I went on a date last night. She was a lovely girl–works in local government/very ambitious, smiles a lot, loves her family, listens to Taylor Swift (not sure how that is relevant–I just thought it was cute) and is very pretty. I actually knew this woman from years ago–we worked on a community service project together. I think, in life, we all have a few people we thought “I wonder what it would’ve been like to go on a date with him/her?” Well, fortunately, I have one less person to wonder about.
We talked a lot, laughed a bit and were the last people to leave the establishment. The conversation was so good, the workers at the restaurant had to shoo us out of the door. We both wanted to talk just a little bit more. In our discussion, I realized that she knows people that I used to know…including my ex girlfriends best friend. Apparently they are close friends. Immediately, I was like “oh shit–that’s not good.” I would say that “we have mutual friends,” but the people she knows that I do want nothing to do with me anymore. I was shunned–and portrayed as an angry, emotionally abusive and depressed man with terrible relationship tendencies and an addictive mind. In all honesty, the before mentioned traits aren’t completely inaccurate–but those people only know one side of the story (my exes)–and I feel their perception of me is somewhat skewed. Yes, I was a bad partner–not always, but a lot of the time–especially toward the end. And yes, I became emotionally distant and unable to properly communicate my feelings. However, I wasn’t the raging, pissed off drunk breaking shit around the house and calling my partner terrible names. I mean, we had our arguments–but we were both good at instigating.
I guess someone has to be the fall guy in these situations–and my ex wanted to throw me under the bus, I think, to alleviate the guilt of leaving a man who has a child. It needed to be apparent that it was 100 percent my fault–and all of my problems and inadequacies led to the demise of a relationship where a five year old was involved. I get it–leaving a kid after three years of raising her is hard–but my ex never needed to feel bad, guilty and stay around just because Lila was involved. She should’ve left long ago–and her hatred toward me made that apparent. Her hatred for me spread to a shared social circle–and it wasn’t a very non-biased presentation of information. The words spoken to our shared circle, i’m sure, became like that old game “whisper down the lane.” After she said what she said–the gossipy clique morphed it into some terrible situation where I was the antagonist. The angry man with so many problems.
My point is–if the name “Leif” is brought up by this girl to my exes best friend–i’m not getting a shiny endorsement. In fact, i’ll probably never hear from this girl again. I have to accept the fact that even-though I live in a big city, the local government/non-profit world is quite small. Those who know me best know that I am a good guy–of course they don’t know I am an alcoholic, but they know enough to understand I am a decent person. And those who turned their back on me–well, they would be nice to my face if we crossed paths–then spew their social venom as soon as my back is turned. I’m better off without these people in my life–and frankly, if I saw them i’d let them know exactly how I feel.
It is a fact of life now that I will be reminded of my past–and when I have almost forgotten who I used to be…BAM! “Remember this asshole?! Remember the words, tears, wreckage…remember what rock bottom feels like?”
“Yeah, I remember rock bottom–and it’s a lonely fucking place. Thanks for reminding me, because once I forget, I am a step closer to being there again.”
Church, AA meetings and volunteering, no matter how noble a venture I think it is, won’t negate the wreckage I created. I have to hold myself accountable–and hold my head high. “Yes, I had problems–but i’m working on them. I want to be a better person.”
Last night was a reminder, and in a way that reminder is a blessing. I am who I am now because of the past–the good and the bad. I can’t selectively remember the moments that have sculpted me into the person I am now. I hope the best for those who think they know me–but never took the time to really get to know me. And for those who have stuck with me throw thick and sin–I appreciate and love you.