Saturday, December 20, 2008

Column 1: Honesty at last

(From left; Me, my older sister M. & Baby sis T. Poland, circa 1992)
I believe I am the epitome of a woman who loses herself in the ones she loves. Sometimes I wonder what parts of me are authentic and which have been molded to please all the occupants of my heart. What is the core of my being? I guess, is my question.
It started with an innocent realization; when things got chaotic at home, I could always find refuge in another’s arms. With a man, I could be vulnerable to an extent I never felt possible with my girlfriends & my family. I always felt that I couldn’t show them I hurt or cried because I would be labeled weak. In consequence, they wouldn’t seek comfort in times of need; they would lose faith that I could be their backbone.
Throughout High school, home was synonym of an unfruitful marriage & financial stress. I was so emotionally drained from my family situation that I hid out at my best friend’s house every day after school.
I wanted someone who would care for me & be my nest outside my household. I was a lost girl who jumped into a relationship (out of comfort and not out of love). I shut off the voices & allowed myself to believe I loved him. I thought I could erase past hurts by creating a life with him.

1. We stayed together for 2.5 years.

If something guaranteed my happiness, he would provide. He really opened himself to me. Raw & uncut, every imperfection & thought was shared with me. I blended with him; I started watching wrestling, using organic products & avoiding prescription pills. I changed my views on sexuality & relationships. It felt so natural, like I was just maturing and evolving. In truth, I was being consumed by my boyfriend’s personality. I would feel guilty when I doubted him. My feelings toward him were those of a sister towards her kin or a lost girl who searched for security in the arms of a man who offered friendship & love. I was blind for such a long time. How odd is it, that this man whom I thought my best friend and love is now a source of resentment and anger? With my ex, I never dared question the illusion. Even when writing out my thoughts & feelings, the evidence of my lack of love was flamboyant. Instead of being relieved & ending the relationship, I willowed in guilt. After all, did he not give me everything I should need? He used to tell me ‘You can lie to everyone, but never lie to yourself.’ It is an advice I have not followed. When I suggested we part ways, he felt betrayed. Not only have I broken so many promises, he saw his future shatter in the lapse of a phrase. As much as I hurt him, I couldn’t stand being miserable any longer. I freed myself from the chokehold & the desperation that stemmed from being with someone I didn’t love. After the break up, I felt relieved but there was something missing. To occupy myself (i.e. pursue my addiction) I started hanging out with someone new.

Then, I fell in love; raw, profound, obsessive.

It happened so fast; I can’t pinpoint the ‘why’ or the ‘how’. One day, I was hanging out with him & the next; I was meeting the family, making future plans & spending every free moment together. 2- A month ago, I would have told you I had a Lover that was my sun & with whom I was utterly endeared, a Lover who had baggage as cumbersome as a moving truck & as dangerous as a loaded gun, for my heart at least. I would have said I agreed somehow between the Love making sessions, the long walks & his hands around my waist, to share his burdens.Some days, it felt like my spine was a twig about to snap in two. I was worried that we could only last if I silenced a part of me. I would say that we wore masks & had layers of doubt smeared on our hearts because we both have been hurt in the past. It has been 8 months since we first made love & much has changed. We recently broke up. I still love him but I’ve made a decision with my head & I am (trying to) stick by it. I gave too much, too soon, to a man who has no idea where he is or where he is going. He is a good man, just confused & in lingo. His situation doesn’t allow me to have needs nor desires. I am expected to be a muted figurant in his life (while he gets his sh*t together) & then I will reap what I have sown. After many fights, tears shed & unfruitful discussions, I had decided to call it quits. How much misguided disrespect should one take? For the past few years, I have been searching for validation & comfort in the arms of men. Although I have been blessed with great parents, home was more of a battlefield than a sanctuary & men have been temporary shelters for me.

My X & I remain on speaking terms. I doubt we will get back together. He has a lot of issues to deal with before he can be in a relationship (his words, not mine). Of course, we both knew this & the same is true about my current mindset. We just hoped love & time would smooth out the bumps. We didn’t realize we weren’t dealing with the occasional disturbance but a daily collision. He has the same addiction. He cannot recall a period of time when he didn’t have a woman. Likewise, his problem has roots in his upbringing but his story isn’t mine to tell. To solve a situation, you must first admit you have a problem. Then, you must change your behavior because you cannot modify your life unless you take initiative & break from the routine. You can’t do the same thing over & over again & expect different outcomes.It will take time, perhaps I will relapse. What I know is that I am no longer a little girl who needs rescue from an unbearable family life. I am the author of my life & I alone have the power to change.

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