I’m thinking that the summer of 2018 will go down in my own private history as the “summer I woke up.” On so many levels.
I wouldn’t trade any of this for anything, but it is blowing my mind to suddenly comprehend — pretty much every day — how delusional I have been for such a long time.
I’ve awakened to a lot of good things. Mostly, discovering that even though I considered myself to be an unlikable pain in the ass in pretty much all of my past personal relationships, many of those “personal relationships” (men & women, both) have been suddenly showing up this summer to point out that, while yes, I was indeed a pain in the ass at times, they liked me anyway.
The disconcerting reason why a seemingly simple thing like this is so staggering to me is that I was raised by a woman who (among a myriad of other all-out cruel things) had assured me year after year after year, in every way she could think of, that I was unlovable for simply being who I am. And for all of my life, I believed her. I am just now starting to understand, at age 58, that I might be loved.
Once, she told me point-blank that if anyone in my [adoptive] family knew what I was really like, none of them would love me. I believed that, too. A double-whammy, really, because she was also saying that the love they did have for me was false and based on nothing real.
A sentiment that was borne out a couple years later, after I tried going to certain family members for help re: the rape problem and getting the proverbial door slammed on me. To be fair, though, my friends weren’t any better. Everyone I tried to go to for help, even for simple understanding, treated me like I was “fucking” the guy because I wanted to have sex with him. (Just FYI, I never run to the toilet and vomit after fucking a guy I want to have sex with.)
Part of the problem was that I was extremely shy back in those years, and it was next to impossible for me to talk about sexual acts. I could think about them until the cows came home, but I couldn’t talk out loud about sexual acts. So for me, even getting the words out into the air, where my own ears could hear them — he made me “have sex” was the best I could muster — was so incredibly embarrassing for me to say. Then, to get the response I got. Jesus. What a nightmare.
Only one girl — one — back in those years, ever had any mercy on me at all. She had asked me a question about something else, really, but it was in the realm of the sexual, and then I struggled so hard to get the words out, that this certain sexual thing had happened to me that I didn’t want to do. And she said, “Oh my god, you mean he raped you?” And it was like the sky cracking open, because I was finally able to admit to getting raped and somebody was really hearing me. Not that it healed me at all; it made me worse for a long, long time. I didn’t want to be the girl who was getting raped.
(And not related to the rape thing, when I finally took off for New York City, to get free, to have my life, I was going there to be a singer and my grandfather could not tolerate this, at all. He called me a whore and told me never to call him or speak to him again. Jeepers creepers. And he was true to his word for a really long time, only forgiving me for being a singer (whore) at my grandmother’s funeral. Until then, whenever I called my grandparents from NYC, just to try to even say hi, if my grandfather answered the phone, he would say nothing and simply pass the phone to my grandmother. Anyway. It’s safe to say that, in those years, I really enjoyed being a girl…)
Well, letting go of these kinds of voices has been a lifetime’s achievement for me and, since these are not the voices I want to take with me into my memoirs without knowing how to combat them, I am really trying to make a dedicated effort to listen to the other voices that are in my world now, and this summer has been instrumental in helping me make progress with that.
But the blog, while really, really helping me put feelings into words, is also a great way to expose myself without meaning to. I guess it just goes with the territory and I am trying to be okay with it. But this current re-acquaintance with my past, a relationship that meant a lot to me almost 20 years ago that I never dreamed would resurface, has re-surfaced because of this blog.
I am always trying so hard to have some sort of spin-control; to manage how I present myself in any kind of relationship. But if someone is reading my blog and I have no idea they’ve been doing it, and I’m here thinking I can control any kind of spin whatsoever… Well, it’s sort of amusing. HIM (not in so many words, but the upshot is): Marilyn, who on earth do you think you’re fooling? ME: Um, well. I thought I was fooling you.
Guess again. (Yes, I’m talking about Mob Guy #2, if you haven’t already seen completely through me.)
I had been thinking here lately that I had better tell him that I’ve written about him before. A few times. And I mean stories that have already been published, several times, all over the world. I’ve been thinking, well, if we’re going to re-connect, I need to tell him I’ve done this. Better to just tell him then to have it come up later, in some sort of awkward way.
Well, yesterday, I was stewing because he wasn’t replying to a very intimate text I had sent him the day before. After about 30 hours, I texted him again and I said: come on. More hours go by and I’m starting to feel guilty. I’m starting to remember how controlling I had always been, tried to be. You gotta do everything my way. Come on. And I’m also feeling guilty about not telling him I’ve written about him, in a really, really personal way… Feelings were piling up in me. He’s going to hate me. I’ve got to figure out how to look good in all this, like, you know, I’m not guilty of exposing someone’s personal stuff in print all over the world.
A few hours later, and I’m off to the Granville Inn to have drinks and dinner with a really old friend who’s in town visiting from Houston. And the very moment I walk into the bar where he is already waiting for me, a vodka martini in front of him — finally, the fucking text arrives. And what does he say? Well, he says some very personal stuff about me that I’m surprised he remembers, but then goes on to say that he loves that I’ve written about us and the things we did…
Crap. My knees almost buckled. He’s already read it. Already. He knows I did that.
But what is this “us” business, I start wondering. I didn’t write about “us,” I wrote about him. But as I thought about it (and thought about it, and thought about it, all through drinks and dinner…) I realized, Jesus Christ, Marilyn. You change a woman’s hair color and maybe her height and suddenly it’s not YOU??
Since 98.8% of everything else in the stories have been pretty much as they happened, what the hell made me think he wouldn’t recognize me??
Wow, talk about waking up in delusion land. I give up, you know? It’s just life; let it happen already, right? I exist in the world. On we fucking go.