I feel like an A-list actress with my performance the past six months or so. I'm so irritated with myself for acting like I could just handle this shit on my own without it affecting me. Why is it so hard to admit that I need a little bit of help and perhaps some support?
My friend Kate and I drove up to St. Joseph last night to visit our friend Lacey from college who moved up there for a job about a year ago along with another friend who was in the area. Oh St. Joe - it's such a *cough* quaint little town. It looks as though it's growth was stunted circa 1900 as there seems to be no new buildings and everything looks as though it's covered in this heavy layer of crusted on grime. Although there was quite an event going on that night - the annual Mardi Gras parade of course. It pretty much consisted of pick up trucks decorated with Christmas lights, full of older, overweight men, drinking beer and taunting the crowd with strands of beads. Yes, because I'm going to peel through my nine layers of clothing to show you my boobs in 30 degree weather for a shitty strand of plastic beads that the person in front of me will probably jump up and catch anyway. I think not. Wow, just like Bourbon Street, right? Except with a little extra white trash thrown in, but hey, we made the most of it.
We hit a party and a bar before heading back to Lacey's place for the night, which is when we ended up talking about my lovely situation in life. The girls and I chatted about a few things, but what really got to me was watching their appalled reactions to some of my stories. And, the sad thing was that I even left some of the excruciating details out.
I'm a lazy, stupid slob - this is not how I describe myself, but how my ex-boyfriend, which happens to also be my roommate, describes me. It's a funny situation in that he used to be the most selfless, kind and caring human being I had ever encountered - then we moved in together and this aggressive, hateful, abusive man reared his ugly head. I can't tell if that side has always been there or if it evolved after he lived with somebody. I never knew that a glass - A, as in one, as in single, glass left on the coffee table that didn't immediately find it's way to the dishwasher the second the last drop of liquid inside of it was gone - could send somebody into such a vicious rage of anger. The weird list of cleanliness could go on forever - he vacuums out the lint trap of the dryer, waxes and buffs his truck with an electric buffer every weekend, washes the same bowl, spoon and glass after he uses it each day as to not dirty another dish and treats his pots and pans as if they were fine china. I would normally be able to just laugh these things off and accept that he was just a clean, orderly person, but when I'm also expected to do these things, then I'm yelled at, ridiculed, called a slew of the most hurtful names a human can be called and belittled when I don't do them - that's when I have a problem with them.
The only person I can be is me - smart, but slightly scattered brained, with a horrific short term memory, clutter collector, procrastinator, yet dependable and I'm not afraid to stand up for myself. I also always have the best intentions and I always know exactly how to prioritize my life - the people in it always come first. I'd say I'm pretty balanced.
But, for some reason, I let this guy do this to me for months. I'd come home and he'd be sitting on the couch, his brow furrowed with this pissy scowl on his face and he'd barely speak to me. While I had no idea why he was mad, nor would he tell me when I asked him, apparently it was my fault he was upset. However, a week later when I would get a little irritated with him for not helping me with something or being inconsiderate, he would explode into a screaming tirade and I'd find out exactly why he was STILL mad a week later - although I was still baffled.
- What? I didn't empty out the dishwasher? Well I didn't know there were dishes in there that were ready to be put away.
- The fact that he's never seen me or chooses not to remember seeing me vacuum means that I never do it and the fact that the counters in the kitchen were not as clean as he would like them means that I never wipe them off.
- Oh, the fact that my dog ran away and I, not you, even though you took it upon yourself to to get involved, had to search all over the neighborhood for him gives you the right to call me a worthless cunt.
- The fact that I never offered to mow the lawn means that I am the most lazy, shitbag of a human being even though he's out there mowing it before the grass even has time to grow out since the last mowing. Plus, I probably wouldn't do it correctly for his standards and then I'd be called a retard.
And, these are just a handful of the things. It all seems completely negotiable with a litte calm communication and a touch of compromise and patience, but those things are apparently too difficult for him. I mean, the house is most definitly not a shithole and it is not dirty. There's some clutter here and there, but I'd never live in filth. The fact that he justifies his behavior with, "well you should have helped more around the house," scares the hell out of me.
Month after month I put up with this shit until I finally broke up with him. I continue to live with him because my name is on the lease, I don't want to burden my parents (nor bruise my pride) by moving in with them and frankly I don't want him to run me out of my own home. But, after two months of dealing with the post-breakup bullshit, I'm ready to throw in the towel. It's hard because I knew who he used to be and sometimes it seems he turns back into that person in brief spurts. I of course get caught up in it because I still live with him and want to try to be an adult by working out my problems, believe him when he says he loves me and wants to work it out, then immediately regret it when the abusive behavior resurfaces a few days later.
I thought I was smart and strong enough to deal with it myself because I knew that I wasn't any of those things that he called me and therefore they would have no affect on me. I knew I wasn't one of "those women" that just stood there and took it because I stood up for myself and as soon as the lease was up in May, I'd move out. But, the past couple of weeks I've watched myself shrink into the mold of an abused woman. It's starting to get to me regardless of my so-called tough skin. My self esteem is a roller coaster, walking on eggshells just so I don't do something to piss him off is controlling my life, I worry about how I could possibly live without him and I'm just not the person I used to be. Something about this weekend, (and the fact that shortly after I came home, he screamed at me for cutting a piece of food on a plate rather than a cutting board with one of his knives then didn't clean it "correctly." He said I'm "fucking them up," the knives that is, and I'm not allowed to use them anymore) made me realize that my mental health is really starting to suffer because of this whole situation. I put on an act to fool others and myself into believing that I'm OK, but I'm not OK. And, it's time to do something about it even if it means swallowing my pride and "burdoning" others.
It seems as though my presence has thrown a wrench in his precious pristine regime rather than bringing him any sort of happiness or enrichment. It's more important that I'm spotlessly clean than witty, pretty, funny, sweet, intelligent or pleasant to be around. Although I think even the tidiest of women would have a hard time keeping up with his impossible orderly standards because everything he does is automatically the right way to do things.
I'm tired of sticking up for him just because I'm still hanging onto the awesome guy that I met almost two years ago. That person is long gone and I'm completely exhausted waiting for him to reappear and decide that just "little old me" is good enough for him. All he sees me as is a disruption in his life of perfect order. I added a little color, a little variety and a little flair, but apparently it was all grossly unwanted. And, I'm done wasting my time being nothing, but a disruption when I know I'm so much more than that. Somebody other than me, my family and my true friends will appreciate it someday. All I can be is me and I refuse to be ashamed of that.
While I've told myself about a half a dozen times that I'm going to pack a few things, grab my dog and head to my parent's, I never do it because I can't ever stay in that mind set long enough. I need somebody to hold me accountable for my planned actions and I'm hoping my mom will be that person. I know all I really need to do is ask and now that all of this is in writing, I feel like asking for help is the only way to go.
Thank god I can quit my acting gig now...