Question by angelareut: Art versus Real Life?
O.K. I know this will sound crazy, but I really need advice.
I am 32, african american, ivy league educated, and married to a Kenyan national I met in college. My husband is very, very western (or else I would never have been attracted to him in the first place probably) but a year ago we decided to live a year in Kenya, in his village, as Kenyans, and he would make a documentary about it (he is an independent filmmaker). While I was there, I made a huge mistake one night and I had an affair–it was the biggest mistake of my life, and I am still ashamed and humiliated.
In his village (maybe more widespread than that, I don’t know) if a woman commits adultury she has to go to her parents house, strip naked, and walk (accompanied by her brother and law) through the streets to her husbands house in shame to ask forgiveness. This is, obviously, an antiquated and medieval practice……but I was so in the wrong for the affair, and so wanted to convince my husband to want to keep working to fix our marriage, that I agreed to submit to the ceremony when we were visiting his family this summer. It was the most humiliating and humbling experience of my life.
The problem is that my husband has put 2 pictures from this event in his film. He sees no reason to hide it, says I expressed my shame publicly, and why should I want to hide that now (unless I’m not truly ashamed), and that it is an integral part of our experience in Kenya. I, however, say that I agreed to do something very important to him in a non-western context to make things right…..but having this enter my very western life is not appropriate….rather I am the one who had the affair or not. I am a college professor, not a African wife….this could have REAL WORLD consequences for me.
I’m sure most of you will think I’m crazy to begin with, but for those of you who can take the question seriously (rather than attacking me for what I did) I would appreciate advice
Answer by Francesco di Jedlesee
As an educated person, you know reality has various levels confined by the human mind, space and time. Outside these parameters, reality reaches past the limits of our universe. The reality of one life time experience on planet earth shouldn’t be cut into parts which are emotionally comfortable because they suited the environment of the moment. Either you have the maturity to call yourself a whole being, a person who can show herself to the world as she really is, or you resort to the kind of pathological existence the western world imposes so successfully on many of us through consumerism and social manipulation. I suggest you use your academic background to life up to the highest level of reality and make it a clear point of deliberate expression as to your real natural desires. The part about how your affair came about and why you fell for it is greatly missing in your story and would add a lot more realism to it.
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