Monster on a Half-Shell
(from an email to an Ex)
…..whew, okay. let me see if I can tackle this one….
My intent in contacting you was simple: I knew we would eventually cross paths and I didn’t want to dredge up the past. I am in a space where I want my life to move forward. I have learned a lot about myself, and about the dark rooms I wandered in for so many years. I cannot begin to tell you how many lights have been switched on. I didn’t like what I saw. As long as it was shrouded in darkness, I could deny its power over me, and the fear and repulsion it engendered in others. I have come to understand in the last few years that I have been ill-equipped to deal with a lot of things. I have my demons, like anyone else. But in knowing about those demons, I cannot pretend they do not exist, simply because I don’t want them to.
I am loathe to wallow in past mistakes, and loathe to reopen those wounds, but for the sake of clarity, I will say that I know I was a difficult person to be around. I was pathetic and depressed and unbalanced. I was eaten alive by fear and pain and confusion and insecurity. The dynamic of you and I together was created by both of us. I simply will not shoulder all the responsibility or the sequence of events, but I will take on the portions that belong to me. I should never have started a relationship with you, simply because I was still so broken hearted and lonely and wounded from my breakup with T. I was an injured child. It was unfair to you to lead you down that path with me. But as I said, I was not equipped to see that at the time. I only knew that there was someone who thought I was somehow special, and she came along when I felt like a useless monster on a half-shell. By the time the fog lifted, I was ensconced in a relationship and then allowed myself to feel obligated to continue, for fear that you would be another person on the list who thought badly of me. The result, as you know, was that those fears were ironically realized by that decision.
You represent 3 years of a profound learning experience, so yes–you are important to me. And yes, I have thought of you; initially with bitterness and pain and frustration, then with more understanding and compassion. Any residual betrayal or anger I felt toward you has long since vanished. That’s part of the growth process–for those who are open to it. But that did not mean I excused myself from the equation. After forgiving you, I had to then forgive myself. I’m not entirely certain I have done that completely. But we are all human, and we have human shortcomings and it would be inaccurate to say that we were not both responsible for what happened. Our last days together were profoundly upsetting. I received information secondhand about things you said I did or said, that I know I did not. I had no idea where you were in your head–we had gone too horribly far to communicate in a healthy way. You knew where all my own triggers were, and you used them against me. I realize now that it was partly a defense mechanism on your part. You used the only weapons you had, because you felt cornered. I have been guilty of the same on many occasions. The chasm between us was built by many differences in our experience, our psyches and our individual demons.
But no matter what you may think of me now, I recognize that you are a person of value and quality, and you have a good heart and a potential for greatness. And I don’t want to use my new strength to carry more burdens. I was constantly frustrated by the continual siege upon my psyche, brought by my battle with the VA, with a family who abandoned me, and an overwhelming feeling that I was blindly feeling my way through my life. I had great expectations for starting fresh, but all I managed to do was take the chaos with me. For as you know…the most formidable chaos is the one we carry within. And I could not run far enough to release myself from its grip. I was lucky enough to meet someone who was equipped to show me those things with a firm and loving hand, and am eternally grateful to her. We remain the closest and dearest of friends and I love no one more deeply than I love her. But I know that until I reach a space where I am at peace with my life, I cannot inflict myself on a partner on a daily basis. I would be bringing half a person to the relationship.
I have many things to build right now. Many roads to travel, and many ghosts to face. I am finally prepared to do that, and that’s one reason I knew that I had to come back here. I had to make this place a place of possibility, rather than of doom; a refuge rather than a battlefield. I had to face these things head on, and be able to hold my head up and know that with all the mistakes I’ve made, others made mistakes as well, and I remain a person with something to offer. I just have to offer it in a way that does not suck the life out of those around me.
I am more content than I have ever been, and I do feel very much like this is the first chapter of a new book–the series that is my life. I can put an entirely different story on these pages. I can do nothing to change what was already committed to print in previous “books.” It’s a journey, and I am on it, now, without the old constraints. I can only hope the path will be more smooth than the last time.
I want to start LIVING my life for once. I want to be social, have fun, experience the pleasure of creation in art and writing and music, and I want to avoid those dark rooms that serve only to keep me bound within my own sickness.
I hope that answers at least some of your questions.
Monster on a Half-Shell — No Comments