Becoming Me: A Work in Progress

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
An Essay about love, life, and finding oneself.

Submitted: March 28, 2016

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Submitted: March 28, 2016

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A A A


Becoming Me:

A work in Progress

 

 

 

“Where do I rightfully live?”

 

That question in itself was not scary, I rightfully lived in my own skin. I was okay with myself, okay with the physical body that was manifested from eating, slight exercise, good genetics, and carefully chosen attire. I was not worried or scared about rightfully living.

 

“What is the worthiest thing I love most?”

 

That question was scary. That question made me think that maybe I did not have something worthy. It made me think that maybe my life was a sham. Sure, I loved my family, my grandmother was very dear to me. I loved my dog, he was a humble reminder that the world did not in fact revolve around me. I loved my friends, they were great, they kept me entertained, they kept me alive. But what of those things did I love the most if any? I had no clue, well, I said I had no clue, but I did, I had a clue. A big fat clue that was no where near ready to be uttered out loud. 

 

There comes a time in everyones life when one has to be honest with ones self. That time had come for me. The questions from the talk I had listened to, on the ever glorious internet, had me in a mental state that I had never felt before. It was one of confusion, admittance, guilt, and somewhat doubt. I doubted my ability to love something more than myself. I doubted that I was capable of loving something or someone more than myself. It was a doubt that I had never experienced before and was not comfortable with. 

 

Before;

 

The last time I had doubted anything it was my previous relationship. I was seeing a man that I thought I loved. It was not love. It was a lot of things, but love, it was not. This man and I had been together for a little over five years. We had started dating the day after my 19th birthday. I felt like I had wasted the best years of my life, my college years, with this person. He was a good person in a general sense of the term. He cared for his dog, he cared for his property, and he cared for himself. He had been used up in the caring department long before I had come across him. He was dark, mysterious, and closed off from the world. He was the polar opposite of myself. 

 

I guess opposites attract, or in this case, attract for a little while then repel. It was not long after he met me that he invited me out. I was excited to go at the time. Ready for the new adventure, ready to forget the loneliness. I had no idea that the loneliness would only grow. When someone who is your exact opposite tries to understand your nature or change it, it isolates you. It makes you question your worth, your knowledge of self, and most of all it makes you hate. I had hated before, but it had been a quick hard hate, not the new,seething burning hate that festered and grew into something uncontrollable. 

 

When someone makes you hate it begins as self doubt. I doubted my abilities, I doubted my intelligence, I doubted my independence. I believed that he was correct when he stated “you are not that smart, you will never succeed because you can’t keep your mouth shut.” I became attuned to that. I came to expect some sort of remark every day, yet I stayed. The arguments came. I did everything I could to repair the relationship, to find that glimmer of good I had saw in him those days before the dating. The days before I became too argumentative, too opinionated, too undomesticated, too energetic, too needy, and too loud. I never found that glimmer again. I found instead loveless sex, endless criticism, and then endless worthlessness. 

 

I thought that I loved him, that is why I stayed. I thought that if I left that his accusations of “no one else could put up with you” would be true. I believed at one point, in that toxic cess pool of a relationship, that he was correct, that no one else would ever want me or tolerate all my quirks or my insecurities. I was not abused physically, and I would not classify my past relationship as mentally abusive, but I would classify it as unhealthy. It was unhealthy for me to stay and tolerate the words he said, to think them true, and further more, for me to think I loved him should have been classified as a cardinal sin. 

 

After a few years had passed he ended the relationship for a few months. I was told that I made him unhappy, that he would rather die alone and miserable than be together and miserable with me. I cried. I sobbed. I begged him to change his mind. I was so accustomed to his harshness, the miserable existence, that for what ever sick and twisted reason, I wanted to stay. Maybe it was because I had not made the choice.

 

The months that followed were oddly healing, but then the phone calls started, and the emails. I could not ignore him. He was sorry for the way he had treated me, sorry for ending things, he did not realize how good he had it. Would I please come back? I went back to him. He was that man I meet a few years ago, the one with the glimmer of hope in his eyes, the man that said complimentary things and tried to do sweet, kind things for me. I began to trust that he was sorry, that he had changed, that he wanted the relationship to work as much as I did. 

 

A month went by, he reverted back to his old ways. I moved out of town to go to a different college. It was a relief not to see him everyday. The once a day phone calls were enough for me and even then I could do with out them, yet I stayed loyal to him. Loyal to the idea of us. I defended his actions, his very nature, to those closest to me, those that had started to dislike him to the point of hate. I told them that he was stressed due to work. That he could not participate in my family activities because he was too tired, had to work, had plans, but the real reason was he could not be bothered. He had no desire to get to know my family, my friends, and was not particularly keen on me going to any activities either. I tolerated all of this. I adapted. I became complacent. While living away, I went out twice a week to karaoke. I spent time with my school friends. I walked my dog three times a day. I lived, not fully, but I did what I pleased for the most part. Then, I completed school.

 

I took an internship at a city close to his work so we could live together. A smart decision at the time. We were in a committed relationship going on five years. We were going to be together long term. We were going to be a family, our dogs, taking the place of children. My stuff was moved in. The stuff he approved that is. The chore list handed over. The internet turned on. He provided for the most part. He wanted to be the man. The man that made all the executive decisions, the man that did not care about any one else's job or sleep schedule. The man who wanted loveless sex when he wanted it, and on his terms only. The man who criticized, lectured, and yelled. The man who made me feel like I was completely and totally alone even when he was in the same room. 

 

The fighting had gotten worse. I was working and finishing an internship. I was attending late committee meetings in the city 30 minutes from where we lived in order to get my hours and papers in. I was late getting supper finished and when it was finished it was not done properly, or the way I did it was not how he would have done. I had not folded the laundry or started the next load and he needed those uniform pants the next day. I had not finished the dishes. I had not paid for the rest of the hog meat like I said I would even though he knew how hard my finances were, and he made three times my salary with housing and utilities paid. He wanted to train me to be domesticated and he would state “don’t you want to be like your grandma or my mom, a good house wife that does what her husband says?” I had seen my grandparents relationship, and if he had bothered to spend one minute with them, or pay attention the times he did meet them, he would have known that my grandmother was an equal partner to my grandfather, that their love was an everlasting bond. He would have known that my grandfather despised men who treated their wives like property or servants. That my grandfather hated him. 

 

It was not long before Thanksgiving came around. It was our fifth year together as a couple and I had begged him to let us host Thanksgiving. My grandfather had just passed away that February and I could not stand a holiday, with his family, apart from mine. He agreed. I was overjoyed. It was the small good things he did that kept me hopeful. The day came. My family and his met, they were all very nice to each other. Everyone seemed to get along. I expected nothing less. It was the week later when his German Shepard dog died that things started to go from bad to worse.

 

My dog was still alive. My dog was useless, stupid, and a waste of space. His dog had been wonderful, intelligent, and beyond reproach. I had actually loved his dog. I think that is the real reason why I stayed as long as I did. It was not long after the death of his beloved dog that he started talking about replacing him with a puppy. We had been dating five years, he had not once expressed the status of our relationship. To him we were just good friends. Good friends that lived together. Good friends that went to his family events. Good friends. So, when he mentioned getting a puppy I pushed for a permanent relationship. 

 

I told him that I would pool what little resources I had from my accounts and help him purchase a puppy, but, there had to be a since of permanence in our relationship. I was naive to think that a permanent relationship and a puppy could save what was deteriorating. Christmas came and he produced a ring. He put it in my stocking. I pulled it out and he said “are you happy now?”. I just nodded. How else could I respond? I wore that ring with pride. I was foolish to think that it would work. I was foolish to agree to help raise a puppy. 

 

My best friend was engaged and I was elected her maid of honor. We were in the planning stages of her wedding and her mother decided to fly us girls out to Florida where the wedding would be taking place. I packed my bags, took off work, and kissed the man who was my fiancé goodbye. I knew he would not miss me when I was gone. We were sleeping in separate rooms because he kept getting up at 0200 hours or 0300 hours and turning on all the lights to get himself a snack. What ever sanity I had left, I valued, and I removed myself to the guest room. Needless to say, we were not anywhere close to being in a healthy relationship, yet, I remained. 

 

I called him from Florida every day. I called to check in. I called to see how my dog was, how the puppy was, how his day had gone, if he was doing ok. He never once called me. One phone call I made was to ask him to help move my grandmother after I got back. He was furious. He said “there is no way in hell that is going to happen, my truck does not get used for that sort of thing.”  I was beside myself. I had to help my grandmother move. She had no one else. I argued with him in the middle of the airport. I told him how selfish he was. It was probably the first time I had ever expressed to him exactly how I felt. It was not long before the phone call was over. I boarded the plane and returned home.

 

Upon my arrival at the house I could tell he was in a foul mood. He was silent, brooding. I had a house sitting job and I was rushing to repack and get to it, and he was, as usual, not being helpful. I asked him what was wrong. He did not respond for a while but instead followed me back to the guest room where I was stuffing clean clothes into the suitcase. 

 

“I am not happy. I do not want to be with you anymore. I would rather be alone and die alone than be with you. You are too much of an opinionated person for me or anyone else. You are not going to be able to find anyone that is going to put up with you, or handle you.”  He finally paused for a moment.

 

I calmly took off my ring, the ring he had given me three months previously. I pointed to the puppy lying on the floor; “What do you want to do about him, and what do you want to do about this?” I dangled the ring from my thumb and forefinger. 

 

“Just sell the ring, I got it from Walmart it is probably only worth half the puppy anyways.”

 

I nodded my agreement, and finished packing.

 

“I will come back for the rest of my things in the next few weeks after I figure out where I am going to live.”

 

“Fine. No rush.”

 

With that, I gathered my dog  and left to go to my house sitting job. 

That was the day that I had to start rediscovering myself worth. 

That was the day that I had to start loving myself. 

That was the day that I realized I had never loved him.

 

Realizations;

 

I have never been the type of person who needed confirmation on how I looked. I was confident in my appearance most of the time, or I use to be. I had gotten comfortable with never hearing a compliment unless it came from a family member. I had gotten comfortable knowing if I dressed up it was not going to be appreciated. I realized after the final break up, that I deserved better. I deserved someone who appreciated me taking the time to look good for, not only them, but myself. I realized I deserved to have someone, besides my family, say that I was beautiful. 

 

Happy was a term I used to describe the smile I gave when someone asked me how I was. Happy was the word I used to reassure my grandmother when she questioned my relationship. Happy was the lie I told to keep people from knowing the truth. 

I realized, not too long ago, that I deserved to be happy. That I did not have to smile unless I wanted too. That I did not have to be someone I was not just to please others. That I could be myself and do something for myself. I could do something or feel something that I choose, and that it did not have to be happy, but I deserved it to be. I deserved what ever I wanted to feel and I deserved to feel it to its maximum potential. 

 

I realized that I mattered, if  not to someone else, to myself. 

 

 

When Life Changed;

 

I was 13 years old when it happened. The moment that changed my life, my perspective, and mostly my ability to trust.

I was 13 when he locked the doors on the truck and drove to a remote construction job site. He told me it was okay, that because he was not my father it was alright that he did things to me. 

I was 13 when I was forced to touch him. I had never seen anything so ugly in my life. 

I was 13 when he forced me to take off my clothes. He said I had to if I wanted to go on the family trip to Florida. He said I had to because I had to be comfortable with him in order to go scuba diving.

I was 13 when a man touched me intimately for the first time. A man I was suppose to trust. A man who was suppose to be a father. His fingers had been large and angry. They had hurt, but he had ignored my tears and screams. He said I had to be quiet, that I would enjoy it. He took his pants off the rest of the way and forced me to lay on the floor of the unfinished house. He covered my mouth with one of his hands and used the other to cause the most unimaginable pain. 

I was 13 the day I lost my virginity to my step father.

I was 13 the day my life changed.

 

Decisions;

 

It was a terrible year. 2015. The year of more death. My great granny passed away. I don't remember much of the funeral. It blurred into a day of sadness. I do remember sitting in the back of the church with her sisters, not with the immediate family where I belonged. I hadn't felt the need to sit up there. I didn't need that sort of attention. Her death was just the beginning.

 

My self proclaimed godfather was dying. He had been dying for 18 months. The tumor in his brain was destroying him. He remembered me, but he couldn't remember words I had just spoken to him. His body was ceasing to work properly. I made the decision to contact his son. 

 

I had met his son a few times previously. The rare occasions when he would come for a visit. I had been a little in awe of him in some ways. He was tall, he was handsome, and he was one of the most intelligent men I had ever met at that point in my life. He was also what I considered and acquaintance. 

 

I reached out to him and told him of his quickening demise, how the will to live was disappearing. I suggested he come quickly. He arrived with in a week. He stayed for a month to help with his father, working from a laptop and juggling the mess that was his fathers finances. My self proclaimed godmother (his step-mother) was a wreck. She was over tired, her temper was short, and she was not in a good mental state. She had not yet accepted that her husband was in fact dying. The death was a very slow one.

 

The lingering of a man is never pleasant. When one has reached the time in life to die it is seldom easy, especially for the family to let go. My god father lingered. His son had to return to his home and work. He was only gone for 3 weeks when the day finally happened. It was a Saturday, early morning. His father had passed away in his sleep. It was a small blessing. 

 

The decision was made, to plan the dates of the funeral.  People from all over poured in. They all came to show respect for the man that they had known and for his wife and son. The funeral was held at the national cemetery. The wake, to follow, at the house where he had lived.

 

The wake was huge. Over 100 people crammed into the house, beer and wine flowed freely. Myself and a friend played music and there was much story swapping. It was a beautiful event.It would have been exactly as he wanted. It was after everyone left when things became complicated. 

 

Scotch is a great drink, it has a slow burn as it goes down, and tends to let people move freely in a world with much restrictions, or at least it gives the sense of moving freely. We had consumed half a bottle of scotch before 10pm. It gave me the courage to go outside. It gave me the courage to share a kiss with someone I had been admiring for years. It gave me the freedom to feel.

 

Decisions are what people usually take time with. They ponder the facts, weigh the options, and determine if the outcome will be beneficial or harmful to them.

 

Love doesn't take time in making decisions, love acts.

 


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