its been 2 and half years now since i left an abusive relationship.
2 and half years since she beat the crap out of me as some last resort when it was obvious i was finally leaving for good.
she still lives down below in this small valley and now that i’m leaving here i have to admit to myself that i’m really happy to be getting free of this tiny community that she is a huge part of. won’t have to run into her in town or bite my lip when someone goes on and on about how great she is cuz of this or that...or worse yet, have one more person imply that i should get over it and figure out how to get along with her unaccountable ass.
in the aftermath of our separation i refused to consider leaving my home just because she lived in the valley.....i wasn’t going to give her that much power. For months i would cringe everytime the phone rang or a truck came up the road. Instead i’ve stayed and toughed it out up here, determined to get myself back. to trust myself, my decisions....to trust other people.
But even now, i keep everyone at a distance. I’ve lost track of how many people i could have gotten close to, had sex with even...but the reality of them in front of me proved too much to handle....all that flesh and emotion and endless possible hidden agendas...
i had a brief, immediate, overnight sex thing with my mechanics sister last summer and that was fun...until five minutes after we fucked and she began hounding me about sleeping in my bed, which i rarely agree to...only with someone i’m very very comfortable with, and even then its rare. This was a constant struggle with my perp-ex. She was convinced it meant i didn’t really love her. which eventually was the truth, funny how that works. But in reality its about disability and nothing more.
So there i was with this woman in my bed i didn’t know from a hole in the wall getting all up in my sleeping/disability business, pushing my boundaries and although i liked her, i couldn’t get rid of her fast enough.
i’ve tried to convince myself that i’m better off with a drama free life of mucking manure and spinning wool into gold...right? My brain is mostly good with that idea...my body...not so much.
but wait, this wasn’t supposed to be about sex and all that messiness so much as my self concept and the narrative that now follows me in my head wherever i go.
See, i really believe that the real damage done from that 6 year relationship was emotional. The slow but relentless wearing away of my sense of self. Emotional abuse is gravely underrated, and i would say far more common than most people would care to admit.
I feel compelled to write about this after my journey to the title company the other day to close on the sale of my home. Now, an office has never been a comfortable environment for me....all kindsa class and crip stuff comes up right? Like i’m poor and dirty and loud, opinionated and socially chaotic...the great unwashed. And if i think real hard i can remember a time in my life when i didn’t let it get to me, in fact i thought it was a good laugh when uptight folks would get all bent outta shape around me.
Like one time on a plane ride home from san francisco the avon style woman in the seat next to me kept her face buried in a perfume ad in a magazine for the whole flight....i thought the irony was beautiful since there i was wearing a respirator to ward off the toxic, scented hellhole that is a plane ride.
or the time a whole gaggle of suits and ties got up and left their table in a cafe to get away from me....funny stuff.
Only time i feel indestructibly vulnerable these days is on stage... in mid-poem.
but here i was in the very sterile title co. office, nervous and sweaty and keenly aware of how old my clothes are,the stains on my shirt and jeans, the dirt under my nails and on my feet. i didn’t know what to do with myself, my words, my hands....i felt like i was 12 at yet another new school.
I’ve realized that her opinions still haunt me. My once stroppy, confident, piss off self is still buried under an awkward damaged worn down libido. Staying alone on a mountain, scraping pride from poverty hasn’t healed this, just protected me from the hard truth.
“you’re going to wear THAT shirt?”
“why would you say that in front of all those people?”
“have you showered?”
“i’m tired of hearing about class”
“you need new shoes”
“we need to clean you up”
i was her pygmalion fantasy come true.
so i start to wonder if somewhere inside me was indeed a need to be cleaned up...approved of. That, dammit all, despite my best efforts, i had internalized all the classism the world threw at me my whole life. And she was there to feed that need. Empty promises of full kitchen cupboards,daily comfort,horses in the pasture,trips to scotland and dinner parties with cakes and tea.
At a price....of course, and one i could never afford to pay, since it required the demolition of erin.
No surprise when i left her she called me thief and whore. Back to the gutter selling flowers where she found me eh?
This all hit me like a brick when i got home from the title company, surprising since i rarely think of her anymore. But now i’ve crossed the threshold into a new life, i’ll be moving to a new place where she will never be, has never been, where theres no ghost of her throwing things or shutting me out in a snowstorm or kicking my dog cuz i “made her mad”.
so when i got back from closing and i walked into this little house that has held all of this and looked around, then looked at the folder in my hand with all the papers saying Sold Sold Sold ,something snapped and tears rushed up on me and i’m screaming “fuck you fuck you fuck you......”
layers peeling away
you never know what you’ll find beneath scar tissue you’ve come to call skin.