living out loud

daddy’s soldier.

I feel like I need to clarify some of what I said last night. (I am not drinking wine tonight is why.) Regarding the man rant at the end of my last post:

I just finished watching Beyonce’s Lemonade. It wasn’t really created for me (I’m white), yet I completely identified with it (I’m a woman). The song “Daddy Lessons” had me in tears. “Came into this world, Daddy’s little girl, Daddy made a soldier out of me.” Oh my god, you all. I so feel Beyonce on that, to a really deep down part of me. How many women in the world do too? (Fathers of daughters: you are who your little girls go looking for when they grow up. Please be the kind of someone you eventually want to see them with.)

Here’s the thing about me: I have been hurt by men. I don’t trust you, men. Even you, the nice ones. Not really. I do not. I just do not.

I think a lot of women will tell you that, though. (I’m sure men will say this, too, about women. But do you understand, men, what I am saying here? About fathers and daughters and why some women are the way they are? Can you read between the lines? We are all products of our childhood pain. And, so, instinctively I understand this to be true about you as well. But I also know you dopes can’t go longer than, like, 12 seconds without thinking about porn.)


I keep going back and forth between not-angry and angry. In May, I found an apartment and told C that I was moving out and taking our little girl with me in 2 weeks. This was not a surprise to him; we’d been discussing the need for this to happen for well over a year. What was going on in the background, though, was I’d become friends with someone who wasn’t able to see me as a whole person, who viewed me as an object for his own needs, essentially. And the night before I broke up my family, that man told me he was in love with me. I had no idea how to respond; I needed to sleep on it. He was HAPPY when I told him that (clue, clueless men: when a woman says, “I need some time to think about this,” it is never a compliment). When I told him I couldn’t return his feelings, not only did I have to deal with my sadness of leaving my home, my family, my life as I knew it…I also had to go help someone else deal with his hurt feelings – feelings that, given his own home situation, weren’t even REASONABLE to be having – and try not to be an asshole when I already felt like an asshole as it was.

I married a good man, a really very good man. From C I learned how to forgive people. I have never met anyone more forgiving than C. I learned a sort of cynicism about people, too – not to take everyone at their word, that there are people in the world who are calculating and manipulative…and so now I don’t buy everything everyone tells me about themselves. Yet too often I still do take too many people at face value. But mostly, I spent a lot of time in that marriage changing who I was to please him – nearly everything about me. And I can’t ever do that again. And I spent a lot of time dealing with criticism – from how often I cleaned, about Miss M’s hair, even what time I woke up and went to bed. When I had problems at work, I didn’t have a safe person I could talk to at home – I was told I was too negative. Even if this were true, and god knows I do have my Debbie Downer moments so it probably was at least half the time – in a good love relationship, you just want someone who will hug your hurts out. And then once they are out, THEN you talk about what a doomsday thinker you are about work. So I also learned self-doubt from C, and I have a tremendous amount of insecurity about my abilities as a mother, a life partner, an employee, and – gosh, I hate to type this out but I’m going to – a woman.

And yet C is a very very very good man. He was, and is still, my biggest fan…when he’s not nitpicking at me. And we are friends. Cannot tell you how blessed I feel to be ending a marriage with someone I will always care about it, who I know will always care about me. We have just reached the end of our road, the one we were walking together. And if I could pick another man to be M’s father, I wouldn’t. He is perfect for her. And she will grow up knowing she is worthy of love (I really, really need her to know she is worthy of love).

So. Another part of my anger is because I made a humongous mistake letting a man in, a man who told me he loved me but whose love came with conditions and a very high price tag, a man I should have never ever let in. People will always tell you exactly who they are and what they’re going to eventually do to you, and he told me he had a mean streak. I don’t know if it was because of where I was at emotionally at the time, or if it was because I wasn’t paying attention, or what it was. But I ignored that gigantic red flag. Listen to me, ladies: (1) if a man tells you he has a mean streak, believe him, and know that mean streak will reveal itself in ways that are destructive and cruel, and (2) if a man has to tell you he’s a nice guy…he’s not. I promise.

When the mean streak unfurled toward me, it revealed itself in amazing ways and continues to do so (I’ve been made aware).

And so I think another aspect of my anger right now – and I’m not really sure it’s anger even though I know I keep calling it that; but I’m not REALLY angry, you guys…I’m more…I’m more…just disappointed and disillusioned, and sometimes that gets muddled up with intense feelings of loneliness and hurt and fear and…at any rate. I am not sure it’s necessarily anger. It’s a whole lot of feelings, all balled up into one. So another aspect of this is that I was never allowed to grieve the ending of my marriage. I was dealing with someone who was very needy, overbearingly so, and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. When I realized I absolutely could not/would not ever feel for him any of what he felt for me, beyond a friendship and that was followed by him not being honest with me about his true feelings – telling me he was my friend, when he was secretly hoping that would change into more one day – and when I realized this, and had a panic attack on the phone with him one night…I just didn’t want to be in that kind of a friendship anymore. I did not. What I didn’t anticipate was the amount of Over the Deep End he’d venture into.

I was never allowed to grieve the ending of my marriage. I have been fighting my own demons and someone else’s for many many months. And thus, occasionally, you will come to this blog and you will get to read the demons. (Fortunately for you, if there is wine, the demons may make some macabre jokes here and there. They at least like to be entertaining, if they can’t rule the Earth.)

I do a couple of things on my really ugly, lonely, dark nights of the soul:

1. Sometimes I sift through my Stalker Files, and I remind myself what an abusive man looks like. I remind myself what an entitled man who is angry about not getting his way sounds like, the choice of words he’ll use to hurt you, to make you as ugly on the inside as he is. I sift through some of the later things he’s posted on his Twitter page, the things about love and kindness and forgiveness…all to be snatched back immediately and replaced with abuse and judgment the very second he realizes I’m still not going to come back. I remind myself who some people really are. And I remind myself because I need to remember who I really am, that I am not the things, those words, he’s called me. (When I was 7, I remember some girls at school getting mad at me and calling me names and running home in tears to tell my mom. She taught me the phrase “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” And now, as an adult, I will not teach my daughter this phrase because I know it’s not true. Names do hurt. Vicious people with a mean streak are hurting people who want other people to hurt too.) (Hi, Mom! I love you! It was the 70s, and you handled that the most perfect way, and were a good mother to me in that situation…I’ve just had life experiences now that have taught me words do hurt.) I sift through the Stalker Files to remind myself of all of it.

2. And sometimes I sift through old blog posts I wrote. That girl who was here before she made friends with someone so vicious and mean. Or sometimes, on Facebook, I sit and watch videos of Miss M as a baby, a toddler, a pre-schooler, while tears stream down my cheeks. And I remember that those times weren’t always very good – I was under constant pressure to be who would make someone else very happy, a mirror to reflect back good things to another person – yet still. In spite of all that, those times were so lovely, even then. I didn’t even know. I had no idea how perfect they were. And so I sift through them, because I’m trying to remind myself that as bad as things sometimes seem right now, it could be worse. That one day, it could get worse and I will sift through these moments going: Did I even know how perfect it was? I was more okay than I knew.

I think that’s where my anger towards men come from. You guys are awesome, you really are. I like lots of things about you. But I do not like your hot and cold. I do not like your ability to compartmentalize. I do not like some of your insecurities, the ones you try to fob off onto me. I do not like those of you with entitlement issues, who believe that just because they were nice that they are owed friendship, a relationship, a body in their bed to do with as they please. The knowledge that these things are always a possibility with you makes me withhold the most precious parts of myself. I’m not giving up on love, but I’m also deeply terrified to give in to it. The things we do to each other.

That’s what I meant. I am super skittish these days of men, of other people. Just when I think I can trust someone or let my guard down, something happens and I think: maybe not, and men are kind of stupid.

I do not want to be this way. I do not like thinking about other people this way. I don’t like being skittish and angry and untrusting. I also don’t like getting led on, or used, or lied to, or screamed at, or called names. I don’t like feeling like I’m good enough to party with but not good enough for anything beyond fun times. But I also don’t want to find myself in a relationship with someone who uses me to fill his voids, who smothers me or asks me to be someone or something I’m not. I don’t ever again want to find myself in a relationship of any kind with someone who’s got a mean streak. EVER.

That’s what the rant was about. Not that it matters, really.

On a positive note, I fixed my pop up video ads problem. It was my browser – I got semi-hacked, I think. Fixed it myself! I restored to factory settings, and ta da. Good to go now. (Sorry, wordpress, sorry. I’ll go delete all my crazy tweets to you guys in a few minutes…but I hope you were entertained, at the very least.) Fixed it myself.

My daddy did a lot of things for me, too many things I think now, but along the way he also managed to make a soldier out of me. I can fix things myself.

Here was a man who seemed like pure love. Chill and calm and artistic and love. (Cannot believe he’s no longer with us…I thought Alan Rickman and David Bowie were hits to my soul, but nope. This one was bigger.)