I never thought I would say this – but Augusten Burroughs was right when he said, It doesn’t matter where I begin – you’re not going to believe me anyway. And so I’ll just begin.
I woke up a few weeks ago, over the course of several days, noticing that my hair – which was at that time, very long and not dry – was getting thinner and finer and dryer by the day. But how, I wanted to know, how was this happening, and while I slept? Was someone coming in to the apartment or was it something in my shampoo or a mix of shampoo and water or what? Whatever the case, when I woke up in the morning, my hair was notably lighter (very Blonde on Blonde and I don’t mean that in a positive way). And so I took a pair of scissors and I cut all of it off while standing by the bathroom mirror.
You see, it would have been expected to call a friend – or perhaps – and this is just rational – the police, but I wasn’t quite sure what I would say: how to even explain this nightmare even to myself. I wasn’t sure they would believe me because quite frankly, even I found it hard to believe.
All of this, disturbing me, belongings, anything really – including even my hair, began around the time of my divorce – or that’s when I really noticed it. First, things in the house were rearranged and moved about; then clothes were damaged and went missing; then I had this sense that I was being watched and found that my computer had been hacked by another server. (It could have started years before all of this, but I’ll stick with this one recent event). So why didn’t I run screaming all alarm to the local police? I did the rational thing – I began talking with some friends first. Like a normal person…
I told some friends that I was being bullied in my own home; that objects were being damaged and broken; that my computer was hacked; that my own iPod was hacked. So why didn’t my friends believe me – or why did they believe me at first, then do an about-face – why any about-face – which only added to any confusion as well as just flat-out depression. It became so absurd that I couldn’t even trust some of the things that my own best friend said. And anyway, hadn’t I had slept with him and deceived my ex-husband?Wasn’t it possible that they were both duping me? I suppose it was…
I was ending my marriage because of what I had done; because it was wrong. Because I lied and I was in love and even though my husband said, He’ll never be with you, and I think I knew it to be true but wanted not to hear it, I still walked away from everything I had ever known. Every safety, every love, all of it. Hiroshima, just like that. Then my grandmother died. And my father several months later.
But the deception and duping of me? Well, that was public humiliation. What happened between my husband and me was private – and now you know. You know that I deceived and hurt my husband and was a wicked woman who wore the scarlet A for far too long and I am officially taking it off. But whatever it was, it was personal. It was between us.
Sure, he knew how to hurt me back, but I didn’t see him as an emotional terrorist. Not really. But what was happening in my house, in our house, was not even a subtle form of emotional abuse the goal of which was to make you think you are completely mad (think Hitchcock’s Gaslight). I was being monitored constantly, shouted at, objects were being reorganized, clean dishes were made dirty again, which may sound ridiculous and is but believe me when I tell you. These were things direct from The Book of Surrealist Games – only here, they were slightly more inventive – I am no longer sure what I would call it other than cruel and abusive. Clever, is simply kind and would be delusional.