There was something my ex said, on his visit here recently, that stuck in my head. He lamented, “I’m all alone because this lifestyle is so hard…. you know how hard it is.”
Yes, I sure do know. It wasn’t just all the physical labour that went into beekeeping and harvesting honey, it was the ‘rustic’ home that was so much damn work. No flushing toilet, for instance. We were young and naïve when we bought the composting toilet. We lived on a flood plain so our septic system would not drain twice a year. At that time it was the state-of-the-art composting toilet…. the water-saving hope of the future. Just take out a tray of compost once a month! Sure; keeping it from not stinking was a chore. A few years later, digging out the toilet and burying shit was a chore every few months.
We never had a shower. We put in a bathtub and had a sauna. The shower was supposed to go by the sauna but it was never put in. I did a lot of hot, sweaty work over the years and never had a shower, I would wash in a luke-warm shallow bath. When visited here he asked to take a shower because he still doesn’t have one. Now the sauna is used for honey storage. “It’s so hard to clean up there.”
We only had a wood-stove for heating. It was so cold in the morning and would take hours to warm the place. I wore layers of clothing and shoes all winter. Whenever you went out, you came home to a cold house.
The renovations just stopped at some point when other interests took hold. We got as far as the sub-flooring but never covered the plywood so keeping it clean-looking was really hard. It looked like hell. I often said ‘let me at least paint it’ but no, he would do it in the fall….. in the spring….. in the fall…… in the spring…… year after year.
One of those interests was caving so he regularly drove down to West Virginia, Tennessee and Alabama. I joined him for about 10 years because it was only place I could have fun, be with people and go on vacations. But the trips were exhausting and we would come home with muddy cave and camping gear and dirty camp dishes. After 10 years my vacation was to stay home when he went caving, try to clean my house and get at least one day off to rest.
At that time my mother, who had multiple sclerosis, lived four hours away from me and always had a list of things she needed me to do. Because I didn’t have a job or kids she felt I had lots of time off.
I also got caught up in volunteering my time gardening and they became more and more demanding thinking I didn’t have to work. Meanwhile, with our own farming business and no kids, I worked 7 days a week. There were no fun times. Weekends were just more work as we each did separate Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and ‘volunteer’ work Sundays.
That’s the ‘lifestyle’ he was talking about, its was very hard. But it isn’t why I left.
That’s what I keep thinking about after he said he was alone because it was too hard for any woman. I will bet anything that is the story when he’s talking about why his wife left…… that the lifestyle was just too hard.
Not that he was abusive. Not that he yelled and called me names every day. That he was so negative and angry I lived in ‘fight or flight’ mode for years. That he finally threw me out of my own home because I couldn’t work hard enough. I was “a parasite”. I was worthless, nobody liked me…… on and on until he dropped me off with suitcases on my sisters doorstep and drove away.
Now I can just imagine him talking to some other woman the way he used to; so soft-spoken and ‘enlightened’. “It was just too hard a lifestyle and she couldn’t handle it.”
Well, let him say it. Let him save face for some woman he’s trying to impress or make her feel sorry for him. I know the truth and I don’t have to endure that ‘lifestyle’ any longer.