I watched the video I made titled “My Amazing Life” again for the first time in a long while and it shook me. There smack dab in the middle of my spoken word about the gratitude I felt for my life… was him. My rapist. I had to pause the video.
I stared into the eyes of the person in that still frame and asked “why?”
Why did you do this to me? To us?
And I got lost in my thoughts as I often do these days and reflected on what was the most difficult relationship I have ever had. And then reflected on the fact that it ended with a rape. And I stared at that picture for what felt like hours, only in reality it was a few moments. I made that video to capture a moment in time when I felt extreme gratitude and wanted a way to look back on the people in my life that were the most impactful.
An he was.
He made an impact.
I still struggle with the reconciliation that the man I loved and chose to see the best of could violate me and strip from me what was left of my optimism towards him. I wanted to believe in him. I wanted to believe the words he spoke. I wanted to believe that our connection was in fact real, as he said that it was every single time. I didn’t want to give up my core beliefs. I didn’t want to see him in the light of truth. Preferring instead to bury my head to all of his indiscretions. I wanted to chalk his behavior and actions up to his grief and not see it as a reflection of his character and perhaps that is where I failed.
I should have allowed his actions to be the determining factor but I didn’t. I saw pain. I saw a man making poor choices in his depression and I wanted to show unconditional love and support because I knew what it was like to do things you weren’t proud of. I knew what it was like to make mistakes in relationships.
I think if you hold a candle up to any relationship it’s going to reveal some not so pleasant aspects that we wish we could change, take back or handle differently with the benefit of hindsight. I know I do. But that’s the thing about relationships, when you’re in one, you never think of it ending, you only think of the now. In the beginning the way we hit it off from our first conversations to our first date, to that Sunday that he held my face in his hands after months of dating and he told me I was the best thing to happen to him, I never imagined a world that we didn’t exist as a “we”. I knew I loved him. I knew he loved me and no matter how difficult his road, I wanted to walk it with him.
Even after I discovered that it had all been a lie, from the moment we met until the moment I found out he had cheated with more women that I could keep track of I still wanted to believe in him and I ultimately forgave him. When we were first together, I was as perfect a girlfriend as you could expect. Those first months with him I was faithful, loving, supportive, encouraging, sexual, engaging and diligent. I did anything he asked, accepted anything he said, put my own needs on the backburner so I could help him deal with his loss. I bent so far backwards that the sand beneath my feet began to look like stars and I loved every second of being there with him and for him.
If you were to ask my family and friends what I was like during that time they will all reiterate the same phrase. I was a woman head over heels in love and I was blind even then to the cheating and manipulation, chalking his absences, his ghosting, his mood swings and his callousness up to grief. Not once did I suspect he was with other women, not once did I check his phone or look to see if he was still on dating sites, not once. I trusted him blindly. He appeared to be just as much into me as I was into him, if not more at times. My friends were jealous, they told me so. They told me they wished they had someone who loved them as much as he seemed to love me. Until he disappeared.
After those four months, when he came back into my life after completely ghosting with not so much as a single explanation I accepted him back, blindly lamenting to his explanations and he reminded me that my core felt connected to him and that I could not deny. During those four months I wrote to him knowing he read every single email. Some emails were angry, others desperate. I pleaded for any answer, any contact so that I could understand what went wrong. The only explanation I received was that he felt so strongly for me that it scared him and he didn’t know what to do. He told me he felt guilt for feeling about me the way he did and I ate it up until I choked on it.
To say my family and friends were wary of his re-entry into my life would be an understatement. They had witnessed first hand the confusion and extreme depression that set in when he vanished. They sat with me many nights as I cried trying to figure out why a man would even bother to say the amazing things he had said before exiting my life with such carelessness. But I was desperate to feel the love I had felt from him in the beginning not even realizing that I was just one of many…
So when I looked at that picture today, with that genuine smile plastered on my face my first thought was to delete it. To remove the video and erase it from my hard drive. I didn’t need to be reminded that I could be so wrong about someone…and I decided NO. I will not erase him from my life. I refuse.
Despite his actions, my feelings were real. My love was genuine. My desire to see him in the best possible light, knowing his flaws was my strength. I loved him despite all the reasons he gave me not too. I loved him as wholly and completely as my soul would allow. And as fucked up as it may seem I know he’s in there. I know he feels it. I know he knows what he did and I believe he feels remorse, though his pride and narcissism wont allow the outward expression. And maybe that’s just me wanting to put a romanticized spin on a horrible situation…maybe I still just want to believe the best in people. But I have always listened to my gut and it’s just something I know.
… like I’ve known every other thing that has come to fruition. I used to ask for a sign from the universe, some may call it prayer or meditation but I would ask for a sign.
I got it. It wasn’t what I was expecting. It was more manipulation, intimidation tactics generated to get a reaction from me and it worked. My anger, my disappointment lies when people refuse to own who and what they are. Things would have been so different if he could have been honest with me and with himself. My core belief remains. It has only faltered but never failed me and I have had to accept that no matter what I believe, if someone else can’t live in the truth, in accountability then I will have to settle for a different kind of justice.
I wanted justice for my heart, for my soul and now it appears that will never come. So I’m on this road instead…a road with no navigation, with each twist and turn a new challenge. There is no desire for vengeance or retribution. There is only a desire for justice for myself. The initial anger has finally been replaced with a deep sense of sorrow for the actions he chose to take. He and I both know the truth and no matter what happens, no matter the outcome whether he’s found guilty as he should be or he’s miraculously found innocent, that is in the hands of the legal system now, but we will both always know the truth.
He chose his will over my consent.
And I will still and always chose love and forgiveness. It is who I am and the platform that I chose to stand.
My core will always continue to be transparent and my beliefs remain.