I’m usually trying to exorcise the ghost of my ex-lover. I’ve lately enjoyed more success at this than I did in 2009. Like, now i can think of her and not cry. Or mutter vitriolic invective under my breath. We were together for four years and when she broke up with me i was devastated, shattered…she left me the way she left all of her lovers, suddenly, with no explanation and no warning. Looking back, i can see that there was warning. But of course there always is–she was increasingly disdainful, there were stormy silences. We lived apart, but she had been adamant that we would live together–no other alternatives to how to conduct an intimate relationship would she ever consider, so I spent a lot of time with her in her town a little over an hour drive from mine. Suddenly, she decided out of the blue that she no longer wanted to live together. Slowly she unraveled the weaving between us. And for a year after, i was sure she would take me back, I could not fathom how she could toss me away with such apparent ease. Now, though, now i have seen the folly of my own ways. what i did to myself, what i gave up, when i committed myself to her.
I didn’t see how i had chipped away at all the things that were important to me, radical feminist organizing, AA, creative writing, stand-up comedy–i nearly quit school, even–until she withdrew from me. Then i had nothing to hang on to. I had defined myself in relation to her, and her beautiful family. They embraced me as one of them, and they, too were stunned by her decision.
I made a big mistake. I left the world to be “in a relationship”. I withdrew in order to focus on our life together, forgetting that we were also shaped and constrained by that world–and by turning my back on it, i reinforced the very structures against which i had railed for so long. I gave in to the nuclear, attached myself to middle-class security, and told myself i was still radical. This was the decision i had made–to be with this woman, to live in that town, to use my strength in the service of…fitting in to her idea of ‘normal’.
We both have new lovers now. I suppose each of us have found now more of what we’re looking for. My new lover is a working-class radical feminist. Hers is an air traffic controller for the Canadian Air Force–comes with her own pension plan–(something that was important to my ex-lover, financial security). I have lots of good qualities, but financial security is not among them.
For a long time after i found out about her new lover, i wanted to say to her, “this one will end the way all the others have”–and I still want to say that, because, well…I’m still mad, and I’m embarrassed too. but it doesn’t matter what i think, or know. her path is not mine. Her actions were not about me at all. Sometimes i think that none of it was about me…we kind of made one another up. and that’s the embarrassing part–that i made her up, and felt secure that she would be who i imagined her to be. I did her a disservice in that way. I didn’t “see” her.
I fell for a fairy-tale version of lesbian love affairs. She was my ‘prince charming’, riding in with her middle class entitlement, her family money, her stable job with the pension plan and power–to save me from my own fear and uncertainty. But I still had fear and uncertainty, (and so did she) and her money could not change the world–in fact it was imperative for her that the world NOT change, not much anyhow, because then the wealth would be re-distributed, and we’d all have to give up stuff to learn how to be human.
She does the best she can, i think, with what she’s got. She thinks she’s generous and hard-working, and to an extent, she is. But I think now that she got in my way. She was increasingly resentful that i didn’t have money, that i could not spend as much as she could. and i took advantage of her because of my own fear of change, too. I let her call the shots. And in that, I never saw how afraid and insecure she was….I hope i can be stronger this time. More loving, more grown-up…and i’m going to do my level best to remain connected to my allies and friends, to the Glorious Revolution–because when love fizzles out, when individual women betray one another, there still remains the common vision of our shared freedom.
I’ll let you know how it’s all going…