Thursday, September 20, 2012

Private Sin?

I tend to have a problem with sleeping. As in: It's very rare that I get more than four hours at a time, and so, as a result I:

a) spend too much time thinking


b) need afternoon cat-naps in order to survive.

Having spent the last week in the throes of intense insomnia,  which attacked me for various reasons that are probably not interesting to anyone but me and a team of Psychiatrists, I decided that this afternoon I really needed to take a nap if I wanted to make it to my next Birthday.

I'm not positive, but I am pretty certain that 18 hours of sleep spread across five days PROBABLY shaves some time off of your life expectancy. Also: it makes you crazy. Like, really crazy. Like...."I don't want to know that girl," crazy.

So, after having plowed through a bunch of work, I laid myself down with my Kindle and the intense desire that I fall asleep just for a little bit. Just for enough time so that I could gain the concentration to put eyeliner on without poking my eye ball out.

Unfortunately, I chose to try and finish Madame Bovary as a method of pre-sleep relaxation, and this hit on sensitive topic dear to my soul. Damn it, instead of sleeping, I laid in bed and thought about many deep, dark things. So much for successfully putting on eyeliner this evening.

Here's the thing. Something that I have known about myself for quite some time is that I have "issues" with trust. Everyone does to varying degrees, but this little problem is especially strong in me. I knew it was there and  I nodded to its presence, but it's not until you actually get really, really close to someone else that you see how any personal "issues" you might have can really affect your life and the other person's life in many deep and undesirable ways.

By the time I was 24, I had successfully avoided the messiness of getting close enough to someone so that my own insanity was reflected back to me and slapped me square on the face. Any relationship beyond the purely casual or completely superficial was something I was just not interested in. Anything headed into anything more would immediately be moulded into the "just friends" category.

Possibly it was because I hadn't met anyone I liked enough. Possibly it was because I had a list of things I wanted to do before actually committing to anything, let alone on any serious level to another person. Possibly because I was just too scared to open up that much. The thought of trusting someone to hold all of me in his hands - what is great and what is bad and what is downright scary - was something seemed too risky a thing to plunge in to.

And then like some cliche out of a "find yourself" chick-flick, I went to Greece and came to the realization that no matter how many amazing experiences I could have, if I experienced them alone, they would be just a little empty. No matter how much I desired to protect myself, if it came at the cost of never actually living the full extent of what it requires to love and be loved, then what a truly empty life that would be.

So, I went "Oh FINE. If someone good comes along, I'll at least TRY."

Four weeks later my heart did backwards flip in a little cafe in Paris (can you GET any more cliche than this?), and I went "Oh. Shit. OHSHIT. I promised I would try."

So I did. And thus began the process of coming to truly know myself: that self reflected back to me by someone who loves me, and is trying to wrap his head around my....own unique brand of crazy.

Which brings me full circle to my initial point (Insomnia does NOTHING for the ability to stick to a point):

I have major trust issues.

In bed today, after delving into Madame Bovary, I was reflecting, yet again, on this sad truth. I kept asking myself why? Why? Where does this come from? Some of it is, of course, the accident of my temperament combined with various formative influences that made lasting impacts on me.

And then part of it has to do with the direct experience of seeing trust broken, over and over again, in romantic relationships. In my own experience, one married man has directly propositioned me (yep, for an affair), one married man has obliquely hinted at it, two men with serious girlfriends have informed me that if I showed any interest they would move over to me, and three men have thrown it out there that I, for some obscure reason which I have not figured out yet, am someone they would love to keep on the back burner for future extra-marital action.

Yeah. I have no idea why either.

And don't get me started on the women who have told me - in the past year alone - of the affairs committed by their well loved husbands.

This, my friends, has instilled quite a strong sense of terror in me. I think any woman who desires faithfulness from a partner would feel the same way, at witnessing such repeated and overt attempts at unfaithfulness, or least an open willingness towards it.

Here's the rub: there is absolutely nothing I can do about the experiences I have had or the stories I have heard. I can't run away from the very real truth that it's a twisted messy world out there, and that shit happens. It really does. I can live in fear of that, or I can just do my best to choose wisely, and trust that whatever happens I can handle it. Because  - and this is rather heartening - in that moment I will have the grace to handle it.

But here is the point of this long ramble: There is a direct and very tangible reason that we all should try really hard not to sin. Yes, it hurts God, but that's a rather fuzzy truth for most of us to get our minds around. What is true, and what might make a bigger direct impact, is that sinning - your own personal sin - really hurts other people.

Someone told me a while back that he didn't regret much any anything that he had done wrong. In that moment, I had to agree in some small part: if you've had a lot of fun being bad, it's really hard to regret it. It's really hard to feel sorry for it.

But...for example - and keeping in our theme of the day - if a man shows a willingness to be unfaithful, he not only destroys the trust he should be building with his significant other - a horrendous thing in itself -  he also risks causing the object of his prospective unfaithfulness to apply his gross standards to all other men.

This could, potentially - not that I have direct experience or anything - harm the woman's ability to trust, and also does a huge disservice to the many truly good men out there.

That "private sin" turns into a chain reaction affecting who knows how many other people.

Conclusion - and you NEVER thought we would get here!......

When you think that what the bad thing you are planning to do will affect no one but yourself, think again. It's really not possible. Give me any "private sin," and I can tell you how it will hurt someone else.

On the flip side: any good thing you do touches someone else as well. So really, the world isn't as bleak as all that.

So go forth and do good.

 .....And try not to stare at the dark circles under my eyes. There is no concealer that will cover what I have going on over here.


  1. Aside from getting my own eyeliner all over a kleenex after reading your post, Mary, I am left ruminating on the line where you say, "Any relationship beyond the purely casual or completely superficial was something I was just not interested in" and wondering: WHAT DOES THIS MAKE ME?

    PS I can't wait to talk to you.

  2. I need to remember that more often . . . like everyday.

  3. Hi Mary,
    I'll be turning 37 @ the end of the month. After reading your blog, liking this entry was a no brainer for me. I also stay tuned with your facebook posts as well. It is clear to me that you are a young woman who is beautiful, intelligent and funny. "You also have a very wise soul." Can I tell you something? (I do hesitate going out on this limb;) This rare combo in your 20's kinda leaves, screwed <;0) Can I tell you something else? The good news is 30 will be arriving and along with it, an amazing freedom!!! In the meantime keep blogging, enjoy a little crazy fun & watch Vicki Christina Barcelona. The relationship between the 2 girls & Patricia Clarkson is entertaining!
    Be well,

  4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona? one of the dumbest movies ever... and... Mary, you are crazy. Sleep more and think less. signed: your boyfriend.

  5. Dear cebolleitor,


    Banker Hater
    i.e. Mary's Chusband

  6. have you noticed that MEagHen has the word "meh" embedded? so... there.

  7. So what...I don't care about you?


  8. Banker hater, that's a good one. Knew about one of these Mary, but not the rest. Sigh...You really need to find someone like your father.