“You people always hold onto old identities, old faces and masks, long after they’ve served their purpose.
But you’ve got to learn to throw things away eventually.” -Death (Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman)
It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m feeling a tad introspective. I’ve thought a lot about the last year and the way things changed. Twenty days into this year I faced a truth I had been avoiding for a very long time, it forced me to leave my entire life and try and start over alone and very afraid. I made mistakes, a lot of mistakes. I found and lost someone I thought was a true friend, I faced the sad truth that a person I loved and cared about did not see me as anything more than a convenience and an object to be used. I looked at myself and realized I was becoming a person I didn’t like. I took all the pain I had been through and turned it inward, allowing myself to become cynical and bitter. I stopped hoping and became content to be used and hurt. I felt that was all I deserved.
At my absolute lowest point, crying on the floor of a former friend’s bathroom I realized I needed a change. I realized that despite how much I was hurt hurting myself more was never going to be the answer. I was holding onto that pain like a security blanket because I was comfortable being in pain. When I left that former friend’s house I wandered right into the person who showed me I don’t need that pain anymore.
When Ben and I first started dating I was asked what I liked about him. I couldn’t quite explain what it was so I said he makes me feel good. That was both correct and an understatement. He makes me feel good, positive, happy. He takes my insanity in stride and calmly tells me when I’m being a crazy person. He’s the only person who has flat out, point blank told me to stop allowing myself to be a victim, stop victimizing myself. My initial reaction to that was a flash of anger, I worked hard NOT to be a victim, I ignored my pain, ignored the trauma, I was stronger than that. Who was he to tell me I was a victim? For once I kept my mouth shut and thought about what he said.
He was right.
As much as I wanted to not be a victim I turned myself into one. I let myself be used and abused and hurt. Hearing that was like a shock, being slapped in the face by my own hand. I cried a lot when I realized that despite my internal mantra of “I am NOT a victim” I was. I had been through relationship after relationship where I was abused either physically, emotionally or in one case, both. I had gotten to the point that I was uncomfortable with relationships that didn’t center around me being hurt. Ben called me out on that, told me I needed to stop that because he wasn’t going to hurt me and I needed to accept that.
Letting go of feeling like I deserve to be hurt hasn’t been easy. I look back on the people I loved and when I objectively look at those relationships I see they were all full of pain. I don’t like admitting I failed horribly, but I did. I did exactly what I said I never would, I let someone else dominate me and hurt me. I’ve always said I want a partnership in a relationship, I want an equal, a friend. I never had that until I met Ben.
I was so used to dysfunctional relationships I was terrified of one that actually might work so initially I ran away. I’m glad I turned around and when I did he was still there. This year has been a year of letting go, of moving on and of starting over. I have always hated change, I’m not good at it but I don’t think anyone really is. This time though, I’m happy for the change, glad I had the courage to see it through. I look back at this year and I’m so glad it’s over. I’m glad I’m starting 2012 in a happy place.