What other choice do I have for a title considering two fiscal quarters have passed since I last put fingers-to-keyboard?
It’s November, but what does that even mean right now in this time-warped society we’ve been Destiny’s-Child-surviving in?
I guess we can take it from the top o’ 2020.
At the top of the year I was in a relationship.
I bet you had a feeling I was going to call it back to one of my nana’s conquistadors. And that’s not short for grandma.
I was in my first committed boyfriend-girlfriend relationship (we actually had the conversation, I’m not just calling him my boyfriend for referential convenience like I would have done once upon a time, specifically in conversations with strangers I’d never see again, but whose opinions were correlated with my self-esteem) in 7 years.
This was kind of a big deal for me.
I’m usually a commitment-repellant. You can’t utter the word around me without the sky raining locusts.
Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but that is the actual weather in my mind.
Locust-showers just all up in the cranial cavity. I blame this image on the Archdiocese of New York.
Let me start (clearly we haven’t yet) by saying this: I met a really special human being last summer.
I met him at a pool party with mutual friends and we instantly gravitated toward one another. Was the attraction accelerated by the fact that we were practically naked? Probably definitely.
He was covered in tattoos, had hair twice the length of mine, and as soon as I felt a tingle in my lady bits…I told myself “down girl, down.” I’m an actual bitch in my mind.
We managed to isolate ourselves for hours in the pool playing whatever that ping pong-esque game is you play in the pool with the rackets and those soft fabric balls. You know the one. Is it still ping pong in the pool? Someone follow up with NERF on this for me.
For the time that we played, no one else existed.
“Side effects may include: Dissociating from reality…” should have been a solid foreshadowing, but hey, I just get to live the movie, I don’t get to cut it.
We exchanged numbers and that was it. I saw him just about everyday for the next 6 months (minus my pilgrimage to Bali – which of course I had to mention to make you think I’m cultured – a brief trip to NOLA, and his personal cross country excursion).
Now, I am one to hate people, in a meme-generated sort of way. There are so few people I want to tolerate for 6 consecutive days, let alone months. So what was it about this guy who I started a relationship with upon eye contact…
On that note, it was the way he looked at me, for one. It was obvious and attentive but not in a lascivious way (Hold for you to Google “lascivious.” Hold for me to Google how to use it in a sentence).
Honestly, he would look at me with sheer amazement.
I couldn’t recall (still can’t) anyone ever looking at me quite that way. In a way that made me feel equally desired and revered. In a way that made me feel like I was okay as I was. I didn’t have to compromise my authenticity or uphold any unspoken social contracts. I didn’t have to try.
I didn’t want him to stop looking.
As far as what I saw in him, there was undeniable talent, compassion and a six-pack.
And more, but I don’t want to get into my opinions on him as a human, rather stick to my perspective of the relationship.
I mean…if that’s okay.
Which it has to be because I’m writing this damn thing.
Sidenote: Did you know that talent is not sexually transmittable?
Look. I have had men I’ve dated (situated) tell me straight up that it’s not easy to date an actor, or, a few drinks in, belittle my acting ambitions entirely.
While I have the universe’s ear:
“I am a successful television actor. I am a successful television actor. I am a successful television actor.“
That should do it.
I’ve had them tell me “Women aren’t funny” knowing that I’m out here comedy-ing, I’ve had men tell me they see themselves with someone the EXACT opposite of me, yet for some reason still want (to waste) my time and attention. Okay, we all know the reason.
The time that lapses between such dehumanizing (I just want to emphasize the word that I stylistically emphasized, as these comments are DEFUCKINGHUMANIZING so stop it) exchanges and me deading those situations has gotten shorter as time has gone on, as I’ve usually been able to detect the fuckperson-ry earlier on. There have been exceptions that had me dickmatized for longer though.
This dude was the first one in I-don’t-even-know-how-long who didn’t make me feel like I was “doing life” wrong. He supported me. He showed up for me, at shows and events, admiring me from the audience. Driving me to perform, picking me up afterwards. He didn’t take me on a private jet or nothin’ but this was kinda the emotional equivalent for me. For the better part of the (v. short and V. intense) relationship, he was in the trenches with me. In fact, he wanted me to do even more.
He listened when I spoke. He expressed his emotions.
Holy Shit. A man who doesn’t distill his emotions into the reservoir of toxic masculinity?
Sign me up.
Above all else, he accepted me. Fully.
That is the feeling that, in hindsight, I know I held dearest.
The loudness, the mood swings, the tears (OMG so-many-tears), the anxiety, the chaos, the body hair, the period stains (my uterus is also a reservoir) the neediness (which there’s nothing wrong with having a lot of needs so long as you don’t expect the other person to be a mind reader), the “we need to talks”.
He didn’t try to control how I behaved or what I wore. Cuz a bitch done been there.
He just let me be.
Honestly, it was the first time I felt like I was in a relationship that consisted of two completely whole people.
Looking back though that may not have been entirely true.
…Nah. It’s false AF.
I know I am not alone in this, but some things have come up for me during this time on the inside: the time post-Corona.
One of those being that…I haven’t been loving myself fully.
The irony in the fact that I was so enthralled by this man’s acceptance of me is that I have not genuinely accepted me.
There are parts of myself greased with shame, so much fucking shame, that I have rejected, compartmentalized, repressed…all them psychological words for “pretending to be fine and shit.”
And underneath those parts, and underneath those thoughts on said parts, are beliefs so deeply embedded in my subconscious that I didn’t even know they were influencing what manifested into my reality.
Because that’s how it works. What goes on in our subconscious mind is a direct reflection of what we experience…or vice versa. Shut up I have a B.A.
Katt Williams eloquently graced us with his wisdom on this subject in The Pimp Chronicles when he said,
Katt might be willing to wait; I’m not.
Admitting out loud that I have held on to this belief that “I am a dirty whore unworthy of happiness and love” has been the most freeing thing I’ve done all year.
Yeah, you read that right.
That is how I’ve felt about myself. And I wasn’t consciously aware of it til less than two months ago.
Reasons for this include: sexism, double standards, and having had my developing child-brain gizzed on by Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
Those shame-greased parts are not pretty. I, like A LOT of people, have experienced things that were not okay. Things that people should go to jail for. Things that I grew to believe I deserved. With the deep seeding of such irrational beliefs came chronic compulsions to reenact the pain. Amplifying the shame.
I can hate these pieces, these memories all I want, but at the end of the day, they’re still a part of me. In rejecting them, I reject myself.
That’s the color palette that has painted so much of my reality.
It’s definitely not a coincidence that the quality of acceptance in others gets my rocks off.
Now I just gotta learn how to give it to myself.
Maybe I’ll check out one of my sorors’ Pure Romance parties after all.
If you have experienced sexual violence, you can get help. Visit rainn.org to find resources and counseling services offered in your area. You are not alone.