Feb 20, 2016

You would think that. That you love me and you hate me. And when you tell me you want me to hate you-I won’t. I gave enough energy over the last seven years trying to love you and get you to love me I don’t have any energy left with which to hate you. I’m looking for that space where I can tuck you into my heart. I’m using the memory of you and us to fill that crack, and I’m cementing with my own power to rise from the ashes that persist from the final last time I tried to enter the fire you fucking set. Don’t be confused. It was not a heat of passion, but a conflagration of selfish conquest. A consecration of all things unholy. It wasn’t beautiful. It was a fucked up pattern of hurt and unavailability. 
 I’m not a prize to be won. I’m not a challenge to have conquered. I am the power you sought, but could not gain. I even tried to hand it over to you. I tried to teach you. I tried to show you how to melt. But the only rocks that ever melted are the ones that went the deepest into the core of their own earth. 

Andrea Gibson wrote, “love. It isn’t always magic. Sometimes it’s melting where it’s black and black blue. Where it hurts the most.” But there was no melting. Just stone throwing. I’m just black and blue. I don’t love you. I don’t hate you. I’m just healing. 

July 2014

She sent me a text message. 

Robotic, disconnected, impersonal

Words received and redirected from another to me. 

Words like; unfamiliar territory, no more contact, and most hurtful

A relationship is not something I can have in my life right now. 

These words are engrained behind my eyes. Lingering in the space between my perception and my consciousness. 

They have shifted in meaning numerous times as I cycled through my grief; extending through about two years of my mid twenties. Some before and some after, this message was the climax of our tainted love chronicle.

But this is a story within a story, as life so often is. 

Today, I know that if she could have, she would have just told me she was scared.

But fear is never that simple. 

It wears disguises, and blames those around us. And shame is more hurtful for the sorry than the other party. 

One year ago today, she walked out of my life, silently. 

Today, I sit in silence and thank her for all the moments we have shared, all the moments we have missed, and mostly for the opportunity to have new moments together. 

A life in which text messages are not the only safe form of communication. Disconnected is only our choice to escape from the world outside in order to be more together. 

Robotic is reserved for the machines, which we are decidedly not. 

She left me less than human, and returned in the most beautifully put together human version of herself. 

It is nice to have this human relationship. 

It is nice to feel so humanly loved. 

It is nice to know that I was somewhat capable of letting her go and rewire herself. 

Connection is not something we can fabricate. 

Connected to her was something I had always felt.

I could sense it when her life was moving in different spaces despite our no contact rule. 

I missed her every day. 

Trying my best to move on, only to discover that it was an illusion I had provided to myself through my own actions. 

The Reasons I Will Never Be Over My Ex

How long does it take to get over a long term relationship? You mean, that 8 years? You mean, like, my whole twenties? 

How long is it going to take you to get over your twenties? Do you even really want to? Probably not. So, I’m not going to “get over” my ex. 

Getting over her would be the equivalent of stripping me of half my identity. Taking away all the lessons. No, I don’t want to get over her. I want to integrate all that into a new way of being. 
If you didn’t get spend your twenties in a relationship, or in my case, a slightly different version of the same relationship over and over and over and over again…then maybe you won’t understand this answer. But it’s the only one I’ve got. 

I will never be “over” my ex. I don’t even really know what that is supposed to mean. I know that “we didn’t work out” and I know why. I know that we didn’t really have “relationship problems” we had unresolved childhood wounds that drove a necessary wedge between us so that I could finally heal. So that, hopefully, she could, too. I love her more for this than any of the memories that we created in our eight years of on again off again passionately toxic relationship. 
I won’t put a time stamp on my grief process. I’ve had months of anger, broken up by weeks of bargaining, I’ve hit the wall of acceptance just to swing back into denial. 
I’ve believed that she is my twin flame, a karmic soul mate, a false twin flame, a demon, a dark spirit, the only one who really knows how to love me, and that she never really loved me at all. 
I’ve believed that I wasn’t good enough, that I was too good, that I couldn’t make it work, that she wasn’t willing to make it work, that fear got in the way, that she resented my progress, that she would never face her shadow self or her true self, and that I actually had. 
So, no I won’t ever get over her. She wasn’t a goddamn speed bump, she wasn’t a hill or a mountain to climb. She was and always will be-the one who cracked me open, but couldn’t look inside. She couldn’t stay, so she asked me to go. I don’t blame her. I begged her to let me go or meet me where I was. I want to say she chose the easy way out, but nothing about this has been easy. 
I love her. Today, differently than I ever have before. Today, I love her the same way I am finally able to love me-for all the cracks and deficits, and for all the laughter and smiles. I love her for everything that she has been through, and everything we have been through together. I love her for everything that she brought to me. 

I love her because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t really be ME. 

So, I won’t be getting over her. I have placed her gently outside my pain. I have put her in a pocket of my heart where I will carry her with me always. Sometimes, you might see me drifting. It is her voice I am hearing-sometimes as my inner critic and I will still tell her to shut it, and sometimes as my cheerleader and I will thank her for finally understanding what we couldn’t seem to grasp back then. 

I don’t plan on getting over her, because I will not commit myself to an impossible task. I let her go. Cut myself free of the bondage that the toxicity of our relationship bred. But get over her? That just wouldn’t be fair to me. 

Excuse Me, There’s A Reason For This Madness

She was right in thinking that turning our past wounds into excuses isn’t healthy or good. I actually made a lot of excuses for her because I knew her history. I wanted her to feel safe. Ultimately, it wasn’t as productive as what I can now understand to be the truly loving work that happens between two people. 

The primary difference between a reason and an excuse is accountability. 

A reason is a logical and objective explanation of cause and effect. An excuse places blame on something external. 

To break it down simply: 

reason=responsibility 

Excuse=escape

Excuses add bricks to the walls we build. Reasons carve out doorways. 

To relate that to some of the situations that WE have encountered I would argue it as a temporal thing. Of course we are shaped by our past. But if we bring up the past as a justification as to why we are behaving a certain way in the present-that is an excuse. If we are able to identify the current problem objectively and take accountability for our contribution to the current shitty circumstance then we have found a reason things have taken the turn they’ve taken. With this, reasons help find solutions for better actions in the future. Excuses keep us tethered to old patterns of behavior by handing our power back to the painful circumstance that shaped our world view. World views are allowed to change, and I think they should often. This is an indication of growth. To be clear, there are many indicators of growth in life, but I am speaking specifically of emotional growth. 

I have been doing a lot of work to understand my old childhood wounds, and working to heal them. In other words, I have been thinking about this a lot. 

They say that nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to learn. I guess I knew there was more learning to be had with her. So, I’m grateful to re-open the door, and the pain. 

I’m not going to say that I have never made excuses, or that I won’t do it in the future. However, I do find a certain sort of liberation in understanding the critical difference between these two modes of thought. 

I’m trying to decipher which of those were reasons or excuses. It still ends up being a temporal thing to me. As children we are easily impressionable, and it takes a lifetime to come back into our true selves. My goal in this life is to unlearn all the negative bullshit that has been projected on me from external sources, and people who can’t or won’t be honest about their pain. 

She said that she doesn’t understand how it [love/relationship] could work with someone else if it didn’t work with me after being together for as long as we were. Time invested doesn’t mean shit if the walls are still there. 

We can’t change our pasts, but we can change our reaction to it. Listening to her last night showed me that she is still in the victim role. We are often victimized as children. But we don’t have to stay there as adults. She said that she doesn’t mind being the hardass at work because as long as she can justify the value for the greater good, then she’ll do the thing that other people don’t necessarily want to do. I think that is totally fine, admirable even. Yet, it ultimately comes down to motivation. 

The work persona and the personal life persona are slightly different. When the “love of your life” tries to explain that they are not happy in the relationship it is not an attack on you, but a demonstration of love; a person who really cares about wanting to make things better. I know I put a lot of things on her-thinking if she could do something different then we would be better, and this often kept me from taking responsibility for my own shitty (codependent) habits. 

I don’t want to be codependent anymore. It is self destructive, and it keeps me in a constant position of powerlessness. I am not powerless. 

Those walls we build to keep us protected from the threats of the external world are not safe heavens. They are prisons that deny us the true freedom that comes with real love built from vulnerability. Each brick in that wall is an excuse. Reasons are what will pull them down. We can hide and run for as long as we would like. I know that I am finally ready for something different. 

I wish her the best in all that she does. No matter how much I still want it to be her that I share my life with, I’m FINALLY beginning to understand that no matter how much she has to offer someone, she does not have what I need. 

I came to this life to face and conquer fears. This is not easy, and it often leaves me in a state of anxiety and frustration. I’m learning that this energy can be used to propel me forward. I don’t always know what steps to take, and she’s right, sometimes I just need someone to tell me where to go, or what step to take. I’m looking for the person who always wants that first step to be toward them, and if they can see that I’m too scared to take it, then they step in closer toward me. I’m looking for the people who want to stand next to me when those arresting moments happen. The people who want to encourage me to take a step and do so by stepping toward me and not away. I want a person who isn’t going to look at my discontent as a fault, but for what it really is-a yearning for something more. Because this is the kind of person I want to be for myself, and for my partner. 

Comfort zones are great, but nothing ever grows there. I don’t want my comfort confined to a zone. I want safety. I want to be uncomfortable so I know I’m moving forward. I want risks and failures and movement. I want more and always more. 

I have been stuck for the past year. Sure, I moved to another state. Sure, I got into a phd program. Sure, I’ve done a lot of growth internally. I’ve retreated into my quiet space. I’ve wrapped myself in a cocoon. I’m ready to emerge from it, and I have no idea what the next step is supposed to be. What I do know is that I can’t be with someone who sees those cocooning periods as withdrawal. In my mind, they are not that. It’s about growth and understanding. I suppose I can admit that it would be helpful if I could articulate this process a little more clearly. Self-awareness usually comes from mistakes. 

Part of this creatively analytical mind I have brings forth a whole lot of daydreaming. As I work through the possibilities of where I want to go and what I want to do, I take my time. When I decide what I want, then I will take the action steps to get there. I’ve spent the larger part of the last year hung up on her. No matter how many people told me not to be. I asked her about these things, and she made excuses as to why we could not have those things that I thought would bring growth and togetherness. “I just can’t see it happening.” And “When do you think you’ll actually have time for a kid?” Were the excuses she offered. And even, “You talk about these things like they’re something you want in your own life, but you’ve never said you wanted them with me,” like, who else would I be talking about? See, external circumstances blamed for her own inability to create something new. The reason was fear. To be fair, she’s admitted that, but it didn’t change her perspective. 

The facts are there, and pretty clearly laid out. We aren’t compatible people. My primary hang up was that I had decided the direction I wanted our life to go, and she all but denied that possibility with no wiggle room. This threw me into a tailspin of uncertainty and disorientation. Although I wrapped my mind around it BEFORE I left-the mind is a tricky place to be. There are things I left behind that I associate with security and safety. Our home. Our home life. Dual income. Comforts. And of course, my dream of having a family. Ultimately, she WAS right; I don’t need her, specifically, to achieve those things. I just need someone who is ready and willing to take that risk with me. 

She told me that she felt like the only reason I wanted her to move with me was for financial assistance. But we never even merged our finances. Her money was hers, and my money was ours. She is the one who told me to just take out the loan, and be a normal student. She never, ever indicated that this would be something WE could figure out together. Then, more recently, she said that after she got the first paycheck from her promotion, she wished she had her “spouse” there to share it with. I got hung up on the shift from accusation to celebration, but that’s a moot point. This is just more of the same. Her narrative shifts, and makes no sense in relation to the previous plot points. 

Ultimately, none of this about money for me. It’s safety and security. Emotional support. Comfort. I realized that I have those things on my own. In fact, I have those things built with a much more solid foundation here than I ever did there. This is the reason I left, and took responsibility for my own life. I needed something different. Something that did not exist in that space. I don’t need to beat the dead horse. We both know I’m not going back. 

I’m finally finished with the push and pull. I can see how that whole game was fueled by excuses. I pushed when I was triggered. I pulled when she didn’t react the way I needed her to. The reason I left is because she does not have what I need-openness, vulnerability, strength, and emotional security. Just excuses piling up bricks in a wall that I will never be able to break down. 

Backward Feeling

My therapist had told me for years-you can’t feel for other people. But I can. And I do. Saying that I can’t had sent the message to my subconscious that this was a challenge. I love a good challenge. I started to take on her emotions, and I had no idea I was doing it. I accepted her pain. But in my willful unknowing-I thought it must certainly be me. So, when the projections started flying around I had already begun to believe that there was something wrong with me. 

The earliest one I can remember was right before I went into therapy. It wasn’t my first rodeo in therapy. My first time was when I was 8. My mom says, “you were always a happy kid, and then one day you weren’t anymore.” Right-so, toss me to the school counselor because that doesn’t alienate anyone in their third grade class. She gets out of class because she can’t adjust like the rest of us. Thanks mom. 

This time, life was happening. It’s cool. Shit happens. I lost my job. Got fired. I had a guest complaint which I still maintain was the biggest bullshit claim I have ever heard. I am no stranger to guest complaints throughout the ten years I spent in the restaraunt industry. I always owned it. This one, though, was an all out lie. But, you know, whatever. I’m sure I needed out of there for a reason. In hindsight…it was bringing me even more truth that I still wasn’t willing to recognize. 

So, I lost my job. With that loss came a whole heaping weight of, “what the fuck do I do now?” Overwhelm. Sadness. Fear. Things I now understand to be totally normal in that situation. Totally valid. Totally acceptable. 

Yet, this is how it went down.  

The next day, I was laying in bed. Throwing myself a pity party, otherwise known as trying to figure out what my next steps should be. The bottom dropped out. What the hell do I do? I tried talking to my partner about it. But, you know, things just work out, everything is fine. Let’s just have sex. I, obviously, couldn’t go there. I wish I could have, it just wasn’t what I needed. There’s a pretty strong chance it COULD have been exactly what I needed, but in that moment-it wasn’t right. I said no, not now. I can’t. 

She flew out of the bed in a huffy puffy mess of her own perceived rejection. I laid there alone in my own perceived rejection. We were young. We were stupid. I don’t know whose perceived rejection was more or less valid, but nobody felt loved that Sunday morning. 

As I laid alone and cried, she went to take a shower. As I laid alone and cried, I could hear her masturbating in the shower. My hurt and shame and fear and rejection compounded exponentially. I felt useless and used. She didn’t want to have sex with me to connect and help bring me out of my funkiness. She didn’t want to have sex with me because she loved me and knew the healing power of human connection. If she did, I very likely would have completely surrendered to her proposition and her touch. I guess my soul knew things I hadn’t figured out. 

As I laid there, vulnerable, alone, and deeply hurt a surge of anger built up in me. Who was this person that I shard my life with? What kind of a person acts like this in these situations? She’s a monster. Why would she hurt me like that? What did I do to deserve this? 

The shower turned off. I was up and pacing. I didn’t know what to do or say. I don’t even remember what I did say. But I definitely didn’t shy away from expressing how incredible shitty that behavior was. 

She smirked at me, “I don’t even know how you heard that. I was trying really hard to be quiet.”

Fucking asshole. 

I hadn’t learned yet how to say, “I’m hurting.” But something tells me it wouldn’t have mattered. 

“It’s not about the fact that I heard it, it’s the fact that you DID IT!”

“I have needs.”

That was her answer. That was her sole means of justification. 

“I have needs.”

Selfish fucking asshole. 

I was speechless. 

But let’s break down this monstrosity of an interaction. Her needs for sexual gratification with or without my presence trumped my need for human contact and a genuine need for my difficult emotions to be soothed and processed. 

She left. She went to go watch football, and drink beer with her friends. She didn’t invite me. 

Instead, she looked at me and said, “You’re a lonely person. You need to go talk to someone.”

She was right. I had never felt more lonely than I did that afternoon. And I did make an appointment with a therapist shortly thereafter. But my loneliness in that moment was not wrong, chronic, unfounded, or even a ME problem. I felt her loneliness so deeply it became my own. I went to therapy to try and fix it. 

That never truly worked itself out. Only now can I see why. 

What I Deserve pt.1

Yeah. Okay. So things were falling apart. Distance had been established between who we once were and who we wanted to be. Who we were in the moment was not able to be clearly defined. But I like answers when I have questions. Sometimes, I don’t like the answers I receive and I work to bend the truth into something more comfortable. I want to hold on to hope in the biggest of struggles. This is who I am. Holding onto hope is good. Unless, of course, it comes with the weight of self-delusion. 

Relationships take work. I am willing to work and rework and get shit done. I tried to close the gap. Build a bridge and reinstate contact. But I cannot make someone else be ready to meet me on that bridge. I cannot change another person’s world view. I can only hope to share mine and hope that they either see my position, and if they don’t, then they aren’t for me. 

Don’t mistake this for only wanting to be around people who are like me. As much as I like to see my views shift another’s perspective, I like to see another’s perspective shift mine. This is the catalyst of growth. 

My own views were rapidly shifting. Maybe it was all the yoga. Maybe it was all the literature. Maybe it was just me growing up. But I was in this relationship that I very much wanted to be in. I was in this relationship that had become boring, and the connection was being lost. I often felt alienated from my partner. I could feel her drifting away from me, but I was watching her drift away from herself, too. It was sad and it was difficult. It wasn’t my battle to fight. 

My battle was determining how to get things back on track. I ruminated over solutions. I presented problems, and asked for her input. 

“I think this is just what it’s like to be in a long term relationship,” was her answer. 

“If this is what you think a long term relationship is supposed to be like, I don’t want that,” I was trying. 

“Look it up, Lesbian bed death is an actual thing,” she said. 

So, we don’t have sex anymore because of this thing you read about called lesbian bed death, which must certainly be true, but everything I’ve said about my struggles with imposter syndrome in graduate school is just me making shit up, and being stuck in my head. So, it was totally reasonable for her to say, “Have you talked to a professional about this imposter syndrome? You can’t just diagnose yourself with something based on something you read on the internet.”

I wasn’t diagnosing myself from web md. I wasn’t searching for a “condition” to make sense of my circumstances. I was trying to explain to my partner that this journey I was on was difficult in more ways than just my time invested. That my mental health was suffering and I needed help. But I turned the focus away from myself after her continual dismissals. 

But I still tried to make the most of our situation together. I needed more closeness. I had never been good at asking for it. My fear of rejection kept me tethered to a mediocre existence. If I don’t ask, the answer will never be no. It turns out-the same is true if I think-If I don’t ask the answer will always be no. 

So, I tried to start asking. And when those answers were no, I felt less of a sense of rejection, and more of a sense that I just wasn’t going to be able to get what I needed from this person. I still cling hard to the hope that it would change. That I would make it through. It didn’t work. 

So, when I left in November of 2015, and she quickly became sexually linked to her ex-girlfriend, I really wanted to internalize this as though I was sexually undesirable or that I was lacking in some way. But something happened. 

For some reason, I knew the problem wasn’t me. I may not be sexually aggressive, but I am quite sexually charged and willing. I know it’s something I need and crave for the closeness it brings. 

The “lesbian bed death” wasn’t a me thing. And it wasn’t even linked to the other struggles I was having and experiencing. It was her. The more I needed emotional connection on any level-the more she withdrew. 

But, for her, sexual relations with her ex or any person she could woo into the sheets kept her emotionally distant from me, and herself. 

Sometimes, I feel like I carry the weight of the 50+ women she has used and manipulated for her own selfish gains and sexual gratification. But I don’t need to carry all that weight. I need to learn to unburden myself from the weight I carry from the moment I realized that I was just another one of them. That I accepted mediocre contact in a sexual relationship. That my desire for intimacy was consistently denied. 

I always thought it was my insecurity I was carrying into the bedroom. That she intimidated me, or something. That my inability to be open was all my fault. 

When I think about some of my other lovers-I can recognize that was not the case. It wasn’t me. My therapist tried to get me to recognize this for years. I couldn’t see it. I carried around the shame that I couldn’t be the kind of lover she wanted. Even though we were together for 8 years. Her need to fill the void with sexual exploits at the first sign of trouble had nothing to do with me. My inability to do the same had nothing to do with her. My inability to fully open to her was my heart telling me that I needed to protect myself. My heart was telling me that this person did not truly value me. Likely not because they didn’t want to, but because they couldn’t. 

I wasn’t listening to my heart. I wasn’t listening to my body. It didn’t matter how many times I felt more alone after a sexual encounter with her. I still felt defective. These were not my defects. That overwhelming sense of loneliness that often led me to cry as she drifted off to sleep was my heart telling me something wasn’t right. It was telling me to run, and yet I stayed paralyzed by my own fear. Thinking that there was something wrong with me I needed to fix. 

So, eventually, we just stopped having sex. We would fill our days with mindless tasks. And I still longed for that connection, yet I had no idea how to actually get it. It seemed like we had it sometimes. But more often than not-it felt like two bodies coming together, and that was never going to be enough for me. It had been this way for so long, I had no idea why I felt this way with her. I had no idea what the shift was in my mind. 

To be clear. There are many different kinds of sex, and I know that. The same set of lovers can engage in different kinds of sex at different times. Sometimes even shifting dynamics in the same encounter. The important thing is that the two are on the same page about it. I felt more like she was in the library, checking out, while I trying to buy all my favorite stories to keep on the shelf. 

This is NOT what a long term relationship is supposed to look or feel like. I’m sorry that I even entertained that thought for a moment. I’m sad that I believed this was some kind of normal. I’m sad that I believed this had anything to do with me. I’m sad that I couldn’t see it sooner. 

I deserve to be with someone who truly values me. Mind, body, and spirit. I deserve to be with someone who means it when they say they love me, and who is willing to put in the work to show that love. Because I do. And I deserve to receive the same respect that I give. I deserve to be in a space where loneliness comes and loneliness goes, but not where it is just compounded. I deserve to have great sex to compliment a pretty good relationship. I deserve a partner who wants to meet me on that bridge, and maybe even fuck me there just because. And then walk with me home where we can fall slowly through the process of knowing and believing that while people may not be homes-they certainly can be a space of belonging. I deserve this kind of loving. And I won’t settle for any less. 

New Freedom to Choose

“For once, I just want you to choose me!”

“I choose you every day,” I fired back, eyes full of tears and hands full of tremble. 

Projection is tricky. Sure, this was coming out of a fight. One where I was admitting to doing something shady and secretive. Where I had made a friend, a particular friend of which she did not approve. Let’s just be honest, she didn’t approve of any of my friends. 

Sure, we had “her friends.” The friends who, after our splitting in 2012 she made it explicitly clear which ones I was and was not allowed to have contact. 

But this friend-she said- “You’re inviting the devil in.” But I needed clarity for my own conscience. Sure, this was the woman she dated while we were separated. But it was more than that. I needed to have contact with this woman to allow my own soul to rest. It took a few rounds before I was finally truly able to put it all to rest. 

She said, “You’re searching for something. I think you need a little introspection here.” She wasn’t wrong. But neither was I. The more she resisted, the more I thought there was a truth that might be uncovered that might reveal her as the fraud she really was. That’s not exactly how it went down. Not at first, anyway. 

I know there was a piece of her that understood. Because months later she acknowledged that it had nothing to do with her. And I had tried to tell her that from the start. Sure, it was exasperated by her actions. Most of this came from my own issues with self-worth, self-judgment, and self-criticism. I felt less than against this woman. I needed to know that she was not the monster I made her out to be. And I needed to let her know that she was not the monster I made her out to be. And I needed to show that I was not as horrible as the part I had been playing. It still took some time. 

Secrets and lies breed secrets and lies. 

I told her about my intentions. I told her I wanted to be this woman’s friend. She didn’t approve. She said she didn’t want to hear anything else about it. So, I didn’t talk about it anymore. She was angry because she said I asked for things, but it didn’t matter what her response was; ultimately, I was going to do whatever I wanted. 

Even my mother told me to find a different friend. I didn’t understand. I longed to be around people with common interests. Poets and weirdos. Artists with a hunger that only artists know. I wanted to build respect out of a space I had destroyed. I wanted a fucking friend. I couldn’t understand why that had to be so closely mediated by anyone other than myself. I felt completely powerless. So, I pursued the friendship in secret. 

When it took an unexpected turn, I cut off contact. I remember saying, “You’re not wrong, but this isn’t right.” 

I wrote my lover a note. I had to wrap my own mind around the betrayal that I had created, and come to terms with it on my own. I shoved the note in my desk drawer-waiting for a better opportunity. Sometimes, people just want to be caught so they don’t have to face their misdeeds directly. Maybe that’s what I was doing. 

I put this note in my desk-and right into the only drawer that she ever accessed. I really didn’t even think about it. I woke up the next morning with my drafted letter along with a note from her reading: “Great. Just another lie that I need to be okay with.”

Let’s be honest, here. I have lied. That, to my recollection was lie number two. The first one I apologized for profusely. I took the easy way out of a complicated situation. I had learned a little something along the way. This was not like that. First, I was told to remain silent. Which I tried to oblige. Second, I was left feeling as though I had zero control over my choices, and like any angry teen-I rebelled and reacted against the forces that be. 

I had every intention of telling her. In the meantime-I deleted all traces of contact between myself and this person. Guilty conscience, I suppose. 

I told her that I fucked up. I faced that guilt with a rapid heart beat and trembling hands. I admitted I made a mistake. I apologized. I faced my human parts. And I meant it. It was a learning opportunity. I knew that. And I meant it. 

She was right, though. I was searching for something. And I did find it. I needed somewhere to go to be heard. I needed someone that understood me. I needed to be around a person who could hold space for my confusion. I wish that could have been my partner, but it wasn’t. And that wasn’t enough to make me leave. 

I struggled with this. One of my dearest friends told me-“Don’t leave the 80 for the 20.” My faith in my relationship was suddenly restored. I knew that I could rework my vulnerability into my relationship. I knew I chose her. 

So, when she said, “For once, I just want you to choose me!” I heard, “You only think of yourself.” Which was completely untrue. In fact, it was so far from the truth it was the polar opposite of the truth. More often than not, when I made a choice that sought to contribute solely to my personal growth-I was met with this fierce opposition from her. Although she could, would, and did do whatever the hell she wanted. Befriended whoever she wanted. Kept secrets whenever she wanted. Forged relationships in secret whenever she wanted. Made plans that she didn’t tell me anything about with people she would later fuck when our SHIT would hit the fan. Or, when she would throw it in the fan just to have an escape route whenever she was feeling a little too tied down by my need to advance the relationship from one space to another. 

I did choose her every day. I don’t know why she couldn’t see that. Our relationship began when I chose her over another woman who I was completely and totally infatuated with. I chose her because I thought we could build the kind of life I wanted. I looked at her and saw the potential for a family, and a quiet life. 

I chose her for a potential I’m now not certain she actually possessed. I kept choosing her. If I didn’t then what is the logic of being out of the relationship in 2011, 2012, and 2013- just to ALWAYS end up back in it? 

I didn’t choose this other woman over her. No, I chose to explore something I needed to explore and she hated the idea. And everyone around me exercised their perceived right to tell me I was playing with fire. Despite the fact that all of these people had been closely linked to this person at some point in their recent history. I wasn’t buying the projection. I wanted my own freedom to choose who and what and why I had different relationships in my life. 

Maybe I’m really bad at making choices. Maybe I’m really bad at reading people. Maybe I didn’t know what I needed. I can admit, still, that I fucked up. I needed to. Without it-I wouldn’t have been able to see how clearly my autonomy was being stifled. Or how clearly my former partner did not want to face her own shit. None of it had anything to do with her until it did. 

A year and a half later-she, too contacted this woman. According to her, she wanted to tell her that she was sorry because she “had no business pursuing anything with her.” Who knows what she actually said to her. I sure don’t believe anything that comes out of her mouth anymore. 

That need for me to choose her was a projection. One I couldn’t quite see beyond my guilt and knowing that I had let her down, and hurt her. My remorse overpowered my ability to see clearly that what she was asking for was the one thing she wasn’t able to give me. Sure, she chose me. Out of loneliness, fear and comfort. And I chose her for many of the same reasons. I chose her because I loved her, or I thought I did. As time went on I started to notice that many times when I was saying “yes” to her I was clearly saying “no” to me. 

And now, with her out of the picture and my final understanding that if I were to reconcile all the weight that I carry in my heart it was her who had to go-I am finally able to choose someone other than her. I can finally choose me. And that is beautiful.