“And if my heart be scarred and burned, the safer, I, for all I learned.” – Dorothy Parker
I spent half of last year living in England. It sounds adventurous and exciting to most of my Yankee friends, but alas, it was an experience… both good and bad. I wouldn’t change a thing… except maybe the man. Yup, like many a foolish woman, I fell in love… with an arse.
Of course, he didn’t start out an arse, he was wonderful… and British… and simply lovely to me. He asked for me to move, and I agreed. I was going to lose my job, as so many have done in the US over the past several years. He urged me to simply move sooner, so I did. It was an experience indeed, going through my entire life’s accumulation of junk to decide what was vital and what could go… about 85% could go, easy. I packed, I shipped via an actual ship, I flew… and then, I landed. I was greeted, after waiting a while, by a man that did not at all seem the man I was in love with. This man looked 10 years older, tired, worn and not at all happy with my arrival. Did I mention it was his idea and he urged me to do it? Oh yes, I did. I can not underscore that point enough when I add that the man I met when I landed never became the man I loved ever again.
Just before Christmas 2009, I left the arse and moved up north to Leeds. I had friends in Leeds that generously took me in for a couple months until I was scheduled to return stateside to sort my visa. I never heard from the arse again… which I’m both glad for and annoyed by. I never received closure from him nor did I ever get any answers at all about who he became. But, what I do know for certain – I did not like who I became whilst with the arse. I wasn’t full-tilt subservient, but I did do my best to keep the peace, smooth over the rough layers and pretend things weren’t so bad. I performed horribly at this as it is simply not my nature to serve or feign happiness.
I have not a single regret about my time in England and made some wonderful friends whilst there. But what I hope I never, ever do again is lose myself when I need me most. I needed my gumption, my tenacity and my spark… I let the most vital aspects of myself fade to the background when confronted in a challenging situation… all because he was a man.
Men, as in romantic interests, I usually have no idea what to do with… well, from an emotional understanding perspective, of course. I tend not to trust my instincts fully, obsess if I don’t hear from them that I did something wrong, and generally, am a bit neurotic until I feel comfortable with them. I don’t know if this behavior is normal or abnormal, but what I do know is it’s how I am. I know where these behaviors are rooted and I don’t know if I can ever change them. But, what I do know I can change is to simply not change who I am… ever.
“I shudder at the thought of men…. I’m due to fall in love again.” – Dorothy Parker