My friend Kelly once asked me if my first boyfriend was my 'first love'?
I quickly told her that no, he was my ‘first hate’.
Unfortunately there were more hates to follow after I eventually split up with the son of Beelzebub. Fuck knows why it took so long to break free, probably some kind of insecurity issue on my part, or maybe even on both our parts. I think it’s about as safe as a padlocked chastity belt to say that I've never really been a good judge of character.
Maybe I knew exactly the kind of character I was messing with and subconsciously wanted to attract that kind of chaos into my life? I do wonder.
Psychopaths, sociopaths, professional shitbags, the sneaky untrustworthies and relentlessly unreliable don't tend to let on in the beginning how they will ruin your life. They don’t introduce themselves and quickly add that going on a few dates and then getting into a relationship with them will see you eventually stripped of self-esteem, dignity and, in my case, rational thinking.
The first time round I was too naive and insecure to recognise the destructive situation I was in. A different ‘partner’ years later stalked me both during and after our break up.
How was I finding these people? Why was I welcoming literal danger into my life? I wouldn’t smear myself in antelope blood and enter a lion enclosure now would I.
My reactions to their actions turned me into some kind of crazy bitch too. During my first reign of terror with nameless boyfriend number one I actually assumed that that was how relationships were and how all teenagers were supposed to be behaving. It you weren’t doing it like us then you weren’t doing it right. How fucked up is that. Arguments over silly things growing into out of control, aggressive fights. The more it happened the more ‘normal’ it felt.
When we broke up I found that I wasn’t really that unstable, or that crazy, or that jealous, or that self-conscious person at all. And very slowly I began to work out who I truly was. Notice I say ‘slowly’.
Getting over what has happened during these relationships has been a lengthy process. Dark memories remain and depressing thoughts continue to manifest as a result of my questionable choices. Working out that I deserved better (and that better does actually exist) was my first and biggest step. But getting over the past is another thing.
It is beginning to get better now, maybe because most of the bad stuff happened some time ago now and with each day, month, year it is further and further away in my memory banks. I have spent enough (lots) of time fretting and replaying the emotional horror stories over in my head and its now been 'spent'.
Growing up, getting older and supposedly wiser (just a tad less naive in my case) I've really learnt how to dispel the badness out of my life and ignore and avoid the people and situations that are no good for me.
Living in the moment; in the here and now, is vital practice for a sane mind - yet not always so simple to do. If I have a day where I feel off balance a walk in the local park or around the lake really helps me to clear my mind. I look around and above my natural eye line, instead of just staring out at the path in front of me, and see the horizon, the trees and the birds, other people with their children or walking their dogs. I breathe in all the good fresh air and really focus on clearing my mind, chucking out all that bad clutter. Sometimes I mill around the local high street and vintage shops.
Doing something quite simple but something I wouldn’t normally do is always a good distraction as I begin to concentrate on that task. Finding something new to research helps take the mind off the past, looking up a new recipe or signing up for a new course or hobby. Appreciating small pleasures; a soak in the bath reading a book or magazine, having a conversation with a friend. I’ll find something gripping or funny to watch on tv or my iPad. Drinking/drugging should never be used as a distraction or a comforter. It doesn’t help and it won’t end well.
If I’ve learnt anything over the last ten years it’s this:
Realise you deserve better, know that better is out there, move forward and move on, clear your head, burn bad memories and make room for new ones.
It’s one thing to find yourself in a bad situation, it’s another to realise you need to get out. Sometimes, thankfully, it fizzles out, other times its tougher to change your environment. But I’ve done it many times. It can be done. xx