Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Self-punishment, divine intervention, and love (part 1)

For all of you wondering when Mel's counter-post was coming, here is part 1...

I am a chronic self-punisher, and have been for most of my life. I've learned enough shame and guilt to last a couple of lifetimes, and I learned at an early age that when my life was going to hell, God was trying to tell me something. And usually it was that any pain I went through was a direct result of my actions, and I was guilty for it. Yes, in my mind EVERYTHING was my fault. Except the good stuff of course. That was God's grace.

There was a time I could convince myself otherwise, but then I fell apart. Chris swears my previous marriage was an attempt to punish myself for screwing up a previous relationship, and if that is the case the self-punishment worked really well. Hell, I made myself feel guilty for leaving my previous husband, and guilty when HE lied to me and stole my kids from me. I managed to feel guilty for someone else's illegal actions. Yes, I was that bad. When my previous husband picked up a random nuts control-freak woman to substitute for me, I felt guilty for that too. In my mind I was replaced, and never worthy of love to begin with. This lovely self-destructive train of thought continued with my next relationship, which was supposed to be casual but never really stayed that way.

During this time I met Chris through a common acquaintance and we became friends. It's funny; the first time I met him I was so nervous I was shaking. I was on my lunch hour and he had talked me into driving the truck into one of the richest parts of town to pick him up. I was incredibly nervous on so many levels, and I felt so out of place that I was almost convinced I was going to be picked up by the police for being in the wrong part of town. When he mentioned how much money he could be expecting in the near future I was actually disgusted, but passed it off quickly. I mean, what in the world would that ever mean to me? It wasn't mine, and I quickly forgot about it. But there was something about that first meeting that I spent months trying to ignore. In my mind, there was no way I could be attracted to him. He wasn't what I deserved. And there was no way in hell he would be attracted to me when there was so many other women around. Besides, I was taken with someone else and we both knew it.

Oddly enough, I did have a little backbone left. Later on I asked for a committment out of my "casual" relationship. When that didn't pan out in an extraordinarily painful way, I sought out some comfort. And some additional punishment. I really wanted to be used and cast aside, because I thought that's what I deserved.

I have always had trouble being casual with men. It's not in my nature, and it seems to not be in theirs. Every man who have ever been even semi intimate with has wanted to marry me or otherwise keep me forever (even the "casual" one mentioned above eventually). Now anyone who has been reading any of the deeper parts of this blog has most likely noticed that Chris has had no trouble being casual in the past. And I figured, "hey, why not, he's the last person on the planet who would ever fall for me. And there is no way I could fall myself, he's just not what I deserve."

Yeah. We all know how that worked out. "Smacked upside the head by fate" is too tame a description. One of the first things that Chris said concering all of this was that if I ever kissed him without hesitating, we were in trouble. We were in deep troubled within a week. It was obvious from the beginning that we would end up married, problems and all.

The first real test of our relationship oddly enough came on my birthday, which is one of the best and worst days of my life. Chris was in Boston for a high-school reunion, and I was working at the park. I left work early because I was BEYOND sick, and came home to my previous lover on my instant messenger. Turned out he was in love with me, which I'd hoped for so many months. And he wanted me to leave Chris, and was willing to fight for me. Obviously the wording was both more flowery and forceful than that, but that was the point.

I had people screw me over many times in my life. I have been verbally and emotionally abused and neglected. I have been hurt in many ways. But that is the first time in my life that I have been hurt through someone else loving me. Finally, what I wanted, when I didn't want it.

One of the greater kindnesses of my life was that day, when I was so torn I couldn't think or feel straight, just cry. I successfully escaped my computer not to Chris, but to Chris's apartment and John to keep an eye on me. Not that I phrased it that way, or that he admitted it, but John spent the rest of the day watching dvds with me to keep me distracted until I had to pick Chris up from the aiport. He left just as I was leaving, and probably saved me quite a bit of grief. Because by the time I left to pick up Chris I already knew my decision. My first instinct when faced with that choice was to go running to Chris. And with a little delay and a little help to keep me sane, I did. And that's what I've been doing ever since.

Chris is HOME. I never felt safe a day in my life until I had him. Not a day. I never felt at ease, never felt secure, never felt LOVED. Hell, I'd spent most of my life convinced that NO ONE feels love as deeply as I do. That was, until I met Chris, who matched me for depth and breadth of love.

I was in love with him the first time I saw him, and too self-defeating to notice it.

Have you ever heard God laugh? I have. God took my self-destruction, channeled it, and found me Chris despite my best efforts. I spent a good deal of time not too long ago in a panic attack, most of which boiled down to "I'm not good enough, he won't stay and if he does he's a fool." Yeah, I've never been yelled at quite so forcefully as God did that night. For taking what I had been given and forcefully ramming it down His throat.

I have been *ahem* convinced to alter my thinking. Just a bit.

A long time ago I came up with a list of qualities that I wanted in a mate, so in case I did something stupid like fall into love (or lust) I would have an unbiased list of qualifications.

Chris meets every one.

Funny how that works.

But I'm done with my self-punishing, for the most part. I guess it is possible to finally get what you want. And need.


Call me Mel, everyone else does.