“A man must see his vice and study it to tell about it. Those who hide it from others ordinarily hide it from themselves. And they do not consider it covered up enough if they themselves see it; they withdraw and disguise it from their own conscience. Why does no one confess his vices? Because he is still in their grip now; it is only for a waking man to tell his dream [Seneca].” ~Michel de Montaigne
I asked my girlfriend what I should write about. I needed a little inspiration: “Ten ways to lose your virginity,” she texted.
I told her I only write lists when I’m lazy. I’m not lazy today. She was on to something though; I do feel like I lost my virginity the other night.
It reminded me of my first time, two decades ago, on a sheep skin rug.
I remember driving home that night. I felt like I was dreaming, but I wasn’t. I couldn’t believe it happened. There was no going back. I’d seen and experienced something that changed me forever. I’d been ushered to the other side. Childhood was no longer my current address, but the place where I used to live.
That’s how I’ve been feeling this week. I’ve moved zip codes, countries, planets, even. I’m different now. He woke something in me, broke something open in me and now, I can’t see things the same way.
I’m awake and I’m still throbbing.
My ego obliterated. Self-aware? I thought I was, but I wasn’t.
I’ve been hiding and I didn’t even realize I was hiding.
He held a freshly cleaned mirror to my face and wouldn’t let me look away. Fuck. I’ve got this really ugly side that comes out when I don’t get my way. I’m manipulative. I hurt others without knowing I’m hurting them. I can be ruthless and cold when I want what I want.
I suck. I really suck sometimes. That feels liberating to say, actually. It’s like those days where I have nowhere to be and I don’t care if I look like shit. I have no judgments about my frizzy hair or the leftover mascara smudged under my eyes.
I’m not one of those people who can say they’ve arrived, that they get it. They’ve been there, done that. No. I’m not enlightened. I’ve got enough issues to fill a fleet of Mayflower semis.
This realization is the easy part. Now comes the hard part: changing, unraveling my culpability.
I’m like the clump of chain necklaces my daughter plopped in my hand the other day: “Mommy, I want to wear the yellow dolphin necklace. This has been like this for a year now. Undo it, please.”
I didn’t know where to begin, so I just started where I saw some slack. I got frustrated and gave up when I couldn’t see where to go next: “I’ll work on it later, honey.”
I’m great at doing that—giving up, hiding, going back to sleep.
Not this time. I won’t allow it. Not with this. Not with that or anything else in my life.
I can’t go back. I can no longer claim my innocence. I’ve moved to the other side; the side where the only option is to fess up and see myself for who I really am, and who I really am has a long, long way to go, until… ~Rebecca