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Monday, December 19, 2016

Feigned Love - Part 3

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

- Joseph Campbell

You must have expectations that you hold firm to. The last time Perturbado and I spoke, he called me and asked me out to dinner. I was perplexed because I didn’t hear from him in several days. The entire time we were "dating" he never called me just to invite me out. It was usually me asking him if he wanted to hangout. A big part of me wanted to say yes. I imagined that we would go out and he would apologize for all the things that he did and said to me. But the voice deep inside said no. The inner voice was the loudest it has ever been, and it no longer wished to be strung along. 

So I asked him “Are you inviting me out to dinner as a friend?” Hell, I wanted to know. Three nights ago he made it clear that a relationship was out of the question. So why do we need to get dinner together?

His response was "I am just inviting you out to dinner." Translations: He wanted to keep me on his string.

You see, I was tired of feeling strung along. A few days ago you told me we would never work, and now you're inviting me to dinner? Keep in mind, while we dated, I complained that he never called me and invited me out… so this is when he finally decides to do it?

Trust me, I was confused... and it was a feeling I didn’t want to endure any longer. So, I declined his invite for dinner. 

After we hung up I felt terrible. I thought I may have really hurt his feelings and that he may feel rejected by me. I wanted to call him back and tell him sorry for turning down his offer and explain to him that I was just trying to move on and going to dinner with him would just make things worse. But then I had to ask myself "why am I feeling guilty?" He did this. He created this distance. He wasn’t concerned about my feelings. He was concerned about himself. And it was about damn time I started doing the same. So I let that guilt go. I declined his invite because it was the best thing I could do for myself. I should never feel guilty about taking care of myself. And that is when I started respecting and acknowledging my needs. 

What made it hard for me to move on? The rejection. More than anything. The rejection burned through me like a freshly lit cigarette bud pressed against my beating heart. I cared so deeply for someone that discarded me so easily. I had to continuously remind myself that there is something better out there for me. If there weren’t, the Universe would've just left me to rot in an unhealthy situationship. But, the Universe didn’t. It pulled me out of that black hole. 

I would think back at all the mistakes I made with him and the mantra “You fool!” would go off repeatedly in my head. I was such the fool. An ingenuous fool. An openhearted fool. A nurturing fool. But a fool, nonetheless. I spent several weeks looking in the mirror with questions racing through my mind.  “How could you be so foolish? Why did you tolerate the way he treated you? Why did you believe his lies even when you knew he was lying to you? Why did you sleep with him? Why did you let him say that to you? Why didn’t you cut it off with him?” I was mad at myself for opening up to someone that did nothing to deserve such intimacy, care, or attention. 

Not wanting to beat myself up anymore, since I was already beat down enough, I tried to bring my head above water. So, I researched what to do and what not to do in relationships for future reference. After one failed relationship after the other, I wanted to pin down “what I was doing wrong” so I began inundating myself with relationship articles, podcasts and meditations. (I also medicated. Red wine is great for easing a heartbreak.) It didn’t take long for all of the love advice to start sounding the same. 

To fall in love you have to be (1) extraordinarily understanding and patient (2) give the best blow jobs (3) a bit cold but not too cold hearted… so pretty much a bitch but you still have to be likeable (4) confident… because being bitchy is only sexy when your confident and (5) did I mention blow jobs? (6) Blah blah blah blah blah.

It was bizarre. All this advice. All this research. All this these experts. But yet so many people are looking for love. Even those who are already spoken for seem to find themselves lonely and unfulfilled. Hell, half of these “experts” are trying to sort out their love life themselves. After all my delving, I felt like there was one main theme that could summarize it all, and that was SELF RESPECT. 

I mean, it all makes sense. Take my story for instance… my biggest regret is that I allowed him to treat me poorly. I wanted him to give me something that I had failed to give myself, which was respect. Regardless, we probably wouldn’t have lasted either way. However, I would have preferred an ending where I could have walked out with my head held high. An ending where I realized that I deserved better than what he could give me and left the situation before I was so battered and bruised. 

Self-respect is tantamount to self-love. When you want to be loved and respected, it starts by loving and respecting yourself. People aren’t always going to recognize your worth and treat you the way you should be treated. When you respect yourself, you ensure that your worth will not be overlooked. You ensure that no one batters and bruises you, only to leave you as a damaged good reducing your value. Self-respect breathes confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, self-love and more. Self-respect is the most profound way you tell others that you value yourself and that in order to have a relationship with you, they will have to value YOU too.

You can cook for a man. But that isn’t going to make him love you. You will just be the girl that cooks for him and he will come around to eat when he’s hungry. You can give a man great sex. But that isn’t going to make him love you. You will just be the girl that gives him great sex and he will come around whenever he’s horny. You bend down for him to ride your back and he will. A man will only do what you let him. And if he knows he can do whatever it is under the sun and you will still be there waiting on him, he will do exactly that… everything under the sun. 

When they know you will always be there no matter how much they hurt you, they will most certainly take you for guaranteed. Your love will be like bottled water in a USA grocery store. He knows he needs water to survive but he doesn’t cherish it because whenever he’s ready for it, he can run to the local grocery store and grab himself a bottle off the shelf.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Feigned Love - Part 2

I knew Perturbado was cheap so I opted for the 2 for $20 deal. This was our second time going to Applebee’s. Not because the food was great. I just knew that he preferred cheap dates. I hated Applebee’s. He thought it was me being stuck up which couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I liked good quality. But I would eat at these places because he liked it.

Before the waitress could arrive to our table he asked me “Do you really think this is going to work?”

“Yes.” I answered before even having a chance to fully process what was going on. I wanted it to work. I asked him if he was breaking up with me and he laughed. “What exactly did you think we have here?” Perturbado responded.

I thought we had something. Something of a train wreck. But it was something.

Restrained head deep in a pool of desperation and the fear of being rejected while at dinner sitting in front of this man that I thought would be my future husband: I pleaded. I told him that he confused me and that we could work if we communicated better. I told him he was pushing me away and not opening up his heart to find love. At that moment, I believed all the things I said to him. I knew that he was making a mistake and that he would regret it later. All the ups and downs in our courtship was due to him. He created the tension. I’m the one that should be breaking it off with him. After all the things he’s done to me. I’m a great girl. I thought he knew that.

And then Perturbado said “I know you were worried about me leaving you after we had sex. We can still continue to have sex. I’ll still be there for you”.

Okay. Sex. He wants sex.

We dated for about a month and a half until that night at Applebee’s. After dinner, during the car ride home, he told me a secret. A secret that most would find disturbing. I tried comforting him. But from there I realized that his guy really has issues. Issues that could possibly put me in danger. He told me that he was cold, I was sensitive and that he didn’t want to hurt me. But he had already hurt me. On numerous occasions he would toss my heart in the air as high as he could and then have target practice. Shooting it to a pulse before it managed to hit the floor.

I slept with him that very night after dinner. And when he dropped me to my car the next morning I was somehow still swimming in a deep sea of denial.

It didn’t really hit me until that afternoon. Perturbado dumped me. He didn’t dump me… he discarded me. He used me. He wanted to continue using me. We weren’t in a relationship but rather a situationship. Something that started off fast yet so beautiful and then quickly turned into souring milk on the longest summer’s day. But all I wanted to see was the initial beauty and promise. All those things he said in the beginning was just a water hose of endorphins being released in my brain. 

You're the girl for me. You're mine. Always. Only. You. Hermosa. Mi Vida. Mi amor. Beauty. Sunshine. Care. Attention. I miss you. I want you. Being with you is like being in heaven.


After lie.

After life.

After lie.

After lie. 

I got addict to the way he made me feel. That undivided attention. The sweet words that held my future... those words that seemed honest at the time. Those first two weeks had me on a cloud so high, you couldn’t see me with your bare eyes from earth.

Hot and cold. Everyday was a gamble. I never knew what I was going to get. The only thing consistent about Perturbado was his obsession with saving money and his appetite for sex. I held out as long as I could… which was pretty long for me. His sexuality confused me. Did he want me or did he want to have unrestricted sex with me. I knew the answer then, I just hoped that I was wrong. I tried to rationalize it by telling myself that he was older… that maybe he had stronger urges than most. But it made me feel uncomfortable. Why was I okay with feeling uncomfortable? The first time I turned him down, he reminded me of a spoiled two year old child that couldn’t get his way. Pushing himself to the other side of the couch while giving me short lived silent treatment. That wasn’t love. It was nothing that could blossom into love. The seeds were planted in polluted soil. Even weeds knew better than to grow there.

It wasn’t until we stopped talking when I started to look back and realize that he was pretty fucked up. I always knew it deep down… but deep down I also wanted someone to love… so it didn’t matter. The little jabs he would take to wound my confidence. Nights were he wouldn't respond only to text me in the morning saying he "fell asleep". How he would talk on and on about himself and not ask me a thing. How he would try to turn every phone conversation into phone sex. (No exaggeration.) And every visit into sexual intercourse. I mean, Jesus… find out my favorite color first! 

Every nuance can’t be detailed. Mostly what I remember is the way he made me feel. Unwanted. Desperate. Used. Judged. And I wanted him. I was drawn to him. I admired him. I wanted to love him and I wanted his love desperately. I would probably still be talking to him ‘til this day if he didn’t try to call it off with me at dinner. Five days after that night at Applebee's, he invited me out to eat. And I realized then more than ever before that he was willing to drag me along as long as I will willing to let him. So I declined. I wanted to go with him. But I saw that as my chance to escape the hurt. Because living with my stomach in knots was starting to take a toll on me. Surely, being single couldn’t be any worse than this.

So, I decided to move on.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Feigned Love - Part 1

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

As I approached my 30s, I was hopeful that some good would fall into my lap. That I would fall in love and move on to the next stage of my life. I didn’t do so blindly. I took a few necessary measures. At the time, I was entertaining two men romantically. One of them, whom I now believe to be a selfish moderate sociopath, and the other I had little to nothing in common with. Well, a few days after I turned 30, I stopped talking to them both in order to make room in my heart for someone much more deserving. 

The selfish moderate sociopath was very mentally stimulating and connected with me in many ways. But he was also a liar and would ever so often be unnecessarily critical and demeaning. Despite being married, he downplayed it and pursued many others outside of his relationship... including me. The other, was a man who only petitioned for the pleasures of life and didn’t feel the need to work hard for anything. He drank heavily, partook in cigars and hookah during his down time, ate horribly, and was overtly sexual - only fluently communicated  about sex and when we would  talk about other things (which rarely occurred) it bore me to the point of no return. Everything about him was uninspiring! But he carried himself as if he was god's gift to woman. Both of them did.

They say that who you are in a relationship with is a reflection of yourself. And despite me not being in a relationship with any of these men, I have to look back and ask myself “What the fuck was I thinking?” While I didn’t sleep with the moderate sociopath… I did sleep with the boring slob and it was unmemorable. I remember at some point of our “situationship”, I convinced myself that I liked Mr. Boring. I tried to convince myself that he was something to hold on to. He was tall, attractive (he was cute facially but his personality was so dry it was suffocating), owned his home, someone I thought to be financially well off (until he revealed some telling signs of having financial issues later on) and he was single. What more could I ask for? Why not just be with him. I can grow to like him… as long as he treated me right (which he didn't... but at the time how I defined "treating me right" was very obstructed).

To make matters worse, at one point I thought I was in love with the married sociopath. He asked me questions no one ever cared to ask me.. He knew my interest and stimulated my mind. Despite him being in a relationship, he found time to court me and proclaimed that I was the “one that got away”. I found that phrase very endearing at the time. The only thing you can build with a married man is a bed of lies and mistrust. Not only that... he was dogmatic and arrogant. Traits that I do not find very appealing. He would tell me that every man cheats, as to say that it was something I should just accept. A mentality that would help justify his [our] behavior.

Ultimately, my biggest downfall with both men was that I sold myself for cheap. That is the reflection that I see when I look at those two men... someone unworthy of pure unadulterated love. Here were these two unsatisfactory men that presented themselves. Broken. Not whole. Lacking. Insufficient. Sponges. And despite knowing and feeling that it wasn’t right, I entertained them. I gave them more of me then they should have ever deserved in this lifetime. I was looking for companionship. And with that, my definition of love was so incomprehensible I couldn’t read the fine print anymore. Were the lies considered love? Were the sex fueled text messages love? Was the rejection after I refused to have sex love? Undoubtedly so, I was seeking love… was I not? So why did I entertain things that were obviously not love?

I have never been in love. I’ve had verbally abusive relationships. I've dated many men that made me feel like I was just an option and not a priority. So if I walked away from every guy that treated me poorly, I would have never had a boyfriend. I would have been single 'til this very day. So I date these guys, even though I know it isn’t right, just so that I could experience some form of companionship. I thought those experiences were worth the inevitable heartbreak. I thought those few superficial embraces were worth me potentially dying more inside. I wanted to seize any fugacious moment of intimacy because I knew tomorrow would bring it's sorrow. I thought those experiences were worth the damage that would be done to me at the end. I felt that way up until the last guy I dated. 

The last guy I dated... He wrecked my fragile world. And now I realize, some experiences don’t need to be had. It was an experience that I can honestly say I could have lived without. He could have easily been the master of my destruction. He had a hold on me that I didn’t know was possible. I will call him Perturbado...


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Army of Negative Thoughts

So this is how it feels to go insane. 
All this time I was expecting a  grand, traumatic event to collapse my rotting stability to dust. How did this happen? Did someone die suddenly? Was she raped? Did she experience trauma in her life?
Not quite. 
Just fickle minded. 
They will look at me through the thick cloudy glass window of the psych ward door, with a pen and pad in hand and scribble 'pathetic' on my evaluation. 
Puzzling to some, but the only trauma I faced was the worldwind of negative thoughts spinning around my head. So many of them, it began to sound like a crowded auditorium right before the show started and the lights were dimmed. They spun around so fast, and so randomly that they started colliding into one another. The words were no longer coherent. Just tormenting. Relentless. 
I felt like I was going insane. 
That worked. For a second. Picked up the phone. Texted him “ Can’t sleep”. No response. I need to keep my mind occupied. Sent several other text messages out. “Are you up?” No response.  I need to talk. I need to distract myself from this. Is this happening because my period is on? Is this happening because I am miserable at work? Is this happening because I am scared that he’s going to be just like the rest of them? 
UNIVERSE! Work with me. 
Boom. Got a text back. My good friend, Phil. Supportive. Grounded. He’s experienced many hardships in his life. Phil, help me. My life is changing and I can’t recognize it. My dad just moved away. I am working at a job I hate… with no friends… I feel alone. Phil reminds me that change is hard. Thank you, Phil. I never realized how hard change could be. Seriously.
Knock knock. My roommate is at my bedroom door. Its 1:48 AM. She’s checking on me. I am crying. How can I stop these negative thoughts? I say the same thing to her that I told Phil, but I go into more detail regarding my potential future boyfriend. My roommate says positive words. At this point, I realize the thoughts have subdued. She sleeps in my bed with me. 
I lay there.
What’s happening to me? Who can understand this? Am I doing this to myself? I am driving myself insane?
Under the surface...
How little worth I apply to myself... Where I constantly feel undeserving. 
How can I slay this dragon. This massive cancer that feeds on my insecurities. If it comes back like a thief in the night, you can no longer retreat. You can no longer run and hide… folding into fetal position.
At last, you will take up arms. You will destroy the demons that conspire to feed on your soul. The smell of vulnerability only intensifies their hunger.
Carry your sword. Stab every negative thought in the heart. Not only are you the king, but you are the queen, the rooks, and the bishop AND you are also the knights. Protect every morsel of your being. Rule on a throne pure and forgiving. Cut out cancers. Ignore them when they call. You are on your way to infinite bliss, and can no longer be distracted.

You have been crowned. Protect the realm.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

This Is Thirty - My Mortality - Part One

My Mortality

Edited 4/23/2017

It slept outside my front door unwilling to come in while I still had company. Despite it granting me such a courtesy, its presence was never forgotten. It taunted me, casting his elongated shadows in my foyer from under the cracks of my front door. My friends were in town celebrating my 30th birthday. A milestone that has stopped me in my tracks and has forced me to come to terms with my own mortality. It's unsettling, a 30 year old girl still in the prime of her youth, crippled by the thought of inevitable lifelessness and despair. 

I should be happy right now. But with it sitting outside my door, I knew misery awaited. While I slept that weekend, I could feel it grow at my front door step. I felt its presences more and more: minute by minute. I was surrounded by friends, but my mind was be preoccupied with the culprit that waited. 

I'm 30 now. A friend joked and said that my best years were behind me. Terrible joke, might I add. It seems like it's me against the clock now. Literally. My body won't promise me a chance at motherhood for much longer. 10 years the least. 10 years use to sound like a long time. But now I know 10 years can happen in a blink of any eye. And I've already blinked three times. 

By Sunday night, I dropped my friends off at the airport. I played BBC World News on the radio on my way back home to drown out the sound of my heater blasting. The temperature outside was below freezing… which complimented my anxiety. After arriving home, I reluctantly climbed the two stories of stairs, limping due to my right knee. I was terrified to reach my condo's doorstep, not knowing what I would find. I tried to come to terms that the culprit that sat outside my door, accepting that he would now devour me because I was finally alone. I was vulnerable, left with only my pessimistic thoughts and harsh realities. My cynical outlook on what's to come. I felt it suitable to drown in my emptiness. 

When I got to the door, the culprit wasn't there. I should have felt relief that he wasn’t waiting in the corners of the building halls. But I think that I became addicted to a certain kind of sadness. My ambivalent relief was short lived. He must have thought me to be a fool. His natural instinct to prey on the weak would not deter him from having me as his prey. I knew he had to be close by because I could still smell his odor... Like wet rags soaked in dirty mop water. He was a filthy thing that enjoyed the illusion of being clean.

As I put my key in the door, I happened to look down. That's when I realized that he slipped under the cracks and now resided inside my home.

After an entire weekend of fearing our confrontation, I realized that more so, I was fearing fear itself. Can anything be more crippling than knowing he stalked me all weekend? The anticipation was torture… confronting him head on... our first face to face encounter was now something I yearned to get over with. 

I opened the front door. My living-room was dark but the TV was still on, casting dark shadows that flashed with every change of brightness coming from the screen. In the shadows, there he laid on the floor. His eyes didn't move. His face expressionless until he cracked a sinister smile. 

“Time is ever fleeting. I can hear the thumbing of your heart... as evasive as each second”. 

His voice was like a cold knife running effortless through my spine. The hair on my arms stood to attention, the only thing on my body that was mobile while the rest of me remained paralyzed with fear.

It wasn't that long before he moved from his positioning on the floor and seeped into the air. He disintegrating from  this creature from the pits of despair to a thick smog of black smoke that infiltrated my airways the closer it moved towards me. And from my airways it filled my lungs with a stench deathly foul. 

How can I escape this demon that now lives inside of me? A question that I ask, knowing there is no answer.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Global Perspective

“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.” 

― Shannon L. Alder

In America, life gives you lemons. In other countries, life will give you famine, a sea filled with blood due to incessant war, and little to no access to health care. Submerging myself in world news, I’ve come to realize that my quality of life is overwhelmingly better than most people in the world. This enlightenment has given that cliche quote “it could be worse” new profound meaning. Shit could really be worse.

The social and economic injustices in America can cause us to forget that America and its shortcomings is the lesser of many evils. The United States provides us with an abundance of life's necessities and trivial desires. Living in America, most have access to resources that other inhabitants die for. Running water, shelter from the heat, shelter from the cold, plumbing, free education, and public transportation are luxuries easily taken for granted. Although some people in America may be subjected to harsh living conditions, those harsh conditions are nothing when compared on a global scale.

While listening to BBC World Service, I’ve heard the cries of refugees fleeing Syria that witnessed their family members drown during their attempts to enter Europe illegally crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Syrians have lost their homes, their jobs, their communities, and their rest. Worst of all, they face a high probability of losing their lives as causalities of war... causalities of unfortunate circumstances. All to escape turmoil they did not provoke: A war that has killed many innocent civilians. If and when they make it to Europe, or whatever country that they believe possesses a second chance at a normal life, their misfortune isn’t comforted. Starting a new life with nothing in a country where the government is ambivalent regarding your refuge there, does not provide much ease.

If we could compare the prayers of Americans and the prayers of those confined in Syria, we would see that the two countries worship two very different Gods. Not in name, but in attitude. Those that live in America may act as if life is an entitlement of sorts and evil is something that only lurks in the dark: prayers for job promotions and material possessions. But in  Eritrea, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Uganda and Iraq, evil lurks relentlessly day and night: their prayers are for food, refuge and timely revenge. 

American adults would be utterly traumatized waking to piles of rotting dead bodies stacked one on top of the other outside of their makeshift tents. While children in these war ridden countries play a few feet away from decapitated heads. Whatever pain I feel is triumphed by the pain of those suffering unremittingly around the world. For those searching for their family member's remains in the rubble of bombed buildings, life is hell on earth. I don’t know pain. The devastating circumstances in my life can’t even scratch the surface of what my brothers and sisters experience around the world. 

They say that you should expect causalities in war, and I’ve also come to expect Americans to bask in their ignorant bliss, as I used to. Not knowing the blood shed that is happening around the world, around the clock. My perspective on life has changed significantly. And I ask myself, "Who am I to complain?"