I once knew a boy who could make everything okay. He could make me smile when the world felt too heavy. His presence provided a calmness that I couldn’t explain.
I was afraid that this wonderfulness was not real because it felt so other-worldly. We danced in harmony for a brief spell, and it felt like heaven. I knew in my soul that this was a fairytale, but I did not believe in fairytales.
He dragged me in but I resisted because I knew that fairytales were just that — lovely stories where everyone was beautiful and happy. Women were perfect and when they were sad, men rode in on horses and saved the day.
But deep down, I wanted to believe, and I needed something other-worldly in my life, and briefly, this boy was that something wonderful.
He believed in what could be, and for that brief time, I did, too. It all felt too good to be bad.
I think this boy wanted me to fulfill his fantasy and I wanted to live up to his expectations, and I wanted him to prove me wrong — I taunted, “Show me this fantasy that so many believe in.”
For a short time, it was wonderful. The boy was charming. The boy was handsome. The boy was a musician. The boy told me how he didn’t deserve someone like me. I should have believed him.
I was myself — because the boy convinced me that he loved me.
The boy called less. I cried, alone in my room. We argued. The boy looked for gratification from others because he didn’t know that he was enough.
We ended things.
I was sad. The boy appeared happy.
I convinced myself that it must have been all my fault. I wasn’t enough.
Years passed. Other boys tried to sweep me off of my feet. I let some believe that they had succeeded, but in my soul I knew it wasn’t true. That first boy hurt me, and when I was alone with my thoughts, I promised myself I would never let another boy hurt me. I would always have the upper hand.
In new relationships I walled myself off — only showed the good parts. I never allowed myself to get involved with anyone and let my guard down. I stuffed my emotions. A new boy poured himself into me. I accepted his love, but I could never give him my whole heart. I’m incapable of loving a little. When I love, I love with my everything I have. It’s great and passionate — with a depth that few can comprehend. I was not in love with New Boy, but I played along as though I were. New Boy loved me and occasionally I told him that I loved him, too.
Something was weird about New Boy — just couldn’t put my finger on it. We carried on.
Life happened and I learned pain.
I lost a parent.
New Boy’s secret came out and it was bad. New Boy went to prison. I broke up with New Boy, but in my mind it was all fine because I had only allowed myself to love him a little.
I grieved — in LOTS of unhealthy ways.
I moved far far away.
I was lonely. I thought about that first boy who made me smile way back in high school. That boy could never hurt me like New Boy had. I thought about the few attempts we had both made to work things out. I re-wrote our past in my head. Surely it hadn’t been as horrible as I had made it out to be. Perhaps he was the one that got away. We were young. We needed to live life and have new experiences. It could all be different now.
I called First Boy. Hmm. He still made me smile. Somewhere deep in me, I felt things with First Boy that I had never felt with anyone else.
Now First Boy wanted to get married. I was shocked, but First Boy could still make me smile, and after all of my recent pain, I REALLY wanted to smile.
We got married. It was hard, but it was good.
Or, was it? Well, it was good for a little while, maybe.
Life happened, because life is not a fairytale. We had jobs, we quit jobs. We started school, we finished school, eventually. We moved ten times. We built a house. We lived with his parents. My brother over-dosed on drugs — at least twice. My brother went to rehab, then to outpatient rehab. His grandfather died. My grandfather died. His aunt got cancer and survived. He joined his dad’s business — it didn’t work out. He felt guilty. We had two kids in less than two years. He started his own business. It didn’t work out. He got another job. My mom had several depressive episodes. My grandmother had a stroke. My mom had to go to the mental hospital.
Then…..his dad got really sick, really fast. We thought he was better. He traveled to see a specialist. We were hopeful.
One morning, First Boy called me from work. He was sobbing uncontrollably. His dad had gotten up to use the restroom the morning he was to see a specialist, and he collapsed. CPR was performed. The ambulance was called. His dad was dead.
First Boy was a wreck.
The boy I met in the tenth grade is now a distant memory. He no longer makes me smile. He yells a lot, throws things, and is VERY scary. My suggestions are all stupid. He tells me I’m dramatic, and that I’m the one that makes him do the scary things that he does because I’m crazy.
Sometimes I question myself. Is it me? Did I make him this way? Is this all my fault?
I know it’s not my fault. I also know I have to get away from him.
Now I REALLY don’t believe in fairytales.
The same boy that wanted to make me smile way back in the tenth grade still wants many of the same things. He wants to make things better — for me, for his mom, for his kids, for the world, but he is so very disenchanted. He’s had more than his share to deal with in the past few years, but he refuses to get help. I love him, but he is so very damaged.
We’re both damaged, but I’m learning to heal. I’ve had to learn to feel the pain and be okay with it. I teeter on the edge. The only way I can numb myself is to not eat, and that’s not an option, but an empty stomach feels SO good. It’s light and airy and nothing can hurt me. Obviously, this is a sick illusion. I know this because I’ve had plenty of therapy. Every day I make a choice to eat — to LIVE in this less than perfect world.
I don’t hurt like I once did, but I recognize pain. First Boy is in some serious pain, and I can’t fix it. He numbs himself with work, alcohol, television and iDevices and Lord only knows what else.
I want First Boy to recognize that he’s hurting, learn coping strategies, and stop taking his pain out on me. I want him to love himself so hard and love the kids so hard and love me so hard that he’ll do anything in his power to fix himself — to fix our family.
I cry into my pillow at night, and I get up every day and get through it. I know that I can’t fix First Boy. Any attempt I make anymore is misconstrued and twisted and only makes me hurt more.
I don’t believe in fairytales, but I do believe in peace.
I believe that in spite of all the pain and ugliness in the world, there’s just as much love and beauty, and I’m ready for that to be my focus. I’ve heard it a gazillion times in therapy and support groups, “You can’t control things by not eating.”
I know that is true, and I think I’m finally strong enough to make some major changes.