An Affair in Three Voices – Part 3: Geena’s Story

This is the third and last part of An Affair in Three Voices: Geena’s Story (to read the previous two click on the right under “recent posts”)

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“I grew up knowing two things about myself: I was fat, and I was smart.

 … Not a great combination. My parents were overweight; they loved to eat, and I started following in their footsteps.

Anyway, regardless of my weight, I did get noticed because of my academic achievements. So, in general, I wasn’t very popular, making it hard to know whether kids really liked me, or just wanted to copy my homework.

I wasn’t destined to marry someone as good-looking as Jim, but in our senior year I helped him with a school project. When the final chapter was done, I produced a bottle of wine to celebrate – and, being drunk, he had sex with me. He regretted it the next morning and apologized profusely. I didn’t mind at all, since my experience with sex was limited to only a few unattractive guys.

Surprise … I got pregnant !!!

Jim and I were married a couple of months later and- even though I was besotted with him, it was clear from the get-go that I was so much more intelligent than he was; and he was so much more attractive than me.

So, to counter off my insecurity about my weight, I used my intelligence to make him feel inferior. Predictably, we didn’t have a good marriage, but I gave birth to another boy, and believed we’d maintain a type of coexistence.

When John and Barbara moved here, I was overcome with fears because Barbara was so sexy! It made me crazy to think that Jim would be looking at her every day. Ironically, Barbara turned out to be the soul of kindness, and it was hard to hate her as much as I did other attractive women.

Still, I focused my insecurity on Barbara (or Barbie, as we all called her, because she looked like a Barbie Doll), and it never occurred to me calamity might come from a different direction.

So, I was shocked and devastated when Jim came home and announced he was leaving me; he was already in the midst of a passionate affair with a co-worker, and it had nothing to do with ‘Barbie’! He was resolute in his decision and my requests for couple counseling and my promises to lose weight fell on deaf ears!

I felt doomed to loneliness because of my weight and ashamed of being the rejected wife. So, when Jim left I stopped eating. Initially I couldn’t eat because of my anguish, but later on I was determined not to be fat again! I became as focused on my weight as I was with academic performance during my high school years.

In other words, I was obsessed!

I got a lot of support from John and Barbie while I was trying to put my life back together. But, I was almost insulted by how readily she would encourage him to come and help me – like I wasn’t to be taken seriously as a source of potential competition since I used to look like a whale! She didn’t even notice my transformation!

It turned out Barbie started school and was always studying, and I was constantly exercising and dieting. What a funny turn of events.

At Barbie’s prompting, John came over almost every day to help out, and he took over the boys baseball practice. Oh, how I wanted him to want me! I desperately wanted to feel a man desiring me – even if it was still hard to fathom that.

When I lost 60 lbs. I got a complete makeover, and I couldn’t believe the result. With my hair dyed blond, styled in a shag, new sexy cloths and new makeup, I looked like a different person. John started to notice, and started to give me compliments which I could not get enough of.

I started to plot having an affair with him, despite Barbie’s friendship. It seemed sometimes like she only wanted to “get rid of him” and study. I can assure you that I would never urge my husband to spend so much time with another woman. She was obviously too secure, too blind, or too stupid. Or, she did not want to be that intimate with him. I, on the other hand, could not stop dreaming about it.

I seduced him with the simple ploy of the “Damsel in Distress” and we started having a passionate love affair. Ok, I was in love and he was in lust. From time to time he wanted to break it off, and from time to time I would create other temptations. My resentment towards Barbie grew and the fact that she seemed so sweet to me infuriated me. She still perceived me as Fat Geena, and she didn’t care about her husband. However, I wasn’t fat anymore and her husband was making love to me.

Then came the day that John decided to seriously break it off.

I was more enraged than heartbroken. I promised myself I would never allow any man to reject me again. I would make sure to accomplish it by finding a man who would fall in love with me this time.

I devoted myself to this goal as ferociously as I did dieting. I found a wonderful man who fell head over heels in love with me, and I would share stories about him with John and Barbie, hoping (unsuccessfully) to make John jealous. Finally, I moved to his house and didn’t see either of them for many years.

The other day I saw them at a party. He still looked pretty good, but she’s gained weight.

I haven’t gained a pound.”

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About rachel bar

Psychotherapist and supervisor.
This entry was posted in AFFAIR, Betrayal, diet, DIVORCE, Fat, In Love, Marriage, Obsession, Overweight, Sex, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to An Affair in Three Voices – Part 3: Geena’s Story

  1. Maurice Labi says:

    I thought I had god memory but it’s fading. I read Part 1, then 2, a week later, waited for Part 3 to show up, and it did a week later. I had trouble keeping all the balls in the air, got out of the story and reread the earlier stories. This took away from the enjoyment and continuity of the read. It’s a difficult act to pull off, but I would suggest keeping all stories – much shorter versions — on the same blog, while cutting from one character, to another. Not easy. As for the lives of these characters, it comes to show that we sometimes don’t have an inkling about people we think we know.

    • rachel bar says:

      Will take your suggestion under consideration! I don’t think I’m skilled enough to follow your other suggestion “cutting from one character to another” with this post, but I plan to try it with another story in the future.

      You are so right with your last statement, Maurice!

  2. It is fascinating to see how each person gave the same situation a different meaning and how each wrongly assumed what was going on in the other two minds. This is the common theme I notice with clients who come in for relationship difficulties. Also, this goes to show that it takes two to tango – meaning that in most cases of infidelity both spouses play a part.

  3. Jim Palmer says:

    Hi Rachel
    First I would like to say I really enjoy your blog….. In this case I would have the perfect solution to this dysfunctional group….. I would have converted the situation into a ménage-a- trois Like any red blooded American male…..Thus we could have lived happily ever after and save a of money by not needing a top flight psychotherapist…..I would have no objections to a switch hitting wife so long as she let me get in the pile :-))

  4. Denise says:

    Rachel,

    In this case, I loved the story told the way you did, in three parts. I was eager for the third part, and excited when I saw it pop up on my screen. I am really
    taken with your storytelling and writing.

    Denise

    • rachel bar says:

      Glad to hear! As we say “Different strokes to different folks”, and also interesting that the same comments came from men and not women. Is it because it is hard for them to stay focused when women go “blah blah blah blah”?

  5. nfpisms says:

    I agree with Maurice. This was a very interesting series, but very difficult to keep track of the different threads and points of view over three separate postings a week apart. I, too, would suggest laying out and presenting it in a way that one can keep track of the the three threads and points of view at the same time. There’s a lot here to wrap one’s arms and heads around. Great idea, though. Kudos. Nick

  6. Maureen says:

    Have these delightfully evolved people ever appeared on The Jerry Springer Show?

  7. dlmchale says:

    Rachel…I have so enjoyed this story. It has all the elements of a great read: pathos, antagonism, sex and sexuality, intrigue, betrayal…the human in all of us has a smorgasbord of emotions and conditions enough to load our plates several times over. Some of the comments your recieved are directed more to the comfort of the reader and not truly so much to the betterment of your writing…which is perfectly fine. As a therapist, I’d chalk some of the critique up to projection.
    For myself, it is a welcome challenge to read your story and reflect back on my own relationships since many of the themes resonate. Anytime you can carry your reader across the threshold of pure entertainment to introspection, you’ve succeeded in your goal of writing in the first place…to be truly heard. When I read your posts, this and your poetry, I am reminded of a line that came to me one day as I was struggling in front of a blank page – as though my muse was whispering in my ear, “Writing is oftentimes less you having something to say than something to say having you to express it.” Hope that makes sense.
    You patients are lucky to have a therapist that spends her spare time further and deeply exploring all facets of the human condition. I took my degree in clinical psych years ago, but never did anything with it. But my yearning to understand what makes people tick, what motivates their growth and their destruction, continues to burn within me. When I read your postings, that fires only burns with a more intense heat.
    I am so fortunate to have formed a collegial relationship via WordPress with someone as bright, articulate, and sensitive as you. I hope we grow as artists, together, in the years to come. You motivate me to be a better writer, and a better online friend. Thank you. Oh, and again…happy birthday! Close your eyes and make a wish.

  8. Stephanie Kirschner says:

    People often ask me how I leave my “work” at work, or distance myself from my clients problems. The truth is I don’t. They are with me, not in a burdensome way, but some of them are there sometimes. It comforts me to know that yours are with you! I wouldn’t say I ruminate about them, but these are human beings and we care. Otherwise we wouldn’t be doing this work.

  9. rachel bar says:

    Truth be told, these people are not based on clients! They are based on snippets from clients, an incident or two, but they are mostly a figment of my imagination.

  10. Amy Ebert says:

    For some reason, I find it fascinating that John (Barbara’s husband) found Geena “hot” at least 2 years before she lost weight (after her husband left her). It seems she could have had John without losing “the weight” if only she chose to seduce him. I liked your break-up of the three different perspectives into three different blogs. It built anticipation & left space to appreciate and absorb each person’s side of the story. Thanks for the expanding of preconceived notions! 🙂

    • rachel bar says:

      Amy, you are the only one who noticed it, and truth be told, it was a mistake on my part! Thanks for noticing Sherlock…

      Glad that you liked the structure of the three blogs!

  11. Barbara Cooper says:

    Wow- I must say I like her least of all, in fact, not at all. Shows you what lack of self esteem can do to a person, and how much emphasis in our society is put on what we weigh. Geena was screwed up beginning in her youth because she was overweight. I’d really like to know how her parents treated her-did they torment her because of her weight? Because this girl is just mean. She hated Barbie because she sent her husband over to help? Or, she hated Barbie because in Geena’s mind Barbie didn’t consider fat Geena to be any kind of threat to her marriage? Me thinks Geena hated herself and there we are back to low self esteem and how badly this affects everything in a person’s life.

    • rachel bar says:

      The reason Geena is not as bad, has to do with growing up feeling damaged and rejected. It almost feels like she got to survive on scraps. You definitely got the extent of her damage in your comment.

  12. Annie Marggraf says:

    Hi Aunt!
    I was so excited to read the last entry. Unlike Maurice and the other fellow, I missed the initial blog link, so I got to read the first two entries consecutively. This made it easier to follow. I agree with Barbara Cooper. I definitely like Geena the least. For the record I have the most empathy for Barbie. Interesting solution to her problem. I wonder if she was happy in her heterosexual marriage, as it seemed to persevere for the long haul. Man. Geena seems so catty. Self-esteem (HEALTHY self-esteem lol) is so important. Love.

  13. Now out of all the situations, Geena..I liked..her level of self worth, the “shotgun ” marriage and her determination to prove what others should be thinking about her reminds me of the weakness in our society. Often we find ourselves trying to make other see versus allowing them to see things on their own. Great third part and excellent series.

  14. Maria Shufeldt says:

    Hi, Rachel:

    I think this is one of your most artfully written pieces — in 3 pieces no less. I keep going back to read it. Each voice of each character is so distinct that I can picture these people. I loved it just the way it is — in separate pieces– just as the three narrators are separated by their self-absorbed perspectives, mirroring ours, too. There we are, tracking along on one narrative, making up our own dialogue with ourselves on what’s “really” going on until we bump into an unanticipated reality. Life is like that sometimes — a slapstick comedy that hits us upside our arrogant heads. I wonder if this could be recorded sometime as a radio/podcast piece to really give audio depth to these voices. (Not to give you more work, but you are just so *good* at it. ) xo-Maria

  15. rachel bar says:

    Thank you Maria! So glad to hear that you liked it so much. Yes, our arrogant heads create our own reality, sometimes a comedy, and at other times the drama, and mostly our own invention.

  16. ShimonZ says:

    Hi Rachel. Having met you just recently, I was looking around your blog. Read a couple of posts, and then found this three part story. I liked it. I thought it was well written, and of course, I didn’t have any problem with the break between chapters. I read them one after another. But I think it wouldn’t have bothered me if I was reading one a week. From the start, I felt that this was a story about shallow relationships. And this feeling became stronger, the more I read. It seems to me, that in any committed relationships, there will be differences between the people involved, and expectations that can’t be realized. It really helps, if two people love one another. But whether they do or not, for the relationship to work, they have to learn to accept their partner for what he or she is. People can change, but it’s usually a very slow process. So part of making a relationship work is to come to terms with needs different from your own, and to be capable of tolerance and forgiveness towards someone who doesn’t meet up to your ideal. I believe that nothing works as well as being forthright and honest, even if you’ve done something you’re ashamed of, or haven’t fulfilled some promise or commitment. If we’re true friends, and share what’s going on in our lives and minds, we can overcome even difficult problems and disappointments.

  17. rachel bar says:

    Shimon, this comment: “But whether they do or not, for the relationship to work, they have to learn to accept their partner for what he or she is” is probably the most difficult task in intimate relationship!
    I think that when people had arranged marriages, the concept of “accepting” was more natural. I believe that “falling in love” and the concepts attached to it, is part of what destroys marriages today, as people expect to feel excitement and cherished 24/7. The concept of entitlement is also destructive to relationship today. “I deserve” has gone out of hand.
    Unfortunately, most marriages, especially young ones start with misguided concepts and lacking in understanding. Some are lucky and they grow and develop together, others lead paralell lives, and then there are those who divorce. It’s all very complicated.

    • ShimonZ says:

      I’ll admit, Rachel, that in my generation, everyone had an arranged marriage. But since then, I’ve seem ‘falling in love’ close up. All my children chose their marriage partners. And I had many students who fell in love, and married their true love. What was amazing to me, was that after about a half a year, it wasn’t that different. We usually learned to love our spouse. And the younger generation, who fell in love, were influenced by day to day banalities, and often lost the ‘high’ after a while. But still, in most cases, continued to love. I agree with you that in modern society, marriage is working less. Agree with you about entitlement. But I think the biggest problem, is too much attention to self. Self-realization, and the accent on individualism, is making us less sensitive to the needs of others, and to the nature of group dynamics on every level. All of the three heroes in your story were each living in a separate world, alienated from one another. What could we expect?

      • rachel bar says:

        Agree, agree, and agree! Your view of the danger of what we call “self realization”, and how it robs us of compassion and attention to the “other” is absolutely at the bane of our society.

  18. George says:

    Just read this three years after you published it and really enjoyed it. Even though it was accidental, having John find Geena to be “hot” when she was overweight while his wife always had an amazing body is a HUGE part of the story. It implies so much and is so real. That was the part of the story that hit me the hardest. Amazing that it was accidental.

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