Friday, December 19, 2014

My future Ex-Husband is a Wolf

                     He invites me back to his workshop by which he means lair
                                          by which he means room with no heat by which he means cave

Visiting Salem (Mass) this past August, drawn by the thought of witchcraft and local ciders, I tentatively sat down with a Tarot Reader, curious about what she would find. I watched her, deadpan, attempting to express as few reactions as possible. Stricken by the male directness of my presence, she talked about the balance between masculine and feminine energies, how deeply I resonate with strength, that I am misreading that strength, so am not able to express its fullest capacity. After obligatory money comments, and something about a guy she saw in my future that she didn't like, who wanted to drag me down with his clingy, heavy, emotional weight, I started to feel like it was time to walk away from this nonsense.

Except he found me.

Someone who worked in a similar capacity to my experience working with metal/wood and building massive structures for the entertainment industry, I figured he was a safe enough bet, and every time he looked at me his eyes were as large as saucers, which can be very hard to resist. But I deeply underestimated the power of forces acting on society, on us, on him. When I asked about the little girl on his phone screen, he explained quickly how a short - lived interaction lead to him telling someone no about getting an abortion. I should have turned and ran right then. There was no appropriate time or place to tell him I would kill the man that tried to tell me what I can or cannot do with my body, especially if he was going to describe his daughter to other women that way. Later he tried to take me to dinner at McDonalds, and the horror calcified. He could spend huge amounts of time and money on shoes and sunglasses, but not on what goes inside of his body - he literally said 'ew' out loud to everything I ate when I was with him because he subsisted completely on fast food, so I resorted to eating before I saw him, and the one time I walked into a coffee shop for a real latte, he said 'I don't belong here'. I watched, and I listened, and I thought about what was wrong.

There is something about being on a jobsite that fills one with purpose and adrenaline and a bizarre sense of intimacy that feels like a sexual charge. I always feel slightly crushed when I leave, cause I can't bring that with me... but I'm starting to realize that having a strong sense of purpose OUTSIDE of work isn't a given, it's self directed - we no longer have the same goals and expectations, so those things will never quite translate. Similarly, I find guys are always shocked by what I am when I'm not onsite, but by that time, I've already figured out something isn't right and cease to pick up the phone. I've had notoriously bad luck with men (and women). Suddenly, in a flash, I get it. I SEE it. The problem at the deep dark core.

In science, and in sex, we study the individual, the microcosm to understand the macro, the whole, the big picture. A relationship, like a hypothesis, isn't a rule, but a path to explore with as little personal bias as one can possibly muster. Just as one molecule reacts very differently to various other molecules (oxygen can be turned into water, or hydrochloric acid, depending on the participating parties), different people bring out a range of unexpected instincts and reactions, choices I make with them vs without them. That doesn't negate the core truth of myself or of oxygen, or the possibility of finding someone who doesn't bring the hydrochloric acid out of me. But the space and research we give a scientific thought, the scrutiny we give all aspects to make sure it plays out in all directions for soundness and stability aren't thought about in the arena of human reproduction, we often fail to hold the (social) experiment of mating in such rigorously high regard. We move forward without adequate research, we gladly acquire blind spots, start making compromises before you can say 'backbone' and then internalize differences in opinions and lifestyle as if we are not good enough.

Those minute differences have HUGE meaning, and overlooking them is exactly the wrong way to handle it. This guy's comment about abortion may just be circumstance, but it alludes to a deep core belief about women and his boundaries of control in relation to them, that may not be obvious in the short term, in the immediate passionate exchange, but will ultimately manifest in other areas. Like when he called me 7 times in one day (while he was leading a crew, no less) and I had to tell him to stop. That was my time, that I wasn't interested in sharing, in my new kitchen with meat all over my hands when he called to ask how my fucking day was going. He felt he had the right to interrupt my life constantly to maintain this tenuous connection. He tried to put himself in control of my dog, out of jealousy, and was mean to her in petty, childish ways that finally broke the sweetness of what had been. Control in all things. It shocks me to remember giving away all of my power and sense of self in previous relationships, and it starts with the subtle stuff, like not wanting to start a fight, so staying silent about my reaction to his simple comment about abortion.

On a slightly more macrocosmic level, I've been working in the labor industry for 4 years now, and quickly found my whiteness, femaleness, and college degreeness wasn't an advantage - they were negative strikes against me, and I had to learn the artful language of broken English along with how to use my body in ways these boys had grown up understanding intuitively. I fearlessly found my way among them and have made some very good friends, but turns out it doesn't work in the reverse. As open and accepting as I may become, shoulder to shoulder with ex-cons and illegal immigrants, they are in socioeconomic subculture that has wholeheartedly embraced the fast-food industry and consumerism that is crippling the future generations through waste and obesity levels that are skyrocketing, as capitalism breaks down, and politicians pretend to fight for control over the corporations who paid for their elections to office. I'd love to say we're all the same deep down and pedigree shouldn't matter, cause it's true, but there are deep seated relationships around those things that have a much bigger impact than I had previously understood.  He was lean and dark, handsome with a husky Spanish accent, eyes big and full of emotion, but consuming nothing but fast food made him seem uniquely helpless, childish. His willingness to allow so much darkness and fakeness to fill his body seemed to mirror the earnestness in which he saw us as being in a real relationship over the few days we spent together, the lack of depth or reality that was important to how he lived his life and chose to define himself. He was wrapped up in, possessed by the status quo, only interested in looking nice on the outside, incurious for what it would feel like to live a quality of life that even paused to question truth or personal power. This is the America created by major food companies waving the flag of capitalism. Some of us are ok with living and eating a hologram.

Looking at him, I saw the American People, after the Great Depression, slowly, innocently unaware of the power they had given up in the newfangled world of frozen dinners and preservative laden food processes, except many of us may never roll over realize that we never liked our spouse in the first place. We're too busy being afraid of how it feels to be alone to realize we never had to settle at all, even though our moms and grandmothers will ask when there will be babies for them to spoil every Christmas when America goes home to celebrate consumerism and obesity in a time honored familial tradition, brought to you by Coke.

He was crushed when I didn't say goodbye.

I texted him that I wanted to be left alone weeks ago, but he still calls. I ignore those calls. I'm already a completely different person than when I started that little romance, and there isn't really any going back. Now I have come to see the work I've been doing with fresh eyes, and I don't like what I see, where I've been swept up in other's expectations, at the expense of personal respect and power, because money, like love, seems like an acceptable trade off for our basic needs. I've spent so long allowing myself to be filled with other people's purpose, and that has gotten me far, but it is time to act rather than be acted upon.  I would never have expected this random liaison to have turned into an elaborate chemical reaction, to walk away alchemized into a completely different self, like I was on the outside of my life looking in, and now I've been called into the ring to fight for myself, and the beliefs that I had no idea I so strongly believed in.