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Friday, August 10, 2012

26 years later, this is how it feels

I need to preface this with a few things-- I'm busy getting myself entrenched in Effy Wild's Book of Days, using the word "surfacing" as my word for the year. This part of my story is the first time I ever fought my way back up to a place I could call me. As I'm flinging the mud in my own world again, this time in my life keeps revisitng to me to remind me that something good always comes from the hard stuff... that there is a reason you bring yourself to the place of breaking. And I think that this might be the definitive retelling of this part of my story... There is art that goes along with it, but the art and I are still making our way to see things the same way.
Once upon a time, he was the center of my world. He was everything I ever wanted and the only thing I needed. He loved me… and I #loved# that he loved me, perhaps more than I loved him at all. My whole world shrank down to him—and how he saw me and what he wanted from me and how I could give him what he wanted. And he wanted all of me. In that space between loving him and losing me is where I found out how much “all of me” was. It was not just the breath I took, but that the taste of the air held only him… It was not just the clothes that II wore, but that they showed me as he liked to see me and liked to have me seen. I was his doll… and in that there is a truth I don’t love about myself—I liked it. I liked being the centre of his world until I learned the most important part about being someone else’s sun %-- it means that there is no you left for just yourself. So it meant that I pushed too hard to still be me… angry, aggressive, smart, a Moltov cocktail with a fuse ever hanging close to a flame. With all of me, I both gave and threatened to take away the absolute control. I pushed against the “be sweet for this, be sexy for that, be tough for the next thing, bend when I need it, break when I ask. Say yes. Say yes.” So I said no. Sweet, but with smoldering make-up. Sexy, but in clothes so complicated to remove that by the time I was undressed neither of us cared about the sex anymore. Tough, but so removed that it made no difference if I was strong enough—no one dared get close enough to find out. And I bent… to not smoking in front of his friends, to wearing silk dresses to church, to not drinking beer with the boys, to being everything he wanted every minute he wanted me and nowhere in sight when he didn’t or I couldn’t be. And I said no. And broke when he asked me, because I had said yes, and I didn’t know how I could say both, be both the girl who said yes and said no. I didn’t know that he needed more than he wanted, and that he hurt more than he loved. And so my no was still yes, and I bent, back over the hood of his car, and I broke inside… but not the way I thought—I broke away from being the centre. I broke away from being the doll. The cigarette that I did not let fall from my hand lit the fuse on that Moltov cocktail and in time I exploded—away from him, out of my self, into the space where I began to really take me apart piece by piece and learn. How to be sweet. How to be sexy. How to be tough… How to bend. How to break. And to say yes. Say yes. I came up from that place a long time ago, and brought him back down into it once—to hurt him. To take me back. To make him say yes. Yes. And then no. And the sadness in his face when I took that no and twisted it into a yes that he physically could not control is the sadness that belonged to him and I simply returned. It was cruel. And it worked. I walked away that night with a hole in my heart that was no longer filled with shame, but with the space to begin to take on something new. In many ways, no one has ever known me better. In many ways, no one has ever touched me more deeply. In many ways, the connection between us is still as strong as it was. I forgave him. I forgave myself. He will always be a part of my story and I will always be thankful for the things I learned, though not always for the ways in which I learned them. . And, now, I will always be the girl who can say no and say yes.


AliensWanted said...

There is a place where no and yes meet and it only exists in the heart. In the head it divides like the two halves of the rain, but in the heart it stays fluid, in rhythm, in sync.

AliensWanted said...

It was supposed to say brain not rain.

Effy said...

This is so powerful, Kaere! May we all learn to be the girl who can say no and can say yes. xo

Kay said...

oh Kaere, beautiful, powerful, insightful, ... swoonable.

Shelly Mendenhall said...

so very touched by your story Kaere and I admire your determination to keep moving and get beyond all this. Blessings!