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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Double Life

Perhaps this is a second part of "My Story...".  In loving a man in prison, there are certain inevitable choices that must be made.  The question I, as I'm quite sure many other women, have had to ask and answer are: Who to tell?  What to tell?  What not to tell?  And who not to tell?  These are definitely not black and white questions/answers.  Surely, there are as many answers to these questions as their are women dating/married to a man in prison.  Here's the short answer, which I'll explore in more detail below.  I've chosen to tell (almost) no one of my relationship and upcoming marriage to KC.  Here's the long answer...

Family~Well, I didn't do so good with this one!  I did tell my immediate family a bit about KC.  Over the last two years, I have told both parents, and a sibling about KC.  But not the entire truth.  I told them only of a friendship that I had developed with a man in prison.  So, here I sit, a grown woman of 37 years afraid to tell my parents something.  Sounds juvenile, right?  Not so fast, remember that looks (and sounds) can be deceiving.  It is with deep thought that I have come to this decision.  While my parents are divorced, and as opposite as night and day, they do share one, well two, things in common.  My brother and me.  My parents, during their careers, were very hard working, professionals.  It makes me happy to see them enjoying their retirement.  I know of no other two people more deserving of a blissfully happy retirement.  That being said, I know what my parents are, and I know what they aren't.  Of all the wonderful, but differing, qualities they posses, neither posses an open mind.  My entire life I have taken the "road less travelled".  Neither of my parents ever seemed remotely interested in getting to know, truly know, my "quirkiness" or "eccentricity".  They've had many opportunities to show an interest in truly getting to know me.  Rather, they have always tried to put me in the "normal" category.  They've tried to rationalize in their own minds how I am like everyone else, despite all indications being otherwise.  So this fueled my restlessness as a kid, and a young adult.  If there is anyone on this planet I want total acceptance and unconditional love from, it is surely the two people responsible for my very existence in this world.  But that ship sailed long before KC entered the picture. So they each have in their own mind who and what I am.  Their idea of who and what I am, is not even remotely close to reality.  So, rather than fight it, I have finally learned to accept their views of me, and I try my best, in their presence, to be what they want me to be.  At this point in their life, I don't want to take that away from them.  Knowing that they would never try to understand or accept me being in love with a man in prison, the exercise of going through the motions of a doomed attempt seems futile.  I truly think I have given them a gift.  The gift to keep their blinders on about who I really am.  To what extent I can, I feel that my choice of silence will help them continue to enjoy their retirements, drama free.  My brother, on the other hand is another story.  He is extremely religious.  He and his wife know of my friendship with KC and they believe I am doing "God's work".  Despite their overzealous religious views, they "get me" more than any other family member, and have truly accepted me, exactly as I am.  I do consider that someday, perhaps, I will tell them.  But that day is not today.  I have a large extended family, and of course if I made to choice to "come out of the prison closet" with them, it would be a result, only, of revealing my secret to my immediate family.

Friends~I have told only friend about KC.  My best friend (since we were 8 years old).  As he so eloquently puts it "you're crazy".  I thought after a couple of years he would come around, but he maintains that "I am crazy".  And again, he knows only that I have befriended a man in prison.  This lack of acceptance on his part is perhaps the saddest of them all.  I wish that I could talk to him about this.  But friendship is about compromise.  He is uncomfortable with me evening mentioning KC.  So, I no longer attempt to push this on him.  I have talked to KC about this and his thoughts are that, even though "only friends", a male friend will be protective in any situation that he perceives as potentially dangerous or hurtful to the women in his life.  So, my "operation prison boyfriend" cover up continues.  As far as my other friends, this is a mixed bag.  I am fairly sure that I know of only a couple of girlfriends that could and would ultimately accept this.  Not that they would like it, but I do believe they would come to accept it.  So why haven't I told them?  Simple.  I have the fear that my confidence in their ability to accept this is misdirected. 

Prison Friends~That label is misleading, because while I started out casual friendships with a handful of people, these friendships have become an important part of my life.  And sanity.  These people, both men and women, have currently, or have had, a loved one in prison themselves.  They started off as "sounding boards" and people who could guide me through the process of learning how to maneuver having a loved one in the prison system.  But they quickly evolved into people that are dear friends.  Ironically, these people perhaps know more about me than my closest family members, and friends.  I am able to talk about KC, and in doing so, I am reminded that KC and I are more than an "idea".  It is in the moments of talking about my dreams, happiness, worries, concerns and joy that my relationship comes alive outside the confines of only my own mind.  Don't mistake the meaning of that.  My relationship with KC is as real and alive as that of any husband and wife.  But the secrecy around our relationship leaves me with a sadness not to be able to share a huge part of my life with those who THINK they know me best.  So, my prison friends have enabled me, the unconventional girl, to feel "normal" in what is the rare instance that I desire that label.

So, that's my double life.  At this point, I'd rather not reveal this to all of my friends and family and have to learn the hard way who will stand by my side and who won't.  So, it is for that reason I've chosen not to reveal my secret.  While it is true that it would certainly be easier to reveal all of this to everyone in my life I find that doing so would actually be the most selfish thing that I could do.  Should the time come that my secret is discovered, I'll have a road map in this, my blog, to refer them to.

One thing that is not lost on me is that only one person in this entire equation that is "my life" knows everything about me.  That person is KC.  There are no secrets between us.  There is nothing left unsaid.  And it is in KC that I have found total acceptance and unconditional love.  Some may ask if all of this secrecy is worth it.  And to that, I would respond, categorically, YES.  His love has made me a better and happier person.  In seeing his transformation, I have hope in ways I never thought I would.  If the person you chose as your life partner makes you a better person, how can you not believe in that love story?  The secrecy stems from my thoughtful attempt to ensure for my friends and family that ignorance truly is bliss.


Dark.Star said...

How is everything going? I keep checking for updates! :-) I'm really enjoying your blog.
Thx! Dark.Star

KC's Girl said...

Hi Dark.Star. Thanks for the note. I am so pleased that you are enjoying the blog! Sorry for my abscence, but I just posted another entry today. Hope things are going well with you!