Monday, January 26, 2009

The scars

Sometimes I am amazed at where my mind travels. Other times those travels seem like completely logical thought progressions. I'm not sure which category tonight's blog post falls under not that it really matters I suppose. I spent a fair amount of time finding lyrics for tonight's post, partially because I wanted to make sure they were just right and partially because I needed some time to process my thought process.

So, without further ado, I give you Peachy by Missy Higgins (who is pretty darned good for her age, if she keeps at it I think she could have a heck of a career).

It's not my fault, it can't be my fault
That you speak to me the way you do.
Now I'm split in two, I'm half me half you
But I hate us both, don't you?

No, of course you don't, of course you don't
You say life is peachy without me
Of course you don't, of course you don't
You say life is peachy without me

And it's not your fault, it can't be your fault
That I let you crawl inside my head

Tonight I was watching an episode of the L Word that I DVR'd last night. Usually I watch it the night it airs since it's one of my favorite shows, but yesterday I was just plain tired and fell asleep on the couch trying to finish a movie so I didn't get a chance to watch it. Anyway, there was a scene in this episode where Helena chases after Dylan (who we haven't seen in a looonnngggg time) and basically gives her hell for what she did to her a couple seasons ago (it involved Dylan framing her and extorting money based on a false sexual harrassment claim which then nearly ruined her life in case you wanted to know). And that short scene my dear readers (all both of you) is what spawned this post tonight.

While I was watching it I got to thinking that Ms. Ex really did some damage to me emotionally, she left scars that I really hope will fade one day. Because even though I wanted more than anything to fight for my relationship with FMHW I didn't do it. And the reason I didn't is because of Ms. Ex. Not because I want to be with her or anything super crazy like that (I shudder at the mere thought!), rather because she taught me to crawl into this tiny place inside myself and just shut the fuck up when I had something to say.

I say that she taught me this but maybe it was more that I learned it was the easier way to deal with her rather than her actually teaching me this. Who knows and the point is really moot now anyway since the damage is done and I am left to heal these wounds on my own. Anyway, Ms. Ex used to tell me that I was "justifying" all the time when I tried to explain my feelings to her. God how I hate that word now (also I hate the word amazing, but that is for another post). I thought explaining my side of the story was a perfectly reasonable thing to do until she'd throw one word at me. "Justification!" she'd say and then expect that would be the end of it. And after a while it was the end of it and after a little while longer I just stopped trying to explain myself all together. Because she didn't want to hear it no matter how much I needed or wanted to tell her. Because my feelings and thoughts and emotions weren't important enough to her for her to hear my side of things. I know, I know, this should have been clue number one million and fifty two that we were just bad together, but it wasn't, at least not at the time.

And while I was learning NOT to explain myself I was also learning how not to show emotions to anyone; learning how to jam a cork on those emotions until I was alone and could pop the cork in private. Or not pop the cork at all and just leave those emotions to fester and broil and turn putrid in my soul. I learned how to do this fun little trick because if we were having a "discussion" and I cried (for any reason) she would call me a baby just like how an elementary school bully calls their chosen target a baby. "Don't be such a baby" she'd say. A grown woman calling another grown woman a baby for having emotions and letting them show. I am a very sensitive person. I cry at commercials, I cry at books, I cry at movies, I cry at songs, I cry from thoughts. Hell I even cried one time when asking for a raise! If something touches me I cry, I can't help it, it's who I am. But when you're called a baby enough times you learn how to bottle your emotions pretty damn quickly. I can swallow tears and hide behind a fake smile with the best of them.

These are the things that the woman who supposedly loved me taught me. These are the things I let her teach me. These are the things I now have to unlearn, the wounds, the scars that I have to heal. This is my baggage, at least a part of it.

So, when I should have yelled or cried or shown the slightest hint of irrational emotion with FMHW I didn't. I told her that I understood, that it was okay even though I was mad as hell and really just wanted to cry and ask her why because frankly even though intellectually I understood, emotionally I sure as hell did NOT understand (still don't actually). I simply listened to her talk and then hugged her to let her know it was okay. And now I am left to wonder if showing emotion, showing that I cared like Helena chasing after Dylan and yelling at her, would have made any difference at all. It probably wouldn't have but I'll never know because Ms. Ex made me scared to express myself in that way.

If you've never had someone treat you like this you really have no idea how much of an effect it can have on you. And when you are the person that is treated that way you don't see the affects until you've gained some distance and perspective. But how do you heal these scars? How do you learn how to "justify" again? How do you learn how to cry in front of someone? How do you unlearn these lessons? I suppose it involves stepping out of your comfort zone and actually explaining to someone how you feel even though you can still hear "Justification!" in her voice in your head. It probably involves allowing yourself to get angry and show someone that you're angry no matter how you think they might react to that anger and emotion. It probably involves accepting yourself for who you are and how your emotions work and just saying to hell with what other people may think of you for it.

For now though I can tell you that those wounds remain. The scars are still fresh and pretty vivid reddish purple color.


Kim Kenney said...

What a terrible thing for one human being to do to another.

I don't have any advice that will help right this minute, but I do have a couple of lesser examples of how I unlearned things too.

1. High school boy named Evan. He was all about making plans with me casually and then "forgetting" them. I can't tell you how many times I sat at home, expecting him to call or come get me for something, and he didn't show. And instead of calling him, and being empowered, I just waited. And waited. And waited. And when he finally did call or come over, I was so thrilled with some attention, I never said a thing about being upset or angry or feeling dismissed. And the worst part? HE dumped ME, not ONCE, but TWICE! I was his summer fun thing, and come school starting, he was looking for something better. Or at least different.

For a long time afterward, I didn't let myself get excited or look forward to anything. Because I was so tired of being disappointed. It was easier to be pleasantly surprised than disappointed all the time.

2. College boy named Marc. He had this weird thing about saying "I love you." He thought you could "say it too much." Which I never understood. In the past, I had always said it when I felt like saying it, when I was moved to say it. And he taught me to be self-conscious about when it was "the right time" to say it. Which made me start questioning a lot of what I said.

It was a couple of years after Marc that I met Chris. And since there wasn't a relationship in between, I still had those hangups about not saying I love you too much, which, thankfully, he found ridiculous. He told me he loved me when he felt like it, which was sometimes 3 times in 10 minutes. And gradually, I started to realize that I could say what I wanted to say to him, right when I felt it.

And eventually, too, I learned that when he "casually mentioned" something -- like getting ice cream -- it was actually going to happen. And if he honestly forgot, I learned that it was OK to remind him. "Hey, are we still going to get ice cream this afternoon?" I NEVER would have said that to Evan. If I had stayed with him, I would have spent my entire life waiting.

So I guess my point is this. When you are with the right person, they will help you unlearn all the bad things you've picked up from past dysfunctional relationships. Sometimes they will know they are helping you do it, and sometimes it will be all inside you. Little epiphanies will happen, and you will be so thankful.

Trust me. There is life after a bad relationship. It takes some time, but eventually, we all get what we deserve. And I really do believe that. The bad people get what they deserve, and so do the good people.

So don't beat yourself up about it. Take your time refinding yourself and who you are. Keep telling yourself that it's OK to explain and to cry and to yell if you have to. Eventually that will be as second nature to you as bottling it up has become. It took you years to learn this stuff, so it will take some time to un-learn it too. But you will. I know it.

Jess said...

Thanks for sharing Kim. Time heals all wounds as they say. I'm sure I'll get over all this and honestly I don't think about it all that much, but when I do think about it I tend to really over think it. Guess I just need to find Ms. Right to show me the way huh? ;)

Author Uknown said...

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Jess said...

Thank you for the comment unknown audience member. If you do start a blog of your own I'd love to know. I'm glad you enjoy what I write, thanks for letting me know there's a fan out there in cyberland, especially one who's also an overthinker.

Author Uknown said...

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