When I discovered his infidelity, that sense of safety evaporated and I was left frantically looking around for somewhere – anywhere – I could retreat to lick my wounds.
The world felt very unsafe to me. I found myself wondering who I could trust. Clearly, I figured, my judgement was flawed.
So, until I thought I could make smart choices about who to trust, I trusted no-one. Least of all myself.
This decision, to keep everyone around me in the dark about what I was dealing with, forced me to wear a variety of masks. Particularly difficult for someone like me who tends to live life honestly and, as my mother often remarked, wear my heart on my sleeve.
I had my "mommy" mask, which I put on with my three children, aged at that time 3, 5 and 8. They knew something was up and I did admit that "Mommy and Daddy were working on making our marriage better and it was nothing they needed to worry about." Ha!
I had my work mask. When I found out, I was in the final stages of writing a book, which my publisher expected the following week. They received their manuscript, none the wiser for what was going on in my personal life.
I had my "parenting" mask, which I put on to get kids from school, attend my children's activities and when I was around other parents.
I also had my "daughter-in-law" mask for visiting my husband's mother, my "sister" mask for when I saw my brother and so on.
To say I felt schizophrenic is an understatement. What's more, I felt like a total fraud.
Which is what makes this site such a sanity saver for me. Here, the mask comes off. I speak candidly and freely. I don't censor myself.
But what's really amazing to me is that, with this outlet, I'm feeling less fractured and more whole than I have in years. The world doesn't need to know all about my private life...but I do need to have various outlets where I can express all the parts of me. Trying to silence one part simply leaves me screaming on the inside.
I hope you, too, can find solace and a voice here. Let yourself be heard.