19 January 2008

And The Truth shall set ye free

[The Defunct = the Ex, remember? That being said:]

Not quite 6 months into our relationship The Defunct gently woke me up from a (rare) nap and asked me to marry him. He also told me that 3 months bfr (
i.e., 3 months into the relationship) he'd gone ring-hunting with his mum but then he'd remembered I'd once said something abt blood diamonds and realised I might not be altogether pleased with the idea of owning a diamond that came to be thanks to the labour of children who should actually be in school being children and decided against it. [Also, diamonds are too blingy.] [Saphires, on the other hand...] Until that day, that is, when he could no longer contain himself despite the absence of the 3rd element in the blissful triad. Now, us Porties are a bit different from Anglos concerning engagements. But for very traditional families we don't realy do engagements anymore. Most people my age have no engagement rings and we are boyfriend/girlfriend until the day we marry, we don't really speak of fiancés, it's a tad dated. Regardless, it should be a momentous thing and yet I wasn't giddy with excitement, I was a bit taken aback by it and told him that if things went on like that I'd certainly consider it in a far future but maybe discussing it seriously just then was premature.

Many of you will remember The Defunct. We are not on speaking terms, I simply ignore him and it's not really drama on my part. His behaviour (and I mostly mean the bits I haven't blogged abt, sorry) was so appallingly vile that I now absolutely think him a swine and have no interest in having any sort of contact with such a person whatsoever, regardless of who he is. I can forgive a lot but some things completely re-write a joint history and make it worth nothing. It's actually a bit frightening, when you think abt it. Some people are not worthy of any bit of you, regardless of how remote, and there is no turning back. That being said, I really have laid it all to rest in a way that amazes even me (the fringe benefits of annihilation) and although I know it hasn't it does feel like it all happened to someone else. I don't wish him ill, I don't wish him well, I don't wish him
anything, I'm empty of all feelings but the mild general contempt reserved for people capable of despicable acts. You need to understand all this to understand also that the caveat from past posts still applies, I will be talking abt him in this post but it's so I can talk abt me and the conclusions I've reached abt myself. And if I sound uncharitable at times, and I likely will, it's not meant to be seen as a derision of him. I, after all, am the one who kept choosing to stay.

To me it was incomprehensible that he'd want to marry me so soon. Post break-up I found out that after his ex broke up with him he'd flown abroad to ask her to marry him; he'll no doubt very soon wish to marry the next one. Looking back now, and knowing him the way I do (very dark bits included), I realise it makes perfect sense. It is not that he'd choose anyone, he has criteria but also this notion of how a relationship proceeds and I do not mean it ironically when I say he is a man on a mission. A Man marries and breeds, really quite simple. If things seem to go well, you marry; if things seem to go wrong, you try to marry as it will fix all. The wedding itself is the goal, not much thought is given to the marriage and what it entails (commitment, hard work, loyalty, even sacrifice). Hence, it is an easy decision even if the partners are recent or possibly mismatched. His notion of Love is a heavily romantised one in the mediaeval and biblical sense, with the man as the firm Patriarch whose knightness will ultimately keep the family basking in togetherness, and his bride will need him (a bit dependently) and look at him in adoration. This is also why he wanted to have babies almost fro m day one, which never really bodes well does it but he's still young, I told myself, he'll grow up some, he has to bcs I cannot play co-dependent and will certainly never be anyone's perpetually adoring geisha. [The fact that I was never dependent wasn't seen as healthy, it indeed caused a few problems instead.] I, on the other hand, have had an unlikely amount of men wishing to marry me and really, the only one I've ever wanted to really,
really marry was the so far love of my life from when I was 20. So maybe it isn't that it was an unlikely number, maybe I think it unlikely simply bcs I could never have married these particular men and they surprised me by not sharing my reasons for not wanting to. It dawned on me today driving back to Lisbon that it doesn't make any sense to ever ask myself if there is maybe something wrong with me because I have managed to reach this age without children or a marriage (broken or not) behind me, it's sort of self-explanatory. See, people marry for all sorts of reasons and my reasons for getting married are actually the ones that have prevented me from doing it so far. I've alyways thought that marrying someone, much like having chidren, should ultimately be terribly easy. You become a couple, you learn abt each other, if they ask you and it is REALLY REALLY RIGHT you say yes. As simple as that. We went to London in December of last year and after we'd both got our Jewishness officially recognised we could finally get married and for a short while I was giddy, finally. But then, funny thing, people would become very excited abt it and ask me abt concrete details and I'd say What?! Oh no, not anytime soon, no time, exams, vet school, no time, NO TIME, have I mentioned no time?? And I never blogged abt any of it, which - really. The truth is, if you want to marry that person, and if you, like me, dislike big wedding productions, you simply find a way to do it - or to at least start planning it. After said trip we also decided to start trying for a baby. My ovaries not being very cooperative for the most part I joined a fertility site to try and pinpoint my fertile period. I didn't manage to measure my morning temperature one single time, I kept forgetting. I did not fill any of the funny little squares with the required info. Coincidentally, and of course entirely unrelated, my libido vanished. Funnily enough, our relationship started desintegrating very fast after this. Reality does things

Despite my having claimed I'm mostly lucid abt relationships, which is actually true, I was avidly swimming in the Nile and sinking spectacularly. A big head-smacking clue came after we broke up when I realised (abt a week after the fact) that we had
in fact broken up, I kept asking my friends - and this is truly hard to admit in itself and also bcs it went on for quite a while - Where will I find another Jew now?? That shows some very healthy priorities, I'd say, apparently I didn't regret having lost that particular man but the fact the said man was a Jew in a country where they are so very scarce. It slowly dawned on me that I'd stayed with him in hope of a miracle bcs it had become apparent tops after abt a year that he would never be what I could be happy with. I remember talking with my friends abt it while I was staying at the beach that Summer in that very hopeful and slightly histrionic manner, you know, he could still change though right? RIGHT? The truth is, no man should need to change for me to want to be with him. I need a man whom I can admire and respect intellectually immediatly, a man whom I can talk to for hours, a man that amazes me and makes me feel grateful simply by opening his mouth. And The Defunct wasn't stupid, not at all, but he wasn't right for me. He was not enough, see, there was no awe. And yet I stayed, and I think it's partly bcs after a certain age you become so tired of relationships that come to an end and starting it all over again that you are tempted to overlook things that are at the very core of your needs, you crave the relief of it alll having been decided already, done. But in my case it was also very much bcs I had forgotten how being with someone you admire intellectually feels like. Uzi was like that intellectually, God but Uzi was a fucking genius with the best sense of humour but he was not a strong man and the men who choose me need to be so in order not to be intimidated, made insecure, emasculated simply by my being the way I am. There were many times when Uzi felt inadequate bcs he could not assert himself where life was concerned and I could and did, and he felt like he too should bcs most people can after all and yet. Simply being best friends was absolutely right for us, when you're a Very Small Animal the status change makes all the difference, he wasn't pressured anymore to be more than he knew how to be, I wasn't frustrated bcs I wasn't with a stronger man, we were happier. And the one after Uzi was mad as a hatter and meanwhile a lot of time had gone by since the good old days and I forgot, I just did. [Funny that no man since has ever measured up to that 20-year-old though. Funny that the man he is today, from what I glimpse at parties, doesnt quite measure up to his 20-year-old self either.]

When Udge came to visit and we discussed books I had the shock of my life, IT IS POSSIBLE! People can actually sit down and talk abt books for hours! No, people can actually talk abt ALL SORTS OF THINGS for hours! Did you know? Did you remember? And then I started thinking abt my motivations for being in a relationship that left me so intellectually starved and I have been ruminating for a good few months now. A few months after we broke up I became involved with someone else. I fell for this man fast and hard and one of the reasons was a) he talked b) he talked well, and I loved to listen. We talked for hours, WE ACTUALLY TALKED, that really didn't happen with The Defunct and God yes I need that, desperatly, and I was reminded also of how different it is to fall for someone bcs you are attracted to them and hope (since they have still some maturing to do) that they will yet become what you need to have in a partner on other levels as well; from falling for someone who pretty much has the initial whole package. I actually fell in love with this man, which was fortunate bcs he had fallen in love with me as well. I was cleanly swept off my fee and I couldn't help but notice that the way I felt exceeded how I'd felt when The Defunct and I had first started our relationship bcs the basic kit was present from the beginning, no need to wait.

[Short Portie Cultural Tidbit: for us
falling in love does NOT equal loving someone. This always confuses Anglos, who, funnily enough, cannot go through an entire day without proclaiming their love for at least three people and God forbid you should hang up with a simple Goodbye. Falling in love to us means your throat meets you trembling knees whenever you think of them, not being able to sleep or eat, vibrating when with them, wanting to swallow them whole and be swallowed. Loving someone takes time and work - and luck.]

This, alas, does not mean things will end well and despite the fact that we had many things in common and were smitten with each other it didn't amount to much. But I am grateful for it bcs I was reminded of how different it is to be involved with a man who is actually
that already, and not someone who hopefully will shape up into something good. And the talking, ye the sheer amount and splendidness of the talking, and the maturity, the poise, and look, the mutual brain licking! I may be able to control younger/weaker men in a relationship but the price I pay isn't worth it at all so maybe I should try and handle my control issues and break this unfortunate pattern bcs really, people do have exactly the lives they want and if you hear someone saying I'm so unlucky, I only attract married men/philanderers/drug users/what have you IT IS NOT AN ACCIDENT, loads of other people don't. So at the end of the day this might not be the relationship that makes you happy but it's certainly the one you still want to have or else you'd have long ran for the bloody hills and really, isn't life too long to be lived at your expense? It bloody well is.

It is no accident that I haven't got married or have children, not at all. Shrimpy was telling me today that she fully respects people's right to have rational relationships, i.e., at my age, faced with a man who was Jewish, good-looking, pleasant enough, wanted to have a serious relationship and babies, seemed to have potential, it made sense for me to stay with him despite the fact that I'd always find
us somewhat lacking. But, I told her, even though I agreed that people certainly have that right I didn't and couldn't function that way, never had, and that was why I had never been able to officially commit to him and we were back on condoms after a very short while bcs wow, a bit of a fright when abstractions become actual possibilities isn't it. The truth is, he'd have married me for his own reasons but I couldn't bring myself to marry him for my own, bcs to me having a family + children is not enough of a good reason to compromise on what I find absolutely vital. I may live with you but marrying you is something else, there is a difference to me, institutionalised rituals do matter, and the deeper part of me (that which was not splashing abt in the water) knew we were doomed and I'd regret it.

Bcs, see, I did learn you can have it all, decency, intelligence, brilliant talker, same sense of humour, culture and manners, sex bomb. I had it once, it
is possible, I will never be able to officially settle for less than that. And now that I have learnt loads abt myself and am very much aware of where my minds' traps are I will never ever allow myself to rely on miracles or hope of what might be even non-officially, i.e., outside of matrimony. To put it simply, my bookshelves don't have you salivating, your clothes have no place in my closet. Never stray from The Truth for it, much like the printing dwarves, looks you sternly in the groin. This might mean I will never meet anyone whom I'm willing to be with the way I need to be with someone. It might mean I'll never marry, or have my own biological children since I'm not the sort to barshop for impregnation but the alternative is far worse. It either is or it isn't, and that which isn't becomes apparent rather fast. And I will always choose feeling at peace about my choices over being resigned to them. I like me well.

16 furballs:

Mrs. Froggie said...

Yes!!!!! Keep holding out for the whole package. You're truly, truly worth it.

Udge said...

That does indeed sound like a setting-free has taken place. Well done, dear Johnny; and well written too. (And I'm quite flattered :-)

Chimmy's Ghost said...

You're awesome. I'd totally pretend to be a Jew to get with a girl like you.

Lioness said...

Er, Mrs Froggie (you're an idiot but a cute one, did you know?), you know me, I will. I have and I will still, nothing else will do.

Udge, thanks dahling! We've talked abt this already and I've blogged abt this already and it remains true, I need to be wowed by the people in my life, and if I'm not I should let it be, not try and turn it into something else. It never does.

Chimmy, I'd totally pretend to believe you. :) HAVE A NEW BLOG ALREADY?

Chimmy's Ghost said...

Mazel tov!


Yes, I do have a new blog. But, I haven't written anything yet. I'm not sure if I want to spoil it by writing.

Diana said...

Yes, it does exist. Yes, nothing short of it is worth it for you (for some, yes, but not for you). Yes. Yes. Yes.

Manuela said...

Clapping wildly! You and I have had several of these sorts of discussions over the past months, and I'm beyond thrilled to see you in the position where you can now encapsulate it all so beautifully.

Nancy said...

Oh yes, Lioness, it is worth the wait.

Ana said...

Things are hard as it is when you do have the whole package. Because life is hard. If you settle for less it will not be worth the trouble.
You'll find it.

Lioness said...

Well, it may or may not exist, I may or may not but settling is never worth it on any level, lesson learnt. Thanks, all!

Ana, estás viva! Hurrah!

José said...

Isso é que foi usar o bisturi na alma!
Se bem tenho entendido, é uma nova-judia/ex-marrana, ou qualquer que seja a classificação que se possa aplicar. Por isso é que é tão importante casar dentro da comunidade (que é, de facto, pequena)?

Lioness said...

De vez em quando acontece, ajuda a arrumar as ideias. Os bisturis fazem incisões limpinhas e direitas e ajudam a não se cometerem os mesmos erros duas vezes. Ó José, conte lá, como é que veio aqui parar? Eu normalmente vôo under the radar dos tugas.

Fui reconhecida oficialmente como judia há pouco tempo mas já o sou há muito. E marranos seremos sempre, com muito orgulho. :) O meu objectivo não é sequer casar dentro da comunidade, não é isso. Mas uma das coisas que para mim é importante ter num parceiro é alguém que sinta o mesmo que eu em relação a Israel e ao Judaísmo, que partilhe o que eu sinto, que entenda as mesmas piadas. É difícil explicar por que é tão importante a quem está de fora de uma forma que faça sentido mas é importante de facto.

Lilian said...

Que interessante lê-la em português!! Quase soa como outra pessoa, já que estou acostumada a ler seu blog em inglês (eu na verdade sinto que quase sou duas pessoas diferentes ao me expressar em inglês e português). Fiquei curiosa para saber que verbo terias usado para falling in love. Seria apaixonar-se? De fato estar apaixonado não é o mesmo que amar. Nas poucas vezes (talvez uma apenas) que escrevi no blog sobre minhas paixões da adolescência, acho que escrevi infatuated para transmitir a idéia de que estava apaixonada, já que não tinha nada a ver com amor o que eu sentia... aliás, eu sempre "matutava" muito sobre isto quando era mais nova, até encontrar "the one."

Well, I guess I was a lucky one to find him, the one who was the whole package, at the tender age of 18.5 (and we're the same age). Our endless, intellectually satisfying conversations eclipsed the shallow interests of a new acquaintance of the opposite sex (is he cute? does he wear nice clothes? etc). Then there was the slow, rational, "falling in love" and here we are, almost 17 years and two children later.

I hope you can find "the one" as well and I love this that you wrote: " To put it simply, my bookshelves don't have you salivating, your clothes have no place in my closet." (Not that we read the very same things, my husband's in physics and I'm in literature, but I learned about science and he learned about literature, so we enriched each other's lives this way and we can talk about everything under the sun, for hours, oh yeah). Well enough much about me... It was very enlightening, to say the least, to read this post since I hadn't visited for a while and felt a bit confused back when you broke up and didn't really blog about it (and I didn't check your blog often enough to begin with -- not much time here). I'm glad you didn't settle for less than what you deserve, even if you hadn't articulated your thoughts and feelings in this brilliant (as usual) manner earlier.

Lioness said...

Lilian, é mesmo "apaixonado"! :D Eu não escrevi "infatuated" porque não tem a mesma intensidade, preferi usar o nosso termo e explicar. Talve "enamoured"? Não sei. O que é esquisito é tu tratares-me por tu e não por você, talk abt cognitive dissonance! Para mim também é estranho escrever em Português, acho que a razão por que escrevo em inglês é adequar-s muito mais ao meu sentido de humor e stream of consciousness.

Oh and I have blogged abt it loads, just not abt the very ugliest bits, though the ones present are ugly enough. But I think I have learnt my lesson now, not that what happened couldn't have happened with someone who was intellectually my equal but if things had ended when they should have, when I KNEW they should have, bar miracles and hop for such, a lot could have been avoided. Fazer o quê, agora. Aprender e não repetir! Eu tb não vou ao teu blog há séculos, mas quando os exames acabarem ponho a leitura em dia. Bom ter notícias suas, pô! ;)

DM said...

I think the right one is out there for you. And he will be spectacular. And you deserve it. Love you muchly!

Lilian said...

Desculpe eu não ter voltado aqui antes para ler a sua (vou usar a 3a pessoa daqui pra frente ;-) resposta. (Você tem toda a razão em achar estranho o meu "tu". "In retrospect," eu estava "forçando a barra" um pouco, se é q vc entende esta gíria q não sei se é só brasileira ou o que usando, o tu... sei lá porque eu o fiz - meu sogro usa o tu sempre, pois ele é do Maranhão, mas realmente eu só uso o vc mesmo... tendo vivido no Paraná e Sampa. Ah sim, uso o tu pra conversar com minha a cunhada gaúcha, mas ela, e todos os outros gaúchos conjuga tudo errado, éca!).

Bom, depois desta ridícula digressão... obrigada por ter comentado de volta! Meu tempo para blogs e também para blogar está racionadíssimo ultimamente pois minha defesa da dissertação está sendo marcada para dia 16 de abril e eu tenho q terminar a dita cuja! Por isso não tenho vindo aqui com frequência... aliás, depois deste post vc já escreveu uns quantos, nem sei quando vou ter tempo de ler, mas como estou em "procrastination mode" eu talvez leia hoje ainda ;-)

Outra coisa é que vc é super intensa e realmente tão absolutamente brilhante, que eu me canso na leitura :-) (não me leve a mal, e, aliás, este comentário não é mera "puxa-saquismo" pois eu não preciso disso, é apenas minha opinião e um sincero elogio).

Aliás, eu tenho a incômoda tendência de escrever "demais" nos comentários e depois me arrepender de tê-lo feito. I'm a "over-sharer" and then a "regretter"... daí eu fico com vergonha e não dou mais as caras por um tempo.

Um dia desses eu tava relendo um comentário "estúpido" meu no seu velho blog no qual eu deixei a pobre da Statia (acho q foi ela) confusa pois escrevi (sei lá porque!! Acho q vc falou "Shabat Shalom") em inglês q eu guardava o sábado mesmo sendo cristã (eu sou adv3ntista do sétimo dia, sei lá se vc já ouviu falar... eu não blogo sobre estas coisas, minha relação com religião é complexa demais...) e aí ela deve ter ficado confusa pq a palavra 'sabbath' em inglês não quer necessariamente dizer o 7o dia da semana, mas às vezes é usada para referir-se à guarda do próprio domingo. I guess it has come to mean "holy day." Going back and re-reading me made me cringe and I felt like emailing Statia to explain, what would have been so silly because she most certainly doesn't remember a thing.

So, that comment alone made me feel stupid and I felt kind of shy to come back and comment again -- and *that* is kinda supid!!! (I mean, it's ridiculous that feeling stupid about something I said made me stay away for fear of what??? Being considered a fool for over-sharing? whatever).

OK, sorry about the looong comment. Why didn't I simply email you all this instead of sharing it in this public forum? oh DUH!!! yeah, maybe because I enjoy "PUBLIC" over-sharing or something.