I’ve never been a big Kelly Clarkson fan. She has a perfectly good voice but her vocal and musical stylings just don’t do anything for me. However I love her song Because Of You which is kind of weird because the single isn’t exactly an artistic departure for her. When my friend asked why the song got to me I shrugged and said I didn’t know. I was lying. I knew exactly why it got to me. It was so obvious I couldn’t even bury it in my subconscious. The knowledge was right there in my conscious brain and I just forced myself to ignore it. Then the other day I started singing along while driving to a bookstore. I pulled into the appropriate parking garage, turned the ignition off and immediately broke down and started crying. What gets me about that song is its lyrics:
Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you I am afraid
I watched you die
I heard you cry every night in your sleep
I was so young
You should have known better than to lean on me
You never thought of anyone else
You just saw your pain
And now I cry in the middle of the night
For the same damn thing
It basically just goes on like that. The thing is I basically did watch the man who was once my husband “die” and there is nothing more frightening than watching the person you love fall apart in everyway. Once upon a time my ex made me feel safe. I trusted him. But then it turned out that he wasn’t even able to be honest with himself let alone with anyone else and suddenly the person who used to offer me a sense of security was holding a gun and asking me to take it away from him because he “wasn’t safe with it.”
I can recall pulling into the parking spot at home with my then two-year-old son in the backseat. I was talking on my cell to my friend Cheryl. I noticed that my husband’s car was there so naturally I assumed he was home too. But when I walked inside he didn’t seem to be around. I was still on my cell so I just casually put my son in front of the television and continued my conversation with my friend as I checked the closets, the bathrooms and so on. Eventually I stopped talking mid-sentence, took a deep breath and said, “Cheryl, do you know what I’ve been doing while talking to you for the last few minutes?”
“What?” She asked.
“I’ve been looking for my husband’s dead body.”
I had become so numb to his constant suicide threats and erratic behavior that I was able to chitchat with a girlfriend while checking to see if he was hanging from a noose.
So now my ex has moved across the country. He rarely calls and God only knows when or if I’ll see him again. If he’s feeling suicidal he won’t ask me to be the one to stop him. I’m safe. But when it comes to relationships I’m not at all sure if I’ll ever be able to allow myself to risk being “unsafe.” I came close this last summer. It was hard but I discovered that emotional courage is never more than a cocktail away. Unlike Sophie, I’m not a big drinker. Within this last month I’ve had a total of 2 alcoholic beverages and that’s not uncommon for me. But when I was with this summer guy it wasn’t uncommon for me to have 4-5 cocktails during the course of one date. I would go out with this guy one or two nights a week when my son could spend the night with his grandmother, I’d drink and then I’d wake up the next morning, have some coffee, go get my child and I wouldn’t crave anything stronger than a Perrier until…the next date. The relationship ended after a few short months which is a good thing for a multitude of reasons, one being that I don’t think my liver could have handled a year of that.
I’m fine with what my friend Brenda refers to as GBCs (Glorified Booty Calls). GBCs are the booty call guys that you occasionally agree to go to a movie or dinner with. Those I can “do” stone cold sober and enjoy myself. However if a man wants to stick me with the “girlfriend” label he’d better have some vodka handy.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unhappy. I enjoy my single status and I really enjoy my space. In fact my contentedness with the status quo may be hindering my motivation to tackle my demons. But over the last year I’ve met some really nice guys who have made it clear that they would like to be more than a GBC and I just haven’t been able to do it. Now I’m dating a few people but none of them live in Northern California and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Distance keeps things safe.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I don’t have a moral to this story or an empowerment message that you can share with all your single girlfriends. This is just me writing about one of my issues; exposing myself as something other than the perfect Goddess-of-Emotional-Health that some people seem think I am. So I guess if you really want to take something useful from this then let it be this: none of us are perfect. 99.9% of the people are screwed up on one level or another and that .01% that aren’t are bellow the age of two. As for me, eventually I assume I’ll have to deal with all this. Maybe Kelly can write a follow up song teaching me how to go about doing that.
Sex, Murder And A Double Latte IN STORES NOW!!!
Preorder Passion,Betrayal And Killer Highlights In Stores May 2006!
For The Love Of A Dog--A fun online read!
Moms Of Mystery--An e-newsletter!