From Left to Write: 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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