There are times when I look at myself and ask why I do the things I do. I was thinking about it on the way to work this morning. There have only been 3 men in my life that I ever really wanted to love me.
My dad. I've always wanted my dad's love. I think I even had it for a while when I was little. In fact, I know I did. But then something happened, I grew up, I changed, he changed and suddenly I became very aware of the fact that he had stopped loving me. I think he loves me in the "you're my daughter so I have to" way but not in the way you want your dad to love you. And I know that has colored how I see myself.
A's father. I really loved him and I really wanted to be loved by him. I wanted us to be a family. We had A on the way and I thought, "He's the father of my child. Surely he loves me." But he didn't. He may have in his own way at some point but not in the way I loved him. It was painful to be rejected by him. I truly believed that if the father of my child couldn't love me and my own father couldn't love me, there must be something fundamentally wrong with me.
And that's when I stopped trying. I dated. And I had guys that I really liked but I never let my guard down enough to allow them to reject me. I would reject myself for them in my head and that allowed me to stay safe. To protect myself from more proof that I couldn't be loved by a man. It worked pretty well all things considered for 13 years.
And then I met B. Guy least likely to turn my head. He seemed so sweet and different from the type of guy I usually dated. He caught me off guard. He wasn't what I thought I wanted at all and yet, I found myself falling for him. And falling in love with him. And being terrified that once again, I wouldn't be good enough. And then I thought, "Just be yourself. Trust him. Maybe he won't hurt you. Maybe he's the one you've been waiting for all this time." So I did. I trusted him. And hurt me, but somehow, we stayed together. And he hurt me again but still, there we were. There was an undeniable something that kept us together. And then we lost the baby. And things changed. I moved. We got closer. Or so I thought. Then one day, he said what I had been waiting for "Gail, let's just be friends. We're best friends. I don't want to lose that. I don't want you out of my life and I don't even want to close the door on a future but I can't commit to a future with you either. So let's just be best friends and take sex out of the relationship." I was shocked. And not. I had been waiting for this exact moment. I had expected it weeks before it came and when it didn't come, I thought maybe I was wrong. So we talked and talked and talked. And cried and cried and cried. Both of us, not just me. He knew he was taking a chance by telling me this. He knew there was a chance that I would say, "I can't be your friend." And then we talked all night. Well, not exactly. You see, being emotional for some reason, gets him, ummm... well in the mood. I guess it's just wanting things to be normal when they feel out of control. And the fact that I am still in love with him made it more challenging to reject his advances. Weak girl that I am, I didn't. We said our I love yous. And then we slept. The next day was just as painful. I couldn't eat, I felt sick all day. I worried about the wedding that we had to shoot in 3 weeks (2 weeks now) and I wondered if I would be able to put on a happy face. That night, more talking, more crying. More sadness. And in the end, as I was about to get into my car, we kissed and I said "I'll see you on the 9th." I couldn't take it. Seeing him, talking to him, being near him was too painful. My heart was breaking a little more every time. And his eyes filled up with tears when I said that. I was keeping him from his best friend but it's what I knew I needed if I was going to be able to function. I cried all the way home. And there waiting in my inbox was an email from him: "I hope you got home ok... sleep tight. Get some good sleep and something nutritious for breakfast. I love you, -B" I emailed him back and said not to call me. If he needed to email me he could or he could send a text but no calls and no visits. I emailed him the next morning and gave him details he needed for the wedding, in part because I wanted to "talk" to him and in part because I wanted to get all of my excuses to talk to him out of the way. He responded saying I could call him or email him anytime, he didn't mind. And that's when I broke. I snapped. I realized that he had no idea what I was feeling so I told him. Flat out.
Here's what I said:
I know you don't mind. But I need to learn to live without you and that isn't easy for me. I miss you. I miss us. And it's only been 5 minutes. But the weekend is going to get here and for the first time we will both be in the same town and not together and I won't see you or cuddle with you or even get to go to a movie with you. That hurts to think about. Trying to not love you hurts. I'm just one big ball of pain (as is evidenced by my head and neck) and all I want is to sleep until the 9th or it stops hurting, whichever comes first. Everything just hurts in a way I didn't expect. It actually hurts to breathe right now. Knowing how much you want to date other people hurts. And that's not fair, you should want to date other people. But it hurts me to think about. I know it's different for you, for you, me dating would be a relief (I think) but that's just not how it is for me. And on the other side of that is wanting to know how you are and what you're thinking about and if you're ok and what you're doing. I want to call you and see how you're morning's going and if you're working on pictures. I want to tease you for playing linerider or watching TV instead of working on pictures. I want to know if you're getting your truck washed or if you fell in love with someone between last night and this afternoon. The idea of not having you in my life is so painful but the idea having to watch you be in love with someone tomorrow or next week or next month is even more painful. I have this horrible image in my head of you falling in love with someone today and never being able to see you again. Because what you don't know is that when someone comes along who gives you those butterflies that you want so much and does even more for you than I ever did, you won't want me around anymore. Because you won't need me for anything. She'll give you everything I have given you and more because you'll be in love with her. She'll be your best friend and there just won't be room for me in your life. And waiting for that to happen, knowing that some other girl could be with you in Prague and will get to meet your family and will be able to give you babies that you actually want, that just hurts. I hate not being enough and there's nothing I can change. This isn't something I can fix. I can't do anything to give you butterflies or make you feel giddy. Either I do or I don't, there isn't a magic pill I can take to change whatever it is about me that doesn't inspire that "giddy" feeling. My kisses can't excite you or melt you the way hers (the enventual "her") will. And I can't help not wanting to watch you get everything you want. I want you to be happy, don't get me wrong, but when I know that I won't have that, well, watching you get it, just thinking about watching you get it, that hurts.
And that's when he called. Not even 12 hours after I said "Don't call" he called. In tears. And said "I can't take this. This hurts way too much to possibly be what I really want. Please forget everything I said. If I asked you to take me back, would you?" And that's where we ended up. We met for dinner and talked a little. But now I feel like I'm right back where I started. Unsure if I'm good enough to be loved. By him or by anyone else.
He hasn't read the letter. Because I asked him not to. I realized after having a massive panic attack that I wasn't ready to deal with the possibility of rejection. Not when we have to shoot this wedding in 2 weeks. So I asked him to wait. And hopefully, he will. I know that there is a chance that he will be ready to deal with what I want and that he will be happy to do what I've asked. And all this worry will have been for nothing. Actually, worry is always for nothing.
But I've realized something much bigger, if I'm not worth it to him, if I'm not good enough well then, neither is he. And I'm just going to have to love me enough to let him go. And I know that I'll say "never again" but we all know that's a lie. I'll let someone else in. Eventually. Maybe after I've really learned to love myself. I try. But I think I fail far more than I succeed. Someday. Someday I'll get it right.