I appreciate therapy more as I go without it for spells. I have boiled down my time to fit weeks, sometimes months, of info into 90 minutes or less. A key question Kimberley asked me a few months ago that I’m using as a goalpost for 2017 is “where is your self-worth?” At the time, it was not where it should have been. I was letting myself be traded for my livelihood, something I’ve been re-enforcing through my life, consciously and otherwise. It reaffirms the base lessons that the incest seared into my brain. I had accepted myself as disabled, but aside from getting enough insurance to take antidepressants, I was nowhere. Depression thickened like my apartment air. My partners could not reach me, and I may not have been available for comment, anyway. So, I left Matt. I moved in with Niki.
Niki lived with her dad, Brian. He has MS and a genetic stubbornness problem. Niki had a house, a dependent parent, a full-time job, two untrained dogs who didn’t understand how to use a dog door, and no extra time. I had time in abundance, between nightmares and the pieces I lost. If I could help at night, I could help. I moved in and started helping.
I have the good fortune to be “out” in most all of my life. Many people do not. I hope I never cross a line that makes someone feel “outed” without their consent.
We hide our truths in the intimate places between people. There were nights when I held Niki because I couldn’t find anything else in the waking world, and she kept me tethered, giving me a place to be, even if I couldn’t be. I loved her. We had a beautiful dynamic.
We had a beautiful dynamic when we were at our best. Living together changes things. Adding family and money changes things. Our lives did not sync together magically. I did not unpack for a while. And before the end, I had started to pack again. My place felt awkward, uninvited and unearned. My experience is tainted by myself. I did not know how to live with a father figure, let alone one that was in the house 24-7. Brian is wheelchair bound. The company, I thought, would be good for both of us. His depression was obvious and understandable; something I shared for different reasons. The house was where Niki had grown up. Parts of it had not been cleaned since around then. Again, with the time constraints and physical issues, it all made sense. Here was something I could help for the better. A concrete way to enrich my girl’s life, the life of those she loves, to help her have a place for her nephew and friends to visit.
I am not a selfless person. I was provided for by money I did not earn. I am not an idle person. I contributed how and when I could.
In relationships, our layers bud and bloom and bud again, like jasmine overnight. I didn’t see things clearly until I was closer. Neither did she.
I’ve been explaining it to vanilla people with the phrase “she cheated on me,” but it isn’t that simple. (Is it ever?) At the core of the betrayal was miscommunication, and lack of communication, and mistakes. Niki disappointed me. People do that. I am sure I’ve disappointed her as well, and/or any number of other people. We wanted to work through it. We tried. For months, we tried.
It didn’t work. For numerous reasons that are private and public, it did not work.
She asked me to leave her house. I told her I was breaking up with her. I got some of my stuff and moved into Matt’s guest room. The very place I’d left because I’d been taken for granted. Over the time I’d lived at Niki’s, Matt had come to appreciate what I did for him when we had lived together. Things had changed in how he treated me, and the time he spent with me. We were talking differently; talking alone was a big step. Still, Matt did not invite me to live with him. I imposed on someone who has my furniture. The place I’d been ejected from was a place where I was invited to not be taken for granted, and yet that is exactly what happened. My forgiveness was not recognized because it didn’t come alongside my cunt. The promises of “my home too” from my now-ex were null and void. I hesitate to say they were not accurate when they were stated, but it was a temporary condition. Of course, she would stay in her childhood home with her father and I would leave. Nonetheless, it hurt.
She got ugly with it. Her friends told me they were getting different stories from both of us, so I don’t know what she told people. I know she posted about our breakup on social media and then blocked a number of people who thought of her as a friend because I was notified by those people. Her dad unfriended me on social media, which surprisingly, hurt. He doesn’t even know the story, I tell myself, even now. He can’t because it would require Niki to be open and honest with herself, and then another person. I hope she can get there one day, for her own sake. People do what they think is best given the pieces they have to work with. Brian will always side with his daughter. I know how much he loves that girl, even if she doesn’t get it.
I made it down south, to my boy. I’ve been soaking in the love he lays out for me. He kissed me on New Year’s Eve at Tina’s party. The way he is so purely good scares me half to death. I think of other good men-Ryan Gaston-who have offered me so much, and I ran the other direction. I want to be near my boy. He’s so good for me. I can keep pushing the idea that I am not good enough for him to the back of my mind.
The cat comes inside, meowing. I pick her up and she purrs against my palm. I think suddenly, “I hate Niki”. It catches me off guard. I sound venomous in my mind. I’m livid. I cannot believe she would betray me this way, so many ways, and be so fucking cavalier about it. I am beside myself with rage that I cannot tell everyone exactly what happened, damn her insecurities, and if she’s ashamed of what she does, maybe she shouldn’t fucking do it in the first place. I find myself on the floor, the cat licking my tears. I’m stricken with the loss of new friends and family, the kind we were both developing for each other. The hours and hours of my time, planning and working and being all but exploited. I am so mad I can’t see straight. I’m glad I don’t have to see her, because I wonder if the urge to harm her would be strong enough that I’d need to leave the room. Mostly, the lies are what lingers. Like barbs from tracker jackers that I missed after the initial attack. Her telling me that the time I made for her nightly meant something-well, that’s probably a lie, because she told DaddyWhatsHisName that she wanted that from someone. Implying she did not get it from someone.
She didn’t even use my name. I didn’t have the worth to be named between the lunches I made her, the times I cleaned or painted or repaired her house, or helped her father. And the asshole who went along with her didn’t think that “Mistress” meant anything, apparently, because he never said a goddamn word.
I have to get out of this wheel house.
My new phone is in process and Jared is spending every waking minute working to make me feel empowered as a person. I will never be good enough to deserve that man. I am totally going to try and lock him down anyway.
I’ll be going back to Colorado in February. Most of my belongings are there, scattered throughout the homes of those cursed to have seen me naked. I’ve left Niki and ended romantic/kinky/sexy ties with Matt. As I stand on the porch in the humid south, I am still looking northward, just past the lit-up star, where a flower stands. I’m going to go back and tend that bloom as long as I can. Now I’ll have the time and energy that she deserves.
I don’t think I can be with someone who can’t be without me. My partners have to be strong enough to stand on their own. I need people that can grow their own roots and tend themselves now and again. Strong, tall, blossoms, with yellow kisses from the sun.
Depending on weather and scheduling, I’ll be back in the Parish for Mardi Gras. Ideally for Baccus. Chalmette will be my home base, officially.
I’m allowed to be happy. I’m allowed to have good things. I’m a good person, dammit, and if people don’t agree, I hope they remove me from their lives. I’ll heal. I’m really good at healing. However, finding another Brittany is hard to do.