Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Self and the Motorcycle

I've been musing on a few things lately, which may or may not make it into this blog. In fact, that it one of the things I've been musing on. . . someone told me that I am too cautious when I write here. That my best writing is deeply personal, and that most of what I post here is more "aloof", in a way. Hmmm. I've been thinking on that one.

I hope to write more on it- but it's late and I'm exhausted, and I think instead I will post something that was originally part of a private conversation between Billy and me. See, in the context of a broader conversation Billy suggested to me, quite logically, that we should sell the motorcycle. It has excellent resale value, and it gets precious little use, these days. I cried. Later, I wrote Billy a letter to explain my reaction. I'm tempted to qualify what I wrote, but that would be too cautious, wouldn't it? Habits die hard. :) So, I'll just share some of what I've been thinking about.

* * *

Hey, Billy.
You're right that the idea of selling the motorcycle was a particular blow- and since I was already upset, it broke the dam. Motorcycle riding with you is so special to me. . . in some ways it's the last vestige of the friendship we used to have. It's not just about something recreational. Riding the motorcycle is simultaneously thrilling, fun, romantic, meditative, physical, challenging, rewarding. . . I can't think of anything else in the world that makes me feel the same way. Sharing the experience with you helps refill the reserves that I draw on daily in our relationship. Every day that I don't ride, someplace inside me aches. Seriously- I feel it every day. I was just beginning to feel a renewed hope that soon, we would take more days to ride- not all the time of course, but at least a lot more than once a year. Finally finally, I am not pregnant nor do I have a tiny, breastfeeding infant. It's been a long six years. . . but I thought there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

However here too, I am secondary to our children in your affection. You want to replace the motorcycle with something we can do with the kids. I try to accept that you may never wish to be around me as you once did. I am infinitely grateful that you love our boys SO much and wish to spend as much time as possible with them. I can watch you pour physical affection on the boys every second that you are near them, and love that they have such an awesome daddy, even if we'll go days when the only non-accidental physical contact from you is a quick, distracted kiss as you head out the door. Please don't think I'm ungrateful- I see you try, and I especially love it that you tell me you love me, and that you sometimes remember to give me a real hug when I least expect it. It still hurts, but that's not really what this is about. What I REALLY need is my friend back. At least a couple times a year. And when you're around the kids, you are first and foremost their Daddy. As wonderful as that is, it leaves ME shut out. I might be their Mommy, but you don't really have time for your friend. OK. I love being a mommy. But just every once in awhile, I need to be just me. Motorcycle riding with you makes me feel like me again.

I am dying inside, Billy. I am losing my sense of self. I am nothing more than a service-bot to our children, to my responsibilities, even to you. Everything that once made me a unique and special person is pretty much gone. I cannot read, I cannot dream, I can't be alone, I cannot do art, I cannot relax, I don't even have my best friend anymore. I am now defined by elements that are external to me- mostly by the kids, which are great, but it's not ME anymore. I'm shut away in a closet inside, while I work on developing and experiencing this other person- a great person I hope, my boys' mommy.

So in a way, you can see that my reaction to motorcycle riding is a symptom. . . I have so much bound up in this one wonderful, symbolic and renewing activity. I may not be able to read and dream, but at least once in awhile, I can escape at high speeds with the man I love. I can breathe mountain air and BE ME. When the kids are around, I'm not me. I'm their mommy. That's not a bad thing, but do you understand- it's defined through these external things. I'm losing my SELF. And that, I think, is a dangerous thing. I think it's important that I keep my individual self alive, somewhere deep inside me. Maybe one day she can come out more often.

Anyway, I just wanted to explain my reaction better. Thinking about getting rid of the bike twists my gut. But logically, you are absolutely right: it doesn't make sense to keep it. No activity with the children will replace it, though. I'm sorry. It's just not the same for me.
I love you.


Kyddryn said...

Oh, sugar...

Don't you get rid of that bike! You start that long, slow slide, and you'll wake up like me one day...and that'd just be heartbreaking, love.

Shade and Sweetwater,

Kit said...

You do yourself a grave disservice, m'dear. :) You shine more than you realize.

Grace said...

Glad you shared this, Kit. Especially after our conversation last week - glad to see what you wrote Billy. I like the idea of writing a letter or email after the fact; when you can really gather your thoughts. So, what was the outcome? Keeping that bike for now I bet...

Kit said...

@ Grace: Yep, keeping it for now. :) Billy's reply talked about how he understood what I was saying. . . and that it only confirmed what he'd suspected all along: that I only ever loved him for his motorcycle! ;) (Kidding, of course!) Made me laugh. :D

Michelle Roebuck said...

I haven't said it yet, but I had a hard time accepting your thanks when you picked the boys up from our house Thursday before last because I honestly felt as though I should have been telling you thanks! Having them here, all enjoying their playtime together made my evening flow by at a smooth, utterly enjoyable pace, especially since I didn't have to work on Friday that particular week.

So, any Friday evening that you need to not be "Mommy" and can instead be just YOU with your hubby and l'amour, please let me know. It will be a gift for us each!

Bird said...

Wow Kit, that's powerful. I hope you don't sell the bike... and if you do that you can find something exhilarating that you can share to take it's place. But mostly I hope you don't sell the bike.

I'm so glad you have this blog to express stuff like this, even if as you say your writing often feels a little impersonal to someone reading who knows you well. I think you share a lot of important things here and even if you don't share the WHOLE unedited thing, well, you can look back and read between the lines for yourself.

I've been thinking a lot about blogging too and the fact that, because my blog is linked to my business, it is often quite formal and impersonal, not as raw as it could be. But even so, when I read back, the "real" part of the experience I describe will hit me between the eyes. I think what I'm saying is, write however you want, if it seems restrained don't worry about that too much. The real, candid honest truth is still in there and you know it, and it will find it's way to the surface when appropriate. Apologies for ranting, your blog always inspires me a little too much!