Saturday, October 22, 2011
Exorcising My Ex-Boyfriend
Over the years, I've written many times about my Chicago Ex and how I regret things that happened after we broke up. I said bad things. I wrote really mean emails. I lashed out from the pain in ways I wouldn't entirely call "mature." I didn't do anything wackadoo, I just did what I do best: I used my words. Like big, sharp, horrifying knives. I was a total b*tch.
Yes, this behavior is "normal" when your heart is broken. I've heard stories from my girlfriends that were far worse. But somehow, I internalized that I was a bad person -- that I was so evil and wrong that he would never want to speak to me again. That if he saw me, he'd turn away. That I meant nothing to him now, and it was somehow all my fault.
Once, when Marshall and I got into a big fight, he said, "Now I know why your ex-boyfriend doesn't speak to you." I'd told him that once, and he used it against me. Out of all of the evil things Marshall and I pitched back and forth at each other, that one hurt the most. It went straight to my Shame Monster button and pushed on it. Hard. It's true. I'm horrible. I drive people away.
I've been planning to go see Sea Wee forEVER. We've been talking for a long time about planning a trip. In fact, I was going to go see her sometime in March, but it didn't work out. My plans kept getting kicked back because of my heavy work schedule. So it was with perfect timing that I could go see her this weekend. And, my ex-boyfriend's band was playing a show in town that night. Should we go? Yes. Let's go. Let's tackle this Shame Monster head f*cking ON.
My mission was simple. Go, see him, say hi, and leave. I had no hidden agenda. I didn't feel the need to speak my mind about anything from our past. That is all water under the bridge. I just wanted to see him. Easy, quick, harmless. A few of my loved ones worried that I would get hurt again. I knew I wouldn't. It's impossible for him to hurt me now. That is far in the past. Like any other human being, he could annoy me, confuse me, or be a d*ck or something, but hurt? No. I wasn't worried about that.
In all honesty, it really had nothing to do with him per se. It had to do with me -- me getting it out of my head that I was a terrible person. Forgiving myself for how I reacted after we broke up. Shaking that devil off my back. I wanted to be FREE from the regrets and guilt I have about our ending. We had many years of friendship and love together that were wonderful. I wanted to be able to remember those days now without being overpowered by the shame from that little tiny part at the end. It was time to move on. Gain closure. Heal.
So we went to the show, saw the band, saw the ex, talked to the band members, and nothing happened. It was fine. He didn't run away from me or avoid me or be a d*ck or any of those things. And the band members? Totally nice. I was convinced all of them hated me, too. Nope. All of the fictions I've created in my mind all these years were just that -- fictions I created with that creative writer brain of mine. We had a nice talk, caught up about friends and family, and it felt natural, warm, and friendly. Sea Wee was the perfect friend to go with. She knew all of our history, so she was a good judge about whether or not it was weird. The verdict? No. It was fine. For reals. Thank GAWD.
So now? I get to go on with my life free from this terrible burden I've been carrying for 5 long years. I have no idea when I'll see him again. After he played, Sea Wee and I left. I gave him a quick hug and told him I was leaving. No phone numbers, no email addresses -- I just left. It was enough.
Today, I drove back home so I can keep working on this crazy schedule. I listened to music, cozied up in my seat, and felt relief. The drive was a good time to reflect on many things. I've wasted so much time and energy on this shame from my past. I can let it go. I can stand tall and proud. I am not a horrible person. I said horrible things that I didn't mean, but I can let go of that now.
I looked my fear right in the eyes and saw that it's true -- he doesn't hate me. With time and distance, he's forgiven me. And I finally forgive myself, too.