Part of my current dilemma is dealing with overlapping threads. I told my therapist that I saw three strands to the braid: childhood issues, marriage issues – some unique to Carrie and me, some common to any couple after 18 years and multiple children, and of course issues of sexual orientation. I consider the braid and re-characterize it as a knot: my therapist, Bob likes that but he ups the ante. He points out that there is a fourth component – my self image.
If I am to put myself back together I realize that the knot needs to be untied. Some of the strands may prove to a degree inseparable, but much can still be sorted – straightened if you would.
As I type, the words come slowly. It is a combination of things. Harder topics requiring more thought and also confusion as to whom I write for. Surely this is ultimately for me, but it is also a post. Nate’s sex life – sort of an interesting roller coaster: his childhood, does anyone really care. Having told myself, my wife, that the writing is ultimately for me, I forge ahead. Of course it is also for all of you – why else would I post it in the end. Those who come for the ride, I thank you, and those who click on links elsewhere, I do not blame you.
What better thread to start with than childhood. I was the chosen one. A grandfather who was an icon: a totemic figure. He came to America, sent money back so many others in the family could follow him. A success who was financially ruined in the great depression but still carried himself with dignity. So I am told, for he was deceased before I was born.
His true relevance was his name – my surname, for while he had a number of children – male and female, only one was destined to carry on the name – only one male child born to one of his sons. My parents were not rich and after two children would normally have stopped, but those two were only girls. No one to carry the banner, carry the surname. So an accident of sorts – the type of accident that typically occurs when ignoring birth controls – me. Dad would like to have named me after his father, but my normally meek mother must have rebelled – a sister, a niece, a nephew all named for this one man. Enough. They settle: his name as my middle name. Let’s just say you can probably surmise his name and I can only imagine what he is thinking up there.
An old world childhood: a two family house with my uncle and aunt living upstairs. And now we get to the meat (yes a long way around, but is that not what therapy is): not only two older sisters, but two cousins upstairs, two female cousins upstairs, two older than Nate cousins upstairs. And amongst all of these women, moi: the chosen one.
One might think I overstate the “chosen” aspect. Let me digress. I have children and my first born child was a masculine one (yes, too many watchings of the Godfather). We did not know the sex in advance – one of the few surprises life still leaves – and so that afternoon I picked up the phone to tell my father. Now the gender was not a big deal to me – it had been a tough labor, a difficult C-section, the child was healthy and his mother was recovering. It had been a war.
I call my dad and he asks what is it? I tell him and he utters “thank god it’s a boy”. I had been hoping for something along the “thank god for 10 fingers and 10 toes” continuum. “Thank god it’s a boy.” So yes, I will stick with the word chosen.
My sisters, my cousins, knew I was chosen, and I doubt they were pleased. I use the word envy and Bob points out that envy is an emotion laden with negativity, not a feeling of shared joy. The punch line of course is that being chosen came with baggage but no benefits.
I can feel Bob glancing at his watch; there is a reason therapy is not done in marathon sessions. So as Bob might say, we have to end here. And yes, time to confirm my next appointment – same time, same place. A few issues of being a man swimming in an ocean of women – can you spell orientation.