Who am I exactly?
And I don’t mean metaphorically.
Am I a good wife? Am I a slutty adulteress? I’m both. Or neither. Take your pick.
Sometimes, I’m the perfect housewife who gives a shit about what happens at home, and other times, I’m a hell-raiser on wheels out to get laid as often as possible. Usually, I’m one and the other at the same time. Checked out at home but checked in online.
I forget what I am. I’m a whore. I’m not a whore. Am I someone in between? I haven’t accepted money for sex, so I’m not technically a prostitute. Am I slut because I have multiple lovers? Or am I finally getting what I need?
I’m respectably married to a fine, upstanding solid guy for 20 plus years, so I’m a perfect wife by association,
Yet, I write about adultery every day.
Who am I? I’m wearing a mask just like all of us are during Covid. And I hate the mask. I rip it off as soon as I’m able because I feel trapped by the cover. It’s suffocating. I’m sure you feel it too.
Then I think about all the other masks I wear. I’m an okay mom, not stellar. I’ve mostly given up. He’s 17 and as annoying as shit. You get to the finish line with parenting, and you give up your hands, “I’ve done my best. Please don’t end up in an orange jumpsuit.” I love being a mother, don’t demonize me. I went to endless mommy and me classes, the park, and learning museums up the kazoo. I just don’t see the results. They are somewhere under his sullen attitude and ever-present headphones.
I have a dog that loves me, at least.
The mask of a good daughter is another. I tried and failed with that one. My mom is a tough nut. “You sound like your mom,” my hubby says when he knows it will piss me off the most. “Please don’t make me turn out like her,” I mutter. She’s successful, but no one wants to hang out with her. Every holiday, I dread the visits.
“Do we need to see nana?” my son asks.
“It’ll be quick, I promise you.”
“It’s never quick enough,” my hubby responds.
How about the mask of a good employee? I work in a creative customer service role.
I have determined that I hate customers, and I hate people.
I never want to serve anyone, ever again. I’m done with it. I don’t care about what you want — I’m tired of trying to help you. My interpersonal skills are shot. I have a game face on for the first minute or two, then I’m rolling my eyes behind your back. Twenty-five long years in front of demanding trophy wives will do that to you. I can’t do it anymore.
The mask of a good friend? I have a bestie. She knows all my sordid secrets and doesn’t judge me much. I don’t give her the dirt about my life currently because she has reached the saturation point.
“Wanna hear about my latest meet?” I ask.
“I’m kinda swamped right now, sweetie,” she answers, which is a nice way of saying no-way-in-HELL do I want to hear about your string of losers.
“Can I show you this funny message?” I hold out my phone.
“I’ve gotten so many, I know what you are talking about,” she replies.
“I don’t need to see them,” she says, walking away.
Okaaaay. Point taken.
She’s still single and has men messaging her on plenty of sites.
“I’m done with it,” she says. “It’s not worth it.”
I’m getting there, hon. It’s not worth it.
The good wife mask? How much pretending can I take? I lie and lie some more. “Everything good?” my hubby asks, usually about my day. But it feels like a more thought-provoking missive.
Is everything good? NO. Everything is crap.
I stay married because I think it’s the right thing to do. I want my security and comfort. I don’t know how much longer I can sell my soul for them, though.
The good adulteress mask? My lover asks me, “How are you?” almost every day. He cares about me way more than I care about him. I would like to feel something akin to love, but I don’t.
In my book, I wrote, “I was the one missing the ‘sensitivity chip’ in our relationship. Like Brad Pitt, I might add, except without the bone structure. I cared, just not enough. Really, who was I kidding? I was amoral and a bit of a sociopath. Not enough to do any lasting harm to anyone but myself, yet I wasn’t perfectly well-adjusted either.”
Welcome aboard the “Love Boat,” which now felt like “Fantasy Island.” A place where anything and everything was possible yet had a price.
“Smile everyone, smiles,” was getting harder and harder to pull off, especially when you couldn’t see my mouth behind the mask.
Except, I’m changing. I want the masks off. I want to be the “real me,” no apologies needed. No moral condemnation allowed.
I want to be free.
Previously published on medium
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