Self-worth and self-trust filtered through betrayal.

A few years ago I was victim to a shitty breakup. It’s taken me a long time to be, more or less, back on my feet. I struggle to consider myself as more than a blight on society. My lack of nine-to-five employment and my lack of automotive ownership make me an easy target, for myself, if no one else. I look lazy, perhaps, to those who don’t know me well. My fear is that I am lazier than I realize. I’m diluted and unreliable.

“Trusting Yourself” was a small chapter in The Courage to Heal when I read it religiously. About three pages, I believe. Now, last I saw, they’d updated and expanded that section. It’s hard to coach someone through trusting themselves because it’s a slow process. Like building trust with a therapist or new partner, it takes time and effort.

My bad breakup left me feeling like I was the least trustworthy person in my life. I’d rolled the dice and lost. It seemed I had poor taste in men after all. I had fucked myself over by betting on love and wild abandon, only to be abandoned. I followed up those feelings by choosing bad roommates and then bad jobs. I got better with partner choices. I also started going much slower with people outside my head.

At the crossroads, I see my choices again before me. No matter the direction, the outcome is of my choosing and therefore, is flawed.

I was replaced in my sister-of-choice’s wedding, according to a picture on social media. In the time it took her to exchange me for a more financially available bridesmaid I was asked to be a photographer at another commitment ceremony. I spent time in therapy discussing my principles concerning marriage and where my values stand in relation to said institution. I have been writing haikus and journal pages about what comes between choosing, engagement, wedding, and marriage. I think the legal status of “wife” would prevent me from being dumped with nothing. I think that making a decision about my long-term adult life based on fear of loss is as smart as having a kid for company through old age.

It was presented to me that one reason to marry is to make a commitment to be together for as long as possible. That sounds obvious. It also sounds cliche and unrealistic.

When James died, about three months ago, I saw his wife survive insane legal nonsense to break even with accounts. If she’d been legally single, she’d have been left without the ability to maintain her life. A life that I know James wanted her to have and enjoy. If I hook my trailer and don’t make it legal, I’m possibly setting myself up for failure.

If I ever were to get married, I fear I’d be a hypocrite for everything I’ve said against marriages. Although, by and large, I think weddings are a way bigger problem than marriages. Although marriage is not an institution I respect, I can see it’s legal benefits. I feel worlds better knowing I can marry either my girl or my boy. (I don’t know how I feel that I’d have to choose, though.) I can also point to a small number of marriages that are happy. Mostly I see divorce, second, third, fourth marriages, and people who just save their money and live together.

The summer before my senior year of high school, Allison and I went to a leadership camp. It was required that we graduate from camp to attend our brother’s graduation from his program later that year. On the first night, we were required to agree to hold all things said in confidence. I refused. I said that I planned to speak freely with my Pastor or my church family about anything I desired. Allison cried, telling me that she didn’t want me to have to leave camp for not making this initial agreement. After discussion with a kind woman whose name I forget, I decided I could consent. I asked her if the other people would believe me, knowing I’d told them all I planned to say whatever I wanted already. She assured me that someone who announces their views so clearly can be trusted when their change their mind.

Standing up to Stephanie was a great thing for me to have done. I’m proud of what I did, however upsetting the results. I have plenty of friends and love from people who don’t require down payments. My allies don’t tell me that if I love them I won’t say no to them. Still, my heart aches without her imagined companionship.

I’d rather have bitter reality, where the tart taste reminds me that I’m a part of the world. It’s a world full of appealing fruit with sour insides and shady trees that won’t filter out sunburns. Nonetheless, until I figure out a working portal gun design, it’s the only world we have. I, for one, plan to stay near the good things and reject the bad, whenever possible.


One thought on “Self-worth and self-trust filtered through betrayal.

  1. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but when James and I married it had nothing to do with any thoughts about future financial security. It was all about our desire to have our futures include the other person in it for as long as possible. We loved each other, but more important, we liked each other. That lasted until the day he died. We could be happy just hanging out together and joking with each other. I always thought it was the worst idea for a woman to marry because people told her she should, or it was time. For us, it was nothing we had to think about very hard. We just knew it was the right thing for us. We were one of the few couples for whom the institution just worked.

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