What moves me about Around the Bonfire – and why I am extending this series, if you didn’t know - is how incredibly open the writers are with their feelings.
They’ve entrusted me with some of their most intimate thoughts. It’s an honor that I don’t take lightly.I am truly humbled by it.
Many of you probably already read Erin Margolin. She is a powerful writer, and I couldn’t be more happy to have met her at Blissdom, where she caused me to laugh harder than I had in a very long time. I think of her as one of those writers who truly isn’t afraid to be real, to bare her soul, to show her rough edges and her fears.
Today, she’s talking about one of those fears. But it’s about more than that – it’s about asking the question: when is the pleasure of a hobby not worth the risk? What happens when you don’t approve of something your significant other is doing?
Give her your support today as she writes about Racing Away.
I’ve never sat around a real bonfire before. I’ve never been part of the community required in order to do so. I’ve never been to sleep away summer camp. I was bullied. I never had a big group of friends until I began blogging and using social media. Now I’m fortunate to sit here comforted by your familiar faces. I feel close to you although many of us have never met in real life; some of us have, but only for a few precious minutes.
My husband doesn’t understand our virtual friendships and likely never will. He doesn’t tweet and barely uses Facebook. He loathes the sight of me on my laptop. Because he doesn’t “get it.”
As of this writing, my husband is racing a car on a track in Colorado. It’s one of his hobbies. Playing golf, going to Chiefs & Royals games, and hanging out with his friends are some of his others.
Me? I have a few hobbies: reading, writing and blogging. According to him, these hobbies are lonely, solitary, and make me a recluse…because it’s just me and my Mac staring at one another.
I don’t object to my husband being well rounded and having varied interests. What I’m uncomfortable with is his racing, putting his life on the line, all for the adrenaline rush and stress release. His parents and I have asked him to stop. He won’t. I’ve tried ultimatums, to which he replied,
“Asking me to stop racing is like asking you to stop writing.”
The two are radically different. I’m not risking my life by using my pen and laptop. My writing doesn’t mean my kids might wind up with a dead or paralyzed mother. My writing can’t turn someone else into a paraplegic.
I’m terrified I’ll lose him to danger and recklessness. A loose wheel, a turn taken too fast, a flicker of flames, blood on hot asphalt. Sirens, a gurney, a helicopter ride.
Simply stopping him isn’t an option. It’ll take a big scare or an accident for him to quit, and even then, I’m not convinced he will. He knows how I feel, but won’t stop, and it’s been a bone of contention for years.
He’s racing away from us at 120 mph. In lots of ways. It’s an escape from things, things he may never admit to himself or anyone else.
I don’t run away. Instead, I sit around the bonfire with you and share my fears along with the s’mores.
A funeral replete with black garb, sniffles and a line of people waiting to toss dirt onto a coffin with a shovel. Saying Kaddish.
I wonder how I will feel knowing that he loved this thing so much that he couldn’t put his family first. He’s an adrenaline junkie, high from the speed and the risk. His philosophy is, “I work hard, so I get to play hard.”
Well guess what? I don’t want to be a widow. I don’t want my kids’ dad dying while doing something so stupid.
I’m honest with my girls. I tell them I don’t like Daddy’s racing because it’s dangerous and he could get hurt. Or hurt someone else. I wonder how he’ll feel when they are old enough to really express this to him? Will he still do it?
What will it take? How much more feeding does his ego need?
He says, “My instructor told me I was born to do this.” Of course he did, you’re paying him every time you go to the damn track!
No. You were born to live and breathe and you got married and had three children with me. You were born to live your life with us!
Thank you for inviting me to sit and be part of your bonfire, Gigi. It’s been good to let all of this out and maybe some of the tension I hold in my shoulders will lighten up. I appreciate being able to share this and call you all my friends. I need you now, more than ever.