Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Sister Eileen and Reflections

Tuesday Morning. I awoke to a rather dull, gray day. It promised more gray than just the early morning mist. Bozeman was on my agenda for today so I flipped on the TV weather channel. Instead I got Turner Classic Movies and "My Sister Eileen" popped on the screen. Oh no..... 1955 with Janet Leigh. That movie was my longing, my dream, my lost hope.

I didn't remember Janet Leigh being the original barbie doll. But there she was, on the screen, the exact image of barbie ....... long blond pony tail..... perky, flirty boobs that would put an eye out........ a waist so tiny it would fit a charm bracelet........a stomach with the slight suggestion of a woman ..... and a firm rounded rump (not the Kim Kardashian rump but rounded in a 50's style.) It was like the first time I was seeing her and I'd seen the movie perhaps 7 times. I know why. I was nubile at the time and we never look at what we are, but what we aren't. Janet Leigh's daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis is attractive but it must have been annoying to grow up in the shadow of a goddess for a mother.

All my young life I had wanted to get a one way ticket to New York and dance in Broadway musicals. Be a rockette. Maybe become a star. Live my own life and make my own decsions. But.... (now play doom music) I met this gorgeous hunk of a man who wanted to marry me. OMG I was so young and soooo insecure. If I didn't grab this, no more opportunities would ever come my way, or so I thought. I was smitten with love which was actually lust. In those days, a so called "nice girl" was a virgin until marriage.

Girls, then, were like little lambie pies, that could be herded by a sheep-dog of a male. There was no Oprah, no Dr. Phil, or TV shows that pointed out the pitfalls of a hasty marriage or what values to look for in a healthy relationship. I folded. I put my dream in a box, got married and raised babies. Although I put my dance shoes in "kind of a box," it didn't get put on the very top shelf. I danced, I competed, I had 2 studios, I taught. But it was more like hobby dancing. That was OK, but 10 years ago I had a Vedic astrology reading. He took one look at my chart and screamed, "You were supposed to be a dancer, what happened?"

The above is like part I. When there's a one, there's a two. Here's the two.
That beautiful hunk was my "first mistaken impulse of an undisciplined heart." (Shades of David Copperfield.) I didn't know it until these past 10 years, but Mr. Hunk was a full-blown Narcissist, a Tiger Woods and I don't mean he was a good golfer.

We stayed together 25 years and all that time I didn't have a clue about these personality disorders. Of course, I blamed myself. I'm sure everyone knows exactly what I'm talking about. There's reams of information out there now. When I finally figured out that it was my husband's problem (and not mine) I read every book ever published on the subject. There's one book that summed up my life. I guess we all follow a pattern like little cookie cutters but the book, My Secret Life With a Sex Addict" by Emma Dawson tells it, as if she's quoting my life.

We stayed married 25 years but it was off and on, together and apart. It was a sick relationship, exactly like Emma says in her book. I know no one can understand how a woman can become a victim to a Narcissist. If I were to watch my life on a movie, I would loath the woman and say, "Why doesn't she just walk away. Leave. Take the kids and run?" I can't explain in this little space but we just don't for so many reasons. I'm also a Pisces and at times, we can be the doormats of the Universe.

After 25 years I got away. Not with therapy but I did it on my own and with the help of my best friend, Marilyn. We all have scars, especially my four kids. Mr. Hunk died this past February on Valentine's Day. Marilyn laughed and said what appropriate justice for a sex addict. I hadn't seen him in years and I just breathed a heavy sigh when I heard he was dead.

That's the end of part II but there's a little sequel. I spent some time alone, getting to know me and trying to heal with my kids and I met the Mr. Wonderful. It was different. He had a rotund belly, was kinda short, had a rather buck-toothed grin but he made me laugh every single day. He never lusted after other women and he adored me. We celebrated 25 joy-filled years together before he died. He was like dessert, saving the sweetest thing for last.

WOW ...... What a Turner Classic Movie will do for the old memory cells!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. You are a beautiful writer. WOW, what a life you've had. I am on my 3rd marriage myself (long story) but finally I hope I have found my "happy place". This last marriage was my first love 40 years ago, and we are back together.
    Life sure throws us curve balls.
    thanks for sharing this story

  2. Manzanita, I am finding you to be an amazing lady. I enjoyed reading your post so very much. I ♥ your wordsmithing...Gerry

  3. You have an amazing life story. I hope that you don't ever think of yourself in a negative way because of your first marriage. Loathing is a very harsh word to use when the person hasn't experienced the situation. It's very difficult to get out of marriages that are controlled by someone with an addiction, whether it be sexual, mental, physical...abuse of all kinds are hard to walk away from. The addict/abuser makes it a point to let their partner know they are not worthy of leaving, or that they would never be able to make it on their own. In addition, the victim generally is a nurturer. We are there to help them get them recover...and we just know in our heart of hearts that once we help them, well the love will be stronger than ever...

    Unfortunately, it rarely, if ever, works out that way. I'm glad you were able to move on and have a wonderful dessert in your life! You strike me as an amazingly centered and evolved woman!

  4. I too am in the sequel of my love life. It sounds as if we both got it right...eventually.

    I'm finding that your blog is making me feel all mushy inside, a feeling I am not accustomed to -- a little scary and nice at the same time.

  5. What a perfect post. Your writing is wonderful and I feel like we just had a conversation. You ask how is it possible for us to stay with a narcissist Well as for me, I was raised by two narcissists. I had very little importance to them except to live according to what was best for them. So marrying that type of man or making those type of friends was all I knew. That was my only "normal" frame of reference. Too many years later I started to get it. Years later I met a man who was half a head bald, paunchy and a plain and simple gentle man who loves me for crazy me. The love of my life. True he's not the drop-dead, stop 'em in their tracks gorgeous, but he's what love is and that's what we need. Bless you for sharing and writing so well and showing how much our courage allows us to evolve into women who acknowledge and learn to own their worth.

  6. It's interesting how a little thing such as a movie can bring memories, thoughts, wishes and desires to the fore front of our minds, isn't it?

    Such lovely writing. Thank you for sharing with us...

  7. It's a funny old world. I married a narcissist too. He had a s-mother and that is where his vanity was formed. I am hanging in there and we talk but I not sure a leopard can change his spots. We just keep putting one foot in front of the other, plus he goes away lot and I don't look.