Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"All the things I deserve,
For being such a good girl, honey."

Deserve. That's such an interesting word, it's tied to such an interesting concept. Mr. Leighton used to be hooked on a blog called "What I Deserve". What a perfectly ambiguous title. I didn't appreciate it amply at the time.

I was dancing with Chad at his prom, our senior year. This was the song. I'm sure I've told the story here a dozen times before; it doesn't matter. I can't hardly write on this thing anymore. Redundant might be better than silent. Then again, it might not.

I was dancing and this was the song. He was holding me tightly, I believe, or just tightly enough-- who remembers these details? What I do remember was the comforting warmth of his size, what some might call slightly overweight, and a bit taller than me. Maybe it's not so much that I even remember it, exactly, but if I close my eyes and breath in slowly threw my nose as I picture it, my body seems to know how to go back to that moment instinctively, I feel the reaction, I smile.

At one point, he pulled back just enough to look at me, straight in the eye, and he said "I enjoy spending time with you more than anybody else, I think." And it was perfect-- there's very little I like better than that kind of specific sincerity. It felt so much more genuine than those other words he could have said. What I found out later is that, beyond the superior specificity, it didn't quite translate on some more fundamental levels. But it was perfect, right then.

I'm listening to this song, I don't know. Because I've been spending a lot of time talking to Chad lately, seen him a few times. Because the feelings that I never got over with him, well, they've turned more or less comfortable and dependable, in relative terms.

Because, a few moments ago, I knew Zack would be walking through the door at any moment. When I left him in the living room to come in here, I left him in the knowledge that something was wrong, but not what. I was staring at a picture of Chad and I taken on that very night, and I was listening to the other song I associated with him during those key few months of our relationship-- "Standing Still" by Jewel. The plan, more or less, was that Zack would come in and see me looking at this picture of Chad, and he'd figure that was the basis of the problem I couldn't talk about.

Some guy I never got over. Someone I'll always be a little bit in love with. That's nothing we haven't dealt with a hundred times before.

Zack being who he is, he would have just gone to bed, put it out of his mind. Never suspecting the problem that lies deeper. The realization I just came to. The chilling truth I've just now verbalized, that every decent fiber of my being wants him never to have to bear the truth of.

If he's curious enough even to check this, and I doubt that he is, he'll see a few paragraphs about Chad and feel, I don't know. A relief in the familiarity of it all. Never get this far into the post. And you thought your relationship was dysfunctional.

"Foolish Games" by Jewel. That's what I'm listening to now.

When it all came down to it, I didn't have the will to lie in any capacity, it seems. Minimized the picture as he walked through the door. Told him I'd be to bed in a few minutes, when he asked. Kissed him goodnight. Stayed aloof in that telltale way. It won't come to anything, but I shouldn't take the chance that he'll be curious tomorrow. That if he asks what this is all about, I'll tell him.

The bitch of writing a post based around a song is that you have to listen to the song about a hundred times to get through the whole thing. I'm back to "Underneath your Clothes", by Shakira, in case you didn't recognize the quote in the beginning.

When Chad eventually answered the question that Jewel had posed for me-- "Do you want me like I want you? Or am I standing still?"-- and told me that, our fling being what it was (an infidelity), he was back with his ex-girlfriend, I couldn't escape the irony of Shakira's lyrics everytime I heard it. "Underneath your clothes, there's an endless story. There's the man I chose. There's my territory. And all the things I deserve, for being such a good girl, honey."

The last therapist I saw for vaginismus made a breakthrough with me, and whether or not it was a particularly helpful one, well, I never did go back. He woke me up to the buried belief I have, something I've managed to keep on the downlow, even from myself: that I believe I deserve the vaginismus. That I feel I am being, rightly, punished for something else, something that I did. More likely, something that was done to me before I was old enough to realize that I was the victim.

Whatever the reason, it seems the facts are the same: all this time that I've been thinking the critically low self esteem was caused by the vaginismus, I really had it all backwards. Don't that beat all.

Underneath my clothes, there's an endless story. Of all the things I deserve.

Like I said. It's an interesting word.

On with it.