I read something about punishment, and it made me think of you. I don’t believe in punishment–prisons, parents hitting kids, punishment in relationships that are supposed to be sweet, like friendships and partnerships.
Seems like consequences are inevitable, but something about the “I am right–you are wrong, so you must suffer,” creeps me out like a horror movie. Yuck–making someone suffer intentionally. I remember when I was a kid, it felt like torture. Often it was about cutting me off from what I needed.
Being grounded, stuck at home as punishment, was the opposite of what I needed, if my family life was conflicty and painful. Wow–I needed to go out and experience friendship and nature more than any other time, the few times my mom get mad at me enough to ground me.
She was intentionally isolating me, and I suffered. How did that make sense? Cutting off access to the outside world when I most needed to be comforted by the outside world. Reminded that another world is there for me, and I could live there, when I grew up. Felt cruel. She could see it too and would change her mind after a day or two.
Or when I was little, I remember threats. I had misbehaved, so my mom said that when my dad came home, she’d ask him to spank me. Wow–what a way to give a kid a panic attack. What could I have done that was so bad, I needed a panic attack, and to feel betrayed by my parents as punishment?
Seemed like the abuse in your relationship at home was retaliation for poor follow through. You were being punished for not doing what you said you’d do quickly enough, including house repairs? Your ex would punish you by attacking you physically or harming your property.
For a long time, I avoided wondering why she was so mad at you. Then I considered her perspective. I think she was trying to get your attention. You were ignoring her–in her mind, you were neglecting her, being cold, turned off. It was unjust, considering what she was doing for you. So she would evoke a response by harming you, so you would be there for her somehow, even in furious anger.
I’m sorry you endured that, and for the part you played in it. No one deserves violence, and I still hate what she did to you. I also wonder if all your close relationships with women looked like that. Your avoidance was emotionally irresponsible. And your lack of follow through hurt everyone. Throw drugs into the mix and strong feelings–it’s a recipe for a shitshow.
Do all women became caretaker for you–someone to remind you of your responsibilities, and try to hold you accountable? When you failed, it was evidence that you didn’t love the lady who was trying and trying to help you stay on track.
I remember crying–I was a lady who trusted you, and gave you everything I could. When you didn’t do what you said you would, yes. It was evidence that you didn’t love me. Ouch, the ache, that I had given you my heart and mind, so much love, and you couldn’t do what you said you would.
So maybe it’s good, you kept a little distance from me. Well, 3000 miles or so is a good amount of distance. But I was thinking yesterday how I loved you at 80% or 90%. You usually never got above a 30%. When you popped up to a 50% from time to time, I would swoon, blissed out by the tender feelings. But you couldn’t maintain that. You needed to keep it tamped down, so I wouldn’t show up at your doorstep.
If I showed up and we were tender at all, I would be the new abuser, right? Is that what we were avoiding? You couldn’t do healthy relationship, so it would make no sense to bring me into that role.
You never told me that. But I remember when you were going to have a date with someone, and canceled on her. I didn’t understand quite why. Fear of intimacy, anxiety, it meant too much? Or you couldn’t justify pulling her into the hell it would become. It was disingenuous, to pretend you had a healthy life and could give a safer space to this luminous lady who you obviously liked.
Obviously you liked me too, somehow. I always thought you considered me not good enough–too fat, married, or crazy. But now I think maybe it wasn’t that at all. You were protecting me from you. You knew there was no safe place for me to land.
“More will be revealed,” you used to say, when I mentioned a future. I’m laughing to remember that playful obfuscation. Your turban was falling off, and your crystal ball was on the fritz. It was the end of the night. Please leave a contribution in the little box.
Or you said, “time will tell.” When I mentioned wanting to walk with you in your neighborhood, and you could teach me the plants, you said, “One day.” Your Magic 8 Ball was prognosticating: wait.
Yes, I wait. Like the first dream I had about you said. It wasn’t time to go into the water with you.
If one day, your life is ready for me, you’ll tell me, and I will arrive. But the years I wait, will you learn how to be a good partner, with care? To communicate, give? Learn how to be vulnerable and love in a happy way?
You have no responsibility to. No one ever said you need to have a partner at all, let alone me. But I still wish to hold your body, maybe your sexuality, a moment of your time, in my arms, or a long long time.
I want to believe my love could do some good. My nurturing skills are supreme! Yes, I am a badass love lady, love warrior. My ample tits nurture like none other. My hugs are divine.
But probably all the ladies think that. They think they can love you to health, but it doesn’t really work that way. Your fuckedness is something I can’t even fathom, let alone heal.
I was lying in bed and tried to think how to be close to you without triggering your dysfunctional relationship response. It’s been a long time, I’ve been pondering that. You need to break out of that pattern. Like sex makes you beholden to someone in a way you can’t handle. So it turns to shit.
I remember one day, you telling me she had hit you again. But you’d promised to get her food, so you were going to some restaurant, and I was like–why in the world are you getting Chinese food for the person who just attacked you? Wow, I was blown away.
I’d like to think I would say–fuck you, get out of my house. But you were doing the opposite, feeding her. Probably it was nice to have a reason to go out. Maybe you were hungry too.
But it just seemed like–what!? Providing sustenance to this violent, nasty person seemed so stupid, I could not understand!
It made no sense, but for decades, I watched my parents do similar. The way it made no sense was an important part for me to witness. I’m glad you were talking to me on the phone that day, and I could glimpse the sickness of how you did relationship.
Violence, pain, love, need all mixed together. Control. Doing things you don’t want to do, in order to avoid worse things being done to you. And maybe you felt sorry for her. You loved her, somehow. And you saw your part in it.
It was repulsive, she was controlling you, and how you participated. I saw little of the bad you did to her, but I know the bad you did to me, so I have a guess. I was supportive, docile, giving, and freaked out in ways you never saw–I spared you. Afterward, I told you about the midnight panic attack. But that was only to explain why I needed two weeks off, to regroup and nurture myself.
Never did I want to stress you. I was always trying to be a force of good in your life. You needed zero more drama or punishment.
There, in person–bodily impulses mixed into everything, and logistics of home. Testosterone, trauma, the desire to keep the lid on, so housemates wouldn’t leave? Too much pressure.
But she was giving her body to you, and help with the property. She gave you her life. In turn, you were hurting her emotionally–withdrawing, avoiding, refusing to communicate, not showing up, not doing what you said you’d do. I understand how she would want to punish you.
Accountability comes from within. There’s no possible punishment that can make you accountable. I wouldn’t want to be in a punishment role. Sometimes I was tempted to be more involved in your work. But it seemed like a bad idea.
I’m imagining a lion and lion tamer. The tamer has a whip and a chair. The lion has its mouth open in a huge roar. I don’t want to be a tamer–I never did. I want you to be happy.
Really I want to be a lion with you, free, on the savanna. With my spouse who is also a lion. We would be orangeish, large, and strong. We could lounge under a tree and lick each other with our huge lion tongues. Playful, sleepy. What pride.
I’m vegetarian, as a human. But as a lion, I would share some buffalo muscle or zebra guts with you. Sure–any time. Mi carcass es tu carcass.
No one can punish you into living according to your values, or learning to be vulnerable. No one can punish you into loving them right.
Sometimes I got so hurt and angry, when you did something irresponsible with me, a part of me wanted to punish you. To say something mean, or take something away.
I don’t think I said much mean to you, and when I withdrew, it was never to hurt you. It was always to try to maintain the relationship. I tried new things, like less contact, to see if that way of doing relationship would hurt me less, so I could keep being close to you.
It was never punishment–it was always effort toward connection and love. I wonder if you know that. Hope so.
Love is what I wanted to keep giving to you. I give it to you now. My heart beats love to your sacred body, wherever it is, and whatever it’s doing. Beautiful light, always, for your well-being.
I’m grateful for the year I spent connected with you. What an honor, to be friends with such a beautiful soul. I hope I can always love you, whether we talk or not.
Blessings to your journey, would-be lion, would-be boyfriend, dazzling miracle bodhisattva, madhu gopala sweetheart. Tulsi in your hair, enchantment in your smile, chopping veg like a badass. Making art off the chart. From your heart, definitely.