The Truth As I Know It

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Ernest Hemingway once said, “Write loud and clear about the things that hurt” Well, darling, you have hurt me more than I ever dreamt possible, so this one’s for you. You have taken everything good and pure about our relationship and blackened it with shame, with deceit, with twisted delusions. So lets talk about it, now that my head is truly clear and I am not in denial by the betrayal of it all, lets talk about it.

“I appreciate all that you share with me”

How many times have you told me you have been to the doctor in the past three months? You, personally, not your mom, not your brother, just you. More times than I can count on my fingers and toes for varying reasons. How many times have you gone overboard on medical prognoses? Like the first time being the night I was upset that you missed my call while traveling abroad; how convenient. You do know that its quite easy to google pretreatment plans and funny, you don’t just go into the ER hours after eating to have a scope put down your throat, theres actually prep involved. But dare I mention that I had the audacity to look that up when I just had a gut feeling about something so left field at the time? Of course, it wasn’t until later that I found out that a second endoscopy wouldn’t have taken place. So by the time I heard the diagnosis of cancer mere minutes after feeling threatened by the truth, I knew the truth, that every gut feeling I ever had was right; that you were a liar. I think your brother put it best, “a pathological liar.”

“You are the complete package of best friend, sex goddess, and companion. I love you Melissa”

Before the doctor, it was your mom you used as your deflection. The lengths you would go to, sending me pictures of her on the sofa or pictures of your time spent at her house, allowing me to believe that you were this amazing son, who bared the sole responsibility of her needs/wants, who was there for her and her alone. Misleading me to believe that you were always grocery shopping for her multiple times a week, going to her home to spend quality time with her alone, going to her home to care for her, going to her home to do improvements and be the leading man in your mom’s life. I was adorned by the fact that you weren’t just her sole caregiver, but how you humbly took responsibility for all of her financial affairs too, how gracious and kind you were to take on the weight of the world as you put it. What you failed to mention, though was it wasn’t just her you were there for, it was your ex wife and her child too that you cared for, that live in her basement, that you called her your partner. Ah yes, that little factor, changes the image from day to night doesn’t it? Funny how that tiny detail, a detail your brother later tried warning me of your ongoing relationship with her, completely changes the dynamics for why you would be over there so much, so frequently, why you would pay all of the household bills, why you would buy appliances and electronics, why you would be the leading man.

“I have never been happier and its because of you too and what we have as far as honesty and trust that makes me love you the way I do.”

But you knew how deceitful that lie was which is why by the time I confronted you on it, you vehemently denied it. For even if you could lie your way out of being in a romantic relation with your ex wife, you knew the image you painted could no longer hold the glow it did. We were suppose to have a relationship built on transparent honesty; you knew how much I detested lies, you knew right then and there I would have been done. So when a friend overheard your family talking in your restaurant, I asked you. But only because you pulled it out of me, I told you it wasn’t worth talking about because I trusted you, I told you that I wanted to process it. What did you do, you bid my worries away. You told me that she use to live with your mom last year, but now rents from one of your moms other rental properties. You told me that she was merely a tenant that occasionally reached out when unable to speak to your mother regarding landlord issues. You told me I was the only person you were in a relationship with. It didn’t make sense, even then, that you wouldn’t at least have some basic form of friendship with her, so when it became clear to you I wasn’t buying what you were selling, the derailment went further.

“Baby, I am exclusively seeing, involved with, and talking to you.”

You laid it on so thick, how your marriage ended with her getting pregnant by another man during your legal separation, how it made your final dismissal easy for you. You made me believe that it was her who wanted an open relationship during your marriage, how she wanted more than you could give her due to your work constraints, so giving her an open relationship was ultimately the sacrifice of your heart, where you bared your soul for her wants. In all your claims of innocence, I felt badly for you, I actually ached for you, but you knew that didn’t you? But stopping there wasn’t enough. You validated the child wasn’t yours, that you never wanted kids, how incredibly difficult it was for you to even accept her daughter in the beginning. You painted yourself the hero who stepped up against his wants, when the father later had an operation, leaving you to be the only father figure her daughter would have. Laying on the thick foundation for your saving grace but carefully affirming that was long ago, that you two no longer were anything but the occasional call for landlord Q&A’s. Looking back, it seems so difficult to believe, but in the moment, it was your soothing voice I heard, it was you I trusted, it was you I felt badly for. You preyed on my trust and manipulated my love for you. Your wants were all that mattered, your needs; you don’t tell someone they are safe in your hands and then use those very hands to betray them, only a narcissist would do that.

“An open relationship is like saying you aren’t enough for that person and it sucks. It’s a sh*tty feeling and then living with it is really hard when you just swallow how much it hurts. “

So lets fast forward three weeks later, when your brother reaches out to me wanting validation you and I are together. Reiterating the same story I heard verbatim about you being with your ex wife intimately, about her living with your mother, with a slightly new twist about you lying to your family about being with me. Wrath became you, though looking back I can’t quite tell if its because your brother thought more of me than you, to at least provide to me snippets of truth, or if it was that you felt threatened you were going to lose the lie that you worked so hard to keep. You made me believe that he was only trying to hurt you, that he didn’t want you to be happy with me. You made me feel like a further pawn in this twisted game of lies, but this time, you put the blame on him. Do you even remember how badly you made me feel that your brother was making you choose between him or me? That you choose me over your family without question? I was ready to end it then, but you convinced me that I was what you wanted, that your brother was only trying to hurt you, that you were not going to let anyone else’s opinions of me dictate the love you had for me.

“Baby, you are the very best thing that has happened to me in so long. You make my life so much better and I adore getting to be apart of yours”

But I wasn’t convinced, it didn’t make sense, after all you had been adamant from the beginning that your brother was okay with you being with me. How many times did you tell me that you had spoke to your family about me in normal conversation at that point? A dozen? To say the least. So instead, you played on my heart. You made me feel badly for even questioning you. Reminding me of how your last girlfriend never trusted you, reminding me of the history of emotional abuse from her “misguided” trust in you. Of how she was the reason that you and your brother had issues in your past. Tears flooded your face as your words broke my heart and I suddenly felt terrible for causing you such pain from mistrust, guilty even for questioning you due to the history of abuse you told of your only other relationship post divorce. Such an easy way for you to no longer have to validate or answer questions surrounding the subject matter; quite clever and manipulative I must admit. You must have known at some point the truth would come out, how could you ever justify such illicit deceit? I had every right in the world to be disgusted with you and instead you berated me, you manipulated the trust I had in you and completely twisted my love into sympathy for you. Do you understand the costs I have paid to live in your lies? Can you comprehend what this level of guile deception and manipulation does to a person?

“I am absolutely smitten with everything about you. You are absolutely amazing in every way I can think of and more. You are everything and the complete package for me.”

Of course there were countless hints along the way, different things that made me question you, but never mind the health of my sanity, you kept throwing it around like it was a personal game to you, all so you could keep up your facade. By then though, your family had already been made aware of your relationship with me, so what kind of narcissistic lie did you tell them to get out of the rabbit hole you buried yourself in? I’d love to know, truly, I think I deserve to know what your family really thinks of me since all you have seemed to do is lie to me. You know what my family thought of you, you charmed them with your sly pretenses. You went as far as to create a second Hulu and Netflix account after seeing a profile for ex wife’s name as a profile user early on, an account that oddly only ever got used when I was at your condo, or when logged in at my loft. Funny how when you looked at the continuation of shows selected, it was never further than Season 1, episode 3 on all shows. You went so far as to create the same icons for you and your mom’s profile users. What kind of person goes to such extents to create and maintain secondary accounts like that? Do you understand the level of chicanery you were willing to go to maintain this illusion? Its rather disgusting if you can be man enough to own your actions. If you can be honest with yourself for just one moment, for all I ever was, was honest with you.

“Baby I’m always glad to give you my time! Your company is what I actively seek out and I try to organize my time to maximize my ability to see you”

The next several weeks were difficult to say the least, but I could barely keep afloat. Every turn I took another blunder blew me to my knees, and though I am an incredibly strong person, I was drowning and you preyed on that vulnerability. I watched my brother in law pass away, I helped plan his funeral, supported my sister in her transition with my young nephews, I spent countless hours at the hospital with my mother after her critical car accident, became her POA, hiring her an attorney, I even fought to make Cuba happen, I wrecked my truck and dealt with my own injuries. I had never felt lower in my life, more depleted, more drained, and you knew that. You knew I tried not to focus on the discrepancies you bled out, I was so depleted from the blows of life, I just wanted to believe you when you told me to trust you. When you convinced me “I’ve got you,” that the blows were going to stop, that everything was falling apart to come back together better. And for even just a moment I believed it true.

“I am so lucky to be apart of your life and adore who you are.”

Then the bedroom scene happened, we were laying in bed, and we heard the garage door starting to open. I remember you shot right out of sleep, I on the other hand thought nothing of it, thought it was your roommate coming in, but you knew better didn’t you? You knew to be worrisome. So when she walked in, unable to really see her face well due to the darkness, but the shape, I was in shock, I couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening. You screamed her out of the room so fast, such anger in your tone, the roar from your voice I had never heard before. How quickly you were to get to your phone and start texting after trying to calm me. What was I suppose to make of what just happened? One moment we are a week out from leaving for Paris on a birthday retreat and the next I am faced with having a female walk in on us in bed to confront my every fear.

“I’m a one lady guy; you’re the lady I want”

It was as though everything came crashing back to me in that moment. The first three months it took for me to even go on a date with you, your pull in that time, the nonstop texts to get close to me. Your birthday staycation in KC, the weekend that changed everything, the countless conversations that went from sun up to sun down, the commitment to exclusivity. Let me remind you of December, when I told you about my opportunity I was pursuing in Australia, an opportunity, I had to decide if I was even going to tell you about. For it was never the plan to stay stateside, but how could I tell you that? I remember telling you how badly I felt feeling like I was keeping this big secret from you, when you convinced me we had transparent honesty. Funny, how adamant you were that you wanted a future, you knew my lease was up in mere weeks and that the decision to stay stateside was solely based around you. See now that would have been a very mature time to be honest, but no, that would have meant you would have had to put my well being above your own. I was faced with every sacrifice and redirection of my life I had made, to make a future with you, and it suddenly felt like it was all for not.

“The question of if I’ve had sex with anyone but you since we’ve been together really bothers me.”

So you did what you do best, you tried to bid my worries away. Explaining that the woman that walked in was your cousin, that just so happened to have the same name as your ex wife. One minute you were angered by her audacity to come over without warrant, the next you were in tears on the bed to me; I couldn’t keep up with the world you kept turning upside down. I didn’t know what to feel, I didn’t know what to believe but you did what you did best, you preyed on my emotions, you preyed on my trust, you turned the situation around to be in your favor. So a few days later, when I wanted validation that you weren’t hiding me, because after all how could you be hiding me? Your employees and business partner knew we were together, you had told me countless times your mom was happy you were with me as long as you were happy, you even told me to post pictures of us on social media from previous months leading to this point. But I wanted more, I wanted to know that you weren’t hiding behind more lies. I had never cared about being public about our relationship on social media, but this would force the hand for honesty, this was suppose to be the action that validated all of your reaffirmations to me. Funny how the same day I went public on our relationship was the same day you claimed to have been defrauded on your business account on Facebook which you now claimed to be locked out of during investigation. You do realize that Facebook Messenger shows how long it has been since you would be active right? Funny how you would frequently be reactived on Facebook after hours of no response from me from the next several weeks; odd series of coincidences of someone who can’t access their Facebook account. You had the wherewithal to make me feel daft for questioning such a coincidental happenstance? It literally felt like I was having a mental breakdown in the midst of all of my other traumas, and you the person who I trusted was at the very hands at the latest cause. Do you even understand what integrity is suppose to look like? Honestly, please think about that; for I refuse to believe you weren’t raised to be better than this.

“Baby I adore that you feel safe with me and will guard that with everything I have. I love you so much baby, I truly do.”

What’s alarming is how right I was all along, not my question of suspicion in you and your actions, for those have all been proven to be right. What’s crazy is how you redirected my belief in you lying for a play on sympathy to have your lies feel validated by my own hands. You guilted me into feeling badly that your relationship with your brother had fallen to pieces over your decision to stay with me. Though it would have been fair, to say that the fallout between you two, was because he knew you were cheating and lying; not that he wanted to hurt you as you had so callously led me to believe. You played on that fear of mine to a fine tune; you knew that was an ultimatum I gave you from the beginning of our relationship. You absolutely knew that I never wanted to come between you and your family, that I was aware of your sibling history. That I was in no way going to start this relationship if they weren’t going to be okay with me, from the beginning you knew how important that was to me. How many times did you tell me that he was okay with us being together? How many times had you told me your mom was happy to see you so blissfully happy with me? Do you even remember? So for you to take the very ultimatum I gave you from the beginning and flip it into the very outcome I never wanted because you were too cowardly to tell the truth, speaks volumes of your character.

“It’s what we have as far as honesty and trust that makes me love you the way I do.”

Looking back on that night, I remember it so clearly, your words of course rarely accounted for the whole truth, but it felt like you were angry with me for putting our relationship on Facebook. You know what you did, you made me feel preposterous for even questioning the validity of why your Facebook was shut down at the coincidental timing. How many times did you shout, “I choose you,” like it was a proclamation of all that you had sacrificed to this point. I remember even then, thinking how odd that statement was that you kept repeating. What you should have said, was that you choose me over her, then I might have understood better as to what was really happening. But in that moment, I didn’t understand that your choice to choose me wasn’t the same as my choice to choose you. After all, I had chosen you over every other man that had thrown himself at me, I had chosen you over Australia, I had chosen you over every ounce of security I had put in place for myself. So remember that I choose you, that I choose to see the best in you, that I choose to believe you even when my gut told me not to. A choice that caused great harm to my physical and mental health.

“I’m just so happy to make you happy and show you that I think you’re an amazing human being”

We can essentially skip over Valentine’s Day, I think its safe to say by now, that it wasn’t your mom you were taking the same donuts you bought me while in your bed. Paris, was of course an eye opener, you might not have had Facebook, but you had Instagram. The way you acted after I posted the departure picture, a picture that I first asked permission to post due to your odd behavior of late. You acted like I was ridiculous for even asking permission. Funny, how your account settings had changed, the post suddenly had to be approved to show up on your insta page, when I asked you about it, you were defensive that I noticed, you tried telling me this account must have also gotten hacked as well. Of course by the time we landed in Ireland, it was clear you were frantic after getting access to your phone. Looking back, I assume thats when she found out that you took your girlfriend to Paris. Was every conversation about your mom code for your ex wife? What lie did you tell her then? That we we’re broken up? At that point were you still telling her we were just friends? All you could do was use deflection in that time, telling me your mother was upset. Again, that didn’t make sense, you had told me your mother knew you were going to Paris with me. You made me feel crazy, you absolutely took truth and begrudged it with smite. You took advantage of me at my lowest point, further making me feel ludicrous. I was physically ill from the stress of it all, you knew that. How much weight had I lost at that point? How broken down was I, physically and emotionally?

“Baby my feelings about you have not changed at all, you have all of the love”

Aside from always sneaking out in the middle of the night to call your “mom”, you did mostly everything else right in Paris. We did the dates, we had the romantic evenings, we tried more food than I thought I could eat, we explore the most magical city in the world. There was something about being in the most romantic city in the world that made me want to fight for love. We talked again about the future, I asked to hear what you wanted, I asked to hear if you wanted to be together, I asked to hear your thoughts. You had every opportunity in the world to walk away then, but you didn’t. All you had to do was tell the truth and I would have never looked at you the same, and you knew that, I deserved that much. Instead you convinced me that you just needed to spend some time to physically heal and take care of yourself, that you had been sick and not in the right state either, that I was worth fighting for. Funny how mere days of returning home, you mentioned going on a boys trip with your business partner to Canada, are you sure that wasn’t really a trip that you were planning with her, for thats what my gut tells me. Do you not remember that I was the one who told you I was planning on going backpacking there and visiting my cousin mere months prior? Do you understand how twisted that is if the trip was really meant to be with her? Or maybe the fact that you bought her child a teddy bear while shopping with me in Paris, claiming it to be one you wanted to put on your dresser, next to the stuffed pig your brother and mother bought you. Funny, I never saw that bear again once we got home. Or what about St. Patrick’s Day, where you said you were with your business partner since it was a big holiday for his family? Isn’t her last name of Irish decent? Do you really find me to be that moronic?

“You don’t have to worry about other ladies at all, I have my lady and she is the best”

Post Paris was exhausting for me to say the least. You were fairly unavailable and claimed you needed time to rest up and heal from your latest ailment, I wasn’t in the mood to decipher any more of your version of truths. Honestly at this point, the longest we had gone without seeing each other was 3-4 days max unless I was abroad, so I wasn’t terribly concerned, after all I had basically spent the last four consecutive weeks with you either at your place, mine or Paris. Its the part about your mom that concerns me the most. You know the Wednesday before I left for my latest trip, when you came by to surprise me since you were in town with your mom. You told me that you had a hard day seeing her surgeon, you told me how fatal the procedure could potentially be, you told me I was the only person in the world you wanted to have your arms wrapped around in the midst of it all. So after a quickie of course, I offered to walk you down to your car, after all, you said your mom had been waiting in the car. Odd how you didn’t want me to walk you out, odd how you eagerly asked to take just one of your many shirts at my loft, claiming you didn’t have many shirts that fit you anymore, odd how your story about your mom riding the street car didn’t match up from that day to the next day’s conversation. Call me silly, but its hard to believe that it was only your mom in the car, though I really hope your mom was in the car to begin with based on all that you told me. At this point, its hard to see through all the lies.

“Baby the fact that you love me makes me smile so big and so completely, that I can’t begin to thank you for that”

The next day you came back and spent part of the evening with me before I departed for South America. I had asked you about social media since your Instagram had suddenly went away. You told me it was deactivated that you were annoyed with social media. You used anger as a source of deflection, making it known how annoyed you were that I was even asking you. Social media is what you claimed first attracted you to me, it was how you started to fall in love with me, again your words not mine. So excuse me, if I find it odd and offsetting that the man who was always the first to look at my stories, to like, and ask me about, was no longer apart of that piece of my life, especially before departing for such a long trip. We might have had a long distance relationship, but how many pictures were text throughout the day or time spent through FaceTime, how much of my social media stories allowed you to be privy to my life, of course I had the right to ask, the behavior was abnormal. You convinced me that I was being paranoid from the stresses of moving mere weeks from my return, you asked me if I was looking for reasons to doubt you. You told me that you loved me and wanted a future with me and to trust your words or not, but the decision was mine to make. But you knew I had reason not to trust you didn’t you? Which is precisely the reason you went to such lengths to make me feel bad for questioning you when red flags were raised.

“I’m sorry you’re scared and I’ll do whatever I can to take your fear away”

Imagine my surprise when I get to South America and learned that you do have social media, that you had blocked and deleted me and most of my friends and family. Imagine how it felt to hear that you have been telling people that we weren’t together anymore and I just couldn’t let go; your newest of lies. All new news to me, as you did everything in your power to validate the exact opposite to me. Imagine for one second how to process that when I am in another continent with such feelings of betrayal, confusion and deceit that your actions bestowed upon me. I had ten more days abroad and I was sentenced to my own personal hell, unable to confront you, unable to understand, unable to fathom a valid reason. After all mere days prior, you told me to trust you, you told me everything I wanted to hear to feel comfortable leaving for two weeks. You have no idea how dark those days were. I was on the holiday of a lifetime and I couldn’t’ hardly find beauty in the moment, I was too torn by the deceit, by the lies, by the devastation of it all. I spent countless hours trying to come up with a reasonable answer that didn’t paint you out to be a liar, that didn’t paint you out to be a manipulator, that didn’t paint you out to be a cheater, but it was near impossible. I was physically ill, bleeding even from the anxiety of it all, for trying to trust you was the cause of my physical ailments. This was a trip I planned for nearly a year, a trip that was suppose to adventurous and full, instead I found myself crying throughout the days, I found myself broken and bruised from the betrayal. The gig was up, I finally saw through every lie you told. It was only through the support and love of my friends that I even found the courage to smile on this trip, a price they paid dearly for. Do you even care the costs that were paid by your deceit? Or maybe that was your intent all along, after all how did you really expect to be able to explain deleting and blocking me and all my friends and family after my return?

“I know you’re as vulnerable as you’ve ever been with me and I adore that. I keep your feelings wants and needs at the forefront of my being so I can show you how much appreciate that and you”

I was pretty quiet the next few days, I blamed it on poor cell service in the islands, a lie that wasn’t completely untrue. But mostly, I couldn’t tell you how I felt for each moment was different, I was on this up and down roller coaster trying to sift out the truth, the truth that you so selfishly had denied up to this point. I was suppose to be moving mere weeks after my return to the states, I was suppose to start this new chapter with you as I cared for my mother and suddenly I couldn’t see it anymore. All I saw were the lies and deceit. Of course the normal chatter seemed on point from you over the next several days, but for me it felt like a lie. It was a little more difficult to sext after all I no longer trusted you, but I wanted you to believe we were fine, I did not want to break up in another continent; I wanted to look you in the eyes and finally hear the truth of your betrayals and deceit. Of course by the time you sent a previously sent bedroom picture, I knew you were lying about being home, I imagined you were with her, I couldn’t even fake it. The audacity you had to tell me you were home missing me like you’ve never missed me before, when in all honesty you were with another women. For the first time, you made me feel cheap, something I had never felt before.

“I’m just glad to be here for you and show you that you deserve love and affection because you are strong and amazing”

Never mind the fact that sex is sacred to me, that I have to trust someone explicitly. That I have to be emotionally, intellectually and physically attracted to be so intimate. Never mind the abuse in my past, or the astronomic amounts of bedroom play we have had since your birthday. All I could wonder was how many times you crawled into bed with me after leaving another women’s bed. I had more intimacy with you in the past seven months than I had been collectively over the course of my life and suddenly I felt more violated that I had ever felt in my life. All I could think of was the way you looked at me after your brother reached out, when I asked you if you had been intimate with anyone other than me. The hurt in your voice, the emotion you spilled out, it was good, I’ll give you that, for again, you made me feel guilt. You played me for a fool because I honestly believed you. Do you not understand the risks you put me at with having sex with others? You had no right to be so selfish.

“The ability to be raw and have the honest transparency we do is amazing”

Of course when you picked me up from the airport, I fully expected you to take ownership in the truth. I thought that there was absolutely no way you could be anything but honest, after all I knew in my heart I wasn’t the only woman in your life. Instead, you made me feel crazy, you made me feel guilty, you made me feel like you were torn between you and your family. You used every lie you had left. Playing on my heart, telling me your mom’s time was ticking, telling me that you needed to make amends with your brother and he wouldn’t speak to you so long as I was in your life. You knew how worried I was about your mom’s health, you knew that I didn’t want her to see her son’s quarreling. But you used that like a weakness of mine and turned it against me. Again, here I was confronting you with the truth and you manipulated my kind heartedness for further derailment of deceit. Were you honestly so arrogant that you thought you could really make me feel delusional for mistrusting you? For risking my life as I know it on you, a man, who has carried multiple lives during the entire duration of our relationship?

“I’m always happy to hold you through the hard feelings and let you know you’re not alone and you’re loved”

Of course, as any good liar does, you stay as close to the truth as possible when. So on the points you knew I had irrefutable proof to, you owned in parts, but not without guilting me. At first, you weren’t honest about having other relations, but at least you were honest enough to tell me that you had been allowing people to believe we had been broken up since Paris. A nice time to remind you, the day I departed for my trip, you said verbatim, I am going to be the best boyfriend you need. Do you have no shame at all? You made me feel guilty for being privy to that information, like it was something I didn’t deserve to know myself? The act alone is vile and repugnant, but for you to add shame and guilt for being made aware, well that’s unspeakable.

“I never want you to be scared about me loving you based on what outside sources say or do. I make up my mind on how I feel and what I do and you have shown me love like no other and that is all that will ever matter”

To have all of my friends and family removed from your social media and blocked myself as the way I found out. How cruel of an act; to find out that your boyfriend is lying about your relationship while in another continent, not sure how much lower it can get. Well, that was up until you tried making me feel guilty that social media had previously been used as a weapon against you by your ex girlfriend. Really? You do one of the most unspeakable acts I’ve been served to date and then you try to minimize your accountability by taking away your ownership while trying to make me feel guilty that you had been lying and cheating? Really? How could you?

“I just want to make you happy and make sure you’re having the best life can give you cause you deserve it”

From the very beginning, I told you I could only give you brut honesty, that I only wanted honesty in return. I confided in you in ways I have never confided to others. You knew from the beginning how difficult it was for me to trust men, how the absolute worst thing to ever have happened was infidelity; so please explain to me how you slept at night knowing you started this relationship while you were already involved with others? Please explain to me how you justified your callous actions? Ah, yes, that was plural when I said others. Post break up, it was made abundantly clear there were other women in your life outside your ex-wife. As if it wasn’t bad enough to find out the entire course of our relationship your ex-wife lived in your mom’s basement and while you called me your boyfriend, she called you her life partner, there was more to come.

“I don’t think you can be too honest baby, you are just honest”

Funny how clear it all came into picture when I was told. I remembered randomly bumping into you two in KC back in August. I remember it feeling odd that we had been texting all day and you failed to mention you were in town. You told me she was just a friend, so of course as we progressed in our relationship, you were always a little off in your behavior when she became subject matter. You of course could see through my question of doubt; you reiterated that you two had a past, but you couldn’t give her the title she wanted, that your heart wasn’t in it. You led me to believe it had been a mistake on your end. I couldn’t help but to get an uncanny feeling the few times she called, claiming she would call from time to time wanting to borrow your truck or needing friendly help. So when her picture showed up on the screen of your new car as she was calling, it was quite clear how nervous you were. Instead of another lie, all you said was, “not today devil,” a nice touch for derailment.

“I’m sending you all the love I have to give. It’s all for you baby”

We can fast forward to January, when my family and I were eating at your restaurant, a meal you graciously cooked and paid for. It was sweet, I was adorned, but the moment she came into the restaurant you were immediately off. You wouldn’t even kiss me in the restaurant; a new twist, most nights you couldn’t keep your hands off me. Of course, I questioned if it was because she was there, after all I knew there was history, you didn’t want to hurt her any more than you had, or so you claimed. Instead, you used your brother as another source of derailment claiming that he had sent you hateful texts and you were upset and had been “off.” That it was the first time you two had spoke since you had your falling-out over the holidays. It didn’t make sense, but you knew I would feel guilty, because after all at this point I was still believing he was angry you were with me, and not because you were cheating and lying. “Just friends,” thats the line I have heard, and that’s the lie you have claimed me to be, so what should I really believe here?

“Baby I can only imagine how depleted and emptionally battered you feel. The fact that you’re still highly functional and not catatonic speaks to your strength in character. Whatever you need, I’ve got you”

I understand that this might hurt your ego some, after all I am now facing you with most truths that you wanted hidden, but I refuse to be hidden. If you think that being this raw and this vulnerable isn’t hands down one of the most difficult things I’ve done, then you are poorly mistaken. But the truth is all I ever asked for, and you have given me half truths the duration of our relationship. I saw the way you lit up with me, I saw how free and invigorating you felt when you were with me, I saw how empowered you felt by me, the small changes to betterment. I know how much you loved me; I do know that, for those feelings cannot be manipulated. I know that you were willing to go to great lengths to keep me, but none of that matters if you used deceit, manipulation and derailment as tools to gain my trust, my love. Did you really think that the truth wouldn’t come out? Tell me, how did you expect to keep this up? No wonder you were so exhausted, no wonder you were stressed, the lengths you went to must have been quite taxing.

“I want what’s best for you and to see you be happy in everything that you have in your life and to be part of it and help you through any obstacle that might come into our paths”

You know, I felt the red flags even back in September. When you sent me the playlist Spooning Leads to Forking; a playlist that already had three other followers. Even then, you weren’t accustom to being called out, to having someone be so brazen with brut honesty. You quickly reaffirmed that you recently added several songs after meeting me. So by the time you sent me the Wanderlust playlist, which thankfully I was the only follower, I overlooked your duplicitous gesture. Oddly, it wasn’t mere days after posting to my insta story the album that your name no longer appeared on either Spotify playlist. Though looking now, its adorable to see your name is visible again. Like James Blake’s Retrograde or The Weekend’s I Felt It Coming Too; such irony in those lyrics don’t you think?

“I can say for certainty that pictures of you are the second best thing to wake up and seeing you in person being the first”

I put my career on hold, my desire to move abroad on hold, the very course of my life changed based on your reaffirmations and desire to have a future. What did you think would happen when I found out the truth? Did you really think you could uphold this life long term? Where you so confident that you were willing to allow me to make such life altering sacrifices on a relationship built from deceit? Help me to understand how you justified your actions, because never in my life has someone took so much from me. Never mind the fact that when this relationship did finally end, I was mere weeks from relocating towns. Literally a week before leaving for South America you had me believing that you were checking with your roommate and landlord to ensure I could keep the cats at your condo while I waited for my mother to recover. Do you even understand how screwed up that is? How many times over the past few months did you reiterate that you wanted me near, that you wanted a future? Trust me, I got you, I love you, thats what you kept telling me throughout this. Well, guess what, trusting you was the biggest mistake I ever made. It was by far the hardest fallout of my life; to have been so honest, so vulnerable, so raw with someone, to have trusted you knowing how hard it is for me to trust men and then to have been so manipulated by that trust in such a weakened state? You violated every ounce of trust I had, you have absolutely no respect for me, for women as a whole, or for the sanctity of truth and trust. You are the worst kind of liar there is.

“I love how your mind works. That you are always looking for ways to better yourself and understand those around you. It’s amazing”

The truth is, once you become aware of such insurmountable levels of deceit, there no longer holds a foundation for trust. For this isn’t your first time, and I’m confident based on your skill set level this won’t be your last time. But I hope your start to hold accountability for your actions, I hope you can see what it takes to be worthy of trust, that is worthy of truth, that is worthy of a woman’s love. The first step to any change, requires ownership of the truth, and I hope you start to be honest with the ones you love, with yourself even. Own your actions and not just to me as you finally did, but to the life you know. How could I ever trust you, how could I believe you to be honest or even genuinely remorseful. Ah yes, remorse, I think if you actually had remorse you wouldn’t have laid with me not once but twice the very same week of this blog post. Just so we are clear though, it was never for you, it was always for me; to know that you will never change. To know I should move on and never look back. I imagine you have begged her for forgiveness, telling her you would never forsake her trust again, never cheat on her, but this week proves that you will. By the second act I knew I could never want someone so unworthy of trust, someone who apologizes for unchanged actions, someone who doesn’t know a woman’s worth. Am I proud of that? Absolutely not, but to be brutally honest means to be honest about my actions as well.

“How did I get so lucky to be your man”

So let me leave you with this, as I have been quite familiarized with the term narcissist and common manipulation forms, all of which you have enlighten me of first hand. Please familiarize with the following manipulation tactics and definitions: gas lighting, love bombing, playing the victim, lying, targeting the victim, flattery, use of punishment, rewards/positive reinforcement, acting innocent, failing to share the whole story, intense aggression, redefining expectations, denial, empathy, diverting attention, passive aggressive behavior, frequent and intense mood swings, sarcasm, guilt tripping, and spinning the truth. I assure you, I will never question my gut again, you taught me that. You taught me the cost of deception and lies and for that and I will never allow the love I have for a man to outweigh the love for myself. I deserve transparent honesty, I deserve a boyfriend I can trust, I deserve someone who won’t manipulate me into feeling false guilt for their own deceptions, I deserve so much more and you knew that, you always did.

“You have a big heart love and those are the usually the kind that get bruised by those around us”

Gripped by Grief

It is a blessing and a curse to feel things so very deeply, for grief knows no time, grief has no boundaries nor limitations. It comes in waves and it comes by way of its own path. It creeps up on you in the middle of the night, reaffirmed by the silence surrounding you, intensified by the still of the night. Crippled by the words; you hear your thoughts, you hear your woes, you hear your heartache echoing.

Grief, what is that? It’s not a one size fits all category, for it is entirely subjective to the person, the circumstances and the implicit sorrows. A natural part to the cycle of life, but one of the most unnatural feelings to absorb. It has the ability to take over your entire being if you are not careful. It cuts through your world like a savage tornado, displacing everything in its path, leaving your life in pieces of debris of what was once seemingly whole.

Even after the initial shock wears off and you find the courage to let go of denial, you are left to deal with the earth shattering hole in your heart, your heart that was once whole. Taken aback by the lack of control you have, feeling slighted and betrayed even by your own involuntary emotions and physical reactions, for even your body betrays you at times. Confusion and anger stay at bay in most of your everyday thoughts, egging at you, reminding you of the pain in your heart, reminding you the hole that has taken its toll.

Time becomes a pivotal part in finding solace in grief. People say, that time heals all wounds, but does it really? For what is time? Isn’t time merely a reflection of change? What if, from change, our brains construct a sense of time as if it were flowing, a fallacy per say? So maybe it isn’t time that heals the ache, maybe its moments in between where we find the courage to let go, to smile, to continue on, to shine again that we truly heal.

What we often fail to see, though, is that grief is for the living, it is a knee jerk reaction to the plethora of emotions that follow the loss of a loved one. It matters most to us, as we are at the center of the pain that follows. For even the world continues to spin forward when you find your world off spun by such insurmountable losses. And as the newness to the loss unfolds to the lives touching you, it is then, when we often find ourselves the loneliest. For the world has continued to move forward and inevitably you are feel adrift.

Maybe your head is clear enough to see the world whizzing by, maybe not, maybe you can only concentrate on the quicksand that has stopped you dead in your tracks. Maybe you will find the strength to stammer forward, maybe you won’t. All of which is entirely subjective; completely dependent of what we want, of what we seek. Grief is only as relative as we allow it to be; its not just the wreckage of emotions that leave havoc on your world, its your lesson too. For it is in these moments that we are allowed to fall to our knees and feel the earth shattering ache that comes over us, until eventually that throb begins to lessen, and the ache no longer stabs at the heart. To be human is to feel and to feel is the core element of living. Though its in the midst of the storm, that I hope that these words find you. I hope you find the beauty in the pain, for its pain that truly allows us to grow, to heal. 

Still Not Asking For It

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Oh how quickly we are trained to pass judgment. With a caption and cover photo like this, how could you not? Well isn’t that the very question? Why is it that we as a society are so quick to judge? To place thought and opinion most often times on matters that seemingly play no relevance or sustenance in our lives?

Judgment, as defined by the dictionary is the act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful thought. Careful thought, now, that’s not something I would initially think of when considering judgments that have been passed on me or most others for that matter. Judgment is passed every second, every minute, every hour of each waking day; its almost inadvertently instilled in our mindset. Collectively, we understand that it’s typically a negative action, and yet we continue to do it. We continue to do it without ownership of the effects our actions cause.

Though judgment can be internalized to where opinions formed are not verbally spoken, it doesn’t dignify them any more or less. For its not just our words, its our body language, its our demeanor, its the very mechanics of how we see the world through our eyes. And often times we fail to see that the judgements passed has little to do with the person we are judging and almost everything to do with the person passing judgment.

Most often, judgements are derived from insecurities, fears, loneliness or even the desire to seek change. And yet, we continue to impose and redirect our thoughts on others to further deter from the root cause; our own self. For the act of judgment is an act of pride, of monumental-enormous pride, stupendous pride, galling pride and this should be explicitly understood. When we render judgment, we have taken it upon ourselves to render thought without being aware of the consequences to following, without taking care of the responsible entities.

Morality is within us all; one of the very first things we are taught in society is right versus wrong. As children, we recognize decency and purity but somewhere along the lines of entering adulthood we have systematically changed the root definition of how we should treat others and we justify such behavior with self serving pride and ignorance.

Now, thats not to say that all judgements are derived from self gain and negativity, but the fact remains that judgments are meant to separate people, they are meant to alienate and scrutinize, which often times are derivatives of negativity. We must not only understand the potency of such hasty actions but take ownership in our own actions that lead us to such judgment. Though ownership alone is not enough, for in order to grow, we must first address and correct the core issues that derive judgment.

We must exemplify the change we seek. That is, we must show the very love that we desire from others. And a good step toward loving others is to develop an honest love of ourselves. We mustn’t risk squandering our own purposeful existence; we mustn’t continue to walk in lockstep with the crowd. Inheriting and owning bigotries, prejudices and hatred is a most irreverent betrayal of our right as free thinkers. We’ve seen where this divisive judgement has taken us. When we lose our judgmental tendencies, we will enhance our human experience.

Henry David Thoreau once said:

“It’s not what you look at that matters.
It’s what you see.”

 

Transmute

Growth; we talk about healing like its some mystical thing, with scented candles and flowers, but healing is dirty business; its arguably the most arduous obstacle you will be faced with. It is the very thing that can push you to your knees, bloodied and bruised by the fall; growth is that painful reminder for you to get back up, for you to transmute.

Often times in the midst of a life altering change, we are tested far more than we allow ourselves to see, to play privy to. We see the series of events that transpire in our lives causing havoc, displacing us from our norms and safety nets of comfortability. Yet it isn’t until we are out of the situation that we can reflect and see the experience for all the riches it does hold.

Growth is often seen as anything but growth during the midst of the calamity. 

Sometimes growth can abruptly stop you in your tracks. The fear of the unknown can be paralyzing; the lack of trust of whats to come can cripple you with anxiety, should you choose to allow it. But it is in these moments that we must fight to remember that we have the capability to change anything we want to change in our lives, should we choose to want it enough; including fear.

Sometimes we fall victim to the circumstances and the emotions that engulf our mindsets in such instances. Sometimes, quite possibly, we become our own obstacle in allowing the process of growth to come full circle. For interpretation is everything, but we are humans and humans are emotional beings which often times allows our feelings to take over. Leaving us with the fight for truth between the emotion and the mind which can sometimes leave one at odds.

Growth isn’t something that happens over night, it happens in between the moments of living. It is in our happiness, our bliss, our woes, our heartaches, our fears, our ignorance, our knowledge; it is the underlining story to our lives. But it isn’t a one size fits all, it is unique to each person, each lesson, for isn’t that what life is really all about when we strip away the falsehoods? It’s about better understanding our own self and the members around us, and it is a radical part of our lives regardless of the acceptance.

Though I think its fair to say that recognition takes the longest to reside, for seeing the value in the calamities of life often requires deeper insight, self awareness and forethought. Thats where healing becomes privy, for growth and healing go hand in hand. We may not have a choice in the adversities in our lives, but we can choose how to allow such instances to direct our course. When we learn how to recognize the lessons in growth we can choose how to react, how to feel, how to understand, how to transmute. The next time you recognize growth in your world, I hope you dismantle it down to the origin of the lesson, I hope you find healing in the growth.

 

The Lesson

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If you believe like I believe, there is a lesson in all that we do. The question is if you are bold enough to see it.

Someone once told me that people don’t come in to your life by happenstance, they come because of a reason, a purpose, regardless of how miniscule or profound, how deep the relationship or how foreign. Even utter strangers can be put in your life for a reason. The reason, is the lesson. Sometimes you find yourself the teacher, other times you find yourself the pupil. And when that purpose is served, that lesson is filled, relations often dissipate. Or maybe not, maybe the lesson continues to repeat itself until you learn to master it, maybe that’s the reason for commonalities.

Now what you do with that consideration is yours and yours alone. But can you consider the possibility of it?

Isn’t that what life is all about? One great big lesson? We think we understand what problems we have in the world, but so often we fail to actually see the truth to our problems. Instead we fixate on annoyances or imperfections in our life and disguise them as problems, further denying the lesson below the surface. Maybe we become so fixated in our problems that we dilute the lessons at hand.

What if for one moment you considered that everyone and everything that touches your life is being drawn to you for some reason or another? Maybe that reason isn’t always for you to receive, but for you to give. Can you imagine, that you as a stranger have the ability to touch another person’s life. To consider that maybe a simple compliment or spark of conversation to an utter stranger, could be a factor in changing someone’s course of their entire day? What if that person lost hope in humanity and just needed a little reaffirmation that kindness can prevail. Now, can you consider that one compliment to an utter stranger could leave you in the position of being a teacher? Could be the action that changed the very course of someone’s day?

Or maybe a lesson continues to recur throughout your life, maybe you continue to see the same actions and courses over and over again. Have you ever noticed the same form of circumstances continuing to unfold throughout your life? Not verbatim, but similar situations, similar occurrences, similar woes? What if, that is a form of a lesson, a lesson life continues to throw at you, until you find the wherewithal to master the lesson? Does that change your perspective any?

Now, maybe that belief, that thought pattern is not one you’ve pondered on. Not one you ever considered. For, I certainly had not ever looked at the world through those sights.

But isn’t it possible? Isn’t it logical? If we take away the doubt for just one moment to truly assess and ponder. Isn’t it true, that we all believe that there are variations of life lessons? And isn’t it typically those life lessons that impact us the most? Maybe we only recognize the most impactful life lessons due and fail to acknoledge the minor life lessons we learn and teach. Isn’t that a plausible way of looking at our lives as one stream of ongong lessons?

For isn’t it true that we actively learn and grow day in and day out? What of that? Do those lessons not account for profound meaning even if they didn’t come at a higher cost? Maybe we need to stop looking at our troubles at a surface level, and start to dig deeper into the foundation of what the lesson at hand could be. For I believe, that life is a series of nonstop lessons, and some days we are the pupil and some days we are the teacher. Maybe, just maybe, this is your lesson.

Enough

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To be a woman in a world where sexual assault is at its highest peak of terror in correlation to what society will turn a blind eye to is difficult to absorb. To explain to someone who has never had to worry about walking alone in a darken street, to someone who has never had their sobriety hazed to further break down their guards of protection, to someone who has never felt the terrors, the fears, the violations of physical and emotional sexual assault. So let me try, let me try to explain to you in such a way, you consider the utter importance of a woman’s choice, of a woman’s body, mind and state. And what you do with that, depicts how each and every one of us has a choice to stand up or stand down.

We see the news, we hear the stories, but yet, we turn away from talking about it, from doing something about it. We turn a blind eye to the courageous women that surely composed all of their strength, integrity and dignity just to find a voice to speak out about the trauma that was violently smeared upon them. And yet most of us do not do one single thing to aid in these victims horrors, we barely even speak of it. For what does that silence signify? That their problem is not our problem? That though it’s terrible and tragic that they must move on? Or maybe that the authorities will do whatever is deemed necessary to help them, so our actions do not matter? Can you honestly say you believe that? Can you honestly say that there is nothing that you or I can do to help aid in their cause? To help bring justice to their assailant? Because I assure you, that is exactly what silence feels like to the victims.

It wasn’t enough to have their bodies taken from them, to have their sense of security shattered, to have their emotional psyche perished. No, that’s not enough, because for these victims to step up and speak their truth, means they have to relive that terror over and over again in stories, in statements, in memory, in audiences. Furthermore, they often have their integrity devoured in the process of proving the sexual assault, which only leads to deeper violations of the overall assault.

Stop for a second and consider what it might be like to have to prove yourself of such an unwanted violation. Common questions such as: What were you wearing? Did you provoke him? Did you scream? Were you drinking? Why did you wait so long to report this? Could you be exaggerating? Did you actually say no? Do you have proof? Now imagine you are at the end of your rope, you feel drained emotionally, physically and intellectually and you gave every ounce of courage it took to put to words the actions of sexual assault and now you are asked to prove yourself? And we wonder why so many violations go unreported.

In a world where you are innocent until proven guilty, sexual violations are an open range and abusers actively use the damage of the assault to their advantage to further devoid them of any real consequence for their deadly actions. Sexual assault comes in many forms that isn’t bias to gender, race or age. It is more than just forcible touch, its emotional coercion, its unwanted advances, its physical, verbal and emotional on varying degrees of the spectrum. The darkest part of this truth? The assailant isn’t always the stranger, sometimes it’s the ones you trust most.

Understand that sexual assault is not something to joke about, it’s not something to dehumanize in words nor a lack of actions. It shouldn’t be so commonplace or as widespread as it is in present day society. And it certainly shouldn’t be ignored to the degree in which it has been. When is enough, enough?

Maya Angelou once said, “ Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” To all the survivors out there, if you haven’t already, I hope you find your voice, I hope you learn to let go of the shame and guilt that was never yours to hold. I hope you know that the truth can set you free. I hope you know you are not alone.

To be a survivor is something that will forever change the course of ones life, and the number of survivors that are out there are roughly 1 in every 20, so if you are survivor please know your story matters, please know that you matter. Understand that you did absolutely nothing to deserve such a violation, and even though I might not know you, understand that I will help you in any way that I can. I will not silence you. I will not stand down.

The Road Less Traveled

I am sure you’ve read the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost at some point in your life, or if you haven’t I strongly suggest you do. As the poem bellows to an end, Frost puts into words, a pivotal point that touches most of our lives. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

The road less traveled, what does that mean exactly? Well it can mean a variations of things, but what I most resonate it with, is going against the main stream of life. The road less traveled indeed. Can you picture that, what the main stream of life means to you and the expectations that holds? Whose expectations are you living up to?

Sometimes I like to defy expectations simply because it is my choice to do so. And sometimes it is in my actions, or my self expression that I go against the main stream simply because I was told I couldn’t, or I shouldn’t. Albeit there are consequences that are carried with such definitive actions, but I do it anyways. For the judgements to come, the slander to escape from those said actions, only show other’s character in their truest forms. And sometimes, we don’t see the masks of those around us, until we are caught in the crosshairs of beating to your own drum.

Though I appreciate a structure of some sort, a foundation per say that society has built for our modern day living, its not enough. For it is our freedoms in this life that allows us to thrive; our freedom of thought, of choice, of speech that I seek the most.

I believe we all wear a mask to some degree when confronted with the world we live in. When going into the world whether it be virtual or realistic, we choose to play a part, and the part we play depends wholly on the person we decide to be. For we decide to act in a certain manner, dress in a certain manner, and speak in a certain manner; a choice that is definitive on the road we choose to travel. We choose to play part of a role, and regardless to if we stop and question it, it has become deeply engrained in us, so much so, that its become second nature.

Questioning the authenticity of that statement, maybe even considering if it rings any truth to you? Consider this the next time you’re in public, assess how you demonstrate social etiquette, how you display a persona from the clothes you wear to the words you speak dependent upon the audience and environment.

It is natural to want to fit in, it is natural to fear being outcasted by our decisions, by our actions, by our choices.  But at some point we have to decide what is more important, that fear or that freedom? This isn’t the one size fits all life that social expectations push us to conform towards. But to go against the grain requires courage and resilience; the very reason why this road is less traveled. Not all of us are capable of putting down our masks and showing the world ourselves in our rawest form. Not everyone is built to defy expectations that do not conform to our deepest desires. For if it were easy, wouldn’t everyone do it?

I think part of the problem lies in the issue that we sometimes dilute the very course of our actions. We fail to recognize that every action, every decision leads to a greater one in some form or another. And if we don’t find it in us to stop and assess the picture at large, we won’t recognize how far down the road we’ve gone until we realize the choice we’ve led is no longer ours. So I challenge you to do just that.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.