Like many people, I grew up with a lot of secrets, with shame, and feeling that I had to hide my true self from myself and from others. Over time I’ve managed to shed a portion of that nagging voice that tells you that if people really knew who you were they would never love you. Though I’m not completely whole, I’m not veering wildly from raging maniac to mommy’s good girl anymore.
Part of the healing process has been learning to speak truthfully to people. I have hurt so many lovers and friends with omissions and half-truths. I would either run before having to say something out loud or hold it in for too long and then blurt it out at the most inappropriate and hurtful time possible. Friends would assume that everything was great while I rolled along gathering steam until I’d freak out and scream at them over something minor. I once told an on again off again boyfriend that I had become involved with someone else right before the boyfriend and his band walked out to play a song on a national talk show. Yeah, I’m that person. It just fell out of my mouth. I’ve been called a succubus more than once in this lifetime.
So now I want to live in honesty. I believe that honesty, even if difficult, will lead to everyone’s higher good in the end. I also think that my writing is meaningful only if it comes from a truthful place. To me, creativity is making something from the deepest part of yourself that then connects to the deepest part of another. I can’t come close to that if I’m bullshitting.
But what if your truth is something that will damage the people closest to you or endanger your status quo? In my case, you keep it tamped down, drink too much alcohol to not have to think about it, and definitely don’t blog about it.
Drew and I have been together for 12 years. We fell madly in love when we got together and I tattooed his name on my arm within a month of being with him. People have always envied our relationship. We eat the same, sleep the same, travel the same, like the same music, think the same things are funny. Even when we fight we still crack jokes. We fight fair, we don’t play games, we want each other to be happy.
Drew has helped me heal a lot of damage. He is the first man in my life that to consistently prove trustworthy. He sees me as fragile, which no man ever has, and always does his best to make sure that I am safe and happy. He is not a perfect person, he has had his moments, but for the most part it’s been a healthy connection. I am a nicer, calmer person now than I was when we met, and that is due to his presence and support.
Status quo: everything fine. Then my hormones went kablooey, and maybe something deeper, some kind of soul shifting occurred, long-buried wounds came up to be healed, and I stopped cooperating. Classic perio-menopause symptoms: I needed more time alone, I was bitchy, couldn’t sleep, I wanted to focus on whatever I was doing at the moment and not be distracted by whatever he was doing or saying. I went to the doctor, got some hormone replacement therapy (pills) and felt infinitely better. Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord. Drew was beyond relieved.
But something still wasn’t back to normal. I felt antsy. As much as I am a rock and roll rebel on the outside, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to be this responsible “good girl” persona that was imposed upon me from birth. Suddenly that felt binding. The idea of settling into a quiet middle age, the talks of moving somewhere less urban, felt chafing. I wanted to hang out with friends, run the streets wild like I did in my 20’s, stay up all night and write bad poetry into the mornings. And because I am bartending and not working an office job, that is pretty easy for me to do.
For most of my life love has been about ownership. I’ve had a lot of rules about how things are supposed to be and many of those rules have been borne out of fear and pain. This is not an especially comfortable space to live in for every involved party, but we all have our damage and that has been mine. Fear of losing, fear of losing control, fear of abandonment, fear of someone taking what I have. And I am a charismatic enough person that I have usually been able to mold situations to suit my comfort level. People have loved me enough to allow me to pin them down.
Over the last year I could feel the rules dropping away and with it came an excitement to step into the unknown. Who am I really, if I stop reacting and choose for myself? In some ways that’s great. The idea of new possibilities is expansive, decisions made from joy and true personality rather than fear and need for protection. But in other ways, it’s very difficult.
Recently, and probably because I am in this wide open space psychically and spiritually, I allowed another person to enter my psyche and heart. They didn’t replace Drew, just sort of moved in next to him in a way that was impossible to ignore or resist. This was not comfortable for me as it is a violation of all the rules that I personally created. I felt as if I’d dropped into an open manhole, fumbling around in the dark. I’ve spent months festering, obsessing, getting psychic readings, talking to friends, and as mentioned, drinking too much to not have to think about it.
Eventually, and against all friendly advice, I told Drew. It simply didn’t feel right to keep a secret from the closest person in my life. He knew already anyway, he had predicted it a year ago as he knows me better than I know myself sometimes. And he could feel the distance and see the weight that I was silently carrying.
The price for that honesty is high. We are evolved, non-traditional people; he understands me, he knows this is something the cosmos threw at me, and maybe him too, to crack things open in a way that maybe needed to happen. My favorite psychic predicted it ten years ago and Drew and I both believe that there are no coincidences. I don’t believe we’re here to be comfortable, I believe we’re here to sort our souls out, that being alive on the earth is a form of school. We aren’t here to coast cheerfully. Certainly joy is an aspect of life if we are lucky, but there are also deeper elements working to force us to expand in ways that aren’t always comfortable.
But understanding it intellectually doesn’t change the emotional aspect. I have caused an immeasurable amount of pain to the one person who has always been my staunchest advocate and friend and who least deserves it. His friends think I’m an asshole. I feel like an asshole. My mother is going to be so mad at me when she reads this. I have created damage that might not be undone and I have to live with that on my conscience.
Every day is a rough tiptoe through uncharted territory: heavy conversations and moments of anger and hurt on his part, apologies on mine. Then other days it’s all jokes, and weirdly, both of us agree we feel closer now than we have in months, now that we’re talking openly again. Maybe we will separate and always be friends. Maybe Drew will add a new girlfriend to his life to balance out the other person in mine. He certainly gets offers every day and now he’s got a get out of jail free card, especially as I am unwilling to eject what is a deep connection from my life and try to pretend it never existed, which would be the traditional solution. I watch enough Dr. Phil to hear him shouting it at me.
But Drew and I both know that trying to step backward into an old footprint is not the solution; forward movement is the only way. But what is that movement? I can barely predict the next hour, let alone the future. Maybe Drew and I will come together stronger in the end. I have always assumed we would grow old together. Now anything is possible.
I only know that my intuition is telling me that it will all be fine in the end, and that although we are in the weeds, we are still oddly on course. At my lowest moments I have felt an angel’s hand on my shoulder. So I’m free falling while working on my inner self as much as possible in the hope that the outer self will follow suit. And trying to remain respectful and conscientious in the process.
Drew simply says, “I love you, Mary, more than anyone ever, but you are batshit fucking crazy and you’re an incredible pain in the ass.”
Ah, yep. Thought the crazy was behind me, turns out not so much. Seems as if it might be a life sentence. So that’s the reason that I haven’t blogged anything wise or funny lately. I am worried about the repercussions of being so public with this, but it is what it is. I may be an asshole, but I’ll always tell you the truth.
Lydia, Zoe and me at Badass Babes, having some words with a heckler. Photo by the uber talented Jasmine Hirst: