After The Storm

I have a man trying to actually understand me these days, and frankly, it’s freaking me out. I’m completely out of my element here, and that’s pretty hard to accomplish with me. I’m a multi-element kind of girl.

He’s asked me why I hold him at arm’s length, and that launched me into having to first notice that I do this, then try to figure out why. There are a lot of reasons I am the way I am, but I believe


these are the ones that probably are the most pertinent to our discussion.

I think every woman on earth says she wants a man to come along and have this intense desire to know her….You know, do the work. Ask the questions, and listen to the answers..then show that certain look in his eye that says he’s writing poetry, painting a portrait, and sculpting your face in marble, in his head about you right that very minute.. . To look beyond our looks into our hearts and souls, and to care about what makes us unique..what makes us tick, if you will.. We want to be seen and loved as a whole person…body, soul, and spirit.

Yeah. That’s what we say, alright.

Of course, it took almost zero time for most of us ladies to figure out that there is  significantly less amounts of dreaming, planning, hoping, and wishing, going on in the boy’s camp when it comes to love. Most men” Forrest Gump” their ways into their first marriages, and for the ones who aren’t lucky the first time, they’re carrying a whole different set of dreams and wishes marching into that second one than we wives tend to be carrying around. I have had discussions with men about their pre-adulthood dreams and wishes as they pertained to love. To the man, all of them stared at me blankly and then mentioned something about being a professional baseball player.  Finding out that guys might be less inclined to give a crap about love was somewhat of a blow, but we girls survived.  Men want love…I guess they just don’t idolize it the way we women tend to do. But, even with the sneaking suspicion men might not care about love like we do, we persevered. We’re resilient. We just pulled out our romance novels, and got lost in other people’s stories. We know fairy tales aren’t real, but we still like them. Maybe there is a guy willing to slay a dragon and climb up a princess’s hair to rescue her, but it probably won’t be me.

And then, bam! You meet one. Like the Abominable Snowman or Loch Ness Monster, you are face to face with a myth.  My estimate is there are maybe 4 guys on earth that actually ask deep, probing, personal questions about why a woman does what she does, AND actually listens to the answer (and isn’t doing research or getting paid or something). I’m talking about a guy interested in a relationship with a girl.  Most men I know throw up a little bit in their mouths when the relationship word is mentioned. It’s pretty unlikely they would be writing poetry in their heads about me anytime soon. Personally, I had to check with Snopes.com just to make sure these men do, in fact, exist. Even Snopes is a little skeptical…

I’m not dating this man, though we’ve known each other for a lot of years. I’m not particularly in the dating mood right now anyways, and to say that things are stressed in my life right now would be a giant understatement. I’m dealing with some pretty serious crap right now, and I’m going to have to say, I’m not handling my life very well at the moment. He’s seen a little bit of this, and I am flabbergasted that this guy could possibly be interested in me right now. I truly am.

Every human being on the planet knows, women are complicated creatures. Even we know it. I’ve sat on a public bathroom floor, both crying uncontrollably while also laughing between hiccoughs, and thinking to myself, “What the hell is wrong with me??!!”. We females have just learned to accept that there are several factors that effect how we feel, and some of us have learned to relegate the importance of “how I feel” about something to the back-burner until further examination can be made. I find anything that can be changed by simply eating a chocolate bar to be too unreliable for comfort. And because I tend to distrust my emotions, I rarely jump into anything like love quickly or completely.  Then, add in that I am an adult survivor of childhood sexual victimization. Trust was already a struggle. Sprinkle in Chef and the way all of this went down, there’s quite a road to travel for me yet, before I’m going to be able truly allow myself to be vulnerable again to any man. Before the guy hurt me, it still took him almost 10 years to gain my complete trust. ..Not that he took very good care of it…

Which leads me to the fact that I have zero experience with men living up to their words. It just doesn’t seem like a good idea for me to launch into another one any time soon.

I have to confess, when Chef first lost his mind, I grieved the loss of a person to share my life with. Somehow, I felt like if my life wasn’t witnessed by a man who adored me, it would be like I didn’t exist at all. I wouldn’t be special or important. Then, he took a nose-dive into crazy, and I was forced to be a witness to my own existence, and though I wouldn’t venture to call myself special or important, I have found that I do, in fact, exist. :-) I like several aspects of my single life. I’ve always been an isolationist, and sometimes, being married to the complete opposite would simply annoy me. I’ve lost some of that passiveness that victims tend to cultivate as a safety mechanism, and I’m much

less afraid of life in general. I know that I can take care of myself. I spend my time cleaning up my own messes these days, and not my partner’s messes. There are a lot less of them to handle anymore… :-)

I’m still very angry at Chef. I’m always surprised that I’m not over it yet, and I’m starting to think that maybe I might always have a tinge of anger when I think about all that has happened. I’m not just angry about what he did to our marriage. I’m angry at what he did to all of his family, his friends, and most of all, his own life. I’m angry. And until that anger is completely understood, and thus, controllable, I don’t want to fall in love again, even with a fairy-tale prince. Anymore, I’m shifting what I identify with in those stories, and these days, I just want to be the mirror on the wall, calling it the way I see it, then fading out of sight. Leave the princes to the princesses. I don’t honestly believe in “happily ever after” anymore. Not here on this earth, anyways. My eternal happiness is in my next life. This one is pretty rough.

While I might have lost some of my youthful naivete, though, I’ve gained a new perspective and admiration for this life, and the people who live in it. Everyone has a story, and that includes me, too. I’ve learned to laugh at some tough stuff, and there’s some hard earned wisdom carved into my heart from all of this. In my opinion, wisdom is more valuable than gold, and I have some now.

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2 Comments

  1. After what you’ve been through this past year + I’m not surprised at going very slow into any relationship… I believe though it can happen in the right timing for you…God’s timing.. always perfect. You have so much to share and so much life and time to enjoy life. And there can be a ‘happily ever after’ ..not a fairy tale kind but joy… There is never a relationship without problems but if it’s the right person you work your way through them together….and I believe you will Catherine.. in your time and with God’s help and direction…. The past can be put in the past….Diane xoxoxo

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