Last week, Tuesday, I made a very final break from a man who I’d been in love with, very deeply, a long time ago, and whose inability to love me back, and treat me as an equal, sparked off 18 years of drug addiction.
I do not blame Tom for who I became – he does not deserve that much respect in my life story. Blame, should it be required, is mine and mine alone. Accountability seems a more mature way to speak about the way I am dealing with things now, but there is one hell of a vast chasm between the man I am now, and the boy I was, aged 21, then.
You see, it was a trust issue – Tom could not be trusted to keep it tidy, keep it civil, keep it between us. I was fed a load of emotional codswallop, and I chose to stay and accept that, instead of get up and walk away the very first time he was so brazenly unfaithful.
But this is NOT about Tom, this is MY story, despite his role as catalyst – and like all good catalysts, he was well away by the time the resultant chemical reactions took place, that brought my reality crashing down around me years later.
I couldn’t let go of Tom, of the anger I felt towards him, and the pain I blamed him for. I wrecked all the relationships that followed, running from anyone who got close, and chasing those that could keep up, away, with brutal, cold and selfish behaviour. I hid in the drugs. I became a regular at gay steam baths, choosing physical vengeance on Tom’s emotional apathy, and bore that vengeance out on steady stream of strangers. My calling card at the Hot House, in Cape Town from 2001 to 2004 was that if someone opened their mouth to talk to me, I’d stare them down, and say, with ice in my voice “I’m not here to listen to your life story, and I’m not interested in it, or you. We are here for one thing only – so let’s fuck, or move on!”
I couldn’t trust myself not to get hurt by these men, who just wanted a word of kindness in this hole in the wall that catered for every physical need and none of the emotional ones, and damaged almost purposefully, all the psychological needs a man has – and they are legion!
The crassness of my words betrayed the raw pain in my heart, at being so used by Tom, so negated as human, so lied to by life. If Tom could hurt me, then I would destroy these men, denounce them as mere object, a thing, a hole to fill with all my pain, make them fall in love with the things I would do to their bodies, then, once spent, I’d leave them the sweaty, broken wreckage that I was myself fast becoming, or had become, years earlier, at the cold hands and cool heart of Tom.
I proclaimed myself the Cure to the disease that is Marriage, and seduced one married man after the next, not giving a damn what that did to the children or wives at home. I challenged some of these women, saying that if they didn’t try harder to objectify their men, who deserved no better, I’d do it for them.
There is shame, when I read these words, but it is shame that I read them with little emotion. They are the next confession, in my journey, and perhaps now was not the time to reveal the lecherous physicality drugs played in my life, but then, when is it socially acceptable to admit, and then release to history, the car-crash of sexuality that I’ve become?
It felt good, to finally let Tom know that he was an angel, but it was in darkness, he came, to suck the light that poured out of me. The rest of last week was such an upper, I was on such a high, at my break through, at the revelation that it was NOT me who caused this, but that I could stand to take the blame, take the accountability, take control back, of my life.
But Tom was not the only man in my life, not by a long shot, and the sad thing is, is that Tom robbed Cris of my ability to love, and to love deeply, and to love without fear, and to love without damage.
Cris is someone that as I write this and think of him, brings me much sadness, because I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t feel responsible for the mess he’s in, emotionally, financially, personally – every which way possible, right now. My heart aches, literally, as if you have reached out, while reading this, and punched through my chest, gripped my heart and are squeezing for all you’re worth.
I used to think that if I just loved Tom enough, he would love me back. I used to think that just being in Cris’ life, was enough, and that he didn’t have to love me in the same way, him being straight and all, that just being near him, was enough. But it isn’t…
It isn’t enough to use me for sex, to make me sleep on the couch while you get your rocks off with some stranger. It’s not OK to take my money, time and again, then to blame me, when you shared the drugs with me, for the bills not being paid. And it’s SO not OK to know the one thing that really hurts me, and use it to hurt me over and over and over again, to blame me for your unpaid bills, while you’re still doing drugs, and I haven’t been near you. It’s not OK to tell me, Tom, that my drug addiction and my lies impact YOUR life when you absolved yourself of responsibility in 1996 and for all intents and purposes, fell off the face of the Earth, until October last year, when you came rushing back in, pretending to be all wounded, disappointed and angry. Cris, it’s not OK for you to lie there, in pain, when people who love you want to help you. I accept that you want nothing to do with me, and I do it with sadness, knowing that the expectation is that I should feel like I failed, but the only person I failed, Cris, is me, for 18 years – I cannot take responsibility for you, especially when I am only now learning to take responsibility for me.
Cris, Tom, I wish you only the best, for the future, it’s what everybody deserves. Tom, I hope you learn to shine, instead of reflecting the shine of others – there was much relief in letting you go. Cris, I will see you in time, in another life, our souls’ journeys ARE written in stone – but there was much pain in letting you let me go.
I loved you.