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Horrible Hookup Haiku

27 Jul

Night, sirens holler

Stupid Hamas, sad and scared

Sleeping with the ex

 

 

 

On Sacrifices and Why I’m not Making Any Anymore

28 Jun

sacrifice

My friend B thinks I’m going through my twenties, only I’m doing it in my thirties, which might very well be. I started dating BD when I was 19. Back then, following my mother’s example (though it’s more than a little superficial to blame it on her) I honestly believed that being in a loving relationship meant making sacrifices. Not little ones. Not agreeing to see a movie you don’t really care for, or allowing the toilet seat to stay up without making a scene. I believed that you couldn’t get everything you wanted or needed in any relationship, and so, you had to decide what was less important to you and find someone who gave you all the rest. (There was even a time when I thought that this wisdom was something some of my single girlfriends hadn’t figured out yet and that this was why they didn’t have a boyfriend.)

In theory, this sounds reasonable. I know in my heart that Mr. Right exists only in my heart, that I will never meet a man who is so compatible with me that he knows how to meet my every need without being told what to do, and still be unpredictable at times and sweep me off my feet. But, and this is a big but, I don’t think I should be making any sacrifices anymore. Adjustments – yes, sacrifices – no.

Very possibly the word sacrifices means more to me than it does to anyone else, I suppose it’s common to say that a mother makes sacrifices for her children for example. I want to redefine the word here, so you can understand what it means to me and why it raises such a strong emotional reaction in me. A sacrifice to me means doing something that strongly contradicts who you are, doing it despite feeling a strong objection to it, despite knowing that it will make you unhappy, and doing it because you believe it will benefit someone else, whose needs are more important than yours.

One might say that my career isn’t developing as quickly as it could have, or that I’m not making as much money as I could have if I didn’t have a child. But that’s not a sacrifice, that’s a choice. I would much rather spend time with my son in the afternoon than make more money or advance in my career. Had I decided to be a stay at home mom and not work at all, that would have been a sacrifice, because I love my job, and I love that I have somewhere to go where I can be valued as a professional. It would have been wrong for me to stay at home all day with my son, because it would have been a sacrifice, and he could not have benefited of it.

When I was in a relationship with BD, who had to move abroad for work and I left my job, my family and friends and moved with him, it was my choice, it was not a sacrifice. I was excited about my new adventure. I was ready for a change. But when things got bad there, when I was homesick and depressed and did not get out of bed some days, and felt like my life was worthless, and got a job I didn’t like just to get out of the house, that was a sacrifice. And it was a mistake to make it, I should have left BD there and come home.

This is just one example, our relationship was in fact full of sacrifices on my part. Sacrifices which lead, eventually to the death – yes, death – of several important “Me”s. I can’t blame BD for it, because he didn’t know. I wasn’t clear in stating the things that I wanted. Because I believed they were less important than the things that he wanted. Because I believed that making sacrifices made me a better person.

Now that we are apart, the dead “Me”s have begun their resurrection and they are hungry and thirsty and know no boundaries and they are raising havoc. It’s so exhausting that I had to sleep for 11 hours last night and I still feel tired.

Never Again

30 Mar

Burn

Over ten years ago I was sitting in a dark theater with my then boyfriend, to be husband, to be father of my child, watching a movie that got under my skin and into my nightmares. The movie was Requiem for a Dream. I sat there paralyzed  glued to my seat, feeling trapped, feeling violated. It was only during one of the the last scenes, a smack-you-in-your-face horrible sex scene, that it suddenly dawned on me that I didn’t have to watch it. I abruptly got up and left the theater, muttering “I don’t have to sit here and watch this”.

Later, standing outside the theater, I thought to myself, why on earth did I just sit there, why didn’t I just get up and leave? And I told myself, I’m never sitting through something that makes me feel so icky again. But I did. I have sat through many things that made me feel icky since then. Sat, stood, lay down.

Ten days ago was out first counselling session. BD has asked me to go to couple’s counseling with him, and I said yes, because it was the right thing to do. But during the entire session I was overwhelmed with a feeling that I didn’t belong there. Nothing went the way I wanted or expected it to go. He was five minutes late. I know, it’s just five minutes, but I’m sensitive about that. Then at the meeting he just sat there, as he’s done throughout our entire life together and let me do the talking. When I said I needed to know why he had left us, he said he was depressed. The therapist pointed out that I would need a better answer than that. Why was he depressed? What happened to him? He couldn’t answer. Or he wouldn’t. I don’t know. The therapist then asked if I was willing to commit myself to the process of working on our relationship, and I said that I was willing to come to one more session at this point.

That evening I broke up with SG, because I couldn’t give BD a fair chance if I was in a relationship with another man. Then I spent the week deeply depressed, feeling robbed, like someone had come into my world, which had already fallen apart once this year, which I had put so much effort into reconstructing, and tore it down, again. I was angry at BD for wanting me back. How dare he come back into my life, almost six months after walking away, after leaving me alone with our son? And I was heart broken. I missed SG terribly.

Then, on Tuesday, I took Baby to his grandparents and decided to use the time to clean the apartment, I mean really clean. Throw stuff out, reorganize drawers and so on. It was then that I ran into The Letter. The Letter that I had not yet decided what I wanted to do with. And at that moment, without thinking it over for a single second, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. I took it to the sink in the bathroom. I lit a match and I burned it. It didn’t burn easily. It resisted, even after four or five matches had been lit, but eventually it went into flames, and it was gone forever, and with it was gone the anger I had felt for so many years, not at Y for abusing my trust, not at BD for, well, abusing my trust… But at myself – for having let everything that had happened happen, for not getting up and leaving when I should have, for not shouting when I wasn’t heard, for feeling obliged in some perverted way to do things that I didn’t want to do. And I made myself a promise: I will never again do anything against my will. I’m not talking about going to the gym when I don’t feel like it, I’m talking about doing something that deeply contradicts my wants and needs, I mean listening to everyone except for myself, disregarding my emotions, putting myself on hold.

And as I watched that letter burn I knew that I could not go to couple’s counselling with BD anymore.

And I also knew that I was wrong about SG. I shouldn’t have let him go. I should have let me love me and I should have let myself love him back.

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.

The Letter I Never Sent

7 Jan

toys

May 13th, 2001

Y,

I have no doubt that you are undeserving of this letter, but you are also undeserving of my thoughts, and for over a year now, I am unable to shake the memory of all that has happened between us. So I am writing this letter for myself, rather than for you, so that I can put things behind me and move on.

I don’t think you can possibly comprehend what you’ve put me through. And it’s killing me. Not that it happened, but the fact that you have probably not even given it a second thought, that you haven’t owned up to what you’ve done. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’d feel much better if you would just admit that you’re a disgusting son of a bitch. I’m not expecting you to apologize, you wouldn’t. But it seems to me that you walked out of this saga with a clear conscience, which is just wrong.

So I’m going to tell you my side of the story, the way that I remember it. Just so that I can feel that you’ve had the opportunity to see it through my eyes. I need you to know what it was like for me, even if you still do not regret it.

I’m sure you know that I was in love with you for a long time. There were times when I understood it to be a love between close friends, but there were also times when I knew that it was more than that. In 12th grade when you were with F, and told me stories about your relationship, I was jealous, but at the same time I was relieved to know that you were hers and not mine, because I would never have allowed you to treat me the way you treated her, or at least so I thought.

I was attracted to your mind, which stupidly I thought was enough to build a relationship on. You were sharp and witty and we shared the same opinions and cynical humor. I didn’t have many people I could speak to in my life during high school, so I was drawn to you, because we seemed to see eye to eye. Today I realize what a big joke high school is, and that the world is full of interesting, intelligent, funny human beings that are also not assholes, and that you don’t have to get hung up on an asshole, just because he can name-drop. But I guess that’s what growing up is about.

We were so close, for three years. Do you remember those long hours on the phone at night, until my dad yelled at me to hang up? And those afternoons we spent at your house or mine, or sitting on swings at the playground chatting, or passing endless notes in class?

Then high school was over, and we were about to start a new chapter in our lives. And I was basically over you. Maybe not entirely, but on my way there. And I felt that friendship was enough for us, that I didn’t want anything more. But then, that night, when we went to that movie, and sat afterword for an hour chatting about it in your car, I was just about to leave when you kissed me. Out of the blue. And I couldn’t say no, because I was curious, and because I had wanted to kiss you so many times before.

But Y, I didn’t want anything more to happen.

As we were kissing, my mind was racing. We were already friends, which meant you liked me. But now you were kissing me, which meant you were also attracted to me. This was going to go somewhere. So when you wanted to come upstairs, I said yes. Because I wasn’t really sure how to say no to you. And I thought, if only we went upstairs, than maybe you’d want to be with me, the same way that for a long time I had wanted to be with you.

You probably don’t remember the part where I said no. We were on my bed. I told you my mom would catch us, and you told me she wouldn’t. You were lying on top of me, feeling me up, and I was uncomfortable, but silent. But when you undid the button of my jeans I said no. I’m pretty sure I said it more than once, but once at least. And I moved your hand away. But you didn’t really listen. And I was too inexperienced and lacking confidence to be assertive. So I just went with it, closing my eyes and just waiting for it all to end.

“Where is this going?” You asked me after. And I said: “I don’t know.” Because I didn’t, and also because it was the answer you wanted to hear. Since we had a history, you knew that sex was not something I took lightly. So I imagined that night must have meant something, because surely you didn’t think I was the type of girl who was just looking for a “good time”.

We went to visit A up north the following day, and I was nervous as hell. I spent an hour picking out my clothes and applying make up. It was an easygoing morning, and you had gotten me a gift, which I thought was sweet, but I was still all tensed up, and on the way back home, in the car, I told you that I loved you. I’m afraid I am always going to remember what you said. You said: “We can’t be together. Listen, you’re just another friend to me. In fact, the only advantage you have which my other friends don’t is that you’ve known me for a long time.”

How is it possible then, that after all this, we still ended up in my bed that day? I feel ashamed that it happened, but you should be more ashamed than me. My so called friend. I can’t believe I spent all of  10th and 11th grade listening to you cry about how sorry your life was and how you couldn’t get the girl you liked to notice you, reading your stupid short stories, and telling you how great you were.

After that second time, I felt like crap. I wanted it to be over. I called you to talk. I wanted to tell you that maybe we could go back to being friends because this arrangement wasn’t working for me. You answered the phone but said you couldn’t talk. And I never heard from you again. You didn’t answer my phone calls. You just cut me out.

I remember that while we were in my bed, you asked me not to tell anoyone about us. Do you know that for a long time I didn’t? I kept it a secret. I felt like a slut. I was ashamed that I had let something like this happen to me.

And now, looking back, I think you’re disgusting. I don’t know if I can ever forgive you, but I’m hoping that with this letter I can at least stop thinking about you, maybe let go of my anger a little. I don’t expect you to apologize, but at least now you know how you made me feel, and now that you do, I’m going to try to put you behind me.

Bye.

M