Well, as most likely everyone who has been following this blog for the past couple years surely must have anticipated, the absurdist drama of Chi and my marriage seems to have reached the point of its practically inevitable doom….
Listen while you read to “Wakare” from the “red side” of the dual album “10 Strings” by the Panache Orchestra. The title means “separation”. I was dreading having to post this track….
January 21, 2013
In mid-January while we were working on translating Japanese lyrics to English for a few pieces Chi wants to set words to and going about it unusually amicably, I sat there robotically “mm-hmm”-ing while he talked and talked insistently about his plans for adding a vocalist, and he directly addressed my recent warnings of leaving him and agreed to let me go, only asking that I give him a chance to get an alternate arrangement in place instead of abruptly throwing him out. It is absolutely my preference to let him have some control over the process and timeline and outcome rather than being forced into having to turn the matter over to the judicial system, in which case neither of us would have any real control in how it all played out.
For a little background, over the past year or two I have become increasingly anxious to get out of this fatally flawed marriage since it has become crystal-clear to me that it is NOT going to get better, and in fact it only keeps getting worse. And worse. And even when I don’t see how it could possibly get any worse, it does in mind-blowing ways. And…well…life is just too short and precious to waste suffering unnecessarily. At any rate, I unfortunately missed my opportunity to pursue this further while Chi seemed to be in a rare frame of mind to discuss it constructively and said nothing, just staring back at him instead, tacitly confirming what he was asking. I was really afraid that I would blink at this crucial moment and let this awful situation continue on. It’s acutely painful…It’s not even a relief that we’re openly discussing it now. I feel like I am being pushed up against having to make an unequivocal commitment to it.
But why shouldn’t I?! Even if we started bringing in enough money to hire a nanny to clean up after him and someone to deal with the endless administrative shit he generates, etc., etc., I am simply not getting my needs met in this relationship. Full stop. And worse, I’m being absolutely bled dry emotionally and financially by his oppressive dependency on me, forcing me to have to “live for two”, functioning as both a single parent and 24-7 life support machine while being deprived of practically any emotional support, and then there’s the abusive, mentally disturbed, drug-addled behaviour on top of it.
Nevertheless, it is incredibly difficult to break my long-standing habit of retreating into the relative calm and illusory comfort of when Chi is behaving decently, “forgetting about” his disastrous M.O. the rest of the time; not to mention my reticence to take on the colossal ordeal of breaking down the installation known as Panache House, should that become necessary as it probably will, and backing down from the mission of keeping things moving toward the inevitable split. Thankfully he keeps me readily supplied with an endless array of exasperating occasions to remember the manifold reasons why I am divorcing him, and I’ve even started started keeping a list to help me stay on track, and that thing is now SEVEN FUCKING PAGES LONG! This yo-yo effect is exhausting, but it feels as if some unseen force is steering this thing in the correct direction, i.e., “correcting” when it veers off-course. As long as the corrective incidents keep coming, I expect to be able to see this process through. I do fervently hope, however, that he can manage to make something work out for himself. He is far too valuable to just throw away without a second thought.
Well, we discussed the impending split in somewhat more depth the weekend of January 26-27, and he maintains that he cannot do the Panache Orchestra (our musical project) if we are not married. Whatever. His reason (as best I could decipher it) was that “he cannot endure the nasty things I say to him if I were no longer his wife.” WTF??!!! And that couldn’t possibly have anything at all to do with the way YOU treat ME now, could it??! Really??! Seriously??! He seemed genuinely incapable of entertaining the idea that we do not need to be married to do music together, or that we could still do our musical project even if we ended the intimate relationship, or that we could even actually change the dynamic of our relationship and re-learn how to communicate with each other in a civilised fashion.
While the previous week he’d said that he would agree to a divorce and sign off on it, this week he reverted back to his usual practice of spouting infuriating childish nonsense at me, making it clear that he has no intention of taking any responsibility for himself at all (surprise!), and is planning on following his long-running and disastrously mistaken belief that if he simply refuses to cooperate, the situation will somehow just magically go away and he can carry on with business as usual. Well, he’s going to be in for a most unpleasant surprise if he forces the worst case scenario on me. When I think of all the opportunities Chi has been GIVEN since we’ve lived in California that he has totally blown and in many cases outrightly sabotaged, and all the potential ones he could have created for himself had he had any will or initiative to do so, I see no reason why I should be obligated to a life sentence of being the uncompensated custodian of that abusive, drug-addicted mental case who literally makes a full-time profession of fucking up!
So on Saturday evening, February 2nd, we had another “discussion” about the impending divorce, but as usual, it was not so much a “discussion” as it was him delivering a lengthy invective on how he is perfectly blameless and all problems are unilaterally and personally my fault. He went on and on about how could I be unhappy with this marriage, as he doesn’t cheat on me (true to the best of my knowledge – I have never had any reason to suspect otherwise), doesn’t lose all his money gambling (true), does his utmost to keep expenses as low as possible (Really?! That’s a matter of opinion!), and spends his days on the computer diligently writing books (after criticizing me for writing my blog…hey, wait a minute! What exactly is the difference between writing a book that you have personally confirmed you have no intention of making any effort to market or monetize in any way, and writing a blog, which you do also?! Oh, that’s right — it’s only bad when *I* do it!), trawling Craigslist for musician wanted ads for paid gigs (Come on, you’ve been doing that shit for nine years now and it has not lead to anything remotely viable in all that time. Isn’t that Einstein’s definition of insanity, i.e., doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result?!), and on and on and on.
When he finally told me it was my turn, after a considerable effort to figure out how to best express it in Japanese, I uttered one sentence: expressing that giving up on our musical project was especially painful, and off he went again. We abandoned that effort since we weren’t getting anywhere and agreed to take it up again the following day. At one point in the
diatribe conversation he asked me, “What are you doing to prepare for the future?!” I could only react with a stunned look since that was so astonishing. He had just declared a few sentences ago that the world is going to end next year (he has apparently concluded that the Mayan expiration date has been pushed back a year since it didn’t happen on 12/21/12 after all!) so there is no point in pitching for anything then (referring to Panache appearances). What-the-fuck-ever….
Pretty much since Day One I have always, always, ALWAYS been bothered by Chi’s apparent inability to connect his decisions and actions (or lack thereof) to their potential future consequences, and the generally aimless way that he seems to live his life. Ok, so planning for the future is only relevant as long as I’m doing it. Imagine that! Why am I still surprised when shit like this occurs?! I must be harbouring a core belief that he is mentally sound despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Am I the crazy one and he is perfectly sane as he apparently believes himself to be?!
Sitting outside on the front veranda in the sun sipping coffee together that same weekend, I robotically emitted “mm-hmm”’s in what I hoped were the correct intervals since I was not really listening to him yammering on and on about logistical details of performing music because I was preoccupied by musing about the potential companionship of someone who understood the difference between having a conversation and reciting lectures and monologues at me. Later when undressing and catching a glimpse in the mirror of how nicely my body was shaping up since I had finally begun taking care of it again and working out hard regularly for the first time in nearly two decades, I contemplated how enjoyable it could be to have an intimate partner who appreciated that, instead of this whining child that only complains and criticizes me for doing anything other than waiting on him hand and foot 24/7. Chi has got to go. I need to be free to be happy, and as long as I am married to him, that is apparently never going to happen.
One evening while Chi was at a rehearsal, I wandered about the house. The special touches that he has added to the décor (in a good way) stand out amidst the confused piles of crap he leaves all over the place that drive me mad. Perhaps it might possibly lessen the pain somewhat if I were to go around the house tagging undesirable things with a cost estimate and priority number that are either going to be demolished/rebuilt or gone altogether as soon as he is.
The most excruciating thing about this entire debâcle is that our musical project — the Panache Orchestra — the art that we have been creating together for the past 15 years, and all that we have invested in it and all the potential it appears to hold is the embodiment of our shared dreams, which we both desperately want to keep alive. I see the things he has bought for TPO and think of the hope that drove those acquisitions and it breaks my heart. Nevertheless, the black-and-white reality of the matter is that the two of us living together and being married has been an incontrovertible disaster, and is utterly unsustainable. It was upon recognizing this that I began to cry for the first time since making the decision to go forward with the split. I expect that I’ll be doing a lot more of that as things progress. On the one side is the charred, blown-out shell of what we had fought so hard for yet still failed to accomplish through our music, and on the other is a vacuous, black-hole-like void of “If not this, then what?”.
How had it come to this?! He used to at least be able to function at a somewhat normal level, and there was so much genuine love in the beginning, but by the time we moved in together several years into the relationship and especially after we got married and moved to California, it was starting to look like some sort of social engineering experiment gone horribly wrong.
I could still back down and decide not to go through with it after all. I guess it all comes down to a question of whether the pain of staying together is greater than the pain of breaking apart and losing all that we have worked so hard for and built together….
– To Be Continued – <next>