Hesaid/Shesaid

Written By: Adele Slaughter and Christopher Kennedy Lawford

The following is not a dialogue, rather, it is a man and a woman speaking their ideas about relationships. We have interspersed the male and female point of view because we feel it works nicely to see inside his head and then inside of hers. This is a social experiment to see what happens.

A MAN IN RECOVERY?

I never believed I’d live to be as old as I am. I’m fifty-five, been in recovery for twenty-four, used drugs and alcohol like a fiend for seventeen. I died many times, figuring I didn’t stay dead because I’m lucky or because god had something for me to do, that he couldn’t give to anybody else. I believe I won the karmic mega-bucks; I’ve been given two lives on this earth I did nothing to deserve. One cloaked in hedonistic narcissism, the other in promise and lessons. I’m grateful for both.

A WOMAN IN RECOVERY?

I was an Army Brat and my father was a spy. Every night when he came home he gulped down lots of martinis, about five, but who’s counting. (Actually, I was). Not only did he drink a lot, but the family moved continually and I never knew what was going to happen next. No one ever said what they meant, they only sometimes meant what they said and I was left to figure it out. When I got it right, I knew my sisters and I would survive the night, and when I failed, the storm hit hard. The way in which I learned to communicate is … interesting at best, at worst fraught with peril.

Watching your father drink several martinis and pass out or fly into a rage at you has an effect. And wouldn’t you know it I married a recovering alcoholic. And while we have many things in common, we sometimes bump heads and misunderstand each other.

HE SAYS:

I am under-developed when it comes to relationships, behaving in all sorts of adversarial and inappropriate ways. I am certain about how I see the world and who other people are. I can smell a hidden agenda or self-seeking motive, I know the right thing to do when it concerns someone else, not quite as sure when it comes to me. I’d put needles in my eyes before wasting a moment of time. I move fast and cling to the preserver of DOING. Age and stuff has made it more difficult to laugh. I’m taking myself, and my life far too seriously. The loose garments of life are wearing more like a corset these days.

SHE SAYS:

I like to work things out with you guys. I like things to be neat and clean between us and in the house. Not only do I hate it when you’re angry at me, can’t you do the dishes without me asking? Please talk to me and tell me what is going on inside that crazy, mixed up male brain of yours. Don’t let me put your words and actions into my female decoder because I’ll think all kinds of crazy shit and we’ll end up in a big ass fight.

HE SAYS:

I prefer the company of my bulldog Ella to people most of the time. My recovery has been at the center of my life for the past 24 years. It’s also oddly becoming less important to me. This scares the shit out of me. I don’t say using drugs and alcohol aren’t an options for me – they are – just not today! I pray for peace and ease in my life, and do everything to make sure I don’t have it. I have a feeling that indulging paradox is more evident in men then it is in women. I idealize women; having spent much of my life in relationship with the other sex, seeing my projection of what I hoped would be there instead of what actually was. Intimacy scares the shit out of me, but I’ve jumped in with both feet. I often feel trapped between the poles of example presented by those who formed me – being pulled to the extremes of age inappropriate serial monogamy and emotionally vacant, controlled solitude.

SHE SAYS:

And when my words come out wrong (which they always seem to do) please assume I am innocent and that I don’t intend to insult you. I want you to sit with me and help me process everything. I know that you hate that, but sometimes I want you to do that anyway. I know that you feel as if you’re wasting your time, but what I feel is if you loved me you wouldn’t mind. Talking until 3 am is not a waste of time to me, especially if we lie together and hold each other at the end. To my way of thinking we’re working through our stuff….We can’t avoid it.

HE SAYS:

I get angry when I don’t want to. I believe I’m being taken advantage of and often wonder why I am not being seen for who I really am. I find myself lamenting out loud, “why won’t they leave me alone” and am sure if they did, I’d wonder where they went and want them back. I have a broken heart over what I was not able to do with my children, knowing that I did better than those who raised me. I know first hand that when you sober up a horse thief; you’ve got a sober horse thief. I wonder if my discontentedness is a result of being a man, being an alcoholic or being an alcoholic man?

SHE SAYS:

I’m pretty sure I discover what I’m thinking by speaking it. I’m often as surprised as you are at some of the things that come out of my mouth. Sometimes I say things that I don’t mean and when you repeat them back to me I’m horrified. I never mean to insult you. Funny thing, on the play ground little girls never get punched in the face for a careless word the way little boys do, and we never learn the danger of words. We think we can say anything and you just have to take it. You know I feel bad about it, but I really don’t mean to be mean. I don’t wish to insult you, not ever.

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~ by Christopher Kennedy Lawford on June 30, 2010.

3 Responses to “Hesaid/Shesaid”

  1. brilliant, i wish everyone would read this!

  2. After reading your blogs. Wow! Mr Lawford, how about a run for office! You blog (speak) from your heart. Most people blog how they want to be perceived. You wear your heart and head where it belongs. Just order all your books. Looking forward to reading them. Keep the blogs coming.

  3. Hi Chris,I embrace you as a comrade. I esteem you as a hero. You are certainly one of the voices for the addicted that is authoritative, insightful, and ingenuous. I was addicted for 30 yrs. I have been sober for 6 mos. now; and part of the credit for my redemption I owe to you and your book. Thanks. For cartharsis and spiritual recompense, I am composing a book: nonbiographical but expository. I will be happy to expound and elaborate. Can you you please give me any advice? Thank you, and may fate grant us a meeting of the mind.

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