his phone wasn’t enough, you then thought it a good idea to send me a text. A text in which you told me that my husband has spoken in praise of me, and “the time he spent with” me as you so quaintly referred to our 11 year relationship. I’d type word for word what you wrote in the text, but, you know what it says, you wrote it.  I have to say though that the hands down best part of your text was the part that said “I hope we can mutually agree to let the past be the past” etc. You actually thought it would be a good idea to say any words, and those words in particular, to your new boyfriend’s wife. As if you are any part of “we” where my husband and I are concerned. It was those actions, and those words, that let me know you’re not simply some chick who got duped by the charm of a sex addict looking for a higher high. You’re an active and willing participant in ensuring another human being gets REALLY hurt, and a marriage comes to an end. He shouldn’t have let you answer his phone, or text me, but you shouldn’t have wanted to.

None of that is the reason though that I’m writing this. I’m writing this to say to you, while you may have my husband now, and while you may think he loves you and you him (of this I’m not sure, but he does like to move fast, as most addicts do) I got the best of him, and you, and he, and a divorce, won’t change that. And nothing short of full-fledged recovery will ever make it possible for you to know the person I knew, who is nothing like the person whose phone you answered. He has had to compartmentalize so many events, and recreate the facts and details of parts of our marriage so that he doesn’t have to face his own pain, and so that he can say to you and anyone else who cares to listen that the only reason we are still married is “point finger/blame Michelle/blah blah blah.”

I know he’s given you his new party-line about how the reason he’d cheated on me previously was because he became insecure about our age difference, but seriously, even if there was an iota of truth to that, why would you want to be with a man who blamed his wife’s age, of which he was well aware from before the day they met, for his infidelity, and for his now suddenly wanting to get divorced? I get that he’s all like, oh my God, in a band, and charming and what not, but, why do you think he tried to keep your identity hidden from me? Why does anything need to be hidden, if neither of you are doing anything wrong?

You and others can of course could flip the script and ask me why I stayed married to a man who cheated, a lot. I’ll happily say to all of you that the reason is multi-faceted, and the largest part of the answer is not “I loved him” but rather “I’d hoped I could love him enough that he’d get healthy, for himself, and me.” I also couldn’t, and still can’t completely, shake the images of the beautiful man, the man you’ll never know, I met and married, and things he said he wanted to do, and did do, in an effort to get healthy, for himself, and us. But do you really think that he just somehow couldn’t divorce me all this time? Or can you fathom that he actually does still love me, but I moved away because I felt I had to, but we still didn’t intend to divorce, and that you were there, and you don’t really know him, for good and for bad, and that you’re happy to play groupie. You’re easy. You’re new.

While you probably don’t know that while you were being the groupie at his shows, he was calling and texting me that he loves me, and misses “his wife” and that he’s lost without me, and doesn’t know what to do. You might have even been screwing him while he was saying those things to me, I don’t suppose I’ll ever know nor do I suppose it matters. All that matters is, he has chosen addiction, he has chosen you, and that I have to move on. Based on everything I’ve learned about you, you fit right in to the life he’s created for himself since he moved back to Michigan, and it’s that life and those choices that brought his addiction to new lows, so, have fun with that.Have fun being the small voice in his head that tells him you want to answer his phone when his wife calls, to which he listens.

Maybe I’ll thank you someday for being a part of the reason I’ve lost hope that he’ll get his shit together. For now all I know is that I really dislike you, and who he has chosen to be. And I really fucking miss the man I met, whom you will never know. I got the best of him, and you are getting not even a shadow of that.


Day 1 – The Day Hope Had To End

Don’t marry a porn/sex addict who has emotional enmeshment issues with his mother. If you do, and are as stupid as me, you may find yourself 11 years later, crying, for the 11 millionth time. And restarting your blog for the 100th time. And being sick of your own story.

He has a girlfriend. Again. I shouldn’t be crying. But I am. A month ago he was all “I love you, will you move back here” and today he’s got a girlfriend.And he’s desperate for the divorce because he’s not procrastinating anymore. I imagine that has more to do with her telling him to get off his ass if he really is over me.

I shouldn’t have stayed married for so long. But I did. And I let him hurt me over and over and over. But I always held out hope that he’d give us the chance to have a relationship that wasn’t ruled by an addiction. Because I really fucking loved the good things about him. I actually thought 100% that when I moved to New Jersey that he’d get that I wasn’t joking about him needing to get back to counseling and earn my trust, and he’d wake up so he didn’t lose me. It wasn’t a game. I couldn’t stay in Michigan anymore. I never wanted to go back there.

He says he’s not an addict anymore. Like, poof, it’s gone. The excitement of the new chick has him feeling like he did when I was the new chick, I’m sure. But instead of seeing it as that, he’s saying he only did the things he did, because of me. Because he was married to me. And I KNOW it’s not true. And I know I can’t stop crying anyway.

Fuck broken heart bullshit. I don’t want to mourn this anymore! You’d think finding out about women number who knows how many I’d not have tears left. Dammit. I do though.

Its a real mind-fuck, being married to a sex addict. Or an addict in general I imagine. You never know what’s true or real. You can lose yourself. I lost myself. He said it’s me, I’m the reason he screwed so many other women. And the reason he did so many other things I can’t even talk about yet. Because I’m older than him and he felt embarrassed for marrying someone older than him. That story came out last week. The iteration of it changed today. Nothing like being told you’re the reason you got cheated on though.


I feel pathetic and small today. And stupid. Maybe day 2 will be better.