One Unshaven Armpit

distress and one shaven armpit
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August 2011

My 5th grade swim teacher was a hairy woman from Germany.  She was tall and thin with the widest arm span I've ever seen.  A long chestnut braid fell to her hips and that same hair was visible from every opening of her black Speedo.  She was hairy.  I was fascinated.  I spent so much time gawking at her overflowing hair that I didn't learn much about swimming that summer.

A sure sign of a woman in distress is one unshaven armpit.  How is it that I managed to carve out some time for a peaceful, steamy shower and go through all the body care rituals of a woman but forget to remove the hair from my right armpit?  Not just once.  I've forgotten to shave my right armpit many times!

Do I get so lost during that quick 10 minutes devoted to washing my hair that instead of lathering my mind is clammering for some kind of explanation, something that would connect the dots?  My new reality is so permiating that my right armpit is left.  Forgotten.  Neglected and hairy like my swim teacher.

I'm trapped at the bottom of a dark,empty well.   My eyes adjusting to the darkness, my fingers frantic, scrambling the walls for a way out.  This can't be real!  It's an alter universe and I don't know how to get back.  The awful realization sinks in, I can never get back.  He's a sex addict.  MY HUSBAND!  What the hell's a sex addict!?

Zac Brown's words are playing repeat in my mind,
"Fell to my knees with a knife in my back, 
Never thought you'd be the kind to do something like that, 
but you did. 
Cold hearted."
Paterns repeat.  Some truth.  Some hope.  Big lies.  Lost hope. Some truth, enough to string me along.   Less hope.  More lies.  Lost hope.  Some truth, again.  Arguing and fighting.  I kick him in the balls. Hard!  More fighting.  Sobbing, yelling, screaming out of control!  More lies, lies,lies. His lies have become his truth.

With uncanny authority I call him out on each lie.  I'm no longer fooled.

He doesn't live at home and I've taken my kids out of town for most of the summer but somehow he's around everyday. "Hooker" has become a regular word in our conversation. His anger escalates and so does mine.  I hate him.  I hate everything about him.  I'm mental, like a drunk Mel Gibson!   Screaming every possible configuration of the worst cuss words at him.  There is no diffenence in my mind between him and the basest of men.  The sight of him is offensive.

Doesn't he know, his lies are destroying any chance we might have had?  I'm always begging,
 "Just be real."  
Hope for healing between us is squeezed like the last squawk of a chicken hanging from my grandmothers tree.  There's next to nothing left.  And, nothing left to do but sever the head and pluck the feathers.   I close my heart.  I detach completely...almost.  There is a non-detectable glow of hope.  I've put it away in the deepest pocket.  Saving it.  Preserving it.  If I reveal my hope I'm afraid it will be sucked away by his dark gooey lies.

Strange how detaching lights a brighter fire of hope for myself.  My 12-step sponsor holds my hand.  Her hands are warm and in her heart she carries her own pain.  She cries with me and teaches me to detach with love.  I'm too angry and hurt.  I'm detaching like a pissed off alley cat!

It's my daughter I fear for most.  I can't stand the thought of her broken heart.  Broken from her beloved Daddy who used women and abandoned her.  He was there physically but had really left us years ago.

August 2008

Sitting on the bleachers, watching my daughters swim lesson a sudden seizing in my chest.  Maybe the sun's too hot.  I drink some water. The sharp pains stabbing my lungs wont go away.  My chest is squeezing, collapsing on itself.   I stand.  Trying to breath deeply. Only shallow gasps reach my paralyzed lungs.  I'm terrified!


The puffy toes of my swollen feet wobble.  The boy growing inside my belly is 7 months along.  A perfect and healthy pregnancy.  What could be wrong?  Why can't I breathe?  Unstrapping my bra, maybe it's too tight.  Still, only sips of oxygen reach my lungs.  I sit again

Struggling against the tightness that threatens me.  Battling for a full breath.  I stand again, rocking my body.  Slowly the compression loosens and I can breathe.

I've never experienced a panic attack before.  I have no reason to panic, I have no stress.  Life is sweet and I'm pregnant with our second child. We're so excited!

 I chalked it up as a fluke.

Four years later it seems my body new the truth before I was aware of the lies around me.  I will never again underestimate my power to see the truth.

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