Have We Met

I need to get something off my chest. I’m going to come clean about my husband — well, about something he said. Should he be scared right now? No, of course not, but I know a few husbands who would be with that opening. Let’s face it, if your partner were a writer or blogger then everything about your relationship could and probably will become fodder at some point. It may not be in an obvious way, like I’m doing right now — it could be disguised as fiction. Unethical? Maybe. It’s the risk you take.

A note to the wise… If you marry a writer, get a pre-nuptial — you’ll probably need protection!

Still, as a writer I want to use my powers for good not evil. Mostly. And I have ‘permission’ for this one — sort of.

My husband is a constant source of entertainment to me. And I don’t mean in a stand-up comedy kind of way, although he is very funny and cracks me up. No. I mean his idiosyncrasies.

For years now I’ve been making a mental checklist of all the things I could blog about. He is a trove of material waiting to be used. Sometimes when we’re arguing or he’s doing something peculiar, I drift off and ‘write’ whole chapters in my head. I come up with all kinds of ideas for blog posts. You’d think I would write more of them and post more regularly like a proper blogger, but I’m lazy and blogging isn’t my forte. It’s my procrastination. Something I do instead of writing my next book. I have a folder on my hard drive full of one-page word documents. No content, just headings — triggers to help me remember. If I don’t create a blank document with a heading immediately, I fear the idea will be gone forever. Like my fading youth and expanding waistline, my foggy brain is a scary part of mid-life existence. I really should have started writing earlier. Who knows how long I’ll be able to?

On days when my fuse is short and my husband seems to be on steroids, I remind him of my powers: “You know I’m going to blog about that one day, right?” In the beginning he’d look at me with a poker face, then he’d crack up — start chuckling, not thinking for a moment that I would be so shameless as to chronicle our relationship. Nowadays there’s no laughter, just the poker face. He knows better now. He knows the drill. He’s read the book. Anything is possible.

My husband is not the kind of man who likes to be on public display, unless it’s oozing with love and affection. He’s a softy like that. He’s had social media for years, yet only recently added a photo to some of his profiles, LinkedIn aside. That’s how private he is. Or he could be a stalker, now that I think about it!

But my bluff’s never actually been called until now.

It happened recently — in the kitchen as I recall. And I shall recall it. Forever.

I was having a fat day. Now, I’d like to say that I’ve let go of self-criticism and embraced the forward thinking of our modern-day sisterhood. The lessons. The affirmations. The inspirational quotes. The hardcore fact, in a nutshell, that we are not the sum of our dress size. And although I’m at an age where I can embrace this truth, I wish I could own the wisdom of it — the wisdom that supposedly comes in midlife, or should. But this is me I’m talking about. Fifty years of talking shit about myself (both internal and external) when it comes to fat days has and always will be a part of my vocabulary. It’s a hard habit to break. Not fat days — fat days happen — but putting them into words. I’ve worked long and hard on my internal dialogue, trying to control what comes out of my mouth, but some days I fail.

This was one of those days. And when I said whatever I said — I can’t really remember what – that’s the thing about talking rubbish, the monotony isn’t memorable. And if I feel that way, imagine how my husband feels. His reply was “Come here, you sexy chunky Mumma,” in his best seductive voice, and he pulled me in for a kiss.

Oh. My. God.

He did not just say that? I reeled backwards. Shocked at his words. He’s never actually said anything like that to me before, joking or otherwise. The word chunky has never left his mouth, not as a description of me. I was momentarily gobsmacked. I had a brain snap. Does he think I’m fat now too? Do I repulse him? Since when does my husband call me names?

“Umm, hello. Have we met!? Are you insane!? You don’t use words like that on someone like me. Have you even read my book?” And I proceeded for the next 10 minutes — and three weeks — to tell him all the reasons why his off-the-cuff remark was detrimental to my state of being, not to mention a massive trigger. Me talking shit about myself is one thing; do not join the conversation, husband.

Translation: I am fat.

Over-sensitive? Pretty much. Irrational? Not when you’ve been conditioned the way I have.

For example — and this is just one of hundreds of examples I could give — at 16, a guy I really liked once said to me “You have such a pretty face, Marce, but you’re built for comfort not speed. I will never have sex with you. We can be friends though.” I smiled, said nothing, just nodded in agreement and walked away. Well I didn’t ask dude, but thanks for the heads up! Arsehole.

Broken. I probably cried for a week over that one. Still, it could have been worse. Most boys that age take what they can get. His honesty was a form of chivalry, I suppose. But those words and his delivery… You need to work on that dipshit. I wish I could’ve said, back then.

Words have power all right. But perhaps, like the saying goes, it was the feeling left behind that held the real power.

Clearly, I didn’t forget anything!

After my husband said the chunky word, I contemplated my reaction (much later). He wasn’t being mean, I know that. He’s a sensitive soul himself, caring and very considerate of women’s issues, whatever they are. He was probably just repeating me, playfully mocking, being cute to lighten the mood and make me feel loved. Instead I took it as an insult and it stirred up all the past shitty fat issues that, frankly, I wish I could forget. But even after all these years, words still hurt.

My husband didn’t leave me feeling rejected or anything. I’m wise enough to know the meaning of context. But I have a feeling he’ll be choosing his words much more wisely in the future.

Marcia Abboud