I’m not sure if she really heard me. This is for her, them, me and us; this is also for you and the ones you love.
I told her my answer without her knowing. We were in make-up mode, the reclamation of our relationship. I held her close, pressing my energy into her with my body. I wanted her to feel what my heart knew. It was dusk, dark, but light enough to see. I pulled away from our embrace to look at her. I read her eyes. I saw the sadness I’d caused behind the love she felt. For a second, I looked away, my shame pulled at me.
I swallowed, blinked and met her eyes again. I tried to look at her as I spoke, but my face fell into the sweetness of her neck, muffling my voice. I said, “You’re my favorite person in the world. I’m sorry I hurt you. I can’t imagine not always being able to talk to you.” She said, “Thank you love, that’s very sweet.” I mediated my tears with laughter. She laughed with me knowing crying would ruin the mood.
This month we’re coming up on our two-year anniversary, and some of us, (clearing of the throat)-I, celebrated early by demonstrating the pinnacle of my worst behavior. Time made me feel comfortable-deserving and bold. I finally felt secure enough in the relationship to show her the soldiers that make up the fight in my core. In a fear driven moment, they rolled out as callous words. I hurt her, and other people in her life she loves.
I’m jealous about a relationship she has with someone else. This other person is important to her; she’s known her for over twenty years. This other woman is, as close to her as any blood related- family member, however, they’re not related. This person is also her ex-partner, and ex-love interest. I don’t understand their relationship, and that makes me uncomfortable. It’s stronger than a friendship, but not sexual. I liken it to a sister-wife relationship without the male influence. She knows Susan in ways I do, and don’t, and that feels threatening to me when faced with it on an emotional level.
In my head I can rationalize their relationship, and look at it objectively. However, that doesn’t always work despite my best efforts. The worst part for me is that I really like this person, and it makes me feel bad to have jealous feelings surrounding her. She means no harm to me, and it hurts her, Susan, and me when I lose sight of the facts.
This woman I speak of is kind and generous. She opened her heart and home to me, and my children. It was important for us both to get along, and make it work. In the beginning, we had a rough start getting used to each other. However, I grew to respect her, and admire certain qualities about her. We’ve had some great moments together, however, at times that hasn’t been enough to quell my resentments. And I hate it because of what it does to us. My issues of abandonment swell to the surface of my psyche, distorting my reality.
I’ve felt threatened by this relationship ever since I started dating Susan. An innocent moment witnessed between them can trigger my archaic sirens. The person in me who screams “victim,” the little girl whose mother didn’t see her. I had no chance of winning, and sometimes I get stuck there. That feeling sends me into battle for things I already have, like love.
This has happened to me before with my step-mom and ex- mother in law. I blamed them for unjust treatment, and argued for love they’d already given me. I just couldn’t see it because I was certain they couldn’t, or didn’t want to love me.
I want to be Susan’s “default” landing, the person she thinks of first. I didn’t know I had that honor until I fought for it, (and because of the fight I put up,) temporarily lost it. All along I had the number one position in her heart, but my actions caused her to question that trust.
In a desperate attempt to understand her love for this other person, I went too far. I was under the influence of Tequila on an empty stomach, and had spent most of the afternoon in isolation, writing. I joined Susan and our group of friends at the end of the day for a party. I drank too much, too fast, in order to catch up with the buzzed vibe.
As the night waned, something close to a spark ignited all my insecurities, and like a rabid fox, I came out snarling. I scolded and blamed, read them my “ poor me” monologue. My tongue was serrated and cruel, and I used it to hurt anyone in my way. I wanted them to feel the pain I felt over my perceived threat of their relationship. I was wrong. I didn’t hurt anyone more than I hurt myself. I got in my own way, which is a behavior I sink into often. I self fulfill my prophecy as the “victim.” I became my own victim once again. But there’s still hope, I can finally see it, I can see myself coming, and there’s so much freedom there.
It didn’t take much effort to awaken me from my unconscious slumber of self-doubt. I woke up alone the next morning with a heightened sense of knowing. I’d barely slept the night before, and in the awareness of sleeplessness, my fetal position cries told me what I needed to hear. My body heaved in the night as I came to realize just how destructive my behaviors could be.
I knew I’d hurt Susan and the people she loves on a deep level, and the friends I care about. The friends I wanted something from I already had-their trust, and friendship. I knew I was wrong on every count, and went about trying to repair the damage I’d caused. Luckily for me, my friend’s acted in grace and pardoned my shortcomings. However horrible it was, I think I’m in a better place with them now. The other woman in Susan’s life understood me, and had empathy for my situation. I love her for the compassion she’s shown me, and for the friendship we’re re- building.
I finally understand the importance of Susan’s extended family. In the past I didn’t realize that loving her also meant accepting, and loving her homemade family. I argued that they weren’t the same as my children, but I was wrong. Although these people aren’t dependant upon her the way my kids are on me, they’re still apart of her and come with the package. It has been hard for me to accept and I’m sure I’ll still struggle with it plenty. However, I decided that she was worth it, and that I’d rather have her and them, as opposed to not having her at all. Susan has to extend her heart to my children even when it’s hard for her, and I in return have to do the same. Our love has always been big, and it’s something we pride ourselves in together. I’m willing to work through my insecurities to make it work with her, and she’s willing to do the same for me.
My verbal bombing spawned emotional movement between us like a line-dance of our pain- pulling apart, moving around each other-, and finally, a coming back together. We made it through the awkward, hurt, and fear laden moments, however difficult, we ended up closer than before. Throughout the hellish process of cleaning up the aftermath, I was reminded of the reason I want to be with her: she is my reply to the timeless question begotten by humankind and relationships.
We all answer the question either intentionally or not, and although it isn’t completely pragmatic, it is the simplistic implications of what our answer means that’s important. The answer poses new questions, all of which are philosophical by nature, and if we choose to be honest with ourselves, it can show us who we are, and why, and how we decide what’s important. When we respond to the question, and we don’t get the return we’re looking for, does that intrinsically change our own answer? And if it does, or doesn’t, the effect is still indicative of who we are, regardless of the reaction. The same is true about the recent earthquake, an earthquake still occurred even though certain buildings remained stoic and unchanged, while others shook, threw glass, and spit bricks.
I’m sure you’re wondering right about now what the question might be? It’s a game of the mind, or concept that never bores, and one that will remain relevant until womankind undergoes some sort of evolutionary shift.
You’re free to set-up the history and backdrop however you want, but the premise doesn’t change. What I want to know is this: If you were stranded for the end of time-your death- with one other person, on a deserted piece of earth, who would you chose to have by your side? Who is your favorite person in the world? Who would be your partner if society crumbled away? I’m asking you to put aside your analytical minds by agreeing to go along without restrictions other than the following: 1.) You have to agree to the terms, they state: (a.) Your children, if you should have any are well and grown, thereby removing them from the equation. (b.) Material possessions are meaningless. (C.) There are no judgments or social norms in which to comply. 2.) You answer the question, honestly, like a gut punch reaction, and 3.), you accept the pre-set hypothetical situation. I’m asking you to join my fun with an honest recklessness you’d be ashamed of, and most importantly, to answer with as much courage as you have to give. Your answer isn’t for anyone other than you. This is for you, and it’s yours to keep unless you decide otherwise. (I’d love to hear from you.)
Here’s how my scenario would look: The ground moves and slices off miles of isolated real estate for each of us. I’m drifting away, hand and hand, with Susan on a beach of brown sugar, and waves of aquamarine. I turn to face her- she smiles, deepening her dimples.
I don’t know if she’d pick me as the person to have by her side, but that doesn’t change anything for me.
She is my reply because she is someone with whom I can let go of anything that isn’t mine, and embrace all of the great things about me that do belong. I want to be with her because of who she sees when she looks at me. She helps me grow into the best parts of who I am. I heard a quote the other day, “Your partner shouldn’t be your oxygen. They should be your sun.” I’m glowing.
I told her over two years ago, “I want to always know you. I have to be able to talk to you.” when faced with the decision to either leave my marriage, or never speak to her again, (even as friend because I knew I couldn’t.) I chose to always talk to her. I want to continue my on-going conversation with her until life fades from my body, rendering me formless.
I’m fortunate to have chosen well in my relationship with Jack, my ex, by letting go, I gained everything. I still have the love I shared with the family I created, a better, more loving, and trusting relationship with him, my parenting partner-, and now, I also have true romantic love-a place to be vulnerable, and known.
What this all comes down to is that what Susan and I have exists because of the other people in our lives. I needed someone to have children with, a solid, life-long partner and great friend. She needed a life-long partner to fill the part of her that can only be reached by that person. She offers her something I don’t, and my ex- offers me something she doesn’t. Neither one of us are in romantic love with our ex’s, although we still love them dearly. We have a romantic love together that’s honest and expansive, and capable of enormous love.
Our love isn’t complete without my children, and their future love’s, my children’s father-my ex; and hopefully his love, if she’d be willing. It includes my family, and friends, and also the people Susan loves like her family, friends, and her ex and ex’s partner. (I know that was a lot, but hopefully I made my point.)
What my actual explosion, and experimentation with a theoretical society teaches me- when I tear down the barriers- is that love encompasses everyone. Love isn’t an empty island of one. It is full and rich, ripe with offerings if we open our hearts enough to receive what’s in front of us.