As the holidays approach, many of us experience the awkwardness of receiving “season’s greetings” from people who are no longer welcome in our lives. These people range from our parents, ex-best friends, ex-significant others, and the dreaded ex-spouses (and sometimes their relatives). I refer to them as “lost loves” because both parties have lost something. Sometimes these people lost their minds…they talked to you crazy, they disrespected you, and in turn, they lost your respect. Loss is a double edged sword. It’s a slow guillotine silently protesting gravity. It’s one of those swingy-thingys… a sharp pendulum ax (shout out to Edgar Allen Poe)!
You get the picture. It hurts.
This year, my ex not only hit me up for Christmas, he remembered my grandmother’s birthday and pretty much is the reason I remembered to call her at a semi-decent hour. I know, I’m a mess. Don’t judge me…or judge me, whatever. Him hitting me up on special occasions used to symbolize for me that he still cared. I knew that no matter where he was at, how many children he had, I just knew, he loved me still. We used to have a pact about holidays and birthdays. We’d at LEAST call truce on these days to express our love, despite how impractical it was. This, however, was hella unhealthy. It maintained my delusions about our relationship and it let him know he would ALWAYS be relevant in my life. We thrived on this understanding. These days, I refer to that period of my life as “my necrophilia” and I’m not proud of it. I loved our good and gone relationship down to its final particle of dust. It took completely cutting him and his family out of my life for me to see how wonderful my life could be without him. I still miss him some days. I saw him in July and we laughed and joked like we did in the old days…and that was all in a five minute encounter. But I was removed enough to see him as he was. He hasn’t changed in all these years. Not one bit. Except for that whole…married with children thing.
My father called me in November to say “Happy Thanksgiving.” At some point in the voicemail he left me, he reverted back to blaming my mother for never bringing me to the Navy base to prove that I was his child. He blamed her for my decision not to speak to him. As though she has power over my decisions…when I don’t speak to her any more either (that’s another paragraph). This man is so convinced that I am hiding a deep-rooted hatred for him under my calm disposition. I do not. However, I will never respect him. And all I want is one very simple and genuine apology from him regarding his 25 years’ worth of absences. Until then, I won’t be accepting his phone calls and I won’t be rearranging my life to make space for a “father.”
Where would I put him?
Ain’t got no space in my mind for the concept.
Space in my heart is the only reason I haven’t baptized him in a toilet of shame.
My mother. She has finally stopped leaving me voice mails requesting that I come visit her. She is a habitual liar and she also has been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. Well…that’s what she said. Last summer she lied about a spinal cancer diagnosis. When I was in high school she threatened to kill herself because I chose to live with my grandmother. Mind you, at this time she was self-medicating on crack and pain pills. She was also physically and mentally abusive. Through all these experiences…I still do not hate her. Maybe it is because I am the baby. There is part of me that is naive enough to dream of days before and long after her behaviors when she’s the woman I thought I wanted to become. I would love to go visit her in Los Angeles. To introduce her to my very serious boyfriend. To shadow her in the kitchen so she can teach me how to fry chicken the way she did. But the last time I visited her and brought friends to meet her, she participated in some illegal activities right there in the living room.
I have people who I am deeply connected to…whom I love greatly…that I will never spend extended periods of time with. I lost a best friend/soul mate and my parents. I lost them to lies. To drugs. To bullshit. To selfishness. To self-worth and healing. I lost them to my future, my AMAZING future that I am creating with my sister here in Vegas. They lost a daughter. A confidant. A loving person. Respect. And sometimes I’m sure, they lost their f*cking minds. Sometimes it feels like a tragedy…but life is a Shakespearean tragedy; we’re all gonna die.
So, what do I do during holidays when it comes to lost loves? A part of my body mourns them. I pray accidental tears for the healing of their minds. I no longer yield to what they feel they are entitled to. Does everyone deserve to be loved? Yes. But it’s about how they’re loved. The love my ex provides me with has been controlling and manipulative. I don’t have to accept that. The love my parents provide me with is laced with selfishness and the need to be absolved. I cannot provide salvation for anyone. I ain’t Jesus. So, they are my lost ones. I still search for who I imagined them to be. I listen for practicality in the voices of older men…wishing they were my father. I stare in the mirror, at photos of myself, into the eyes of my niece…looking for traces of my mother’s brilliance. I find it often. I smile sometimes…and remember what it felt like to talk with my ex about our music interests. I remember trusting him with every detail of my family’s past. And I write. I leave pieces of myself in the pages of notebooks and on internet posts and remember that he was the first person to love me in my transparent form.
And I accept that they are lost.
And that I have space to gain.