Tuesday, 4 November 2008

I Wouldn't Trade the Pain for What I've Learned

"Sometimes you think everything
is wrapped inside a diamond ring
Love just needs a witness
and a little forgiveness

And a halo of patience
and a less sporadic pace
and I'm learning to be brave in my beautiful mistakes.

Oh .. I've .. felt .. that .. fire .. and .. I've been burned

But I wouldn't trade the pain for what I've learned
I wouldn't trade the pain for what I've learned."

Pink - Crystal Ball

One night in late 1999 I kissed a boy. A ridiculous, half-pash, that left us both embarrassed. It's hard, to kiss sober.

We got together "officially" in February, 2000. Lived in the flat, to the shitbox house ... to here. The House the Daggy Builder Built.

Sometimes I miss the flat. I miss being a waitress, and being carefree, and having sex in the loungeroom, pretending to be shocked by his porn. (SO tame). I miss pissing off for the weekend just because we can. I miss me. Most of all, I miss my daggy builder man-friend .... the friend that chemo ate.

Three years ago tomorrow, I put on my silver shoes and pink Lisa Ho dress, and thought I would have a panic attack from anxiety. My sisters wore black ..... HOT. We walked up the main street, all laughing together. That's all my sisters and I ever do, now. Laugh together. We have a lifetime together, to make up for the rough start that was forced upon us as children. My sisters are the sisters my husband has never known ... loud, and brash, full of spirit. After this year, they have bonded for life. We can never repay them ... we can only pay it forward.

I walked in to my wedding ceremony, the strains of the song I chose floated through - "No need to run .... and hide. It's a wonderful, wonderful life."

I think I picked that song because for so, so long, I was living the furthest thing from a wonderful life you could imagine. Yet here I stood, triumphant in the face of my past. I expected a quiet crowd gathered .... it was more like a seething mass of humanity. I remember taking the vows, and being shocked at how solemn it all suddenly got. From that moment on, he fell utterly in love with being married - he said it changed everything.

We ate, had speeches. We took private lessons for our bridal waltz ... Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon." We would practice at home .... I would sulk like a petulant child and he declared that "if I can't do the fucking dance he wouldn't do the fucking wedding."

My God but how tempestuous we are! We fight big. But we love big too. 

Tomorrow it will be three years since we tied the knot. Since I ended up totally trying to lead him on the dancefloor during our bridal waltz, thus ruining the whole thing. But I made up for it. Mr TCs African drumming band played .... and I had taken my own secret lessons, to dance to an African wedding song. He had always pestered me to take up African dancing, to his drumming. "No fucking way! I don't dance to the beat of your drum!"

Apparently I did, and he was most impressed.

We had both never been married before. Our child, Tiger, was almost four. He danced until 12.30am, until someone told him he was "allowed" to go to sleep. To this day, we walk past the restaurant where we got hitched, and he calls it the "wedding." I can't correct him.

What a year this has been. Continues to be. Nobody could ever accuse us of being boring!

The anniversary card I bought is laid out on the table .... I know he has forgotten, so there won't be a card for me when I get up. But he will be here when I get up .... something I wasn't so sure would happen, just a short while ago.

Happy Anniversary, my Beigest Turdburger. I will always try to lead when we dance. I can't help it.

I'm so sorry for not being able to help him more, this year. But I wasn't waving, I was drowning. Every man for himself. Anyway, love always wins out in the end.



Wordgirl said...

I have tears in my eyes.

What a gorgeous tribute Topcat -- I see the two of you so well here -- like a story unfolding in front of me -- scene by scene.

I thought of our wedding -- and of W who ran around like crazy...

Happy Anniversary my friend -- with a full heart and so much admiration. I hope someday we get to your part of the world so we can introduce Mr.TC & G -- they are, I think, alike.





OHN said...

I feel like I just had a peek into your life. Marriage is not defined by one thing alone and you certainly have had many things to pick from :)

PaleMother said...

Brilliant, gorgeous post.

These are my favorite bits:

"my beautiful mistakes."

"I wasn't waving, I was drowning."

" It's hard, to kiss sober. "

"I pity everybody else in the whole world, because they do not have what we have. Or, I ache to break free and leave and go do something - anything. Life is full of such interesting contradictions!"

"Every man for himself. I know he doesn't hold it against me, part of the reason I love him so."

I've got one of those, too. Whatever is or isn't perfect, thank God for that.

I loved the story and how you have your way with it and me while I'm reading it. You are at once a force of nature and the artist with the chops to capture it. Bless you, TC. That's a damn good trick.

Happy Anniversary. :)



PS. TC just when I think you couldn't possibly surprise me again with weird things we have in common, you go and tell me you've taken African dance lessons. Seriously, TC, you have GOT to stop copying me.

I had to take the damn class for my BFA ... I needed credits in music and dance and I S*** at both. African dance was the only one I could fit in one summer session. The instructor was this brilliant, luminous, fierce old soul. Named Fern. I'm so glad I met her and had the privilege of being in her class. I wish I could say the crush was mutual. She announced one day that everyone in the class was so spectacular that we were all getting A's. When my report came, I found a 'B'. So it seems everyone *except* me, the mousy (looking), uncoordinated dork.

PPS. I lead, too. I. Just. Can't. Help. It.

PPPS. Tell us another story. Tell us about you and writing. I wanna hear the story of how TC became a writer.

G$ said...

Ahhh, happy friggin anniversary to you both.

dee said...

Look at that gorgeous couple :-)

Happy third anniversary TC. Wishing you a lifetime of happy anniversaries.

MrsSpock said...

Happy Anniversary, Mr and Mrs Turdburger :). May there be many more.

Anonymous said...

I love that story so much.

Sending you much love on your anniversary! (Dont worry, my husband forgot our 3 yr anniversary in sept!)


battynurse said...

Wow. What a beautiful post. Happy Anniversary you too. Hope for many many more.

Rachel Inbar said...

OMG, you make my life sound so pitifully boring :-) Happy anniversary. May you enjoy many more years together!

JJ said...

Many, many happy anniversary wishes! And cheers to lots more!

Pixxiee said...

Happy anniversary! You made me cry again. But...isn't all that just what love is about? Knowing each other so well that even in the most awful year you've come through and the love is still there.

But if he forgets your card, or your anniversary, you have my permission to "Bobbit" him.

Hugs and love

annacyclopedia said...

So lovely TC. May you both have many years ahead that bring you joy, healing, wonder, and a deeper love for each other.

passingwindows said...

What an awesome post. It's the best anniversary card ever. I hope you two grow very very old together.

Your wedding sounds amazing. There's a lot to be said for power, it gives you the confidence to do things the way you want to, don't knock it too much. I went along with what everyone else wanted and although it was a great day, I love the picture of you walking down the street laughing with your sisters in black and you in pink, and I would do things differently now.

Vee said...

You brought tears to my eyes TC what a beautiful post.
Happy Anniversary, wishing you many many many more happy years together.

Bee Cee said...

What a lovely story...happy anniversary to you and Mr TC. Have a great day together xx

Geohde said...


Happy anniversary to the two of you.

And holy shit. It's my 3rd wedding anniversary soon. Where do the years go?

It seems like yesterday we too lived ina shitty flat...


Vacant Uterus said...

Daggy Builder + Indisputable Topcat 4Eva! You make a lovely couple.

You guys have been through so much, both individually and as a couple. Every time I read here, you blow me away.

"Nobody could ever accuse us of being boring!" I used to say this to Sarge all the time, along with "When will be BORING again?! I just want to be boring!" I hope the mundane comes for you at last, at least for a little while. Then I hope your life is filled with crazy wonderful surprises. You deserve it.


Stacie said...

Oh, E! Happy Anniversary! This was a lovely post--the love is right there throughout the whole thing.

May you have many, many more years of love between you.

May the very dark days of cancer be behind you for-ev-er.

May you find the shore, out of the treacherous waters, together.

Much love to you all.

anna said...

Thanks for making me cry!!! What a lovely story...thanks for sharing. Happy Anniversary!

Beautiful Mess said...

LOVE that picture of you two! Happy anniversary, here's to MANY MANY MANY more!!!!
Thank you SO much for your comment on my post. It means more then I can say when you said my mom was/is beautiful. THANK YOU!

Tee said...

To my dearest little fuck knuckle and her beige guy-o,

Happy Anniversary!

I love yez all
Tee x

vamplita said...

Happy, happy anniversary, Mr. TC and TC! The Divine One has already given the both of you one fantastic gift this anniversary - the gift of time and the opportunity to continue to make your plans for world domination. :)


Evil Stepmonster said...

Happy anniversary TC. I hope the persistent daggy builder guy does remember!

btw, its my 3rd anniversary this month too and Macy Gray's "I Try" is our song. Ha. Too much!

Almamay said...

Happy Anniversary!

Amanda said...

Happy anniversary!!!

You always tell a story in such a way that amazes me. You are beautiful!

Lori said...

Here's to your 4th and 5th and 110th.

So happy about this milestone!

Cibele said...

I have tears in my eyes also

Love really does transform us, keeps us strong and real...

may you 2 grow older together! happy anniversary. HUGS!!!!!!

soapchick said...

Happy Anniversary! We just celebrated our 2nd, yesterday on the 4th!

Photogrl said...

Happy Anniversary!

Carrie Ann said...

That's an adorable story- so sweet. Happy Anniversary!

A Free Man said...

Great post!

I'm in recovery in AA, also in Oz, though I'm an American expat.

I got to your blog through a search for something else entirely, but am glad that I did. Nice to find other folks in recovery with blogs. I'm adding you to my reader!

All the best,


twondra said...

Happy anniversary! So sorry about your tough year. :( (((HUGS)))

nancy said...

Awww. That was just so fucking awesome. I'm rendered speechless.

Happy anniversary my friend.


Me said...

"I'm so sorry for not being able to help him more, this year. But I wasn't waving, I was drowning."

I can relate to this a great deal. In 2004 between the diagnosis and the amputation, I was just 24 and didn't know how to care for someone so ill, so drugged up, in so much pain. I remember one day he mentioned that we were out of bananas... indeed we were almost completely out of all food... and I blew up at him and told him I was working full time and trying to take care of him and doing the best I could. I will never forget the sad, sad look in his eyes as I spat those words. In that instant I was terribly ashamed of myself. And angry. Angry for not being the kind of person I wanted to be.