“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just have to find the ones worth suffering for.”
It was Thanksgiving day when I found out that my boyfriend of two years was cheating on me. He was cheating on me with a woman I was introduced to as his cousin. A woman he had grown up with. A friend of the family who had somehow become family through marriage somewhere along the extended family lines. They had a huge family. She was also his best friend’s wife. My boyfriend’s cousins called to give me the news.
They gathered up the courage to tell me and decided that I needed to know because everyone else knew, but because we were a long distance relationship, I was just removed enough from the circle to be completely in the dark about them. Don’t get me wrong, I knew something was wrong. I just couldn’t figure out what it was.
Now, I don’t want you to think that this is a rant on cheating or how it destroys lives, because it’s not. Shit happens. Believe me, no one understands that fact better than me. This is a little bit about what happened after that.
After the holiday weekend, I was on my way back to work, and on a dollar-van, riding through the streets of Queens, NY I heard Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy”. All of a sudden, I couldn’t hold it in any more and I started to cry. I was crying those embarrassing public tears. The ones that make you look, panicked, for a light too bright. Or for a bug that you hope would just fly right on into your eye and give you a plausible excuse as to why you would be sitting on public transit, squished between people, frantically dabbing— not rubbing— at your eyes (because of course after a horrible weekend wherein which you go over and over the details of your boyfriends infidelities, in an effort not to look broken and tired, that is the morning you decide to wear all of your eye-make up at once). But I digress…
I heard the song and my heart broke. Not exactly because of what had been done to me, or because men supposedly had it so easy, because I had already justified what had been done to me. I started to cry because of what has been happening to beautiful women for far too long. I couldn’t get it together because this was almost par for the course. I had almost expected at some point to be cheated on. I was actually less angry with that and more disappointed with all the unnecessary drama. I was disappointed in who he had chosen because there were several lives messed up by that course of events. But somehow, I expected the cheating. And that was more damaging to me than anything else. It was as though it was a given. Men were a certain way, and women would find a way to navigate through that, or deal with it. But they would have to take what they could get.
And in that moment, I realized that for years, in the name of being a “good girl”, I clung to the attraction that I still had for men, all the while completely banishing any and all feelings for women who would haunt my dreams and stir forbidden desires. But I felt deep within me that now I needed to embrace and accept those desires into my life. I needed to give those desires permission to live and thrive, at least in that moment. Because I wanted to be the end. I wanted to be the end of the cycle of heartbreak for a woman.
I didn’t hear the song as all the things I would love to do in a relationship that would have been better than the way that men treated me. What I heard in that song was desperation. A crying out from even a celebrity who at one time or another must have been offered crumbs of someone’s love when she deserved all the stars in the universe and so much more. So I didn’t want to do better than men. I didn’t need to.
I am a nurturer by nature. I love taking care of people. I love being taken care of. I wanted to shower someone with gifts for once and not have it construed as trying to emasculate them. I didn’t want to play the relationship game. I didn’t want to tell someone how I felt and have the ongoing mystery for months, possibly years where I wondered whether or not they felt the same way about me. I wanted to be straightforward with someone, and I wanted them to be straightforward with me. And from the sound of that song, it seemed that a lot of women were in the same mind frame that I was in.
Although I’ve always been much closer to the feminine side of the spectrum, I realized what I wanted. I wanted to be someone’s knight in shining armor. I wanted to be someone’s safe place when the world became too much. And I wanted them to be mine. I wanted us to see what happens when we let go of all the “norms” and the “supposed-tos” and the “shoulds” and just have a relationship based on the needs of the two people in that relationship, rather than stuck on the roles society has for each person.
My heart thumped harder in my chest, and I felt that whisper against my skin, that little feeling I get sometimes when I feel like my very soul is trying to tell me “yes, you’re on the right path”. And I knew then, as I do now that there is absolutely someone out there who is waiting for me to be the end of her cycle of heartbreak.
I am ready for love, but she is waiting for me.
Somehow, and I can’t really explain how, I feel like I know this with every fiber of what I am. The road along the way isn’t always smooth or pretty. It takes a lot of growth, and growth is anything but comfortable. In fact, if things are comfortable and I have a clear vision of everything all the time, I often feel like maybe I’m not in the position to grow right at that moment. So I know I’ve got a lot of work to do with myself, so that I can be at my best for whoever that beautiful soul is.
But at the end of the year, I wanted a resolution that would remind myself of a truth and a goal that I set forth over seven years ago, now. I want to be the end of someone’s pain. I want to end their search. I want to be the end of their loneliness, and I want to sweep her off her feet, even as I get swept away. I want to switch up the roles and at least in her mind, I want to take that image of all those horrible things that happen in relationships, the lies, the games, the emotional blackmail, and I want to make those things the myth. I want to make all those hurtful things the fairy tale. Because I want the Happily Ever After to become the new reality.
I wish that the truth could be that sure, maybe everyone would hurt her. That may be true for the rest of the world, but she would know that in our world that wouldn’t exist. Because that is a life’s work that I would be honored to be dedicated to. I would hope that I would be worth suffering for. Not because I would make her suffer, but because maybe she’d have to suffer on her way to the point where our life together would begin. So I hope, and I pray, and I work everyday, to make myself worth it. Because every single woman you meet has a story. And in that story there is some measure of heartbreak. I hope that I am worth living through it all. Whoever she is, I want to end her jaded cynicism and bring the light back into her eyes. Because just the hope of being that person for someone else, has been enough to do that for me.
Wishing you Romance and Whimsy into the New Year!
Wonderful post, Avery. Very poignant. It’s funny though because with the exception of one relationship with a woman, (and she ended up cheating on me, but was very good to me up until that point) my best relationships were with guys. I can’t really use the term “men” because I stopped dating the opposite sex when I was 19. I have found women can hurt just as bad as men. But still, I can’t go back to the other side. 🙂 Have a great New Year. There’s a lucky woman out there waiting for you.
I definitely agree with the fact that women can hurt just as bad as men, and that thought came to me as I was writing that post, and I realized that exploring the intricacies of all that might have made the post way too long hehe. But I think in the end I realized that I can’t control what others do, I can only be accountable for myself, and my goal for 2016 is to be a blessing in someone’s life, whether the relationship is romantic or not. I’m kinda thinking that’s how it all starts. Being kind, being human, being real, just for the sake of it. Thank you so much for your comment and your conversation. Happy New Year to you!