Hi… Oh dear. feels a bit like I’m stalking you and I really don’t mean to. I have the urge to write to you this evening and I am not really sure why. I think its because I don’t know you at all. And yet I know you are there, like a little pinpoint of light. I don’t have to worry about letting you down or diappointing you or blowing your idea of what I’m like cos you don’t have one.
Tough evening. My situation is nothing like as awful as that of most of the people who have written to you. I don’t have any eating disorders or addictions (unless you count chocolate), I’m not in a violent situation or so desperate for contact that I’d screw random strangers.
Its just that I’m in a difficult situation. Married… been together with him for so long, almost as long as I can rfemember. I was 21 when we met, I’m 36 now. We have two beautiful little girls, Teri (8) and Emily (4). I do my best for them. I really, really want to do my best for them. I really believe all children are born into this world pristine and perfect, deserving of love,warmth, laugher, fun and care. When I read about how things were for you when you were a little boy, I cried. It shouldn’t be that way… and for what its worth, I’m so sorry. If I had known you when you were a little boy, I would have hugged you and tried to take away the trouble in your eyes with a mix of kindness, pancakes, football and gentelness which in my experience works with most kids, at least to some degree..
Being a Mum is the best thing I have ever done. I think the only thing I have every done which I have no doubts about at all. It makes me happy.
But my relationship is just in pieces. We used to be so happy. I’m not sure where it all went. I think my husband has depression but he refuses to admit it and will not get help. Its such a conniving unfair, sneaky sickness. It makes him believe that the whole world - especially me - is against him. He can be so angry and dismissive. I feel as though he hates me. I am frightened of the way he can turn the air around him black with his bad mood. It affects us all. I want to leave but I am so scared to do it. Its been like this for so long now. Tried therapy, couples therapy, tried listening, tried getting angry, tried talking to the doctor (but he won’t go himself so what is the point?) tried - feels like I tried everything.
Evenings like this make me so sad. We have a lovely house, it was bright and warm, the children were looking forwards to seeing him, I had cooked dinner, but he came home and it was all wrong in his eyes. The house was untidy, the children had not eaten up their food and were therefore lacking in appreciation, discipline, self control, and all kinds of other things, I used the wrong facial expression when he said our oldest daughter is not disciplined eb=nough… he yelled how wrong everything is, I took the kids upstairs and gave them a lavender bath and played with them a bit, pretended everything was totally fine, reassured them that daddy was OK and no, I had not been crying, I just have a new mascara which smudges easily (of course I know they don’t buy that and only pretend they do, but I have to say something. Cant cry in front of them), and put them into bed. I feel like I am the only one holidng this whole construct in the air. Sex life - nil. Love and affection, nil. Warmth… nil…
And yet to the outside world I think we seem like we are in such a good place. We have a nice house in a lovely area of Amsterdam. We both have a good job. We are both realtively attractive people, all four of us healthy and apparently happy. I run a craft club for women in my area and have just written a book on children in war zones. I work for various non profits and though I don’t work full time I have a good job, very worth while. I have worked with vicitms of human trafficking and other groups which sound worthy. I don’t know, from the outside I think it looks good. But from the inside it looks so dark. I hate it when people ask me stuff. ” How was your holiday?” I give them a smile and say it was nice, thanks, how was theirs? I wonder what they would say if I told them the truth. ” Well he didn’t speak to me for the first four days. Then I told him that I found his behaviour rude. He swore at me, told me I was stupid and nothing I said interested him - in front of the children - I can’t stand that. I ended up yelling at him on a rural french road, observed by thunderstruck locals. The absolute lowest point was somewhere along the Atlantic coast when he yelled at me and at Rose. I went off to do the dishes. Rose came out of the dark and asked me in a furious whisper why I had married him, he is so horrible. I cheered her up but after she went again I stood and cried over my dishes. A man came and made reassuring noises in French. I told him I can’t even speak French and then stood and laughed and cried - it was so bad it was funny. At the end of the holiday I told him I was taking the kids to Disneyland and he opted to come. So in the end we came back as a family. Or at least as close as it gets to one. “
Oh boy… you must be used to people suddenly pouring out their hearts to you by now. I’m a little ashamed of this mail. I don’t really know why I have written it or what I want from you. But it feels good to write it down. Wasn’t quite sure where else to go tonight for just a little quiet company. Not sure i will send it. Will think about it first.
I hope you are OK, especially that nose. Like all women I know I have a tendency to think that once I am better I can do everything again. I changed all the sheets on the children’s beds, putting on their winter comforters, and then on my bed - then I was so tired I had to lie down on it!
So I wrote the first part of this mail an hour ago and have decided to send it after all. May it find you well, riding a New York autumn wave of warmth, contact, and company.
PS I like that you sign yourself JR. Sudden childhood memories of an abysmally bad Amercain TV series, Dallas, in which a vaguely remembered main character was called just that - JR