Honest reportsThe past few months have been hard. My wife, whom I love dearly, has lived in a shitstorm for many months now. On the day of our wedding, her eldest child ran away from home to live with her abusive stepfather and that is just one part of a custody battle that has raged for the whole time we have been married. I have been powerless to help in any way except to be who I am (and I've learned some things about who I am). I've had to stand by while people have lied not just to get what they want but to hurt Ally. And I don't have any way to say, that's not true, that's not her, because no one cares what I think.
And that's very hard for me because of who I am.
When I was a child, my mother would say to me, you're not tactful and that rubs some people the wrong way. And I didn't know what she meant so she explained that I would say what I thought when I should just keep quiet, or should soften the message. The few people who read this blog know exactly what she meant. I have a compulsion towards honesty. I can't help myself. If I lie, I feel disjoint from the universe, ill at ease. I only regain my equilibrium when I can tell the truth. As I see it. I don't claim that my truth is particularly valuable or "right". It's just what I see.
I'm not stupid. I know that being honest has never done me much good. I've seen people lie to get what they want and they get it. I've lost jobs to people who lied about their experience; I've lost money to a girlfriend who lied about our relationship; I've been the fool many times.
But still, I believe in it. I tell my children to be honest, even though I fear that it will be useless to them too. But I can't stop believing that it should be worth something, that you should win in life if you approach it honestly.
One thing I am proud of myself for is a time when I chose honesty at great cost to me. In the last few months of me and Mrs Zen's relationship, we had agreed to move together to England. It was what I wanted more than anything and I am still homesick, that has never gone away. I miss my home and my family so much. I feel sadness that I cannot close out or really come to terms with that I was away from home when my mum died, that I cannot be physically around for my sisters when they need me -- and particularly for S, who is suffering her own relationship hell. And when we were close to breaking up, people in my life said, just get her to England, then figure it out. But to do that would have meant an act of dishonesty that I couldn't indulge in. I would have to pretend to Mrs Zen that I believed in the future and then abandon her in a foreign country, to deal with things on her own, more or less, the way she had me.
I wouldn't do it and I still think I did the right thing, even though it hurt a lot to make that choice and I could easily have had what I wanted and who knows what the outcome would have been.
The other people in Ally's case have no such compunction. They do not care. They have lied, quite brazenly. I won't name names but it's enough to say everyone on the "other side" has told lies that I know personally, purely on what I know, to be lies. And not just things to put themselves in a good light, not like the one I could have told to get a good outcome. Lies that are harmful to the children, that have harmful outcomes that they are quite aware of and simply do not care about.
Ally has not lied. She has relied on the truth. She is terrified that she will lose because of it because she too knows that often in life honesty does not serve you. But like me, she cannot look her kids in the lie and tell them that they must be honest, decent people if she will not be that person herself. And she is.
Look. I've been hooked up with women I wasn't able to feel proud of. Women who I felt I had to excuse, to explain, even to myself, women I had to find ways to be able to love, whom to be able to love I had to rely on the principle that everyone deserves love in this world, rather than feeling that they were someone I just loved.
But Ally is not like that and that is why when I think about her it is with an effusion of love, overpowering love that is real to me, does not need analysing, is not a story I tell myself. She is worth it.
And I do feel proud of her. Win or lose, she has not let anger and hatred be her guides, although she's angry and -- I wish I didn't have to feel this but I do -- hateful towards more than one person involved. And she is right to. I would not lie to myself about that and I would not lie here. (I have never lied on my blog because I write it purely for myself and it would be pointless to lie to myself because I know what's what.) I'm not trying to convince anyone that Ally is a good person -- no one cares what I think -- because what matters to me is that I know it. I know it for sure. No lie that anyone tells means anything to me because I can judge that for myself and I do.
So it's been hard. I have watched this amazing woman -- a great mum, a fine friend, sometimes lacking the resources to deal with the shit life throws but courageous and forthright in trying to deal with it the right way, loving and generous, I could go on... -- get smashed to pieces by people I wouldn't scrape off my shoe if I stepped in them, people whose goal was to hurt her, to punish her, for not being what they wanted, and who have achieved that goal. And all I can do is sit and watch and hold her when she cannot keep it together, cannot be brave, which is very rarely because she can pretend to be tough, and tell you, tell anyone who will listen, that she is one of the best people you could ever wish to meet, that she is every inch the beautiful person I insist she is.
I am not anything special. I am not a particularly good or particularly strong man. I have weaknesses as we all do. But I am honest. I will be able when I die to look back on my life and know that was one virtue I really did have. And my honest report is that my wife is who I say she is and the people who have lied about her are not who they say they are.