(Alternately titled Goldilocks and the 3 Husbands because it's funny.)
Someone sent me an email recently asking me what my deal is. That was it. One line. What's your deal?
If that wasn't a rude demand for something for nothing I don't know what is.
And then it occurred to me that I've removed all of the archives that would have led readers back to oh, 2004. Even though nothing much happened until 2006. That was the year I think the world as I know it exploded.
Here's a really truncated look back because I can barely do this but it's been demanded of me and who am I to ignore a direct command, ever? To match, it's staccato, and just as rude. There will be no poetry today.
I grew up on the shores of the Atlantic, with Lochlan, Caleb, Cole, and Christian. The moment I could I ran away with Lochlan (young love, don't you know, we were practically a Bon Jovi song) to join the midway and then the circus. You will find many references to it. I can't help it, it's in my blood. I read music lyrics like other people read the newspaper
because I have a degenerative hearing loss that someday not so far off
in my future will leave me with only the music in my head and I'll be
damned if I'm going to forget the words when the time comes.
But let's skip forward twenty years or more, shall we?
In April of 2006, I left my artist/photographer husband, Cole. We had been married for twelve years, having just bought a house after he was transferred from the east coast to the Prairies. We had two small kids, Ruth, who was six at the time, and Henry, who was four. Cole was a sadist. I was submissive and already incredibly fragile. I left Cole for Jacob, one of our best friends. He, like many of our friends, had followed us to the middle of the country. Maybe I was never one to play very fairly. The separation began amicably enough but stopped the night Cole broke into the house when I was there alone and hurt me. He broke a lot of bones, I'm five feet tall and ninety-five pounds, fighting back was a fool's game. Jacob saved my life that night and Cole went to jail. Two months later Cole suffered a massive heart attack and died. He was thirty-seven years old. We were not yet divorced.
Something in my head broke and I was never the same again.
In August, Jacob took me for a hot air balloon ride. He proposed, I said yes. We were married two days later in his church. He was a Unitarian Christian minister/University prof. In September we got pregnant and in October we learned that the pregnancy was ectopic. We were doomed but we struggled mightily through the next full year trying to stay afloat. He was trying to fix everything and I kept trying to break it, trying to keep normal going when normal had packed up and moved away.
In October of 2007, Jacob left me. Left us. Just up and said he was already gone. That he wasn't a good person, that he needed to leave. I broke a little more. The resiliency of this one little human must be positively outstanding. I foundered around numb for a week and then on Jacob's birthday, my friends came and told me that he was dead, having taken his own life the night before. He left letters. Hundreds of them. Five years later I still can't get through some of them and so I don't know what they say.
This was when my head exploded. I did a lot of very self-destructive things and then I went away to a lovely place where they fix heads like mine. I came home weeks later, too soon, incapable of being any better off but loathe to abandon my children the way that Jacob had abandoned us. I continued to be self-destructive for a long time after coming home. Honestly I still am sometimes.
The winter after I came home Ben began to show me who he really was. I liked that person. I don't wait anymore. There is no point, I knew what he felt for me. Those of you who have read here for years have witnessed our comment wars and real-life difficulties. We've never had a dealbreaker, he's my boomerang boy. He always came back.
Ben has an unconventional job that I don't talk about much and he may or may not be on the road or in the studio for a good three-quarters of most years but if you ask me I will tell you he's a door-to-door tattoo machine salesman. Hell, we have enough tattoos between us to make a stab at the truth with that one. He is none of your business in that respect so don't ask me what his last name is or if he's famous because that is the only time you will ever catch me in a lie anymore. I'm fine with that.
By April of 2008 we were married and oh, here she goes just like Elizabeth Taylor but really, Ben and I bicker just enough to pass for normal, married people. So far so good. He's lost both of his parents in the midst of all this. He's been to rehab a number of times and fights hard to stay sober. He's been through more than I have, but that's for another day, again. He's a beautiful human and he values his privacy so I don't actually write about him as much as I once did.
When I'm not sharing too much information with the readers who wander in and out and number in the thousands now (thank you for the daily collection of outraged emails) I write short stories and novels too and I look after my friends and my two not-so-little kids (Ruth is now a full-fledged teen and Henry isn't far behind and yes, they were named for candy bars but it could have been worse if I liked Kit-Kats and 3 Musketeers) and I cook dinner for a crowd every night.
In the spring of 2010, the whole extended intentional family (the collective, as we usually refer to it) moved to the west coast. I sold the castle that Cole bought for me in the Prairies and we bought a house that juts out from a cliff, overlooking the beautiful Pacific ocean. Then we bought the one next door to it and now the whole point is ours. We decided to make it into a compound for our intentional family. Our collective. Others have called it a commune. Doesn't bother me one bit, as I would not trade it for the world now.
Caleb lives in the Boathouse, as it's called. It's a two-bedroom modern cottage a stone's throw from the main house. He is Cole's older brother. He's a lawyer/CFO/venture Capitalist/self-made man. He is the Devil incarnate sometimes.
I live in the main house with Ben, Ruth, Henry, Lochlan (like Cole he is also an artist, but more about him in a minute), Sam (Jacob's former student), Dalton, Duncan (Dalton's older brother), Gage (Schuyler's older brother) and PJ. The new house next door holds Andrew (my oldest and dearest friend), John, Christian, Daniel (Ben's younger brother) and Schuyler (Daniel's husband).
Jacob's best friend and my favorite sounding board August lives above the garage in a beautiful airy loft that I designed myself.
Other friends I mention often include Corey, Keith, New-Jake, Joel, and Batman (a nickname for someone who flies into my life when I ask for him. I don't do that anymore.)
In 2011, Ben and I made a huge decision to include Lochlan in our marriage. Lochlan and I have been in love since I was nine. He raised me on the midway circuits and then later in the circus. I am who I am today (strange and wonderful) because of him. He's had a tough job being half-parent, half-lover, we struggle with that every day but some things are just meant to be. Some things just work, you know?
In 2015, Ben and I took a step back, reevaluating what we both want, changing things here, tweaking things there and chose to divorce each other but not break up. In the summer of 2016 I married Lochlan. Legally. He asked, I said yes, We ran off to Coney Island and sealed the deal on the Wonder Wheel. He's the one on the paper now and Ben is 'the main boyfriend' (I sometimes have another or two) and it works, so far. This is a dream I gave up on and then got back and it's one I plan to live to the end.
That's my deal, in a nutshell. What's yours?
[PS: I'm not on very many places on the internet. I am playing with Pinterest just a little. That's all. At last count I saw seventeen 'Saltwater Princess' accounts in one formation or another on Twitter and on Instagram, and people keep googling me, sending me pictures of other Bridgets and such. It's not me. Stop looking. In spite of the fact that I live in a commune, I'm actually a really private person without much internet time at all. The boys don't have any internet aside from the occasional facebook or instagram account but those are all set to private so don't bother. We don't talk to strangers anyway.]