The One I Threw Away

zara's picture

Hmm. I've been really tempted to write mad today, really rant like the old days. But in my quest to begin changing that which I can control (my attitude) and use it to produce something worthwhile, I'm nixing the negativity. Insanity, same thing, different results. Put that together as you will.

Instead, I thought maybe I'd get into something that made me feel bad and I went out of my way to avoid for so many years. You never know how easy or difficult something is going to turn out being until you try. It's unfortunate that it took some messed up shit to get me to buck up and finally face the fears, but ultimately, that's neither here nor there now.

I've had a slew of exes. Some of them from brief encounters, some brief affairs, some from serious dalliances. I've written about a number of them, tending to focus on the most traumatic of the bunch as that was the M.O. during my initial blogs. How do you construct something interesting for people to read if the moral of the post is, "He was nice to me, we broke up, the end."?

I honestly don't recall what it was that appealed to me about Dave in the beginning. He was too skinny, his blonde hair was a little too Art Garfunkel, his demeanor was a little too laid back. He wasn't biting when I would get feisty. He'd smile at me as if I was an amusing toddler, shrug his shoulders and deal. Nothing tends to set off an unstable young girl (while I was in the neighborhood of 20-21 years old when we were together, I was very much still an obnoxious little girl) than unlimited patience and being seemingly unflappable.

But for as much as Dave gave me space, respect and the freedom to never feel as if I needed to apologize for who I was, this somehow felt... well, wrong to me. As someone who has put some years of maturity miles behind her now, I can see it for what it was: I didn't love myself, so it was hard to allow someone else to love me. I didn't understand why anyone would put up with me, so I just acted more and more difficult to see what it would take to get him to break.

I could see myself doing these awful things while I was doing them and I hated myself for it. My brain chemistry wasn't then what it is now although I understand that the beginning seeds for the depression began when I was very young. The crazed hormones of my youth most likely balanced out what changed after I'd had my daughter, which is about the time that I can recall my mind really taking an extended vacation on me. I've always been self-realized enough to know what I was doing, that it was wrong, that I shouldn't be doing it. But I lacked the self-control to stop any of it while it was in progress.

Dave and I have been in closer quarters over the last couple of years but it wasn't until these past couple of months that I opened up a true dialogue with him. I stayed away from him when I first noticed that he was a fellow derby widow. With our history, I was embarrassed of how I'd been to him those 15 years prior. Knowing that I wouldn't want a long-ago ex cuddling up to my beau, I also stayed away from him out of respect to his wife's feelings. (Although I know she highly doubts that being my reasoning.)

But with my home potentially folding in on me, I reached out to someone who knew the previous me. Someone who might have something positive to say about me when I wasn't sure there were any of those sentiments left. Dave was my friend before we dated and for a short time after. He wasn't judgmental but he was never a bullshitter. Asking him one day if I was the worst girlfriend in the world seemed like the best place to start building my opinion of myself with new eyes.

Around the time that I emailed Dave that first question, I got a friend request on Facebook from another ex. Jason and I had never had a serious relationship. We were friends through the bowling alley, fooled around from time to time, went out on a few dates and generally liked each other as people even if we were never a sustained couple. To get a friend request from him at this particular time in my life seemed... well, some might say it was the universe trying to teach me a lesson.

Almost at the same time I had received messages from both Dave and Jason that (considering that Jason and I had history from after I'd broken up with Dave, in the neighborhood of 21-22 years old) I was, to paraphrase, "Never easy. But always interesting."

This sparked something that had been discussed in the arguments in my relationship. "Why can't it ever be easy? Why can't it just be easy?" Something to that effect.

Easy is boring. That doesn't mean that it should give me unlimited license to be the biggest bitch on the planet, confrontational and argumentative with every syllable that comes out of my mouth. But fucking hell... the instinct to sit, smile and nod wasn't something I was born with. I can do it. I can even mean it. But if you're expecting that to be de rigour for me, you're going to be sorely disappointed.

I was taught that my opinions were valued. I was encouraged to speak up as a child. It didn't mean that people were going to agree with me or that I'd even be fully listened to, but there was so infrequently a time when my parents or grandparents or other family members told the kids growing up in our family to keep quiet, I learned to really love the sound of my own voice.

I think now that back then I really needed Dave in my life. The good men who have come in and been listeners, supporters, back-getters have been the commercial breaks that I needed in life. I've had a lot of shitty exes. Sprinkled sporadically throughout my life I've had a couple other Daves. The ones who sold me on ME.

Too bad I was hazardous to their health.

As an adult, as the mother to a little girl who is coming into the years where she is going to form her forever view on how romantic relationships work, I know I have to change my ways. I NEED to. This isn't just about me anymore. That ended when I had her, even if I couldn't stop being so self-centered and selfish and admit it.

I have made amends, if you can call it that, with Dave. He's become a strong supporter of Camp Zara again. At least, he's reminding me that yes, I was (am?) a fuck-up, but it was part of what was so intriguing and initially attractive about me. And that the other part is that I had (have?) it within me to fix my fuck-ups. And that for as bad as I thought I was and for as bad as I believe I was perceived, it wasn't anywhere near that awful.

Thanks Dave. And sorry. And thanks again.


Just remember that you're

Just remember that you're awesome.

Shades of grey?

Isn't it nice to learn we're forgivable and still loveable? I've heard the forgiveness we get is equal to the forgiveness we give.

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