#FromLeft2Write: The Expats

The ExpatsI recently joined From Left to Write, an on-line bloggers book club. Because I don’t have enough projects. In all honesty, I used to read. A lot. Like 1000-page books in a matter of 36 hours, with going to work full time in between. Like staying up all night and functioning the next day on 3 hours of sleep because I just couldn’t put a book down. Like a record in my 8th grade Language Arts class for number of books read in a school year. That was pre-motherhood, when I had all the time in the world–and oodles of energy, too. Two kids have sapped the life out of me and now my reading is relegated to lunch hours and the thirty minutes or so that I can keep my eyes open before crashing at the end of the day. It’s just not the same. I want to change this.

Joining a book club gives me an excuse to make time for reading, makes it more likely I’ll read more this year than I have in the last two combined (excepting finishing up school, of course, but that kind of doesn’t count). So here I am.

From Left to Write is a little different than your average book club. Instead of reviews, we use the books as writing prompts, finding something in the story that has touched us and taking off with that. So I guess you could say that this will not only be food for the soul, but exercise for the mind. It could use a little stretching these days.

We never truly know everything about a person–wholly who they are and what they do, especially when they’re out of sight (but never out of mind). We delude ourselves in an egocentric manner, taking comfort in a reality we’ve created that probably does not live up to the truth, but fits our needs best. Our loved ones wouldn’t lie to us, right?

We’re all guilty of dual lives. The woman you are when you’re with your crunchy mom friends and the party girl you are when you’re at your friends’ rockstar gigs. Most of this is harmless and centered around shared values and interests. These aren’t lies; more like different facets of a precious gemstone, shining differently as the light changes. All parts of the same whole, sections of the same orange.

This isn’t always so innocent.

Five years ago, my husband and I endured the most difficult phase of our relationship. We were nearing our 7-year wedding anniversary when I discovered that those closest to you can be living other lives right under your nose. Even though I had known him my entire adult life, I realized that what I knew of him was just a small portion of him, barely scratching the surface. People are only what they’re willing to share of themselves, or what we’re willing to see. And it’s amazing how little we’ll allow ourselves to see when we feel deep down inside that something is not right; how much we’ll write off as coincidence when it conflicts with what we’d like the truth to be.

It has taken a lot of time to come back from that. Thanks to counseling and dedication from both of us to make this work, we are stronger than we ever were before. Recommitted to a relationship that I wasn’t even sure would make it after the big reveal. And better for it. There were times of doubt and weakness–many, many times that were harder than I ever imagined. There were times when I wasn’t sure I could get through this, or that I wanted to. But I’m glad we have.

Five years… a milestone worth celebrating. A small blip in the grand scheme, but an important stretch of time during which I’ve grown a lot. We both have. And a lifetime ahead of us that will surely hold more revelations, growth, and opportunities to reaffirm our commitment to each other…

This post was inspired by the mystery thriller novel The Expats by Chris Pavone. Kate Moore sheds her old life to become a stay at home mom when her husband takes a job in Europe. As she attempts to reinvent herself, she ends up chasing her evasive husband’s secrets. Join From Left to Write on January 22 as we discuss The Expats. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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    • Brenda Bartella Peterson on January 19, 2013 at 9:33 am
    • Reply

    Welcome to http://www.fromlefttowrite.com. Congrats on having the courage to write about REAL stuff. Life is difficult and glossing over the authentic parts makes it less rich.

    1. Thank you! I wasn’t so sure I wanted to post it, but it’s where my heart kept leading me.

  1. It’s unnerving to learn something you didn’t know about a loved one and rebuild trust. I admire that you and your husband were willing to do that. Thank you for sharing such a personal story…it was really thought provoking.

  2. Relationships are so hard-true, authentic ones, I mean. So many times I think people are too quick to toss them aside, sure that there is something better to come along. Doing what it takes to try to work through the hard parts takes courage and strength-things you obviously possess. So glad to have the chance to get to know you through FL2R!

    • Rosebud on January 20, 2013 at 12:26 pm
    • Reply

    That book sounds right up my alley. I also love to read, especially while I’m munching on my morning cereal. Robert Ludlum was always my favorite but I always enjoy a good mystery. Thanks for the information. Another thing I enjoy is your recipes. Again, thanks for posting them.

  3. Carrie-Welcome to the group. I applaud your courage in writing about your post. It was so honest and from the heart. I look forward to exploring your blog and learning more.

  4. Carrie, I’m so glad that you two were able to work together and grow stronger. I’ve been with my husband for 15 years (dating and married). Some days I realize we’ve been so busy with kids and our work that we’ve barely spoken to each other. We try to have an in-home date at least every other Friday to reconnect. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Wow… I think it is really wonderful that you decided to share that. This is what I love about From Left to Write. We all read the same book, and rather than just rehashing the plot and critiquing the book, we get the opportunity to share how the book touched us. I’m pretty new too – welcome! 🙂

  6. Welcome to the book club. Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your marriage.

    • jodifur on January 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm
    • Reply

    I’m glad you were able to work your way through.

    1. Thank you!

  7. My husband and I definitely need therapy, not so much that I don’t know him, but we have communication issues. I say one thing that I think is sooooo clear, but he completely misunderstands what I’ve said. Sometimes I am incredulous! Thanks for reminding me that I need to make that appointment!

    1. It’s not easy to invite someone else into the relationship, but a good therapist can help a lot. A non-invested party to bring some clarity to the situation without picking sides. We had a lot of communication issues before this, and that was brought to light. We’re not perfect, but we do try harder now to say what’s on our minds and not expect the other to read them. Good luck! Making the appointment is hard, but it can help so much!

    • Janaki Kuruppu on January 24, 2013 at 12:06 am
    • Reply

    Wow! That 7-yr-itch can be a real doozy! My first marriage didn’t make it much pt that 7-yr mark, but my second (and present) marriage is near the 20-yr mark. With the help of therapists to get through the rough patches. I admire your courage in going to such a personal story, but it definitely resonates with the book. You are so right, that we can never really know one another through and through, and it can be so damaging when truth is revealed. I’ll so glad that you made it through to a healthy relationship on the other side. May you have many more years of growth together.

  8. I love the idea of a book club that focuses on reflections and relating to a book, not just reviewing! I just applied to join Left 2 Write. Thank you! I told them you sent me 🙂

    1. Isn’t that great? Because literature is such a personal thing, striking different notes within each person.

  1. […] Carrie of poet in the pantry discusses the dual lives of others […]

  2. […] http://poetinthepantry.com/2013/01/19/from-left-to-right-the-expats/ – Wow… I think it is really wonderful that you decided to share that.  This is what I love about From Left to Write.  We all read the same book, and rather than just rehashing the plot and critiquing the book, we get the opportunity to share how the book touched us. I’m pretty new too – welcome! […]

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