Matters Of The Heart
Someone asked me if I’d ever been in love. I replied that yes, I had been in love. Someone then asked me if I had been loved. I replied that no, I had not been loved. Well, not as much as I had loved. Is that even possible?
We have relationships with people. If we’re lucky we relate on intellectual and physical levels. If we’re truly blessed we relate, no, we bond on physical, intellectual AND spiritual levels. It’s difficult to relate on these levels by yourself. It’s impossible to bond on these levels. Or is it?
I have been coming out for the past few years. Each time I come out to someone, weights get lifted from me. I am lighter. I am becoming. What I am becoming is impossible to know, but exciting to imagine.
I tell you this, reader, because I want you to be a part of my becoming in some way. Whenever I realize something or have an epiphany (I just love that word! Not just it’s meaning, but the way it sounds when I say it. It sounds like light; like clarity.)…But whenever I have one it’s sad and happy and overwhelming and passionate and a “duh” moment all at the same time. Epiphanies are addictive. Once you have one you cannot wait until you have another one and you want to share them with the world.
So, here is where you come in, but so much has happened before this.
Before I came out, no, wait…the reason I was “in” was because I had, until my first epiphany lived my life for acceptance, for approval; not of myself, but of others. I had not been important. My happiness, well, I didn’t care about it. I was mourning my life. I was becoming a martyr. It seemed right at the time. I was an idiot.
During this time, I met a man; a Peter Pan type who at 45 was thinking like a man in his twenties. “I’m going to live forever!” “I’m going to fuck anything with a skirt!” I’m going to lead woman on until I get what I want from them!”
I see all this now. I see it after the end of the affair. I see it because I am happy now. I am reminded of a song by a singer called, Basia. It’s on her LONDON, WARSAW, NEW YORK album and the song is called “Brave New Hope”. I used to listen to this song, without understanding until after the end of the affair and then not only do I understand it, I identify with it. I don’t know when Basia recorded it, but it was, in my opinion, one of those future-seeing, psychic, “holy shit! someone-needs-to hear-this-song-in-order-to- heal” moments. (If she ever reads this, “Thank you, Basia from the bottom, top and middle of my heart and soul for recording “Brave New Hope!”)
Anyway, there’s a line in the song, “Looking out of the window, can’t believe what I see. Where was all this beauty when I met you?” That sums up my feelings after the end of the affair.
During the affair, this man was my everything. My world. I gave him everything and he never had to ask for it. I was grateful for the pitiful amounts of attention he would give me. I was convinced that he was my soul mate. He would see it. He would come to know that we were two halves of the same soul, two halves of the same whole. I didn’t like myself then let alone love myself, so this “relationship” I was having by myself, with myself because he was never truly there for me except when he wanted something. This “relationship” was all I could think about. I breathed it, sustained myself with it. It became not just a part of me, but all of me. I got lost in it.
The funny thing is, it was nothing. A void. An imagining, a longing from a soul that was empty. A soul that was empty because it was so busy filling everyone else’s soul.
Sounds sad, doesn’t it?
But it’s not. Really. This man gave me only two things in the entire, seven-year-long affair. He gave me Hepatitis B and more importantly, he gave me, myself. He gave me the strength to see what I wasn’t. Who I could be. The pain I allowed him to put me through was my birthing pain, my labor pain so that I could be born again. This relationship I had that wasn’t, helped me bond with me. It helped me find me. After the sadness and days of crying and days of hatred for him and mostly myself…After all of this, I found me. I found the person that that relationship and all relationships that came before it, and all the bad things that had happened in my life and all the good things that happened in spite of me not wanting them…All this helped me find me. I like me. I love me. I am still becoming so I don’t really know who I am. But I know who I am becoming and this person, this woman is, well, just that…is. Which is more than what and who she was before the end of the affair. A non-entity. A possibility.
I thought that I needed to forgive him; that I needed to obtain closure, by not hating him and damning him anymore. The truth is I needed to forgive me. I am the one who allowed it to go on, who allowed it to blind me and fill me with nothing. I needed to forgive myself. (Boy, that epiphany was a real kick in the ass. It was astonishing and painful and uplifting and it was everything I needed to be born again.)
Once I began forgiving myself, coming out was easier than I thought it would be. Easier for me. My child and my brother didn’t seem surprised. My mother, however, is still struggling with it. And rightly so. I never let her in on my private life. She only knew what I wanted her to know. For thirty plus years I was her heterosexual daughter that may have fallen for the “wrong” kind of men, but MEN nonetheless. She didn’t know about the women that I had loved, been in love with, made love to and who loved me. I never let her in on that part of me that I was hiding in. All she knew was that I was straight and that she had no reason not to be proud of me. I mean, I had heard her laugh at all the gay jokes and heard her say mean things about homosexuals so why come out to someone who wasn’t gay-friendly. I didn’t like myself, but that didn’t mean I had to set myself up for obvious pain, no. Subtle pain, yes. I was all into subtle pain, then.
My self forgiveness? It erased that need for acceptance and approval. It made it ok for me to be me and damn who didn’t accept me this time around. They’d either catch up or get left behind. Period. I had bonded with the born again me and “we” were doing good!
Where was all this beauty when I met him, indeed. It was here, inside, waiting to get out, come out. Waiting to be allowed to be.
I have loved. I have been in love. And now I allow me to love me.