All of us have been in some sort of relationship scenario in which we were left brokenhearted. Someone abandoned us, someone cheated on us, someone misrepresented themselves and so forth. What I have begun to observe and question is how we respond to these circumstances. Having recently survived several of the aforementioned scenarios, I have noticed the many mechanisms that we employ to protect ourselves from experiencing the same pain and heartache time and time again. While I subscribe to the philosophy that making the same mistake over and over is the truest form of stupidity, I also question how far to the other end of the spectrum is just as ridiculous. Is being jaded our protective friend or another means of self sabotage?
For my part, I have certainly noticed that my level of trust for other human beings as a whole and especially in interpersonal relationships has dwindled dramatically. I now have the propensity to believe that compliments are tools of manipulation rather than sincere expressions. I also seem to have a difficult time meeting someone and not automatically thinking that they are like my ex and I should be cautious. But am I seeing legitimate red flags or the ghosts of relationships past? I think that is a difficult question that people such as myself that are newly single struggle with frequently. But after many conversations with others and merely observing other people’s reactions to situations, I am starting to think that whether it is a fresh wound or a scarred over injury, we are still allowing our pasts to interfere with our present. Do we honestly believe that being cynical and pessimistic is the only way to abolish any chance of reliving past mistakes and suffering?
I have tried to my detriment in some ways, to remain open and loving regardless of what has happened in my love life. I made a conscious effort to check the baggage and enter into new relationships unencumbered but after this break up, I suddenly feel like the American Airlines lost luggage department. Where did all this stuff come from and what the hell do I do with it? As I peruse all the forgotten and ignored emotions of abandonment, I have come to realize that even I have become weighed down and a little bitter. I have misplaced my ability to believe that some things are just good. There is no evil lurking in the corner, no hidden agenda meandering in the hallway, just something new and good and worth my understanding. I am now faced with an opportunity that could be simply that, good. So why am I more comfortable second guessing and assuming than allowing myself to give it the benefit of the doubt? It is an easy answer, I am jaded and that sucks! I suppose that along the way, I bought into the idea that being overly apprehensive and assuming the worst in people is safer than putting myself out there and taking the chance that I feel this way again. I am starting to find though that when I am internalizing all these negative assumptions that I am missing out on any genuine happiness that may be present.
The other complexity is that even if I get over my own relationship related neuroses, they is always someone else’s to deal with. But it can not be fair for me to judge someone for their difficulty in trusting when I am in the same place but it also makes the situation much harder to navigate. Suddenly you have two seemingly good and loving individuals complicating a connection for no other reason than at some point they were respectively scorned by someone else. It is hard enough getting to know someone as it is but when you exacerbate the issue with preconceived notions it becomes almost impossible. So I have been left contemplating if there is a middle to this pendulum. I want to learn the lessons that are necessary for my growth and emotional protection while remaining true to my real self. I am not bitter, resentful, pessimistic and jaded. Or at least I was not before. I do not think that any of our origins are rooted in these aspects, so how do we get back and stay sane and intelligent about it? I would hate to see anyone sabotage a perfectly lovely opportunity, especially me. I think that the answer is, knowing that we have all been hurt but that not every relationship has an inevitably destructive end. And also knowing when to calm down, take a step back and allow ourselves to be happy instead of over analyzing every detail to death. I hope that I will find the best way to follow my heart and my mind and that combined they will lead me to the right person and the right relationship. Until then, I know it is important to ease up on the assumption that every guy is him or like him because hopefully and it is a big hope, they are not.
For many years, I have enjoyed singing and music. If you were to peruse through my Ipod your first thought would most likely be Wtf, who is this chick? I have a vast array of live techno sets from Ibiza, Club Space in Miami and the now long forgotten Love Parade in Germany. But hidden amidst the electronica you would find Erykah Badu, NIN, Etta James, Janis Joplin, the Deftones, Jay-Z, The Smiths, A Perfect Circle and many more. I suppose my musical tastes say a lot about who I am as a person. I am girlie, soulful, tough, vulnerable, intense, complicated, sexy and an endless well of emotional depth. My friends usually know exactly what mood I am in by what I am listening to. I see the expression on their faces when they come in to my house and I am jamming to Hole or riding in the car when I put on Fiona Apple. Its one of those days is it? I run to Dj Tiesto and when I was still fighting for a living, the boxing gym could usually overhear 36 Mafia or Pit Bull. That is what I love most about music, no matter what mood I am in or what I am going through in life it seems someone knows exactly what I am feeling and they have put it into words.
Several months ago, I decided that I wanted to be one of those people. I want to write down everything inside me and have it emerge gloriously out of my mouth. I want to share my happiness and my pain. I want to be able to sing a note and have it touch someone else the way that I have been touched by so many artists. So I decided to seek out a voice coach, against my better judgement. You see, all my life I have been an athlete. I was an elite level gymnast until high school, I played volleyball, I boxed professionally and as of last year I am a five time National Champion Equestrian. I have so much confidence in my physical abilities but when it comes to music and other arts I have hidden in the corner. Maybe it is because I feel so much more vulnerable singing, letting people read my poetry and even writing this blog. I suppose that I have always been afraid that I would not be as good at things of this nature as I am doing anything that requires athleticism. For once in my life though, my passion for music and my need to purge all that lies beneath is so great that I have thrown caution to the wind and dug in.
My voice coach is the most amazing woman and I always leave feeling like I am a better person for going. She has taught me that perfection is not only unattainable but unnecessary. She has also taught me that I am my own worst enemy and my worst critic, not to mention that because of her I can hit notes I never thought imaginable. The thing about singing in front of someone is that in that moment of total vulnerability you are you, at your most raw. There is no hiding, no pretense and thankfully for me, no judgment. I am merely told, do it this way or try this and see if it is easier and sounds better. I relish the freedom that I feel there. It is as if when I am there, I can feel myself growing. More importantly, I can feel myself healing. My voice lessons have also lead me to start a band with the help of a dear and extremely talented friend. We began working on our first track last week and it has been revolutionary.
Last night my friend and I started the production on our track as many of the lyrics had already originated from recent journal entries. We sat and played piano and guitar and hemmed and hawed over what the base line would be and what we should do with the melody in the second stanza and so forth. As I struggled to create, I stopped for a moment and thought how lovely it was that in that moment all the suffering that I had been feeling had dissipated. This struck me as particularly odd because the entire song was about my recent break up. So why was I not as upset anymore? I believe that the therapy in this process for me was that while they were my words and my experiences, I was forced to contemplate it in a more analytical way when I transitioned the emotion to music. I felt more removed and more connected at the same time. It was such a beautiful development. For hours, my attention was solely on the music. My mind was not bogged down with the events of the day or the ghosts of my past, just the music. I finally understood why so many people enjoy this process. It is a healing process. It is creation from destruction. It is a light in the darkest corner of my soul. It is that which fills the void in my heart that has been so pervasive. It reminds me to be appreciative.
I am so thankful to have found this new talent and to be supported by all of my friends in this endeavor. I am so thankful to be working towards a better understanding of myself and to end an era of unhealthy self-judgement. I am thankful for all the musical interludes to my pain. Lastly, I am even thankful for the disaster that brought me here. If I had not been completely broken down, I never would have had the courage to embark on this journey. So whether I end up on a stage in front of hundreds, recording in a famous studio or singing for my animals in my living room, I am thankful that someone stripped all of my armor away and left me in such a lowly place that all I could do was be myself and try to heal.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.
So there I was, bewildered, sleep deprived, starving and in shock. Thoughts raced through my head. Why was Will’s dad with him? Why will he not say anything? What that the hell is happening? The answers were ugly.
As I sat in my car looking at William in his car, I begged him to say something, anything. Before he could, his dad said something, anything and everything. First he told me that William was done with me, that he did not love me anymore and that he did not want to be with me, that our relationship was over and he was taking Will back to Philly with him. Side note- Will and I had just resigned a six month lease not three weeks before all of this. Then when I brought up the fact that I had just found out that I was pregnant, William’s father said and I will NEVER forget these words, “We don’t even know that it is his!” Its funny how one sentence, a subject and a verb splashed with a pronoun can do so much damage. I looked at Will almost begging him to stop all of the venom that was being spewed at me and yet there was nothing. At this point, I began to totally fall apart. It was not the kind of crying that you knew would make you feel better in the end, no it was the kind of crying that came from the depths of your soul, the kind you thought would never end. I called my mom because I had now encountered something the likes of which I could not even handle. She cancelled all of her hearings and came immediately.
So now, William and his father began tearing through our apartment madly grabbing anything that they could while I watched in agony. My mother asked Will’s father to let us speak alone, after all we had just spent years living together and we were adults, there had to be a better way than this. She was wrong. William continued to look at me, almost zombie like. No real emotion or soul behind his eyes, just this vacant stare. I begged him to talk to me, to tell me why and how he could do something like this. And when I say begged, I mean it. I got down on my knees, putting any pride or self-respect I had left to the side to show him that I was serious but anything I said no matter how heart-felt was met with snide remarks from his father and little to no response from Will. It was like he had been brain washed. There were phrases he just kept repeating over and over again but no real feeling behind it. As I tried desperately to get through to him, my mother attempted to contain his father outside so that we could talk. That did not last very long at all. She came bursting through the door saying that she could not stand to be there another moment. Apparently the blame game had started outside. My mother told his father that she did not appreciate the things that he had said to me and in return his father said that he did not appreciate me having an affair. Right, I had an affair. Someone had fallen in love with me. Nothing ever happened between the two of us other than him expressing his feelings for me. But did William’s father even bother to fact check, of course not. My mother knew the truth and said that that was ridiculous and that if he really wanted to get into it, she did not appreciate William spitting in my face two years prior to this. If you can not see the trend, things were spiraling downwards at an exponential pace. The ugliness was all around me and I could do was cry. Once my mother and I realized that this was indeed happening and there was nothing we could do, I fell to the floor and watched what had taken me over three years to build be destroyed in two hours.
I asked William what we were going to do about the baby and his response was that he did not want anything to do with it. It was all up to me. What do you even say to that? The kicker was that Will had always wanted kids and it was a point of contention because I did not until now. I wanted to have this one. Over the course of our relationship we had lost two others and I did not want to go through the pain of that again. Silly me, I thought he would be excited. I thought he would be happy that I finally wanted all the things he did but everything had changed in 48 hours. Now I was just some girl in some town that he had lived in for five years and he was done with it. He was leaving everything and wanted nothing to keep him tied to this place and this life. I hugged him or rather tried to hug him, in the very least I did not want to leave things so nasty. I loved him with all of my heart and I could not stand the thought of never seeing him again so I continuously tried to embrace him. He kept packing.
As they packed up all of his clothing and other personal belongings, I remember they had these very nonchalant conversations, almost as if it was totally normal to break someone’s heart, leave them pregnant and with an apartment and cats and berate them mercilessly. It was like it was something that occurred every day. I distinctly remember there was even joking. I kept feeling the sense that I had entered some alternate reality or dimension and it all felt very wrong. After two hours, they had most of his stuff out and in his car leaving me with everything else to take care of at some point. As he went for the cat, I tried to stop him but unfortunately she was his cat before this relationship so there was really nothing I could say to stop him. I disagreed with him taking her away from her brothers whom she loved but his response was that he just wanted to take one of the other cats as well. I could barely believe that now we were bargaining with our children. I finally put my foot down and told him I thought he had taken quite enough from me and that was it. I was then told if I really loved him, I would let him take Christian. If I really loved him I would let him take our other cat? If I really loved HIM! I was being crushed and destroyed and I was still expected to act out of love when all that was being shown to me was hatred? They told me what a good home he would have and how much space there was. A good home? Our definitions of a good home, I was sure at this point were very different so I declined. Will was walking out on every responsibility he had and I was supposed to trust that he would take care of my babies, no.
The boy cats watched as their sister was crated and out the door. William just waved to me and then he was gone………..
I described this incident in-depth not to blame or make William and his father appear a certain way but rather to express why the event was so traumatic. There was pain and loss on so many levels that it truly was a tragedy. I felt betrayed, abandoned, disparaged, unloved and confused. Mostly though I felt like my life was over. I had lived and breathed for him. Every thing I had done for the past three years was with the belief that we were meant to be together. I loved him that much. I had tolerated things that I never thought I would because I loved him that much and now it was gone. My heart was gone. My reason for being was gone, everything was ripped away in an instant.
In the weeks to follow, I would only hear from William four times. One was a text the next day asking me to take care of our boys and that he was going to pay to break our lease all I had to do was sign a piece of paper, also that our relationship meant a lot to him and he loved me and that he was on his was on his way out-of-town. I did not hear from him again until weeks later after I had sent him texts, emails, songs, poems all expressing my love for him and the immense amount of grief I felt. I got two emails, both justifying what he did and blaming me for things I had done to cause this. I apologized over and over again for a while believing that perhaps I did cause this and it was my fault or that there was a justification for what he did. Not once did he apologize, not once did he ask about our baby or our cats, not once did he even ask how I was. No, this was all about him. What he was going through, how he felt. I was just as insignificant in our end as I had been all along even more so now that he was thousands of miles away. Its been six or seven weeks now and I have yet to hear his voice or have a real conversation with him. And yet I do not blame him for what he did. I do not hate him or wish him ill. I simply pray every day that he will wake up and become more aware of his actions and how they affect others and that our lives are not meant to be spent being selfish and self-serving but rather to love one another and live up to our potential as humans. And this is what good has come from such an ugly, awful event, the knowledge that we must live in a space of compassion, love and forgiveness. We can not control the actions of others. We can control our actions towards others and as long as we act out of a place of love, we are in our highest truth and power.
You can not blame someone for being where they are in their evolution or devolution as it may be…………………
And thus ends the ugliness and begins a new chapter…… The journey towards healing.
Now, that I have stated that I experienced a tragedy, I will explain what that means to me. I had been dating William for over three years. We had lived with each other for almost the same amount of time. We had an amazing apartment, three wonderful little cats and a seemingly challenging yet rewarding relationship. At some point I will get into the happenings of our relationship more in-depth but right now I want to focus on “the event” as I like to call it.
William’s friend was getting married in Philadelphia (where William is from) and there had been much discussion and controversy over him going to the wedding. Primarily because we did not have the financial means at the time for either one of us to go let alone both. His friend had offered to pay for his ticket, which was around $400 and I had expressed that I thought it was a bad idea to be taking money from someone who was in the process of getting married and was probably stretched too thin as it was. William had agreed with me but was obviously toiling over the idea of missing this occasion. So he turned to his parents who were always trying to get him to go back home for any and every occasion. They did not like him living in another state and this was very apparent over the course of the relationship. Per usual, his mother offered him the money as she had done many times if it involved him coming home. I appreciated the gesture but the fact that we were 30-year-old adults, I felt that it was time for us to stand on our own two feet and make decisions that were beneficial for our relationship. Without telling me anything, he accepted the money and bought the tickets. I did not find out about this until his sister messaged us on Facebook a month later. I was very displeased that he had gone behind my back and done this and did not even have the wherewithal to tell me himself. This lead to an argument but as the ticket was purchased there was nothing I could do so on we went…….
Two weeks before he was to leave, William became quite ill. He had an intermittent fever that lasted for three days. I, of course, took care of him diligently staying up all night for some days making sure his fever was coming down, making him tea , massaging his body and giving him medicine. He was finally better after about 5 days and a dr.’s visit. Well anyone knows in a couple that lives together if one of you gets sick, its only a matter of time. The following week, I became quite ill. I could not swallow, I had an enlarged tonsil, just felt terrible. I went to the dr. and sure enough I had an absessed tonsil and some sort of ulcer in the back of my throat, it was nasty! I asked William to stay and take care of me because I truly felt awful. The Thursday before he was to leave he told me that he would stay and that it was only fair given that I had taken care of him and that he would just call and apologize for missing the wedding but his partner needed him and he was going to be there. Friday morning before he went to work he tells me, “You will be fine, I will see you on Sunday night.” Obviously I was angry, he had just told me that he was staying and now all of a sudden I am going to see you on Sunday? Then he grabbed his backpack and off he went. I called him and called him, no answer. This was a common avoidance tactic he employed. So I called his school and finally got him. We had a long, challenging conversation and it ended with him expressing that he was afraid to make anyone angry and that is why he had undulated BUT that he was going to stay and I would see him in a couple of hours I had his WORD. Hours passed and I tried to call him, all I got was a text stating that he was boarding a plane, he was sorry and he was turning his phone off. His phone remained off all weekend despite messages from me that one of our cats was having an emergency. At this point, I lost it and I mean lost it. I was having panic attacks, I could not sleep or eat, I mean I was not in a good space but did he care even in the slightest? No. Sunday night rolled around and he still did not come home and I did not even hear from him. Now, I started to really panic. Was he ok? Did the plane land on time? I called the airlines and it had indeed landed on time. So where was he? I tried to get some sleep, thinking he had to show up at some point, I mean he had to go to work Monday morning, I was wrong about that too…… I went to get some food finally and when I was driving in to our apartments I passed him in the car, with his DAD, who must have flown down with him. I was shocked and had no idea what was about to transpire. Until I asked to speak with him and that is when all the real ugliness began…………