Friday, November 21, 2008

Men (the condensed story)

I like the idea of men. I like men in the abstract. I like one man in the present real time and see him often. But he has seen me marry and divorce, love and leave, and in the end isolate myself from the company of men. We're old friends and are likely to remain old friends so long as we never try to live together.

I am heterosexual, though I have wished I weren't at times. Sadly, I can attest to the fact that sexual identity is not a choice, or I would be a lesbian. I gave it a try, and it isn't for me. Too bad, because I can't seen to find a man that I can actually live with. I must confess that the fault could be mine and not the men I've known, since I am a "difficult" woman. More on that later.

I have tried, god knows, I've tried to make it work with not just one, but three husbands, several relatively short term lovers, and even one very very long term lover. And when I leave them, as I have done, sometimes more than once, and in one case over and over, I know that it isn't really that there is something intrinsically wrong with the man I'm leaving, but that the relationship (not necessarily the man) doesn't give me what I need. Which brings up one question. What do I need? What did I want from a particular man that I wasn't getting? And the answers aren't easy to find. But my past, my long distant past, holds clues to that answer. If you've read my novel or any of the older stories you probably could answer that question for me, because all the clues are there.

So let me try to start at the beginning with a list.
1. My biological father had no use for me and made it clear to me that I was in the way. He did not leave us, but once my mother made a run for it, I never heard from him again.

2. My three much older brothers left home one at a time and never really looked back. I don't blame them at all. Given their age and gender, I too would have left and never looked back.

3. My second father, the one who adopted me and was my "real" parent for a year, then started sexually abusing me and kept at it for five years, told me I was too old for him when I turned eleven and started menstruating. You can imagine my confusion.

4. My mother was a narcissistic bitch who was from day one in competition for attention with her only child. And so, a very bad role model for what it is to be a woman.

5. I was very pretty. (there is no good or bad about that on its face, but with the other deficits of my family's collective psychosis turned out to be a very bad thing for the sensitive person I was to become) Too pretty for anyone to see much beyond the prettiness and see the person inside. I know very few people, men or women, who would feel sorry for a woman who was as pretty as I was, since envy and the comfort of dismissal make empathy impossible for the envious.

That's a pretty good start. So I begin with abandonment, then shift to abuse and then abandonment again where the significant men in my early life were concerned. Add to that the angry, competitive, hostile mother, and you have the making of a woman unable to bond or trust. So, I might be capable of loving, but never able to fully trust. I always believed that any man I loved would leave me (the early imprint) and so I left first. It was the only way I knew to avoid abandonment. Really very easy to understand laid out like that (like a patient etherized upon the table). So I do not dare to eat a peach. Unless alone, that is.

There is more on this subject. But not today. Today I am vacuuming.