The Art of Keeping up Appearances: and How I Became a Prostitute in My Own Marriage

“Smoke and mirrors, baby. Smmmoke and mirrors.” We were discussing the art of keeping up appearances and those who contrive to live the perfect life.

Huge houses, new cars, extravagant vacations with no real money in the bank.  Picture perfect holiday cards while chaos, abuse, and broken relationships dominate the family dynamic. Obtaining the latest gadget for the sake of acquisition without consideration of its actual need and usefulness.

@@Bigger, newer, faster – often digs another layer in the hole of our discontent@@. Because everybody knows these things can’t make you happy. Yet, we all try and see if they will.

I get it, I am that person – or I was that person. To some extent, we are all that person.

For me, it started in married life – and a need for genuine intimacy that was not being fulfilled. In the beginning, I chalked it up to busy schedules, the drive for career success, young children. All legitimate excuses of course. But the problem was bigger – after a bit, it became painfully obvious there was simply no desire or ability for my husband to connect. And worse, no real place for me in the relationship. My needs, wants, and desires were not considered – my demands were, but only if I spoke too loudly after experiencing neglect for so long.

I didn’t want to become the demanding wife. Who would willingly and knowingly want to be that person?

Slowly, I began to discount my own needs and desires – because if you’re going to stay in this type of situation, it’s what you must do. Then one day, I made a conscience choice. I decided to accept trinkets in exchange for the real love and affection I was after. I will never forget that day, that moment – when I agreed to compromise my heart for worthless baubles.

‘If you can’t give me the time, attention, and love I need; I will accept your gifts and a nice lifestyle. This way, at least I’ll have something to show for this relationship…’

I was trading love for things. It was the day I became a prostitute in my own marriage.

I worked tirelessly to build a shell on the outside to convince myself and those around me that “everything was great!”

It is so much easier to try and fill the hole this way than to do the hard work of looking inside to fix what’s broken. Or worse, conclude that it just can’t (or shouldn’t) be fixed.

So, our kids are great, our selves are great, our marriages are great, our jobs are great, our lives are rich. And we’ll absolutely slap down any evidence that would prove otherwise.

Seeking perfection is the ultimate distractor and deflector.  

It’s the great cover up.

@@The need to keep up appearances is a key indicator that something might be wrong – very wrong -  on the insides of your life.@@

Focusing on establishing and maintaining the perfect life snuffs out the unique greatness that is in you – for you cannot live your life for you and others at the same time, there is no room for both. You lose yourself. And you simply cannot afford to lose that. The world can’t afford that kind of loss either.

Today, I live a life of perfect imperfection. It is a simple life – and it is a wonderful life. Most importantly, it is genuine - real. Full of messy relationships and circumstances. I wouldn’t change much.

As for the baubles and trinkets; what I didn’t lose, I gave away. Not wanting to gain any monetary value from them. Except for one thing, a pair of earrings. I keep those to remind me how I once traded love for things – never wanting to forget how easy it was to slip into living this way.

Here’s to you – and me – and being perfectly imperfect.

Let’s make it great.