As I sit here in trigger “happy” Tokyo, I decided I would post this entry from back in Hawaii in December. My words then represent some of my feelings as I sit here in a place where my husband traveled with his affair partner three times over a period of four years. I am journaling, but I am trying to take things a little slow as it is incredibly painful for me to be here, basically retracing their steps. My first day in Tokyo started out pretty rough, but things are slowly improving.
Journal Entry: December 17, 2014
It has been 11 months, 6 days, and 4 hours since I found out about my husband’s secret life. Yesterday at breakfast I started cycling again. I don’t recall what brought it all on. It often does not take much. I do remember telling Blue Eyes that he has ripped me in two. I feel a kind of duality to my soul now, the part that remembers how my life used to be, and the part that is completely broken.
I poured my heart out. I think my husband actually thought at one point that taking me out to restaurants would be a good thing because I used to be the kind of person who would not fall apart in front of others, certainly not in public. Well, those days are long gone. Since dday, I have probably been triggered more in restaurants than anywhere else. My husband is now afraid to eat out with me. Just last night he suggested we order room service because he was not sure he could handle another emotion filled meal out in public. Then he apologized, realizing he brought this all on himself and he will now have to take it all, wherever, whenever.
As I sat at breakfast, I told him he had robbed me of the strength I once claimed as my greatest asset. He stole my self-esteem, my confidence, and my self-reliance. My entire life before January 11, I felt loved, respected, nurtured, and appreciated by my friends, my family, and my husband. Now I have moments every day when I feel empty and alone, unloved, and unlovable. Part of me realizes I still possess all my positive qualities, my strength and security, and part of me, every day, feels lost.
Every day I feel the same desire as I have always felt, to love and nurture and be compassionate towards others, always, and this makes me feel like a good person, a good wife, a good mother, and a good citizen. But now, I have this other side to my personality, the side that is subconsciously protecting me from danger, from being hurt again, the side that stops me in my tracks multiple times a day with the feeling that I am falling into a trap. The part of me that says, “Kat, you are too giving, you are not keeping enough for yourself. You are expecting others to behave the same way you do towards them, and they may not, do not, have the ability to do that, at least not yet.” I can feel a part of my mind protecting me from the part that gives too much away.
After breakfast, we go on a drive around the island. As we drive through Waimea Town, we pass lush countryside strewn with Hawaiian plantation houses sitting high up on cinder block foundations, surrounded by green pastures dotted with cows and goats. We pass a little market named Oshima’s, which makes me think of Japan, and then, snap, just like that my mind goes to Japan where my husband is traveling on a train with his affair partner. They are heading out of Kyoto, where we lived together for a year, on their way to Nara. My husband took me to Nara 27 years ago when I first joined him in Japan. We walked around the area that is strewn with pagodas, and temples, we watched the turtles in the pond, and fed the deer. It was snowing that day and my husband took a picture of me feeding the deer. That picture is framed and sits on the credenza next to his desk at his office downtown. I am 23 years old in that picture, with a big smile on my face and snowflakes everywhere. My husband and I took our boys to the same place and did those same things with them about a dozen years later. And then, in 2012, my husband took his affair partner there and did those same things with her. I can feel my heart splitting in two.
I decide, as we are driving, that I am tired of living this pain by myself. So many thoughts and images flooding my mind, pushing out the good. It is time to start sharing with my husband every time this happens to me. Every time my mind takes me off to a place that causes me great pain. Many times it is nothing he is saying or doing in the present, it is just a moment in time that throws me into a memory that is not my own. It is a picture of something he did to betray me, but my mind has conjured a very clear image of that day, of them, of the things they did that were eating away at my happiness, my marriage, of everything I hold dear.
So I told him, right then, what I was feeling. That my mind had thrown me into a painful place. I did not want to be there, but I was, and I wanted him to know it. Instead of going with me to that painful place and gently trying to coax me out, he tried to distract me. He started pointing at things along the way, especially animals since he knows I love all animals. He tries to distract me with benign comments about meaningless topics, which does not help at all and actually hurts because it feels like he does not want to validate me, or my pain and he merely wants to run away. The more he deflects, the more painful it is for me. I get past this one conjured memory and we move forward on our journey to the Waipio Valley.
Later as we drive south along the highway from Kawaihae to Kealakekua Bay, Blue Eyes is completely silent. He is totally inside his head, not saying anything, not sharing anything, actually just not present at all. His silence catapults me back, once again, into the dark place that I will never understand. The place where my husband of 20 some years plans an 11-day business trip to Asia with another woman over Valentine’s Day. I am home with our sons, one has just finished all his college applications and is anxiously awaiting replies from the schools. Our younger son is struggling to make it to class, but totally engrossed in his sports. They both desperately need a father around, not a part time father who travels more than he is home, but an active, available, present father. I once again start questioning my husband, asking him how he could do this to me, to us. He doesn’t have any answers, he doesn’t know what to say, and this is ultimately what drives my torment. I just need him to talk, to say something, to take responsibility, to acknowledge the destruction. I, once again, ask him to talk to me, to share his thoughts, to be my partner. He opens up, a little and I can see how painful it is for him. I want him to feel the agony that I am feeling, I need him to share this moment of despair with me, not continue to hide behind his protective shield. After 15 minutes or so of me asking why, how, and him saying he doesn’t know… the ‘I don’t knows’ start spilling out of him with a deep and remorseful force, with an understanding of some of the damage he has caused. I want him to feel it. In my mind, if he can’t feel it, he can’t heal. And I can’t heal.
I focus back on the here and now, where I am supposed to be. We arrive at Kealakekua Bay, a gorgeous spot where, on a different day, sometime in our future, we will probably go snorkeling with the dolphins and sea turtles, but today, we enjoy the gorgeous view and I take some photos and we are mesmerized by the little black crabs that are crawling all over the rocks as the tide splashes in and washes them away.
We then drive a few miles down the road to the Place of Refuge Historic Park and take some amazing photos of a glorious pink sunset. My Uncle lived on Kona for years and he has mapped out this little sightseeing tour for us. Next stop, Teshima’s Japanese Restaurant back up on the highway.
Despite the gorgeous Hawaiian sights we have witnessed today, I am still very uneasy. We enter the Japanese restaurant and the lady who seats us is thrilled we speak some Japanese. She is happily chattering on about coming to Hawaii with her family decades ago and how now when she returns to Japan, her friends cannot even understand her Japanese because it is spoken with a Hawaiian accent and slang. She is laughing and amusing herself with her anecdotes. My husband leaves to go to the restroom and I am alone. I start feeling anxious. John Legend’s ‘All of Me’ is on the radio. I realize this is going to be another trigger filled restaurant meal. My husband returns to the table and we open our menus. He knows I am not doing well. He asks if I want to leave. I say, “no.” The first thing I see when I open the menu is that they have Beef Curry. Japanese Beef Curry is one of my husband’s favorite comfort food dishes. When he was with his affair partner in 2010 in Tokyo on Valentine’s Day, they went out for dinner and shared Japanese Beef Curry. I feel sick. I order the Teishoku Bento Dinner #3, as does my husband. We should have shared, the portions were huge and I was already not feeling well. I pick at my food. A Great Big World’s ‘Say Something’ plays overhead. Tears stream down my face. I tell my husband I am going to wait outside in the parking lot while he pays. He asks if I want the key to the rental car and I say no. As I head outside I can feel the pain envelop me. I start to sob inwardly, silently at first, then my cries come out as a wimper. I bend over from the pain, and sit down on the ground. The restaurant is very close to the two-lane highway and cars are going by at a pretty good clip. As I sit near the building on the asphalt of the parking lot, my chest is tight and my sobs are low and quiet now. I look out into the lights of the cars and I think, I could just walk out onto the highway and the cars would take care of the rest. There would be no time for them to stop. They would end my pain for good.