While driving down Yonge Street this morning on my way to the butcher to pick up chicken for my chicken soup, I spotted a woman who was attempting to jay walk. The car before me had not slowed down for her and she was so mad that even though I stopped to let her cross, she could not summon up the energy to give me the ubiquitous wave. She spent all her energy on glaring at the car ahead of me, even giving the driver the middle finger salute as she made her way across the road.
After this brief exchange took place I reflected on our moment of connection, and how this stranger’s actions had reflected my own behaviour back to me. I was so focused on looking at who in my past did me wrong that I couldn’t see who was directly in front of me doing me right.
When I lived with my now ex- partner Lorraine, she told me that she had no intention of ever committing to me on a permanent basis, even though by that time we had been living together for two years. She tried to wound on purpose when she revealed that information to me, and though her intention to wound was disturbing, I was relieved to hear her finally speak her truth.
When I first moved in to her apartment, she gave me a shelf in her cupboard and an even smaller space in her bathroom for my many toiletries. I came with an Arts and Crafts cherry wood dining room table which she was happy to welcome into her space.
Though I had never lived with a woman before, I knew that this was not the proper way to be welcomed in. I was so desperate to be loved, so desperate to be saved from my own un- looked at pain that I gladly took the crumb she held out to me and held onto it for dear life.
When she told me that she did not want to be intimate with me anymore, I did not accept it with aplomb. I begged and pleaded for months, debasing myself over and over again. Deep down in my body/mind I believed that I was not worthy of love and that she was correct in refusing me. It took years of therapy for me to realize that I too was not that interested in having sex with her, for why would I want to be with someone who was so rejecting? I realized that what I was really interested in, what I was really turned on by, was the No!
Once I realized that I was encouraging her to say No to sex, I stopped asking her to sleep with me. Now why would I want her to say No? The trail of No’s lead back to my childhood. I was never told I was a good child, rarely praised for my excellent grades, only told how weird I was and how everything I did was not correct.
” Mommy, may I stay inside to read my new Nancy Drew book? ”
“No! Go play outside with all the other ‘normal’ kids.”
” Katharine, you are bad girl talking back to your mother! I never talked back to mine!”
“But Mommy, maybe you should have talked back!”
“No, Katharine, you are wrong!”
“Why do you have to ask questions about everything, Katharine?”
And so on, and so on…
My understanding of love could be summarized in this way:
So it made sense that when I became an adult, I would be attracted to and attract into my life women who reflected back to me my distorted version of myself, because I was still looking backward to my past, where my wounds began.
It has not easy for me to stay in the present, I must constantly remind myself that I am deserving of a love that doesn’t use shame as its calling card. In my not so distant past, if asked to choose one lesbian out of a line up, I inevitably would choose that lesbian who would share her great big fat No! with me.
I know now I am deserving of a relationship with a kind and caring woman, a woman who will spend the rest of her life wanting to make sweet love to me, offering her heart and her home, and not just a drawer and a corner of her heart.
In return I will share my heart, my hard earned wisdom and my secret chicken soup recipe!