Dear Friends and Family,
It's time to be more honest than I've ever been. This blog is coming purely out of necessity, not (hopefully) from the dark shadows of pride and greed lurking within my heart. It's time to get real, as they say.
Much of what say won't make sense. Some wording and grammar may come across as muddled or repetitive. My ideas and inner monologues will be flaky and irresponsible. This blog isn't about feeding my oversized ego or flexing my creative muscle. This blog is about the reality of my life. And this blog begins now.
I'm sitting in the living-room of an apartment I share with my girlfriend Jennifer. It's newly vacuumed and organized and usually this lends enough comfort to allow me to write coherently. But I can't focus. The blank white page glaring up at me from my laptop is taunting me now more than ever. My pride is begging me to write something epic and seemingly selfless. As much as I've given into these demands of my personal demons, I cannot now. What I have to say is too important to allow the fiends of my subconscious mastery over my focus.
I mentioned that I shared this monument to my own independence with my girlfriend. The time has come for this two year relationship to end. I've been whining and complaining about her and all the things she does or does not do for weeks, even months. I toss in meaningless lines like, “I mean, I know I'm not perfect either, far from it actually.” and “Shes a great person and all but..”. I've been so busy searching for reasons within her to end this relationship that I've neglected to search MYSELF. While there exist many reasons and flaws within her that I could easily call to your attention, I cannot and will not. The time for anger and excuses has past.
I have come to realize through the course of this relationship many things about myself. And to be quite honest, I JUST learned this lesson not 20 minutes ago while cleaning aforementioned living-room. As I write this it is Wednesday May 12th 2010 at 7:01 pm. Not an hour ago I was standing in my little sisters apartment talking to her boyfriend about Jennifer. I used the same lines I mentioned above and while I said nothing damning or even rude about Jennifer, my intentions were still of pride and ignorance.
For awhile now I've been struggling not with the existence of God, but with my relationship with him. How do I relate to him? How do I speak with him? How do I know when to hear him speaking to me? And so on and so forth. Today I got my answer, to a degree. For so long I've been blaming Jennifer for nearly everything. For oftentimes being the root of my anger. For being lazy. For being selfish. For being rude. For being isolated. I have fallen into this well rehearsed dialogue with others regarding her, that I twist their perceptions with astounding ease to sympathize with me rather than her. In reality, the blame should be on both of us. And to be honest, and not self deprecating for the sake of being self deprecating, the blame rests largely on my own shoulders.
My anger stems not from her. My yelling and language aren't the result of her eye-rolls or scoffing. It's not deep seeded from my relationship with my mother or my sister. It's not from observing my father in the early years of my rebellion. It stems from within me and me alone. It is my own fault for flying off the handle. It's my own fault for making her afraid of me. It's my own fault for allowing someone else to master the hair trigger of my emotions.
I need to be bigger than this. I need to grow up. I need to take responsibility for what I've become.
I feel the need to mention that I HAVE NOT physically harmed Jennifer in any way, shape, or form. But having a 275 lb, 6'1” man yelling at you is not conducive to a healthy respect of one another. Let alone building a sense of safety.
My cursing, both in high emotional situations and relaxed environments, is not something I should be proud of or neglect as an issue. One of many issues I have regarding myself is my cleverly hidden pride. I'm so prideful, I'm even proud that I've hidden it so well for so long. One of the many things I pride myself on is the fact that I'm a deep, philosophical, open-minded individual. My direct overuse of foul language directly contradicts those beliefs. The way I operate my whole life has been illuminated to me as one large contradiction. I wish I could say that I will begin working on my language. I know I will not. At least not now. It's a habit that is destructive to the mind and as such, very hard to destroy itself.
Another issue I face is my selfishness. Looking back on my conversations about Jennifer to others, I never once mentioned doing the things she wanted to do without having a motive behind mentioning it. In other words, the only time I DID talk about it, was to build myself up in the other persons eyes. I would always talk about the things she didn't do or wouldn't say. I would focus solely on the issues that directly or indirectly affected how I lived comfortably within my own life. I unrealistically expected her to mold to fit me and never once considered that we should BLEND into one rather than ADAPT. I was, AM selfish. My focus on this issue needs to overtake any other goals I may have. Goals that are selfish in and of themselves need to be obliterated. The selfishness itself needs to be near the pinnacle of my focus.
Yet another issue I'm coming to grips with is my greed. I realized that I would go the comic book store or to the grocery store and buy anything and everything I wanted when I had money, but when Jennifer asked me to buy the milk, I would cringe. I may have not said anything, or maybe I did, but its MILK. I have a cart of $120 worth of grocery's just for me (half or more of which are unnecessary) and I take issue with buying a $3.50 gallon of MILK?
Or if I did not have money, as a direct result of the above mentioned greed, I would guilt her into buying things for me. Sometimes I did it intentionally, other times I allowed her to think buying me something would make me happy. There were times during our relationship that I would be moody or upset either for legitimate reasons or selfish ones. During these times Jennifer would suggest that we go somewhere and I would agree (if for no other reason than to get out of the house). Oftentimes we would visit Half Price Books or one of the 3 comic shops I frequent. Jennifer consistently would suggest I pick out a few things and she would buy them with the intention of making me happy again. And I would let her, all the while struggling to ignore the demonic little laugh of greedy satisfaction in my own head, knowing full well that my mood would switch right back to where it was within ten minutes.
Jennifer would buy me my favorite things, things she KNEW I enjoyed and made me happy, just to make me smile again. And I LET HER, knowing that it wasn't going to do a thing and gladly accepting a new, free addition to my collection.
People, I'm selfish, angry, greedy, rude and prideful. In the coming weeks, months or even years; I might allow myself to slip into dismantling the image of Jennifer in my mind and yours. Do not allow me to. Today God as answered my question.
What do I do Lord? Do I stay in this relationship or do I leave?
The answer was never about her. It was about me. My dad told me very recently that every relationship (romantic or otherwise) is either Love or a Lesson. Jennifer has nothing but love for me. Granted, she has her own issues to resolve within herself and in her own time-frame, but regarding me, there is nothing but love. I was too self absorbed to see it and have ruined a relationship beyond the point of fixing the damage I myself caused.
And THAT is MY lesson.
I once thought that I was the ideal man for a woman. Labeling myself constantly as the perfect guy based on the quality that I THOUGHT I understood women and how to relate to them better than any other man. I thought that because I once was a shoulder to cry on for so many women in high school, that I must be someone they inherently felt they could trust. And perhaps the impulse to trust me was a real quality I possessed. I told Jennifer these things. That I was a nice guy, the perfect guy, that I would always be there and would never hurt her. Being a writer I made a convincing argument. I even believed myself.
I am no longer convinced that I am the perfect guy. If I did possess the ability to have people trust me, I have abused it and am not ready or worthy to hold the mantle I once bestowed upon myself. I am not even sure any longer if I can even be labeled as a good guy. I have become painfully aware of more character flaws than I ever thought possible. There is a lot of work to be done, and I cannot rightfully call myself a man until I take them on one at a time, let alone call myself a good boyfriend, husband or even father.
I don't want your praise on these realizations about myself. While appreciated, they'll only feed the ego I need to destroy and the more its fed, the harder it becomes to destroy it. I don't want your sympathies on my personal journey or on the end of my relationship. My selfishness will only cloud your intentions into twisted versions of themselves.
I only ask for your support.
My selfishness is deep rooted. My greed knows no limits. My ego is ever inflated and will take more than a needle to deflate. My anger rests on a hair trigger and I need to find a way to dispose of the gun. I cannot continue to allow myself the comforts of blaming others for my flaws. It has already ruined a relationship that in reality began with so much more potential than you could ever be made aware of. I cannot allow it to ruin any more relationships. Romantic, family, friendship or otherwise.
I know I promised some of you the chance to lash out at Jennifer for the things I've spoken to you about. I must break this promise. Jennifer is off limits. TO ANYONE. Though the breakup may go bad, though my anger rage or my depression haze my better judgment, I stand by this. The things I have said about Jennifer's habits may be true, but they are nothing more than excuses masking what I've done.
I need you all to understand this. I need your help to become a better man. I need the wonderful women I know (Ashley, Tracy, Amanda P., Amberlyn F., Carol B. and so many others) to teach me the REAL way to relate to and treat a woman. I need the good men in my life (Mark T., Jason G., Mark B., Jamie C., Jamie B. and more) to instruct me on how to become a responsible man. I need my family to not let me become lost in my flaws and to point me to the things I SHOULD be proud of. I need the prayer warriors (Rosemary M., Amberlyn F., Mark T., Jamie B., Mark B. and my bible study group) to not let me hide behind the excuse that I'm not important enough to pray for, that to pray for myself is selfish.
Make no mistake. I alone am to blame for the things wrong in this relationship. Though fault may rest with us both, I did nothing to stop the deterioration of this relationship and though the outcome may lead to something better for us both, it is something that I should not have done to another person, let alone one I promised I'd never hurt.
To my friends, my family and most importantly Jennifer; I am sorry. I should have known better. I should have been better. I should have lived up to the ideals I claimed to hold firmly to. I should have done many things that I did not.
And for this, I am sorry.
There is nothing more I can say.