To date I have five tattoos. Six if you count the one that I just got covered two hours and forty-nine minutes ago. Covering it is another part of my process of getting back to me. What is it? Wait for it…
My ex’s name. Yeah, I know. We live and we learn. I honestly can’t tell you what possessed me to tattoo the name of a woman that lied and cheated even after being caught on many occasions. Stockholm? Actually, I’m not going to make excuses. It was pure stupidity. I’ve had more than my share of stupid moments in my life. I’m sure, in time, I’ll laugh at this one like all the others.
I actually never understood the name tatting thing. I did convince myself that, ya know, we’d be together forever so, it was okay to permanently alter my body. NOT.
I don’t harbor much regret though because I did what I wanted at the time and now it has been corrected. My tattoo artist Corey was more than I could have bargained for during this process. I had no idea what I wanted to cover her name with because I never thought I would have to. I honestly wasn’t going to because to me it was just another part of my story, a reminder to never make the same mistake twice.
Unfortunately, that was selfish thinking because it was also a reminder to others, in particular, my ex. Just like I can call her on her bullshit, I can call myself on my own. She spent two years of her life with me with another woman’s name on my chest. It wasn’t until I laid on that table in the tattoo shop being painfully pleasured that I realized how this may have affected her. It was a constant reminder for her, too. A reminder that I once loved someone else and committed myself to them. It was the woman that came before her and got to have a life with me. A woman that I shared things with that I had not thought to do with her. Yeah, ouch. I owe her my deepest, most sincere, and most thoughtful apology for my selfishness and procrastination. I could have tried a lot harder to find an artist to get rid of it. So. Much. Harder.
To add insult to injury the name sat under a tattoo that I share--not on purpose-- with my current ex. An Asian love symbol that I got in 2010. She got hers in 2012. Blog for another day. Man, I have so many blogs to write.
So, yeah, I’m usually more careful with myself, my body. I mean, I do have my moments where I can be reckless and getting an ex’s name tattooed was one. I’m sure I said yolo (you only live once) like I do when I’m about to make a ridiculous decision and made used that one word to excuse my behavior. Now I feel that I have elevated and corrected a mistake. I’ve always wanted everything on my body to mean something. Her name was nothing more than the first woman I legally committed myself to. That wasn’t and isn't enough in comparison to the Asian symbols love and pain on my shoulders--you can’t have one without the other. It wasn’t enough in comparison to the custom infinity symbol on my wrist, the reminder that all real things are forever--love and friendship. It wasn’t enough in comparison to the butterfly on my back with my initial in the middle; an ugly thing that evolves into something beautiful with patience and time. Sometimes, even I forget that the way I want to live is drawn right here on my body for me to carry everywhere that I go.
I welcome this new addition wrapped around the love on my shoulder. The vines and the lotus flower. It may be my best one yet. Vines are not just decoration. They represent connection, friendship, strength, and determination. They wind their way through life growing in the most inhospitable places. It will wiggle its way through anything to get the things it needs in order to survive. It’s the will to live, to thrive. Vines are sun-seekers. They are security, because they cling to structures, anchoring themselves, committing. They are me.
And the Lotus? Where do I begin with it’s beauty: fertility, honesty, grace, prosperity, knowledge, preservation, and serenity. I swear every time I hear it’s name I start singing Wale’s Lotus Flower Bomb. Simple, catchy lyrics to most. The man is pure genius. Have a listen for yourself.
The Lotus grows from the bottom of streams and muddy ponds to rise above water and bloom. The petals bloom one-by-one. At night it closes and sinks below the water. It repeats this action of rising, basking, and sinking. Untouched, fully grounded in earth, yet aspiring toward the divine.
It lives in water, but remains unsoiled.
“Never ignore your partner. It is extremely hurtful to be treated like you don’t exist by someone who is supposed to love you.” -relationship boosters
I told y’all that I’m dead ass serious about my growth. This means that I have to get real with myself about shit that I wouldn’t want to hear from someone else. I’m focused on one thing in particular right now, because it’s toxic as fuck and I have to find a way to be better. I’m sure a lot of you do this too, so let’s just be in this together.
I have the game on lock when it comes to silence. If being good at it isn’t bad enough, I do it comfortably. While other people panic and feel tightness in their chest, I can go days, even weeks without uttering a single word. It’s a power move, because as long as I control the communication, I control the situation. I get the first and last say.
I learned this as a child. I learned a lot of my toxic behaviors as a child because they were practiced in my home. On me. I can remember my mother coming down on me hard about a thing, anything and then she’d sit in her room and wouldn’t say a single word to me, even if she were the one in the wrong. She was never wrong. If I tried to talk to her, she’d flat out say not to say shit to her. Her tone scared me enough to make me shiut down and go to my room where I didn’t even have the desire to play or watch television. It makes me sad to know and realize that I was raised partially on love, but mostly on survival.
In my mind, silence is survival. If nothing is said, nothing more can happen. Good or bad.
Communication was always started with something that needed to be done. She asked me if I wanted to eat or tell me to take a bath. She would never talk about her behavior or the silence. Now I’ve carried it with me for 32 years. Thirty-fucking-two. I don’t actually think this was something I talked about in therapy. I need to. Note to self.
This silence has existed in every single relationship that I’ve had and I’m realizing that I took the powers of my partners away. I also put them in a position to have to constantly walk on eggshells, because they don’t want to trigger me to a point that I shut down and we’re back in a circle of nothing. Progress can’t be made in silence. Also, it’s emotional abuse. Sitting here realizing that I emotionally abused anyone is a hard ass fucking pill to swallow. I left others to linger and wonder in my silence, to assume or play with worse case scenarios.
Silence is a terrible defense. In fight or flight, I don’t want to be flight anymore. I want to be able to say this is my problem and talk about it. I want open communication with anyone that I cross. Crazy thing is that I’m not afraid of confrontation. I’m not a fan of it, but I don’t shy away from disagreements unless I’m in harm’s way. I just haven’t learned to be okay with being wrong in debates. A little, but not enough to not pack my bags when shit gets too hard for me, which is another toxic thing I need to unpack--no pun intended.
Sometimes I’ve even had the nerve to get mad when my partners no longer wanted to communicate. I hadn’t realized that I created that barrier. Who wants to confide in someone that will shut down at one wrong phrase? Nobody.
At the same time, my silence has another side. A side that is afraid of the other person's reaction if I say the wrong thing. Another awful piece of a toxic puzzle from my childhood. My mother had the worst temper and mouth. She got better as I got older, but it didn’t matter anymore. The damage had already been done. I’d already been a bitch, unwanted, and so many other things that made me feel less than nothing. I can remember being punched and called a bitch for almost stepping on a cake placed under my feet in the back seat. I had to be maybe three or four-years-old.
Words were a simple and difficult thing in my household. I believe it’s the reason I write, because I can control them.
I can tell you one thing though, at this age my throat chakra is more open than ever. Thanks to therapy and meditation I’ve been able to tell both of my parents about their ain’t shitness and move forward. Now I have to turn it on me, because sometimes I haven’t been shit. I’m checking myself, calling myself on my bullshit, because I can be better. You can’t teach old dogs new tricks is a saying for the lazy and unambitious. My mind transcends that way of thinking, because I believe in continuous growth. I want to evolve until I die.
In this I hope to choose for myself someone that understands that I need to talk and I need them to talk back. I want healthy boundaries for communication: no yelling, no cussing, no walking away. But even in walking away I need to be able to say that I just need a moment, because we are allowed a moment to adjust our thoughts to avoid saying things we may regret.
Unity over distance.
There is no real practice to stopping silent treatment, other than just saying what you feel. Think it, say it. Say it with love. And if that advice doesn’t help, let the words GROW UP hit you.
“Love is energy : it can neither be created nor destroyed. It just is and always will be, giving meaning to life and direction to goodness.” -Bryce Courtney
Closure isn’t real,
Sometimes it’s necessary.
I’m breaking my strict sleep schedule to write this because I don’t want to forget.
I’ve been angry. My last relationship was the most intense connection that I’ve ever experienced in my life. This break up is much harder than separating from my wife. All I had was things with my wife, with this other woman I had memories. I have the reminder of our first date walking on train tracks and the beach. We ate good food and had great drinks. We saw a movie--Suicide Squad-- and shared skittles and our second kiss. My mind goes back there each time I get to the end, because the question is how did we get here, to silence?
It’s the details.
I can still feel her even though there are miles between us. If you have been keeping up then you read my previous blog where I expressed exactly how I felt about the entire situation and how it ended.
I retreated into myself and took time to reflect on the details because it seems that in the end there’s always more. I focused on the bad to keep myself angry because grief is more than I could stand to bear at that moment. I did cry here or there, but I needed to fight a total breakdown. I had to work and be present for myself. I’m also not afraid to cry no matter where I am, so I did just to deal. What better way to stop grief other than to just be mad? I understand fully what anger is (another blog), which is why I know how to use it to my advantage. It has been my blocker. In realizing this a few days ago--Tuesday night--I also realized that it was blocking a part of my healing. That would make me a hypocrite in fully wanting to get back to me. There are no “buts” on the path to your higher self.
Get it done. You have to feel every feeling all the way through to the other side.
I knew that I had more to say but I was okay with the silence between us. I was okay with the silence because I didn’t want to deal with another blow up. Cruelty is hard from the person you once loved more than anything. It’s even worse when you have to use the same tactic to defend yourself against the one you once viewed as your protector. My daddy issues are clearly shining through (another blog).
I’d found this peace within myself that satisfied me enough not to have to speak another word to her, because like I said, closure isn’t real. In my experience closure had been used as an excuse to keep in touch, to hold on. The moment I hear the word closer, I feel mocked. What is it that you need closed? To me, all they want to know is if you are suffering without them. Yes, the answer is always yes, unless you dealt with a sociopath. Why do you need confirmation that I miss the good things?
The universe always has a funny joke to tell. I was minding my business, singing loudly to Kelly Rowland’s #1 in the shower at my highest peak of happiness in awhile, when my Pandora was interrupted. At first, I thought it was Said Lover calling to check in because she had been dancing in the mountains so we hadn’t had time to talk. We literally sit on the phone all day, even when I’m at work. I will not talk about her in this blog. No, I won’t.
In the midst of steam and soap I didn’t get the chance to check the caller ID. I picked up and it was Said Ex-lover calling with her number blocked. In case you didn’t know, it’s the only way a blocked caller can get through. It seems even iPhone hasn’t found the technology to keep unknown numbers from being able to contact you. Still wondering why I left team Android. The only difference is a damn camera. Okay, maybe a few apps, too. Anyways, my guard was up for a split second and annoyance took over to ask, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?”
She wanted to talk. She’s been wanting to talk.
I didn’t have much time to decide if I wanted to have a conversation so I told her I would call her back after my shower in about ten minutes. I honestly did not know what I felt in that moment. As I stood with one foot out of the shower and one foot in, I wondered if I should honor what I’d said about calling her back. I shook off whatever it was that I was feeling and continued to wash my body. I told myself not to call back because there was nothing else to be said. Then I asked myself if it was the stubborn part of me talking, the part of me that finds it hard to forgive and move forward. The part of me that I’m currently trying to heal because forgiveness is for yourself. As cliché as this sounds it’s true when you experience it for yourself. I have a lot of people that I need to forgive, starting with myself. So again, here I was going against the definition of insanity. In this season of transformation, I HAVE to be different.
I did as I said that I would and I called Said Ex-lover back. I’m glad that I did. Not only were there things that needed to be said but things that needed to be unsaid. The words ‘I’m sorry’ don’t carry much weight in my life but you don’t realize how important they are until you don’t hear them. We both had things that we needed to apologize for: the details that led to the disaster… actually I won’t use the word disaster because I’ve dealt with worse. She had flaws, as did I, but she was not the worst even with her temper. She only threw my clothes outside and choked me. My ex before that dislocated my shoulder, so yeah, not the worst.
Before this conversation, the air around me felt stiff. I was still moving forward. I could feel my process, my changes, my endings, and beginnings. The breaking of my bones to become a werewolf (team Jacob). But still, I could feel the lingering of the silence filled with pink elephants between us. We are so in sync that it’s annoying. I can tell you every day that she was fine and every night that she was suffering. This week was a rough one. From Tuesday to Sunday morning. I swear to you on Thursday night I woke up from my not-so-good sleep and yelled for her to just rest. Find a way. PLEASE.
Prior to that, on Tuesday night, I’d played, the voicemail that she’d left on repeat. I felt I needed to listen to it with my walls down. It was a stupid voicemail to me, but she posed an important question.
“Was this real?”
With three years of history, romantic and not, I’ve been convincing myself that it couldn’t have been. Even with the proof of pictures and so many other things haunting me, it just wasn’t. I’ve been trying to erase her, but I have not been successful. Here is what I know. I’m not sad or angry. I’m okay sleeping without her, nor do I need to hear her voice anymore. It’s nice, but not necessary. I also don't need to try so hard to erase her. It’s okay to honor what we had and keep the parts of it that worked. The lesson is in the parts that failed and we are both learning them twice over. The communication and the expectation-that I just learned she felt she needed to live up to-are what destroyed our shaky union.
Yes, all of the things that I mentioned in my Divorce and a Breakup blog are true, but at the same time there was so much good and so much progress. The love story is in the times that she reached for my hand while driving or giving me the aux cord to play whatever my heart and ears desired. It’s in her hugs and forehead kisses. It’s in her cuddles, in the fact that I was the smaller one, but I was allowed to be the big spoon when she needed me to and she fit. It’s in the fact that she didn’t mind sleeping naked with me. It’s in the fact that I never had to take out the trash or wash a dish because she saw me as her equal and not her maid. If I cooked, she cleaned.
I think we both tried too hard to find balance in love, work, friends, family, and social media, instead of just being happy in our little corner of the world. I wanted her to care about details. She wanted me to focus on the bigger picture. Our wants didn’t come with the patience, communication, or action needed to show one another what we meant. We had different lives and came from different places and experiences. Whether we wanted to or not, we both needed to be open to teach and learn. I think we were to an extent. It was like paying attention in class, but not doing the homework. Everybody hates homework, but it’s a necessary evil. It’s practice. And practice makes perfect.
So... closure. Still, not a real thing, but a “final” conversation to clear the air and simply say this is where I fucked up, but I have no regrets is okay. It’s okay to hear and understand that some things may not be meant to be. It’s nice to hear that even though it didn’t seem like it, the other person cared more than you could ever know. I will take the title narcissist away from her. I do still believe she is a bit full of herself, but who isn’t.
What we had needed to die in order to be reborn into something new. The people that we were needed to die. Closure is death.
It was real. All of it.
“Are you scared?”
That’s the question Said Lover asked me last night as I hovered over the email with my new lease. The cost, the rules, the deposits, all lead me to a small moment of anxiety.
Yes and no.
That’s how I felt looking at the commitment that I’ll be making for a year. Alone for the first time since June of 2014. I still had time to change my mind, to run. Every time that I want to do the easy thing, I can hear my sister’s voice in my head telling me that it’s what I always do. I had to stop being the definition of insanity, so here I am doing the exact opposite of everything that I usually do.
I signed this morning.
Don’t get me wrong, I have lived alone before, but I don’t remember what it feels like. I keep anticipating that first day of silence when I walk through the door and say hello and no one is there, but me. It’ll be like my last relationship, I guess. Shade. All Shade.
My work wife was going to be the one to help me move in, but she just told me not even an hour ago that she’ll be in Mexico so I’m on my own, but that’s okay. I just want to sit in my space with myself and envision where I want to put my bed and nightstand. I think I want a lamp, too. White and rose gold are the colors I’ve chosen for myself, because I’ll have to do the work to keep them fresh and clean. I’m giving myself a task. I also want a cute little high table with two chairs for me and my boo to sit and eat breakfast after a long night of talking and connecting while she’s in town. You’re damn right I’m including her in this, because I like her in my space. She’s invited. Anybody that can hold me all night without moving and kiss me in the morning is deserving of unlimited invites and breakfast. I should be looking at flights right now.
Anyways, aside from that, she also understands that I need this moment in silence to cry, to scream, to feel, and to create through it all. We want each other at 100% and that’s going to take some isolating. This is what it means to be worth the wait. How do I keep getting back here? This is about me, dammit.
I want to remember who I was before I was a married woman, then a girlfriend. One of my favorite movies is runaway bride with Julia Roberts. She attempted marriage three times and all three times, she ran right before she got to the altar. She dated these men and liked all the things that they liked. They had no idea who she was and she realized it right before “I do.” The journalist that discovered her story interviewed these men and asked them all a simple question.
How did she like her eggs?
It was whatever they liked.
I want to shed the likes of all of my past lovers and pull to the surface only what I want and need. This is fitting since I just recently identified my spirit guide as a snake. Still waiting to learn her name. I can go back to the age of eighteen when I was entangled with an Aquarius. She’d spend her last dollar on a Dr. Pepper. I STIILL go to Subway and get my chicken, bacon ranch made the exact way that she had it done for me once. It was the way that she liked it. Then there was the Pisces that loved crawfish and dick on the low (different blog). I didn’t like crawfish much and hated peeling them even more, so she would peel them for me. I haven’t eaten them and years and I don’t even miss it. She also liked me with blonde hair, now I refuse to wear it. My own mother has always been a fan of white gold and as a result she pushed that like off on my sister and me.
I’m going to sit with all of this and I’m going to dig. Lover by lover, friend by friend, and family. What does Christiana like and love? I have 15 days then on December 1st I will be truly isolated and I’m excited. I’m excited because I wasn’t sure that it would happen, because initially they wanted rental verification from the last two places that I lived. The last place was a breeze, but the one before that I still legally share with my ex because the b-word has not signed the roommate release. I’m not sure who to blame for that, her or the leasing office. Either way, my new management team let it slide and I’m grateful. I don’t even have the time to be mad or bothered by childishness or neglect, whatever the case may be.
I am free.
Free to dance naked, to sleep as long as I like, to lie diagonal across the bed, play my music loud, to come or to go. I’m going to make it my own again with pictures of the people that I love and admire all over my walls.
Forward never backwards.