Happily Single on Valentine's Day
Family and friends look at me sideways when I tell them the genre I write in. Here is this former housewife, slightly chubby and quiet to the extreme, that writes erotica- primarily erotica that is very dark. A lot of Huh? looks are tossed my way. I don’t exactly exude sex and torture. It is the control, the boundaries, the rules, that appeal to this girl. I write strong, flawed characters because I am one.
The big day of love begins in a few short hours. Lovers everywhere scramble to show their significant other how much they care or want them. Then there are the singles who feel pressure because they are alone as they sniffle over their cartons of ice cream. I am on the opposite extreme. This realist, who doesn’t have a romantic bone in her body(maybe it bled out of me with my naivete & innocence & my faith) finds the entire premise to be total bullshit. I hear the sighs and whispered Bitter bitchcoming from you all. It’s not that. I’m not bitter at all- cautious. I find it to be phony, fake, a scam that we pull on the ones we are trying to attract. Why not show your lover you love them every day or on a day of little importance?
I will not join my brethren this year. I haven’t for many years, especially when I was a coupled person. I embrace my singledom with a grin on my face. I was thinking today of how much I love my parents. I love the fact that tomorrow night I will be sitting with the two people who love me unconditionally as we do the dorky shit. There is no pretense with us. I have no image to project. We’re going to sit on our asses and watch Shameless or whatever is on the dvr. I may read a book while Mom surfs the net and Dad watches reruns of old westerns- later on I’ll be asked if I want a Popsicle. But we love each other, and I’m okay with this. I will never have to question motives or emotions- their love is infinite.
See… this girl remembers what the pressure felt like. It is a pressure I would do anything in the entire world to avoid.
Today I was reminiscing about Valentine’s Day growing up. I remember the mailboxes we would decorate (loved crafting those ugly creations). You would get cards and over-analyze if a boy liked you. It was sweet and innocent and nice. High School was fun, too. We had these construction paper lips with our names on them that we attached to our shirts. If someone of the opposite sex got you to talk they took your lips. I loved filling my chest with all of those lips. Hahaha, no, *totally shaking my head right now* I wasn’t a player. It took a lot of work earning my lips back, & I am competitive, so I kept the spoils of war. We also had roses. You could buy someone a rose and have them delivered to them throughout the day.
My first real Valentine’s Day should have been a tip-off of how my life was going to progress. Senior year I received a rose, wasn’t my first, but most important. He poofed on me- disappeared- left the school. He was my boyfriend off and on since sixth grade. We were on- on for a very long time. I found out later that he left to arrange a party at his house, one I wasn’t invited to. The rose someone else bought when he bummed the money off of them. It was a distraction so that I didn’t know he was partying without me(not the last time either). I will never forget the look of horror and pity on my English teacher’s face when he overheard this sordid tale…. Hell, if that didn’t start the downward spiral of disrespect that I rode for the next decade and a half, I don’t know what did. Btw, each Valentine’s day was progressively worse after that one.
No, not bitter- realistic. Now I face a new challenge. I don’t know if the unconditional embrace of my parents or the horrors of the past keep me from seeking the attention of the opposite sex. My parents have to love me. They shelter me, feed me, hug me, and tell me they love me. They support me in all that I do. They truly want the best for me. What man could compete with that? They have to love me because they created me and I feel the same way about them. It’s not an umbilical cord sort of issue. I wouldn’t bawl and scream if I moved out. I’d miss the hell out of them, but I’d lived apart from them for 13 years. It’s not the safety of their warm embrace, it’s the imprint of pain on my soul.
I loved someone once, with every fiber of my being. No, I don’t love them now. I harbor no ill will or need to see them, hear from them, speak to them, or even hear their name. I no longer feel the anger or pain when someone mentions their name. I’m proud to say that sometimes I don’t even register that they’re being spoken about. But the memories remain the same. No matter how deep I bury those f*ckers, something triggers them- hence the Valentine’s memory today.
The painful imprint is this. I’ve been thinking of this lately- a lot. When you form a union with someone it is permanent yet not. The first time I broke up with my husband I was blindsided, tossed from my home with the clothes on my back and a bye-bye, don’t come back! I realized the comfort would never be there for me again. The union is false. With one word from him, the life as I knew it crumbled. My home was no longer my home, my nieces and nephews no longer mine. The family I called the other half of my life was no longer mine, either. That family was in my life from the time I was twelve years old. Those kids I knew in utero. Doesn’t matter- they aren’t my blood- I was an invited guest into their family, and the moment he didn’t want me there, I was gone from their lives.
The security was breached. My outlook on life was skewed. I went back, fool that I was. It was the ultimate closure. I was in a home that wasn’t mine, no matter what the deed said. It didn’t matter that I helped pay for the home, cleaned it, refurbished it, or lived in it. It didn’t matter that the items in the home were bought by me or for me as a gift. They were his the moment I vacated, and he didn’t hesitate for a moment to tell me this.
Just try to image this feeling. You’re on your sofa right now, comfy and secure. The sofa you researched online, the sofa you helped pick out at the store, helped arrange when it was delivered, helped pay for, cleaned, and rested on. Now imagine that it’s not really yours at all. It’s theirs. Now imagine this feeling for every item inside and out of your home, and the home itself. And your partner- he/she isn’t yours either. Because a union needs both parties to be in agreement. Imagine being told this day in and day out. Now imagine how you felt when your partner told you he f*cked someone on that sofa… and he told you this as you sat on it, as he wore a sadistic grin of spiteful pleasure.
Now imagine the pleasure you felt as you showed no true reaction- no tears, no screams of outrage, no cracks in your perfectly constructed emotional facade.
This is truth and a euphemism all in one. He f*cked all over my life while I lived it.
When I left for good, it was on my terms. It was my decision. The powerlessness was gone, even in the face of losing everything that I’d called my own from the time I was 18. I promised myself that everything of mine was mine from that moment on. If it was a gift or bought by me, I was gripping onto it with the tips of my fingernails. I know that rightfully that was my home, those were my belongings, but I wanted nothing that was tainted with the imprint of the emotions and memories, or of HIM!
I will never be powerless again. I embrace my parents’ warmth for this reason. It is without demand and expectation. It is endless. They don’t give a shit what I say or do as long as I respect them and myself. I don’t think I can give myself over to another person. It’s like handling a live grenade while they keep the pin. I don’t know if I can be with someone that can physically hurt me from our size difference. At 5’1″, I know they will be bigger than me. I don’t know if I can trust someone who has the mental fortitude to destroy me or the mental capacity to harm my emotions. I’ve already lived through every abuse there is. I’m no victim, but I’m not a stupid shit, either. Na-uh!
I’m not writing this as a horror story or cautionary tale. It is reality. At any given time, your Valentine can just say bye-bye! Poof goes your home, life as you knew it, friends that you believed were yours, and the family you were a part of. Now why the hell would I put myself through that again? I was a fool once. This chick is smart- no repeat offender, here! I hear the rumbles of finding true love and all that bullshit that we surround ourselves with as a false security blanket. Hell, those fabulous parents I speak of, they have been together since they were 14-15, had two kids, and have been married for 39 years this June. I’ve had a great example to follow and I still refuse to buy into the blind faith of another human being.
I just want real! I want someone who shows me every day that I matter. Not tosses me a card out of duty and the next day calls me a bitch and roughs me up. Nothing says I love you like being demeaned to the level of a wild animal. Oh, but here is some fake sentiment!
This chick is happy that she doesn’t have a Valentine to manipulate and twist her emotions. I won’t be sitting with a carton of ice cream woe-is-me-ing into a tissue. I’ll be sitting in my chair grinning at Shameless with my folks- now that is unconditional love at its finest!