A Letter, A Kiss, and No Regrets

9 Jan

Still 31Strange and unnerving to see yourself suddenly in a different light. I am sitting on the floor in my bedroom, and my runny nose is the result of a combination of an allergic reaction to old dusty notebooks and the tears that are choking me up. I honestly didn’t remember. I had told the story about Y many times. But I didn’t remember the details. He was a scumbag for leading me on and I was naive for thinking he wanted anything more of me than just my body, but really, that was that. And now, sitting on the floor in my bedroom, surrounded by dozens of notebooks and letters which I’ve collected over the years, I find this letter, written nearly twelve years ago, and the story seems different than the one I’ve been telling. It seems worse. Doesn’t it? Or maybe I’ve just not revisited the scene of the crime for so long?  Maybe I was exaggerating in the letter. Maybe it wasn’t really that bad.

My tragedy is that despite putting on the independent lady charade, I constantly seek affirmation, and I seek it from men. That’s what happened when I was nineteen. That’s what’s happening now. Alone, I just can’t be sure that I’m enough: a kind enough person, a good enough mother, a successful enough career woman, pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough – ENOUGH. But seeing as the men in my life tend to disappoint me – and I know there haven’t been many, but the few that have had a presence in my life were all enormous disappointments – as long as I need their affirmation for my being enough, I will never attain it, I will always be seeking, forever. And I don’t have the energy to seek anymore. I want to stop seeking. I’m exhausted.

New events have been occurring in my life recently, every day is new, every day is a struggle, but also an achievement. A crazy storm is raging outside, and people are staying in, even my therapy session has been postponed due to blocked roads. And with no one to talk to about all this shit that’s been surfacing, I had to talk to myself tonight. And that’s what I did, gave myself my own little therapy session.

A few weeks ago I made out with a boy I didn’t know at a club. I was drunk and angry at BD and I had made up my mind that this was it. I was going to kiss a boy. It was like insurance. I was going to be the first one of us to have something going on with someone else. It might not have been the healthiest reason to have done it, but it was necessary and I have no regrets.

At the club, dancing with the girls, I was showing lots of cleavage and radiating a need for a man. I know it, because I normally do not get looked at so intensely, and there I was, the center of attention, or so it seemed. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into when I left my friends and went to dance alone, in the middle of the crowd. Within seconds, literally, there were hands on my shoulders, but it was not the guy I wanted, so I turned around and saw the one I had my drunken eye on. Tall, very tall, a goatee. He put his arms around my waist as we started to dance together, but I had no patience for this BS, I knew exactly what I wanted. A kiss. So I pulled him to me.

It was a long, wet, kiss. He tasted faintly of cigarettes but I didn’t care. He was a good kisser, deep, intense, nibbling my bottom lip, his hands on my waist, then my back, then in my hair. I broke free of him when I felt that I was starting to overthink it. Then it dawned on me, what I had done, and I was laughing nervously. Just to shut myself up I kissed him again. But it wasn’t that great the second time around, I was too tense. So I smiled at him, and left, fumbling through the crowd, back to my friends. I said goodbye, I’m really tired, I grabbed my stuff and took a taxi home, and didn’t dare to breathe until I was indoors and the door was locked behind me.

At home, I sat on the bed thinking. You’re a married woman! I told myself. You should be ashamed. But I wasn’t ashamed at all. I was proud. I was strong. I was a go-getter. I apparently did not look like the mother of a baby under 1 year old. Nobody gave a fuck, apparently, that I was still carrying some pregnancy weight.

And now, here I am, sitting on the floor in my bedroom. It used to be our bedroom, and now it’s just mine. And a letter from so long ago is unnerving, it’s making me feel like deep inside I’m still that girl, who’s afraid to disappoint or let anybody down, a girl who just wants the cool kids to like her, who’s in love with a bastard and willing to put her wants and needs on hold for just a bit of attention.

Is that where I still stand today? No. I know it isn’t. And maybe this is why I needed this to happen. To show myself, that 19-year-old me is different from 31-year-old me. SHE had said no. But not loudly enough. Not assertively enough. SHE was not heard. SHE went with it, despite not wanting it. I said yes. Loudly. Clearly. Assertively. On my own terms. I got what I wanted. I got out when I’d had enough.

We grow up. We change. Apparently the breakup has not erased these thirteen years of growth and self-improvement, for some reason I was sure that it would. But 31-year-old me, thank god, is still here. And 19-year-old me is in the past, where she belongs.

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