Cheating is when you fold in on yourself
or someone else. Cheating on someone else almost always implies sexual infidelity
, but for me it has been as slight as coveting another woman
with your eyes, hands, or intentions. It surprises me that cheating on someone seldom applies to anything beyond that, for it is apparent that we are capable of various ways of being weak
and having someone suffer for it.
For me, cheating is something I consider or contemplate every day. I cheat mainly on myself, and though I have not cheated on someone in the aforementioned way, I know I have held back from people devotions or commitments, things they asked for that I was unable to give, though I will be told that I promised these things, later on when it is too late and my memory fails me.
I cheat on my rigorous gym schedule, my online limits, my time reserved for myself that I claim to so desperately need. I cheat myself of the ability to move forward financially or professionally, personally or emotionally, using fear as the primary excuse. I cheat myself of the Bible study class I attend weekly with the other women in my small congregation, women who are mothers and friends to me, whose banter I often welcome at the end of my bleak Wednesdays. Whatever excuse I have, it's given only to myself, so who is going to argue? I've already won.
The first cigarette I pick up after I've quit feels odd fit to my fingers, the wrong circumference. I don't want to want it, and I extinguish it in the street. Eventually, I'll snap all the filters from the rest of the pack and chalk up the wasted cost as cheating deferred. Par for the course.
I try to limit the cheating in stages, try to adhere to rules set and maintained by only myself in my life in the singular. The sensation resembles watching an iguana wrestling in a tub of warm water, his delicate claws scattering to find a surface to cling to, until finally he lies still, breathing deep to keep his body afloat. When he swims his laps, his limbs lie against his body, and he becomes a ribbon of green, beautiful and fluid. But every bath starts with that struggle to grasp the sides of the porcelain, to find footing where there is none.