Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I had a conversation today that made me feel better

about myself. We talked of the situation with Griff, and my asking him out to date, and that led inevitably to discussing my ex and some of the choices I made when I was young and stupid, and those made once I started growing a spine of my own.

When I look back and compare it to my life now, two things come to mind:

once commented on my lack of luck. She could do really stupid things and everything would still work out for her, but if I did something, it was like some sort of evil karma tripped me up wherever I went. I countered that I used my luck not getting AIDS, because when I was young and stupid I had lots of unprotected sex with a sexual addict who trolled the restrooms for encounters with other men. I knew what he was doing, but convinced myself that it wasn't that bad. I convinced myself of a lot back then. I wound up in a relationship with a third partner with whom I shared the duties of 'wife'. It built up over time, slowly, a non-traditional arrangement that many applauded as avant garde, and others just thought was weirder than weird. I stayed in that relationship for three years, but finally left only after getting married to one of the men and taking the other as my 'bosom companion' (the words of the Unitarian minister that performed the ceremony--a ceremony attended by most of our acquaintances for the sheer shock value, and attended by my parents and grandmother as if this were all quite normal.) At least one person was there specifically to hear the vows, which came down to 'as long as love shall last' because I, a product of divorce, didn't believe in vowing until 'death do you part'...something that saved me in the end, because that witness helped ask the hard questions I'd been avoiding, hoping to get me to draw some lines in the sand, but never thinking I'd actually ever leave. But I did. Today I was reflecting on the impetus I finally had to get out of that relationship. When it came down to it, I realised I could never bring children into that household, because I trusted neither of the men with which I was living. One had gleefully told stories of his randy grandfather's wandering hands, while the other had told of listening on the phone while a friend molested a child. Neither showed disapproval or thought this was heinous.

Ironically, I've never moved on to have the children I sought to protect, mainly because I've never trusted anyone to come that close to me again after my experiences. But we were discussing this and I was told that in that one choice I made anything stupid I did afterwards, the little slips here and there, pale compared to the greater stupidity I could have done by having children in that environment. I have to agree. Maybe it's like the luck I spent on the same relationship; if I never have a child of my own, it will be worth never having taken that last step down that path.

I was 24 the day I left. I'm 38 now, and it's a world of difference. I won't say I've flourished; I've had some hard times and made some poor decisions. But all in all, my life is better now than it ever has been. And I am still hopeful for the future. I still have some basic issues to work through, but at least over the last few years I have come to understand a lot of why I am the way I am, and I feel healthier than I have in a long, long time as a result. I feel like I'm on the upswing, too. I'm in therapy. I'm working close to full time again. I'm not as destitute and desperate as I have been. I feel more confident. I feel more me. That says a lot right there, don't you think?

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