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Life isn’t Star Wars

One big problem with life is that the bad guys don’t carry sabres or dress in black gowns.  There may be heavy breathing but it’s not a dead giveaway that evil lurks behind a mask.  In reality the bad guy’s mask may well be a mop of blonde hair, blue eyes and a cute smile.  Of course the lines between good and bad are far from distinct, that’s the problem, makes it hard to trust ourselves and others.

Once upon a time when I was about 15 this problem with differentiation led to events which sent ripples through my future.  Impacted on my choices and screwed up my perceptions of love.

Let me start at the beginning.  Across the road from our home lived a family who became friends with my parents.  The father & husband was Chief of Police in the area, the wife a ‘good housewife’.  My parents visited them quite often.  Their son Ken was ‘the boy next door’.  He was older than me, I can’t remember his age but he had done his military service, been to university and was doing his accounting articles.  he was a blue-eyed blonde and had a cute smile.  No alarm bells went off, why should they?  One night his parents had a party at their home.  I went along with my family.  Ken danced with me, it felt good, I took a bit of a fancy to him.  Then he invited me to visit one afternoon. I think it was the next day but not sure.  His mother was out and I was alone with him.  He played some music for me and started kissing me, I liked that too.

I’m 43 now, I don’t remember details.  All I remember was that I fancied him and my dumbass teenage hormones liked the feel of his kisses.  I do remember saying “No” and him ignoring that.  I do remember feeling helpless and trapped beneath his body.  I do remember being disappointed that my virginity was gone and I hadn’t liked it. Before my virginity was so unceremoniously removed I had high expectations regarding when and where that would unfold.  In that picture it would be my wedding night, a romantic future plan eagerly anticipated.

I was so naive.  I immediately thought that I must be pregnant.  I knew how babies were made, the flaw in my knowledge was that I thought that every sexual encounter would result in a baby.  I went to the library to conduct some quick research and was relieved to discover that this was not the case.

I then dated Ken for about a year, my logic being that since the other part of my plan had been to only give myself to one man, it had better be him.  Made sense then.  I told him that I loved him (after all I must love him), knitted him a jersey and did good girlfriend kind of stuff.  Now that’s where the ripples started, they circled out through the years, through relationships.  I had learned to bullshit myself so convincingly that my definition of love warped.  I also learned to disconnect, not to engage fully with the present because to do so would be highly uncomfortable.  I learned not to trust myself.  Some crappy lessons there.

At a point in the relationship, it could have been the first week  the last, I don’t recall.  I tried to commit suicide.  It was a half cocked attempt, my brother walked into the bathroom as I was swallowing pills and asked me to stop, which I did.  Our family proceeded to cross the road for supper and I spent the evening in the mother’s room wishing I was dead. I had planned it during the day  I remember sitting on the school bus crying and thinking about high-heeled shoes.  I’ve always loved having things to look forward to in the future.  I had looked forward to being old enough to wear high-heeled shoes.   I had looked forward to wedding night love-making.  I lost my virginity before I owned a pair of high heels, this deeply offended my planned order.

Years later I read ‘Hotel New Hampshire’  two phrases hit hard.  “Sorrow Floats” and the reference to rape. “He got the Me in Me”.

I don’t think of him much , certainly years pass without him crossing my mind.  I am not haunted by the memory.  I have forgotten, but the ripples, have they at last reached the shores of the pool of experience?  Are they impotent now on the solid ground of here and now?

I conditioned myself for so long to adapt memories and truth to current reality.  I learned so well to remove myself from the present.  I told myself lies which I came to believe.  have I reprogrammed myself successfully now?  Is my truth, the truth?

Now it is clear that the day ‘he got the Me in Me’ I took the first big fork in the road, took a path which led me to here and now.  In retrospect it is clear that if that day were erased, relationships would have been different, choices would have been different.  But that path brought me to my present which is good.  The Cheshire grinned and said “Go that way” I did and here I am.  No regrets.  No regrets?

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