Most of you know the one side of the breakup: David/Romeo cheated. I know about 8 women, but other women are like roaches: for every 1 you see, there are 20 in the walls. I know that there’s more, but I don’t care to find out the details. I have alluded to The Dark Days and tried to make clear that I am far from blameless in our demise, but I have been too scared and ashamed and just generally clueless about how to talk about those things in great detail. In this version, I am a hero or a damsel or both. This was the story the world told me after my viral post. I was “admirably vulnerable” and “savage AF” and “standing up for all women” and did what others “wished” they had had the “courage” to do.
On the flip side, I’m prone to rewriting history to be the villain or martyr or both as well. The upside to taking all of the blame for what went wrong in a relationship (“Because I ____ that’s the only reason he _____ , so really this is all my fault.”) is that you don’t have to remember to wash your hair or shower or return phone calls because the ensuing depression is debilitating and trying to function is out of the question. This is the story I’ve been dancing with for the last 8 months. Since I found out about the other women in May, I have found every way possible to blame myself.
If I took all of the blame, that was infinitely easier for me to process and fix:
I am broken. I broke us. I need help. I will get help. I’ll go get help right now, actually- babe, you just stay right where you are. Now that I’m better, we can get better. Now we are better. Look! Everyone see how much better we are!
But here’s the thing: both versions are true but neither are complete.
Back when I taught English, I would tell my students all the time that fairy tale hero and damsels and villains and martyrs don’t exist past kindergarten. In the really engaging stories- just as in really facinating people- there are hero that are deeply flawed, damsels that don’t want rescuing, villains that have emotional baggage giving them every reason to be even more twisted than they already are, and martyrs that are absolute monsters. Sometimes the main character can be all four at once. It’s not just complicated, it’s complex. But it’s closer to complete.
And so the other day when I was perfectly calm and telling David/Romeo that I had now made no less than 20 attempts to come to an amicable and fair resolution with our business, and he was backing us both into a corner that could only result in a nasty courtroom drama, he told me he wasn’t going to talk to me unless I calmed down.
“I’m calm,” I replied earnestly.
I was calm. I wouldn’t say I was even irritated, just explaining the facts.
And then it all hit me like wave made of rocks and garbage and all of a sudden I wasn’t calm at all anymore. I put down the phone and ended the conversation as it all started to be complicated and complex but more complete.
Let me back up…
I threw a glass.
One night shortly after I had moved in, Romeo and I had entire too much to drink at one of his work parties, we came back to the house and found ourselves discussing politics. If you read my previous post, you’re already aware of what a total asshole I am capable of being when it comes to politics. He’s just as big of a stubborn, inflammatory asshole but in my opinion he is even more insufferable because… well because he’s wrong, but also because he thinks he needed to convert me to Team Red, when I had long ago given up the idea of converting him to Team Blue and just wanted him to at least try to see my side of the conversation. But I digress.
We started fighting about politics, I started crying because that’s what drunk girls do when they “can’t even” but also what normal girls do when they’re still hormonally flooded from their new IUD and emotionally exhausted because in the past two weeks they have left everyone and everything they know- no matter how happy they are about that decision. And as I’m trying to explain this to David/Romeo, he starts in on me.
“Oh boo hoo, it’s so sad,” he said in a mocking cry voice. “It must be so hard to come move into a big, beautiful home. Fuck you are so crazy and ungrateful- you said you wanted to move here. Move back to Houston- I don’t give a shit. It’s better than listening to you bitch about it all the time (ahem- less than two weeks). Byyyyyye,” he nastily intoned as he pulled the covers over his head and told me to “drive the fuck home then.”
I threw a glass that shattered at the wall over his head. Good choices suffer when your primal brain is on overdrive screaming “WHO THE FUCK EVEN IS THIS GUY????”
He saw the most raw, terrified, wild-animal-scratching-and-hissing-in-the-corner version of me. He saw it over and over during The Dark Days.
Eventually that’s all he ever saw. Signs of emotion were treated as an attack. Any hint of humanity was accused of being crazy. Valid concerns were treated as verbal abuse. Even at my best and brightest, he would find ways to make me feel like I was never enough and always too much.
And the entire time, the question remained “who the fuck even is this guy?”
I would watch him lie to his own mother or best friend or boss so casually that it gave me goosebumps.
I saw him calculate people and calculate money and always choose money over people and the ease of those decisions would consistently leave me speechless.
Honestly I can list more things that I even feel comfortable with right now because I’m not trying to run his name through the mud, I am just trying to reconcile what’s complicated and complex and complete.
When my beloved Dr. Jekyll showed glimmers of Mr. Hyde behind his eyes, I would lose it. I would scream and say things that make my heart hurt to think about now and generally act like a crazy bitch. I would be overwhelmed with what can only be described as genuine terror and it always reared it’s ugly head while scratching and hissing like a wild animal unsure of what her captor is keeping her around for. If he could dispose of all of these other relationships and use all of these other people as stepping stones and emotional scratching posts without a second’s though, nothing was stopping him from doing the same to me.
So I’m left with this one haunting question…
Are you crazy when you’re right?