It’s been an interesting week, that’s for damn sure- especially physically. When I get stressed out, I tend to get psychosomatic illnesses like headaches and stomachaches. Not bad enough to stay home and check out of life, but bad enough to be a constant annoyance. My allergies are kicking up terribly, too, which adds a layer of frustration because when I get up to that level of snot, my singing suffers and my stomach hurts from even more post-nasal drip. Between those two things, I’m in relatively good shape… it’s just that hell hath no fury than when I’m inconvenienced in any way. I saw that on Facebook. You can steal it.
This week I have really been looking at my heart, or trying to. As I said earlier, the balance looks different between my abuser and me, and I am slowly determining what that means as I let go and remember. As I laugh and cry and look at old pictures and read old letters in her beautiful and consistently unreadable handwriting that slants to the left. I spent HOURS trying to reproduce it, and the only ones I ever got right were the D’s. I will tell you that it’s because my middle name starts with D; if you believe that, you haven’t been paying attention.
I remember what it was like to touch her… not in a romantic way, but in the way that you’d hug family. Even if this doesn’t ring true on her side, in my humble opinion the chord that runs between us is bigger and stronger than anything else in our lives. This is not that there aren’t people who are more important day-to-day, but I truly believe that if she *could* love someone the way she wanted to, I’d be it… and again, not romantically. I’m just talking about a relationship without constant hiccups and push/pull as we just stuff and deny, lying to those who try to get close.
She has told me with both faces that these things are true. Sometimes, I am the most important person in the world for her, and then the sun turns, and I am left to wonder what happened to the face I loved.
From what I hear, this is typical of this type relationship, and either I can hang with that or I can hang separately. I chose to hang separately, because I couldn’t take the swings. It was like playing Texas Holdem, knowing you’ve got the straight, and not realizing until after you’ve gone all in that she’s holding Kings full over Aces. You know the scene in “Rounders” where all the of the blood drains from Matt Damon’s face after he loses his roll?
Yeah, like that.
I find myself thinking a lot about that face… the duality of loving someone so much that it’s like having my heart beating outside my chest, and has been for so long that I don’t know where it started… and at the same time, realizing that it’s not impossible for someone with round cheeks and a great smile to be capable of abuse.
…but the Mississippi’s mighty,
and it starts in Minnesota,
at a place where you could walk across
with five steps down.
And I guess that’s how you started,
like a pinprick to my heart…
But at this point you rush right through me
and I start to drown….
Emily Saliers, Ghost
If we had a song, this would be it. She gave me a copy of the album and Ghost starts out, “there’s a letter on the desktop that I dug out of a drawer, the last truce we ever came to in our adolescent war.”
Letter? Adolescent war? Emily Saliers put an arrow through my chest.
I also think about the innocent people who aren’t me, and to that, I say this. It was going on under your noses the entire time we lived in the same city. You didn’t notice, because I didn’t call attention to it. I am every bit as responsible for all the lies as you are from that standpoint, because even though I had good reasons for it, I still covered it up right up until I couldn’t.
The gaslighting was everything- I covered for her, and she painted me as mentally unstable. But that’s not the person you know. That’s the person I do.
When you met her, she wasn’t 23. When I met her, she wasn’t a fully cooked adult yet. When you met her, you got to see her realized dreams, and not the poor college kid that made my heart beat faster. You weren’t there for her graduate school going away concert. You weren’t there to see the ways people abused her to even make her capable of connecting with me on that level.
So in short, I think about you and wonder if you’re talking about me in the same way. My peace comes from knowing that you are only reacting in fear, and haven’t made the connection that there are layers upon layers upon levels upon levels upon years and years of things you don’t know. Be mindful that not only is it terrifying going through all this, it’s even worse realizing that our friendship was abusive and I am taking a torchlight to the most fundamental impact on my development from the time I hit tweenage on.
You cannot imagine how much I value this writing space, because right now I’m talking to keep myself from shutting down entirely. I am grateful when you listen.