Know Your Role

Tonight, I’m kind of going through something tough, and I’m going to ramble a moment about the reasons I’m not going to dish the latest A-Marriage-Going-Down-In-


Flames dirt on my public blog.

I tend to get at least one or two thank-you’s from time to time for being so open and honest in my posts about what I’m doing, or saying or thinking during a various crappy situations. When I write about the latest turn of events in the sinking Titanic that is my marriage, I do tell a lot and I present it as honestly as I can, as I understood things to have happened.

That being said, there are parts of all of this drama that I don’t talk too much about, if at all. It isn’t that I want to spin a different tale or make myself or Chef look a different way, or that I’m just too embarrassed to share how things really went down. Believe you me, I’m not really sure I can be any more embarrassed than I already have been on here.

(If you guys weren’t around for the wisdom and tact that only vodka and a broken heart can give, you missed out on some truly memorable – and temporary– posts!! You snooze, you lose!)

No, the reason I can’t share everything is because some things that happen in my life aren’t only my story to tell. How much of what someone else’s story should I feel free to hold up for the world to see and sit in judgment of; especially if, in my story, they are the villain causing me all the trouble?

I’ve always seen my life as a series of different, yet related, stories; all linked together by the star of each one…me. And to me, everyone else’s lives are stories starring them. People in our lives have supporting parts, and they are important, but in the end, when we look back, we are the common thread in our own lives. We are the star in our shows, and hopefully, we were the good guy. And if we weren’t, we’d like to believe that at least our motives were understandable, if not honestly good ones. I know that I myself cringe when I look back and find that I was just a rotten creep in someone’s story, with no excuse other than I was a selfish snot. I try not to be in that role too much.

I truly loved Chef once upon a time, and even now, despite everything, I feel a certain responsibility to tell his part of my story with care. When Chef is remembering this particularly tragic story later down the road, he will still be the contract-bound star of his own story, and the whole sordid affair will probably look much different through his eyes than it did through mine.

Even if he is the villain in this particular drama, he isn’t guilty of always being my nemesis. I have volumes of stories where he is the hero, and only one in which he was my enemy. How he understands all of it will, in my opinion, shade his interpretation of his role in his own book. Messed up on drugs, he won’t, and doesn’t, care a lick. But sober, this particular chapter of our lives is going to hurt him tremendously.  And that will decide how he classifies himself – the good guy everyone roots for or the bad guy everyone roots against. This is super important to most people, if not all of us. It’s tricky territory you’re getting in to when you have enough power that you can actually shade someone else’s own perception of himself. Given the set of circumstances we’ve been dealing with – memory altering drugs, big, angry emotions floating about everywhere, questionable motives on all the major character’s parts, and my own penchant for writing on a public blog – it isn’t all that unreasonable to believe that I could possibly influence this man’s opinion of himself, and I don’t take that kind of responsibility lightly.

If we have learned anything from movies and television these days, it’s that it’s all in the way you tell the story. Any mafia movie like The Godfather or television series like The Sopranos is a prime example of what a villain/star looks like, and it isn’t much of stretch to apply that same method to our own lives. Ironically, it was Chef who taught me this clever little saying back when we first started out together – my perception is my reality. What I write on this blog about the capsizing and slow descent of my relationship in to the murky waters of divorce is just that – a story told from my perception, and of course, I’m still the star of my own little life.

There are things I’ve said and done in my own Book of Bird that I was very distinctly, and shamefully, the villain. I’m also the kind of person that thinks that if I admit my faults to the world, I’ve taken a weapon away from my enemies that they can use against me later. That, coupled with my belief that only Jesus has the right to judge me, has pretty much shielded me from allowing someone else’s opinion of me as the ultimate truth about what kind of person I am. I’m finding out, though, that I may be in the minority of people who think this way, and I’m positive Chef isn’t in line with that thinking. I have this optimistic approach to people that makes me think that they can relate with me on these bonehead levels and will show me some mercy. He just thinks I’m a bonehead for admitting to the entire world I’m prone to being a bonehead. I love differing perceptions. I really, really do.

From the beginning of the chapter of my story that details the excruciating pain involved with breaking marital bonds that have been in place for so long  until now, I’ve told a lot of stuff that if taken just from this blog alone, would give a lopsided view of Chef and who he is as a whole person, and that, to me, is almost as bad as telling a bald-faced lie. Chef, if taken as a whole book and not just this one chapter, would be classified as a really good man who lost control of a situation and ended up the bad guy in one chapter of a couple of people’s books.

The sum total of most people is never completely good or completely bad. I’m guessing that even our worst criminals had one or two qualities that were shockingly good, or clever, or even endearing. The human character is complicated, and complex…it’s a tapestry of a lot of different things, and as such, a good person can do bad things, and a bad person can do good things. And this, to me, invalidates anyone from being labeled a good or bad person at all. The key is that we’re all fallen creatures, and given the reins of our own lives instead of handing them to our Creator, we all end up in bad situations that mostly all started out with an understandable, and maybe even a good, reason.

To me, Chef, like a lot of people, didn’t want to grow old. He had things that he wanted to have done, places he wanted to visit, and goals that had slipped away from him. Time had passed by so quickly it seemed. He tried to change how he felt with something that he unintentionally lost control of, and the change in his brain caused him to act without considering consequences. He hurt everyone he loved, and has lost everything he worked so hard to get in the first place.

Say what you want, but as probably the one person on earth who truly understands this man, he’s paid for all of this in spades already, even if he doesn’t quite realize it yet, and if he does get well again, he’ll be harder on himself than anyone on earth could ever be.

I hope that my readers understand that sometimes I’ve written from solely my perception and my hurt, but I never wish to set anyone, especially Chef, up for ridicule, judgment, or condemnation. I still harbor a hope that Chef’s story will have a happy ending. And sometimes, the world just doesn’t need to be privy to every single thing a person has done wrong in a situation.

—  Bird

13 responses to “Know Your Role”

  1. It is so very true that one aspect or ‘time’ in a person’s life does not define the ‘whole’ them. I believe that perhaps even the hardest of offenders have times in their lives that entailed some goodness though difficult for many to see. Again it comes back to us really not knowing or being or good to judge them as we don’t have the right…’judge not lest ye be judged’…only God in the end will do so in His all of us…Diane


  2. Well said and demonstrates a profound awareness and realistic perception of life, God and others. Mercy is vital. There are many “villains” in our stories who are heros in another person’s story and vise versa. I hope to not be held to one particular chapter or another myself. Although I find many in the church do exactly that – especially if the label happens is “divorced”. For many, the circumstances matter not. I pray on the good days and the bad, in the moments of clarity and unruly emotion you offer yourself the same mercy you extend to him. Strength for the journey!


  3. This really hit home with me, but in a different way. My ex-husband filed for an annulment (which I was agains). One of the things the church asked him to do to begin the process was to write a biography of my life and childhood. I felt very betrayed upon hearing this, because like you, I do not think a person should openly discuss others in that way.

    PS- you are a great writer 🙂


  4. Bird, know this. When ever I pray for you, I also pray for Chef and your family. I try not to be judgmental of anyone. My perception of you is as a loving, caring, Christian mother and friend. My only actual interaction with Chef was a couple fo posts exchanged on his blog. From that and from your posts, my impression is that aside from what ever vices he may have, he is a gregarious, humorous sole that would be fun to get to know in the best of times. Nothing you have written so far has colored that impression of him that I first embraced.

    Your blog has ensnared my interest with not only the sweet, funny little stories. But with the raw, no-holds-barred honesty of your life. That has caused me to feel vested in caring for you and those around you. My biggest, most immediate hope is that you are safe. My overall hope is that you can attain a peace and happiness and contentment in your life no matter what happens between you and Chef. I kind of feel like you have that covered because of your faith. When your honesty guides you to express your pain through this blog, I can actually feel much of what you are feeling. I feel honored to be among those that you would allow to share in your feelings, both good and bad, through this blog.

    I feel a bit frustrated that the only help I can offer is through prayer and a word of encouragement through this blog. But I hope you do understand that many of us on here do care and hope the best for your situation. It may sound crazy, but I have come to think of you as a sister through these postings and grown very fond of you, almost as much as my blood sister.

    I’m sorry if I have carried on too long. But I just wanted you to know that I support you, care for you and love you as a brother would for his little sis. Take care and God Bless.


  5. Well said Bird. You obviously still care for Chef, that comes through loud and clear. I hope his story has a happy ending too, but you are not responsible for making him happy. You do make an effort to give Chef’s side of the story, always. Except perhaps those vodka fuelled rants that I missed. Bit disappointed, but perhaps just as well.


  6. I understand Bird. Love is not something that turns off and on by a button. There are years of feelings, forgiveness, questions etc. To give up on a marriage totally and forever means you have done everything in your power and also with Chef and have decided there is zero possibilities left. It took me years to decide what was the right answer, why you ask? because the truth was I still loved my husband, even though he was an ass at times. I am always here


  7. An even better way to honor our interconnection: be someone else’s positive story. Be the kindness that reminds someone else the world is not against them. Give them an anchor of positivity to find later if their circumstances seem overwhelming.


  8. No, the reason I can’t share everything is because some things that happen in my life aren’t only my story to tell. How much of what someone else’s story should I feel free to hold up for the world to see and sit in judgment of; especially if, in my story, they are the villain causing me all the trouble?


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