In the fall of 2005, I ended my relationship for the last time. Well, that was the final last time as the relationship had been ended so many times before. In all honesty, I think it was doomed to fail from the very beginning, but every excuse in the book became justifiable as I tried to rationalize it. I thought this one might actually change me and my outlook on relationships and change things it did.
For the three years it lasted post my divorce, I often wondered who I was, what I was doing, and most of all why I was doing it. Sadly, at the time, I couldn’t give a valid answer if my life depended on it. We were the most extreme polar opposites you could imagine and while they say opposites attract; and to some truth they do; the only thing we attracted was more and more contention between us. Beside the 10 year gap; me being the senior, our views on life differed more than they mirrored. He was jealous and insecure. I was open-minded. He was rigid and analytical. I was free-spirited and more able to see the forest for the trees. I was uninhibited and tended to be spontaneous; he always had to have a plan and map things out. These and many other issues became the landscape for the myriad of problems we’d endure. Talk about break up to make up, but each break up and make up only seemed to build more reasons to be apart than together, so when I finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired, I ended it…Finally!
Unlike the many times of blurred vision I’d experienced before when I looked in the mirror; this time I felt blinded. I saw no semblance of the woman I used to be or the woman I wanted to be. All I saw was sadness, anger, confusion, doubt and the need to be as far away from a relationship as possible. I became the woman I despised in life; the ones that lose themselves in a relationship to please someone else at the expense of themselves. I felt like a traitor to all the things I thought I’d worked to accomplish many years prior, when I’d sworn to myself I was worthy and deserving of so much in life. The past accomplishments became lies as I tried to navigate finding myself again. I didn’t hate or even dislike him; it was me I hated and disliked. I felt like I’d fallen into an abyss of woulda, shoulda, couldas. In retrospect, I know we both knew we were ill-matched, but much like myself, he wanted to prove something to himself and fought for something really not worth fighting for. Hindsight is not 20/20, but a mutha-fakka when you’re being honest with yourself about the hows and whys of what went wrong. But there is hope and aspiration in honesty; an honesty that would take me out of the relationship game for almost five years.
Choosing to have a relationship with myself was by far the best thing I could have done. I spent countless hours in solitude, in reflection and retrospect, but mostly trying to find the cure to the sickness that accompanied me in the duration of that and other relationships. Most importantly, it forced me into honesty. I realized I spent that and so many relationships living a lie. Well, not an out right lie, but not quite the truth either. I feigned feelings that had either expired or in retrospect really weren’t there or as strong as I convinced myself they were. I suffered in my own silence because I didn’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings by saying I’d had enough. I willed myself to be someone to suit the wants and wishes of someone else while they were content in being themselves and rarely doing things to conform to me. I found that I was my own persecutor by being something I wasn’t…authentic. I smiled and played the part of the dutiful girlfriend while secretly doing things to sabotage the relationship hoping they’d be the one to end it so I wouldn’t have to. Funny, I’ve pretty much always been the one to end things, which is a big strange considering I was also usually the one working the hardest to keep things together. I guess when you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired; an amazing source of strength comes over you as you realize you’ve got nothing more to lose. At least when you’re in a relationship with yourself, it’s not like you can quit as there is no one else to fight with but yourself. In many ways, that fight is the hardest one of all because you’re fighting demons only you know and can see. I began to see the neon signs that flashed unrelentingly in the now ended relationship. I saw the many occasions where God was putting obstacles in our path to save us the continued torment we were going through. The hours of retrospect paid off exponentially after I endured a crippling emotional breakdown and the once fractured vision of myself started to become whole again. I realized that we were both two broken people trying to fix each other and that when God whispers, it’s best to pay attention before the whispers become a blunt force unmanageable wind. I recounted the blackouts, the anxiety attacks, the almost physical altercations; along with the lies, half-truths, the denial and most of all not wanting to feel like a failure all over again for another broken relationship. That clarifying moment opened the door to my overall healing. By this time, more than a year had passed and I’d been able to heal, grow, and most of all take ownership for my role in the good and bad of that and other relationships. Even though being in another relationship was still out of the question for me, I at least bore the hope that should I ever be in one again, I’d certainly be better equipped for it.
At this juncture, I’m currently in a relationship. It took five years filled with a plethora of experiences to get here. My brother, who is one of the biggest cheerleaders in my life, gave me these comforting words during one of my many highs and lows, “you’re a late bloomer, but you’ve bloomed and that’s all that’s important”. How right he was and is. It took the sum of the past combined with the experiences I had prior to my current relationship to show me what I was missing and thought I was looking for. He taught me that it was okay to love someone, but not lose myself for them or on account of them. My brother is a wise man. In addition to him, I have a few BFFs that helped steer my course when I seemed to be adrift. They listened; they coached; they encouraged, and on occasion; put their foot in my arse. The biggest kick of all is that one of my BFFs is now my current BF. He saw me through a lot of shit during my quest for self. He saw me through breast cancer and the craziness that came with the treatment thereof. He coached me when I called myself dating; what a nightmare that was…LOL 😉 He listened during my confusion and conflicting emotions over a former and I returned in kind when he went through his life trials. Funny how a friendship led to a relationship even when he knew the ugly about me. They say the best relationships are borne of a great friendship as you get to see the person for who they truly are and not what you want them to be; for the most part it’s true. There is still a lot for me to learn about this whole relationship thing and I think I’m carrying a an A-, but I do want that A+ and I’m the only one holding me back from that. I’ve fallen into some old habits and I need some remedial training to get out of them, but I’m doing something I’ve not done before and that’s to not only acknowledge there is something wrong, but to find the root cause of it and then work on fixing it. I no longer employ the “Ostrich Effect” and that’ to bury my head in the sand and ignore it or assume it’s all my fault. Instead, I look at the circumstances, my role, how long it’s been in effect, and then what can be done to resolve it. Where necessary, I employ one of my besties as I know they’ll not sugar coat shit and call it candy to get the best possible solution and then move forward. Those moments are monumental and they instill great courage in me to be good to myself because you know what? If all else fails, I still got to not only live with myself, but be good to myself.
That is all!