Sunday, March 23, 2008

Single White Female Seeks Wounded Puppy/Man-Boy:
Directionless, Mother Issues, In Love With Dysfunctional Ex-Girlfriend a Plus

This weekend, I found myself doing the most important of pre-preparation tasks for my mother's visit. That is, bundle up all personal journals, place in box, double duct tape, mark with sharpie "TOXIC: DO NOT OPEN, place down in garage under a filthy drop cloth and place something very heavy in front of it, say an old non-working air conditioner.
(This is why I keep old non-working air conditioners, because of nosey mothers.)

But before I boxed my them up, I stacked them up by the bed and decided the take a break from "The Other Boleyn Girl" and read my journals, the writings of my past. Only, instead of curling with what I thought was the equivalent of "Bridget Jones' Diary," I found I was reading some kind of horrifying Stephen King novel.

In all my years of dating, I dated THE SAME MAN. Their names may be different, but their pasts were interchangeable. Emotionally distant, lost, difficult relationships with parents (one that was almost always an alcoholic), usually still in love with an ex-girlfriend (my specialty) who, herself was "special needs."

"Special needs" is these cases meant: a cheater, anorexic, mother who committed suicide, brother who died of a heroin overdose, heroin addict herself. Yeah, I know how to pick 'em.

The more they love someone else, the less they could love me. The less the could love me, the more comfortable I felt. Maybe I didn't feel lovable enough. Maybe I thought if the spotlight was on me instead of their exes, they'd find all my flaws and surely, we'd be done.

There was one love, in particular, who I especially lived in the shadow of his ex-girlfriend. She was blond and very thin (heroin will do that). There was some sort of... elegant mystery to her. Beautiful pictures and his warped sense of reality in the stories he'd tell me about her, did that.
Years later, I saw her on a documentary on "Bravo."

She said she believed in time travel and extraterrestrials.

That's who I was intimidated by, haunted by. All those years, that's who made me feel unworthy and less than. Extraterrestrials... AND time travel.

The last BF, though, he was a good one. A man. No visible or invisible signs of scaring. Had we not started dating just before my cousin died, it might have worked. There were carefree months of bliss when I thought, "I finally broke the pattern."

And then David died and I retreated into the inner regions of myself. Somehow I excelled at work but I blew chunks at "relationship." Days on the sitcom I worked on were filled with laughter, the best story ideas, incredible joke pitches; the evenings I drove home were filled with tears and the nights, Ambien.

There was no time to connect. And that led to, well, the disconnect, the downfall, the end.

And now I am here. Shockingly, unbelievably grateful for my mother's visit. Without her, I wouldn't see -- is it how far I've come? Or how far I don't ever want to go back? Either way... either way.

The last one, before the good one, I did make the declaration, "Never again." No more men with mother issues, ex issues, drinking/emotional withholding/lost in the head light issues. I just don't have time. Not because I want to get married or have a baby or that I am on any kind of time clock.

Just because I don't have time. For suffering. For crumbs when I want the whole cake. For picking myself and dusting myself off. And there's fear in that, the decision to only want to give time to the good ones. Because from now on, I can't build men into something they are not. I can't give everything when there is nothing for me. I can't lose myself in someone and be secretly grateful that I will have to show nothing of myself.
But there's some sort of exciting challenge in that. And I like that, in an oddly terrifying sort of way.

This blog is dedicated to champagne & "Peeps" on Easter.



Maiken said...

Hey there! I have been reading your posts fairly regularly, but this is my first time commenting. I think you are doing a pretty good job in picking yourself up and trying to move forward.

As to the current post, then journals will do that to you... Clarify things in hindsight. But hopefully this will break the cycle and one day, with the perfect Man for you, you will have a bonfire of all the journals past.

Natalia said...

It's so hard to break patterns in ANY aspect of your life, but from what I've seen, that is especially true in relationships. It's all in what you feel you deserve - and as you said, you deserve the whole cake, not the crumbs.

Old journals are funny. I read some of mine from the past few years and laughed, cried, and wanted to burn them out of embarassment at some points.

Oh, Peeps! <3

Anonymous said...

Nothing shines a mirror on your well-being quite like who you choose to date. Even if we don't know the baggage that exists when we first meet someone - we have an uncanny ability to pick it up subconsciously. Again and again and again. :) We're like covert heat-and-baggage-seeking missiles!!!

Once you start dating healthy, it says a lot about how far you've come.

Cathy said...

Great post! I have looked back at some of my journals and thought "what the hell was I thinking!" Then the other part of me wanted to hug that girl, the one in the journal (sometimes disconnecting myself from what I was reading helped me deal) and tell her it would be ok (even when I wasn't sure).
I often wonder why I stayed with bad men. And when I had the best one, my husband who passed away, I wonder why I worked so hard at pushing him away. I guess because I didn't think I deserved him....someone so kind and loving, treating me like I was the most important person in the world. I still feel badly for that now, and he has been gone for almost 14 years! Well, you know what they say (and I hate cliche's (sp) but here goes!) "you never what you got till its gone" (hey, wasn't that also a line of a song from one of the 80's big hair bands?! lol
Whats important though is that we learn about ourselves in the process and it looks like you are doing are doing better than you think! :)


Anonymous said...

Oh, my... I think we've dated the same men. This is such a great entry, so relatable. Ugh, if I could only have the time back that I've wasted. It's so punishing and something that this post has encouraged me to stop.


it's not a gravy train said...

"Just because I don't have time. For suffering. For crumbs when I want the whole cake. For picking myself and dusting myself off."

You found a way to put into words exactly how I feel about is just to short to not care about oneself.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just finished reading "The Man of My Dreams" by Curtis Sittenfeld last night, and there was a line in the last chapter where the main character describes how the three major relationships of her life fit templates: the guy that is with you completely, the man who is with you but not with you, and the man who gets as close to you as he can without ever becoming yours. It sounds like a lot of your men might fall into the second and third choices. I think labeling relationships like that is actually a helpful thing, a quick reference to use when trying to figure out what the latest guy is turning out to be, so you don't make the same mistakes again. Good luck breaking your pattern!

GoGo said...

Okay, you had me roaring with laughter at "time travel... and extraterrestrials." It's amazing how we let exes haunt us. And it's amazing the guys who will not let go of them. I guess that should be our first hint. You blog ROCKS today. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the ghosts of boyfriends past... For me, the characters may change, but the storyline stays the same. And its not just us chicks. I once asked my good male friend B, who often calls me out on my intimacy issues, why he pulls the same bs all the time as well. He replied that, at some level, he thinks he doesn't deserve better, and when faced with something real, he wonders what's wrong with that person that they actually chose him.I'm sure you can picture that ending. So your entry is true for any man or woman, who punish themselves with the same destructive patterns bc they don't feel as if they are worthy of love. Whether you know it or not, your story is universal. And its hysterical to boot! Keep going!

Monica said...

Love the revelation!

Journals have a funny way of doing that. They can bring you back to all various kinds of moments in your life, both good and bad, but as they say hindsight is 20/20.

Mothers have a way of doing that, too. Even indirectly!

Just don't let the old non-working air conditioner fall on your or anything. And I hope you enjoyed your peeps!