Does it matter how long it takes you to reach a place of healing? I dunno. Is it scary and hard? Yes. But, is it necessary that you reach the point when you can admit the truth, face up to what you allowed yourself to become and how you treated yourself? Do you need to acknowledge and understand the price you paid for someone who never did, and never would, put forth any effort to cherish and respect you? Does it matter that you made sacrificed so many things including your self-respect for a person who only cared about you when it was convenient for them? If you want to survive, yes. Can you heal from this experience; can you respect yourself again? Yes.
So here it goes, a confession:
Over the last 4 years, I took myself and ground myself into dust, cracked my bones, twisted my guts, all because I thought I needed that intangible thing. Because I deep down believed that fat, black, dark-skin, fem boy me was lucky to have that copper-skinned, high cheeked boy tell me that he loved me; that I was the beast and he was Beauty. All because I believed I was the monster. Because I still, somewhere inside believed what the world told me. So I needed his “love,” and I stayed, no I waited for the moment when he would “bless” me with the “privilege” of being his, even though it only hurt. It cost.
I lied to myself. I lied for him. I created alternate truths because reality was too harsh to face. Like the time my friend Carl saw him on what seemed like a date with his friend K while he and I were trying to make something work between us, and when I asked him he insisted I trust him and that K was just a friend, nothing more, and he wasn’t at all attracted to him; then I found out the following year that he had lied to me and had fucked K off and on for about a month or two while we were trying to make something work. There was the time I needed him at my cousin’s funeral; I begged him to go with me because he was the only one I allowed myself to be vulnerable around, but he claimed he had to work. I called him and called him while I was away, needing to talk and it wasn’t until the day of the funeral, while I was telling him how hard the funeral was for me while I was sitting on my best friend’s bed, once I asked how he was because I couldn’t get a hold of him, when I asked how work was that he told me that he never went to work. He wasn’t scheduled. He spent the night fucking his ex in his backseat and had to spend the day cleaning his car from the paint job the ex gave the backseat. Oh, then there was that time when I was kept in the hospital out of the doctors’ concern but he didn’t answer the phone. Or the time I apologized for the bad head and explained how memories of sexual trauma were coming back while my mouth was wrapped around his dick, but all he said to me was for me to “do better next time.” Or the time he shamed me for being too sexually aggressive and then six months later penalized me for moving too slow. Or that time when I became a doctoral candidate and he never congratulated me and just fried twenty tacos instead. Or the time when I moved to Chicago and he forgot about me. When I confronted him about it and his in general horrible treatment of me he said, through a cracking voice, that he loved me but was too scared to let himself be with me. And I believed it. I believed it enough so that when it was my last night in St Louis I set it aside to spend time with him over my parents or other friends; he stood me up again. I cried for three hours on the way to Chicago. And still I came crawling back. I listened while he told me about how he desperately wanted to fuck some fellow fast food worker he knew because the guy was white. “I have never been with a white boy and I want to know how it feels and what you can do with them.” I listened while he complained when the guy T stood him up ,”I rearranged my entire schedule for him; I am done.” T missed the date because he had an incident come up with his kids. Yes, I listened while this “man” who supposedly loved me told me he was pinning over a white boy who was closeted with two children. The white boy was the prize and I was the burden. And later when I asserted my independence Robin suddenly became re-interested in me, and I once again fell for the lines. When he told me he wanted to see if we could be together, no one else could make him feel the way I did, I allowed myself to believe him. Then, not even two weeks later, he fucked a guy who “wasn’t too special” to him and suddenly he, once again, was not sure if he wanted me. I waited in all of this, all of it shit.
And in-between I kept myself numb with so many anonymous ones. I survived off words and apologies and empty promises and lies. I lied to myself and pulled my friends and family through it all too. The times my mother wondered where my smile went. My brothers looking at me scared because they saw me slicing myself off and rearranging myself to better appease and please him. My brother’s words echo in my head from when I asked him of he could accept Robin and I officially together, “He has taken years not months but years!” My friends’ clicking the phone at his name. The fatigue. The loneliness. The question of “Why?” The dark.
And it comes to me: I did this with him. I told him he could treat me like shit because I felt I was shit. I said it was okay for him to disregard my feelings because I consistently ignored my pain. I begged him to be cruel to me every time I stayed. I made myself pathetic for him, and Robin was not worth it; no man is.
But then something else occurred to me: Once I could admit what I did to myself, the role I played, once I gave up on not being angry at him or myself, once I stopped not caring, I started to heal. I am forgiving myself. I can admit that I care–not about him but about me. I love myself now, I did that.
Was that hard? Yes. Embarrassing? Certainly. Freeing? I feel the wind.
Pariah: Heartbreak opens onto the sunrise for even breaking is opening and I am broken, I am open. Broken into the new life without pushing in, open to the possibilities within, pushing out. See the love shine in through my cracks? See the light shine out through me? I am broken, I am open, I am broken open. See the love light shining through me, shining through my cracks, through the gaps. My spirit takes journey, my spirit takes flight, could not have risen otherwise and I am not running, I am choosing. Running is not a choice from the breaking. Breaking is freeing, broken is freedom. I am not broken, I am free.