|Losing My Religion or, Picking Up the Pieces
||[Sep. 22nd, 2006|06:51 pm]
To say this past summer did not turn out as I'd hoped would be a personal understatement much like saying George II's 2003 declaration that major military operations in Iraq were at an end was just a tad, er, premature.
Getting over Laura has been no easy journey. Yet, marked as it has been by too many pints, far too many cigarettes and less solid food than is probably good for my long-term survival prospects (though I have lost close to 20 pounds over the last 2 months, and that pleases me quite a lot), I think I am not ejaculating prematurely in declaring the mission is mostly accomplished. Some mopping up remains to be done, but I believe I am now facing the reality that was.
Perhaps chief among my weaknesses is that I tend to trust people. When I meet someone, I presume that what they tell me about themself is true (if not necessarily complete). I presume that most people are, basically, decent, well-meaning and honest, until and unless I am discover evidence that suggests they are something else.
It's been said that liars tend to be suspicious, because they know themselves to be untrustworthy. I believe the reverse is also true. While I am capable of lying and I sometimes do it, I don't do it often and usually I believe I have a good reason to do so (I don't believe it is wrong to lie to one's sworn enemy). I try to avoid even well-meant "white lies", because I do not want them told to me.
But that "faith in human nature" is a weakness, because it means I can be taken advantage of, by someone either smart enough or clever enough, to work that initial trust into Trust with a capital T.
It has been difficult indeed to digest just how monstrously deep and broad was the level of Laura's dishonesty towards me and contempt for me and, worse, was how willing and eager I was to believe her lies. (As perhaps the most pathetic example, was the night I came home to find her in our bed with her friend MC, whose shirt was most definitely not on her torso. When, later, I asked what the hell, she looked me straight int the eye and said they were "only cuddling, and M.C. was too hot." And I believed her.)
She took full advantage of my weakness - that I trusted her - for at least the final 6 months of our relationship. And I suspect, for a good deal longer than that.
It is not easy to look back on more than 2 years of your life and know that, for a significant chunk of that time, if not all of it, you were being played for a fool, being treated like a sucker.
It's not easy to look back and realize that the woman to whom you had, without reservation, given your heart had taken it not as a precious gift but as an opportunity; that the woman you trusted implicitly and with whom you dreamed you might spend the rest of your life, did not really even exist.
But reality is reality, whether we like it - or accept it - or not. No matter how painful, no matter how humiliating or heartbreaking, the world is what it is.
And my present is built on the fact that I gave my heart to a phantom, an illusion, to a potempkin woman, as it were.
She lied to me about everything that mattered, and likely as not about a lot of things that didn't. (That I choose to believe she meant it when she described me as "the smartest man [she] ever met" and the best lover she ever had is a forgivable vanity, I hope.)
She lied about her wish to do her part domestically (laundry, cat-litter, dishes, cooking, cleaning - I did it all. Sucker); she lied about the nature of her job and about how much money she was making at it, though she happily took half of all that I made at mine; she lied to me about monogamy and was regularly unfaithful, with multiple partners (and this, despite the fact we probably averaged sex 2 or 3 times a day over more than a year; and yes, I'm going for a full battery of tests). When, over the last 6 months or so of our relationship, I realized that things were not working, that there were problems, she convinced me the problems were my fault, that I was mean to her friends, that she didn't want me coming out with her and them because I was a bad drunk - not because she was fucking them and didn't want me to know about it.
Even after I learned some of the truth and threw her out, she continued to try to play me. She wanted to go for drinks, she wanted to keep having sex with me. She found a personal ad I'd placed on Plentyoffish and wrote me, "your profile makes me fall in love with you all over again". And I came close to falling for the line, wanting so very badly to believe that my illusions had substance after all.
Fortunately, by that point I was awake, if not fully alert, and managed to chase temptation away. As I have said many times, without trust there can be no real relationship, only exploitation - possibly mutual exploitation but exploitation nonetheless.
I've told her not to write to me, not to talk to me if we see one another on the street, not to call me. In time, I hope, I will look back on our 2-plus years together and remember the love I felt and was able to give, with the lies and deceit I received in return only a pale shadow on what was, in fact, what was, to me, the meaningful part of the relationship.
But for now, I am still angry, as much at myself as at her. For there were signs, had I had the wit to see them.
Anger aside, though, I think I am pretty much where I want to be.
I know I am a smart boy. I also know I can be taken advantage of, that I can be a very stupid boy sometimes. Romantically, this has happened twice to me. I hope that it won't again, but I am happy to know that I have not closed myself off from risk.
I have not been fundamentally damaged, or profoundly changed. I will continue to trust people, prefer the risk of trust to the emotional paralysis that would ensue were I too assume people are dishonest until proven otherwise.
I prefer to take the chance of being hurt, to locking myself in a fortress bristling with weapons and guards. Taking risks is a big part of being truly alive; being able to pick oneself up after suffering a body-blow is essential to staying that way.
Laura, I thank you for your quick mind and ready wit; for the amazing sex; for the ways in which you helped me see the world through eyes other than my own; and especially for the chance to deeply, meaningfully, love another person as I had never loved before.
And I am happy I am able to say I am stronger for the wounds you inflicted upon me. I am walking the world again, perhaps better armed than I was against the troubles that are always out there, but my weapons remain holstered. 2007 will be a marvelous year!