Luke: All right, I’ll give it a try.
Yoda: No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.
I’ve almost broken myself of the habit of saying, “I’ll try.” Most of the time I say, “I’m going to do my best.” This practice is manifesting itself in my life in some incredible ways. I’m doing work that I love, my daughter is healthy and happy, and I’m dating a wonderful woman. I’m making friends and connecting with fellow writers, and every night I’m thanking the universe for the abundance in my life. Oh it’s not roses every day, but I’m creating the life I have always wanted. So why the hell am I punching Yoda, you ask? Because I’m afraid and punching a short jedi makes me feel better. Just kidding. I don’t really want to punch him, but I would like to borrow his light saber for a couple hours.
Most days I’m not afraid. Most of the time I don’t worry that my ex-husband is going to discover our blog and haul me to court to fight for custody. Just writing that, however, spurs the monkeys in my brain to chatter fearfully. I’ve read about that happening. A sex-positive, kinky woman came out on her blog and put a face to her words. She wanted to stop hiding and embrace her identity wholly, and her ex-husband suddenly sued her for sole custody of their child as a result. They battled it out for five years until he finally dropped it. Reading her story was like watching my worst nightmare come to life. I work damn hard to keep my Vagina Antics work and kinky life separate from my daughter. I work even harder to keep my life secret from my ex-husband.
Last night my mother said, “I didn’t know how bad it was until I visited you before you moved out. I had no idea how he was treating you.” Her words managed to push me right back into the feelings of that time and the constant fear that accompanied me. I spent most of my marriage afraid of what that man could do, and then ironically, he did even worse than that when I told him I was leaving. All the horrible things he said to me meant nothing in comparison to the threat of taking our daughter. The sheriff, the subpoena, the formal language sprawled over eight pages of thick paper detailing an investigation of my life… thinking about that time still makes me cry. It’s like my body can’t help but remember the terror despite my mind reminding me that it’s over.
Yoda is right, dammit. I’m not trying. I’m consciously refusing to let that anxiety consume me again. I work hard and save my kinky social life for the evenings that my child is with the ex. I keep moving forward, meeting new people and telling them about Vagina Antics when I feel safe to do so. I’m sorry if I keep some things hidden, but there’s that nagging voice of worry in my head. What if they know him somehow? What if he finds out? What if he comes after me again?
The balance of good here is much greater than my fears, and someday way down the road, I hope to be able to post my smiling face next to my writing. In that far off future, I want to be able to talk frankly with my daughter about my journey. I’ll skip the details of the naked parts, of course, but I want her to know that I didn’t hide because I was ashamed. I would rip the heart out of anyone who hurt her, and I don’t want my choices to limit hers in any way. But I probably won’t tell her about threatening Yoda. Hey, we all have our secrets.