The problem with having your heart broken is that it makes you believe in old ideas of yourself. Every little doubt, misgiving, regret you have ever felt toward yourself is confirmed as you stare at the endless possibilities that will never be and the ruin of the path you had thought laid out before you. Of course, this is all utter nonsense and you are, in actual fact, the exact same person you ever were, it is just the circumstances around you which have changed. Yet nothing would convince you of this in that black hole of feeling that you are left with.
I felt all this, felt every self-hating thought and word validated by the ending of my marriage. Of course! I thought to myself, of course this is what would happen! What kind of fool am I to think that such things were meant for me? Was it not inevitable that she would eventually see me for the adolescent, piece of shit I really am! Honestly, how long did I think I could pull the wool over her eyes!
Who could ever love me!?!
These were the thoughts of my teenage self, the one who understood love only through the lyrics of the Buzzcocks and The Cure. They held the sophistication of the boy who felt that Highlander was a deep work of romance. They were the thoughts of a self-hating, awkward, sexually deficient child, now taken up by the mind of a man rapidly approaching his forties. They struggled for traction, these thoughts, desperately tried to attach themselves to my idea of self and for brief moments, they succeeded. I was surprised by the ferocity of them and how appealing those ideas were; comfortable, like home. I knew them so well, had worn them so stylishly back in the day.
But they were old ideas. They now disgusted me.
Sure, that mod army jacket looked BITCHIN’ way back when, but I was no longer that person. Now it would make me look an embittered Vietnam Veteran. Those old ideas were not only ill fitting, but they were an insult to what I had become, to all I had been through.
I refused them.
They were self pitying, self serving and offered no path forward.
Instead I chose a new path, a new direction, one of brighter circumstance.
I forgave myself.
I looked up and down this long streak of Welsh and I allowed myself to be fallible, accepted that I had made mistakes in the past, but acknowledged that they did not determine my worth. I was actually kind, actually understanding of who I was. I reminded myself of all the good I had attempted, of all the benevolence I had, sometimes clumsily tried to engender for others, of how my intent had never been malicious or selfish.
I allowed responsibility for all that had happened to slip from my shoulders and onto those of others. I allowed myself the certainty that others do wrong and, at times, that wrong is directed toward me. For the first time, I felt that was okay, not to blame, but to be sure of others responsibility regarding how I have felt. Often that feeling had been subverted, too easily changed by others words, which preyed on my one frequently unstable mental state, convincing me that all was in my mind and that the fault actually lay at my feet.
What’s that saying; Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me?
I would not allow myself to be fooled anymore, by myself or any other.
Instead I made a pledge, took an oath with myself.
I will never again apologise for who I am..
That was it. Simple.
My whole life had felt like an apology up until that point, the way I behaved, the way I manifested myself in this world. It was as if every thought, every movement was an apology, as if looking for some external pardon for my desires and notions. I moved in small, mouse-like gestures in the hope no one would really notice my true self, scared of being found out for the vast stretch of weird that I really am. I felt a lack of permission to enter my own life. I had beaten myself into near submission.
But not quite.
I cultivate that garden of strange now. I make love to it. It yields new ideas of myself daily.
I make no apology. There is nothing to apologise for.
I am beautiful, in my small, unassuming way.
It’s not the kind of beauty that turns heads, but it’s enough to keep my interest.
I would date me.
I’m not sure if I would move in with me yet, but I would definitely text the morning after.
I would try to love me.
And I think that I would try to love me back.