Saturday, February 20, 2016

CRAIG EDWARD KELSO, The Final Interview

Here is the final interview I gave to a former student who ran a personal blog for three years. Through our discussions I discovered things about myself that were un-revealed previously without the bounce-back of another person. These helped a lot. The subject matter here gets down and dirty, and I lost a lot of friends over this interview. It took people years to come to grips with my statements. I understand republishing my remarks might have a similar impact today. But that's the ultimate point of checala, a document of the long, circuitous route Myra and I took to find one another. Literally all I went through had to happen in order for Myra and I to meet. That's a crazy thought, and it should give context to why I'd put this up for the world to read. I simply do not do things I find wrong or naughty. I don't engage in behavior I find immoral. That typed, here's the final interview from a few years ago.

How is it going since we last spoke?
FANTASTIC. Really great.

Have a job?
No. Well, kinda. But not really. I can get a job, no problem. Holding onto one is a different matter altogether.

Because co-workers find out about my past, and they, for the most part, cannot get over it. Someone complains. The company worries about liability. The cycle keeps repeating itself. It’s the most difficult aspect of all this, really. It has gotten to the point where it looks like I won’t ever be able to support myself.

That’s terrible.
Yeah, it is. A few friends have tried and tried, pulling strings and relying on their own friendships to get me jobs. It usually always turns out the same.

What will you do?
I don’t know. I keep pushing, keep trying. Never going to give up.

This might seem like a stupid question to you, but do you regret what you did?

No. Well, what do you mean?

Look at your life. It sucks. Doesn’t that mean you should regret what you did to get you here?
No. I have a nuanced answer … if you want to hear it.

I was arrested and sent to prison for having a physical relationship with a teen girl. I do not regret that, not at all. She was a wonderful person. I treated her very, very well. We were tender and great to each other. If you’re asking if I regret our sexual relationship, I’ll be honest and tell you no. She was a willing and enthusiastic participant.

That sounds pretty awful, man.
I am not advocating for such a scenario. I do not believe, as a rule, relationships like ours ought to happen. No. I am simply relaying what we did, how we were with one another -- for what it was, it was incredible. I do not regret that.

I don’t know if we should go much further in discussing this …
No, no. It’s okay. Again, for what I went to prison for, for what my life was destroyed over, I do not regret our physical relationship. That’s all. It was entirely my fault.

How did it happen?
I don’t think I should really go in to it, but I will say that she had something like a crush and she let me know. I could have stopped it at any time. I didn’t. A real man would’ve shrugged her off. A real man would have distanced himself. I did not. Instead, I encouraged her.

I was in a horrible marriage. That too was mostly my fault, in that I should have just left. A regret I do have is all the time I spent with the young lady. That’s time I can never get back. Instead of messing around with her, I should have been home working on my marriage. I should have been home taking care of my girls. Those are times I can never, ever get back. I do regret all the time and effort my affair with the young lady ate.

That sounds contradictory, like you’re saying you don’t regret the thing you had with her but you do regret it.
No. I do not regret what we had together. I loved her. I know that fucks with people, and they ask me how could I love her! Well, she was a force for good in my life. She added. She gave me hope and beauty. She was a good, good friend for a while. We genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. What I miss about her is not the sex, the physical part. What I miss about her is our friendship. I guess that’s a lot sicker than if we’d just had sex. I guess I am pretty pathetic. I don’t think what we did was wrong, but I do believe what I did was ghastly and horrible. Our “love” was real, heartfelt. We cared a lot for one another. But I was not in a place, she was not in a place, to really have that “love” be something more than a temporary thing. I should have been the one to put on the breaks, to slow things down, and to let her down easily. I just didn’t do the right thing.

You still talk with her?
No. She’s gone on with her life. I have gone on with mine. I had to close that chapter in order to bring some sanity back to my world. It just wasn’t meant to be. Letting it go was a good thing for us both.        

How do you think SHE feels about all this?
I have no idea. I hope she looks back on our time together and smiles. I hope she sees it as a loving part of her life. I don’t know how this will look to her in 10 or 20 years. She will probably be conditioned to see me as a monster. I don’t know if she will be able to compartmentalize us with the physical side and us the emotional side. I don’t know.  It takes an incredible maturity and intelligence to look honestly back on the past. I guess that’s all I want to say about her.

If she is of age, 18, can’t you guys be together?
Look, I pretty much want to drop it. Whether she is 18 or 38, it just isn’t something I want to pursue. I will always think well of that time we spent together, but there is absolutely no future for her and I. None. I won’t let it happen even if she wanted it, which I know she does not. If you have other questions not related to her, I’ll answer them.

Are you dating?
[laughter] That’s personal! But, no, no. I don’t want a relationship. No one is exactly breaking down my door to have one with me, either. I am terrified of having one.

I’ve made some really bad decisions in the recent past, choosing women who were not, um, mentally balanced. I lost perspective. I lost myself, and I made the strangest choices. Looking back at some of the relationships I had, I often wonder what the hell I was thinking. I don’t trust myself at the moment to make a reasonable decision. I will need a long, long time to get my personal life together, to survive, and get to a good psychic space in my head before I take on a mate.

That sounds scary.
I guess so! I am incapable of hooking up or of having a casual relationship. I am just not wired that way. I love the idea of marriage. I love the idea of having a family. I love the idea of a partner. I’ve just never been very good at finding someone with whom I’d want those things. Bits and pieces of my ideal have resided in all the women I’ve loved, to one extent or another, but the ideal has never been embodied in one person. I guess I’ve never really been in love.

Do you think you’ll get married again someday?
Doubtful. Think about it. What woman would want to take me on? I am a lot of work, even in normal circumstances. Now you have to add all this, the public hatred, the infamy, the poverty. Women have a lot of great choices out there, and I do not factor-in well when it comes to the aspects of life most women are looking for. I am prepared to be alone for the rest of my life.

That’s sad.
Not really. The rest of my life will be whatever I make of it, for the most part. I haven’t given up on finding a good woman. She’s out there. I am just being realistic. Chances are not good.

Have you been able to see your youngest daughter, Silly Willy?
Not yet. That is something I dream about every night. I think about her every day. I won’t ever, ever give up seeing her someday. I don’t really have much to offer her right now, but once I get some basic things covered, which I cannot elaborate on here, I’ll hit that legal avenue hard. Hard. I am gearing up. It has been slow-going, but I will get there.

How is your older daughter, LPoS, doing?
She is doing well, very well. She is in college now. She has a great boyfriend, The Muffin. They’re a neat couple. She’s started her own business, and it is going gangbusters – really well. She misses Silly Willy, of course, and I can’t imagine how that weighs on her. But she’s also really strong. She understands there isn’t much anyone can do at the moment. 

That’s what you mean by regret?
Yes. Yes. I regret that aspect. I regret it all the time. I do not see my personal decisions as reason enough to deny sisters their relationship. I do not see them as reason enough to deny Silly Willy her father. Yes, I fucked up. Yes, I made a horrible, horrible decision. I paid for it. Big time. Why, oh why, does the government make things considerably worse by making victims of my children? It doesn’t follow. I can’t understand how people can be so irrational and so very cruel.

I’ve asked you this before. Are you bitter and angry at all that’s happened?
I would be … if it wasn’t completely my fault. I have no reason to be bitter. I love my life.

You say that a lot.
It’s because it’s true. This is mine. I own it. All of it. The good, the bad, the ugly. I’ve been through so very much in a short amount of time. It has worked on me in deep, deep ways. I was miserable a few years ago, and I exploded. I couldn’t deal. I couldn’t find a reasonable solution. There was fire, fire all around me. Everything was burning. I escaped, for a time. Now I sleep in the fire.

That’s a RATM song!
[laugh] Oh, yeah. I am no victim. I wasn’t pushed into all this. What has happened is a direct consequence of the actions I took, actions I could have completely avoided. I did not want to avoid them at the time for whatever reason. I sort of let things happen, allowed them to develop. Now, now, is when you’ll get the measure of me as a man. Have I learned? Can anyone come back from such a disaster? This excites me. I am up for the challenge. It’s a marathon not a sprint. I face it every day, in nearly every situation I encounter.

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