Begin Again. Cleanly.

via Daily Prompt: Clean

It seems the trend of my personal tragedies are of the relationship-sort. One heartbreak leading to another if only offering me some sporadic respite. But as soon as I get my groove back, as soon as I’m in a happy and good place in my life, content and productive, some guy comes along who’ll go to great lengths to convince me he’s worth my time.

I have major trust issues. I survived a physically abusive relationship 9 years ago that left me with a huge scar from a laceration that my knife-welding ex slivered over my arm. I took years alone and outside of a relationship after that just to heal and feel safe again. When I finally got back into a serious one, he ended up being the total opposite of his blonde, blue-eyed All American southern upbringing nature: he was a narcissistic sociopath who took pleasure at chipping away at my self confidence, esteem, and sanity. And successfully got all his family and friends to see me as a crazy woman who harassed him. When really, he lied about TOO MANY THINGS (got caught red handed too) and kept changing tiny details of his stories to me so that I would begin questioning my memory and sanity (Google “gas lighting”).

Then you come to a point years later where you think you’re supposedly wiser and MORE CAREFUL. I mean, as careful as I’ve ever been. And still, people can be absolute Jekyll & Hydes. A marraige-oriented lover who speaks of a good life for you both (and your son), a lover who has been nothing but a positive force in your life, teaching you optimism and patience in levels you haven’t operated much on before, a lover who also looked out for you career-wise, takes a week-long business trip and goes from “Love, I miss you,” to “I need space,” and you have no clue what just happened. The same lover who suddenly sounds and speaks differently, addressing you in such a formal way on emails instead of the ubiquitous “Hi honey” greetings. The same lover who used to fill you in on his entire schedule is now doing excellently at creating a great distance from you. And you don’t know why. And this is the same person who put up with hours into the early morning talking out your worries, trying to assure you he will be there for you. That all is well between you and that your bond and commitment are stronger than the troubles you face today. This lover now tells his friends he’s been avoiding you because you’ve been stalking him. Only you’re not stalking him, just been reaching out because you haven’t heard from him in a week and you’re worried for his safety. You see him actively online but he won’t send a message. Your gut starts to put up red flags. You ignore it because you want to prove to him you trust him. But it all gets too conspicuous. Ironically enough, if he hadn’t relentlessly pursued you and gone lengths to convince you he was worth your time, you wouldn’t even have given him a second thought. Because really, he wasn’t your type to begin with.

I shed no tears for that idiot. I shed a tear for myself, because I’m tired. And I’m sad. I’m sad that whatever his life experiences were, caused him to become a mentally and emotionally abusive sadist who picked out a hard-working single mother, got her to trust him, and then completely leave her out to dry. I’m sad that his mother probably doesn’t know he turned out this way. I’m sure she loves him and wants to be proud of him. I’m sure she is, but only for the things she thinks he’s become–not what he actually is. A monster. I would hate to be his mother.

Rain came down and I was drenched as I stood on the curb waiting for my Uber, contemplating how on earth I let this happen. I was so careful. I was so straightforward about my fears and dislikes. He was so persistent about how he was not my past but is my “present and future.” How foolish and gullible could I still be at 35?  This was the day I decided there would be no answers as to why it had to be me. In that moment, I took my heart out of my sleeve, and tucked it away to be hidden from manipulative, self-loathing creatures.

As heavy and tragic as my past relationships have been, I do not let them define who I am. I loved genuinely, generously, truthfully. If someone decides to take advantage of that, the loss is theirs not mine. As I let the rain come down on me, I closed my eyes and let the filth of deceit that this person has brought into my life, get washed away. I breathed a sigh, not of defeat, but of surrender to the Greater Force who has better plans for me. I’m okay. I’m whole. I’m complete. I’m clean. I’m rid of this despicable individual, and the less I speak his name or think his face in my mind, the cleaner I am and the lighter my days will be.

Some people have spent so much time in the mud that all they know is to roll in it and sling it at people. But you don’t have to take it. You can keep walking and stay clean.