Theme song: “Take The World” by She Wants Revenge
The Third, a beautiful woman with borderline personality disorder. I noticed her scars but they didn’t bother me. Teenagers do that type of thing and we are adults now, in our thirties, mature. I believed that if what I thought was sanity wasn’t real, then someone who tells me they have a sanity disorder has sanity because that sanity was hard-earned and lasting. Yup, still naive.
We talked a few times before we met. I didn’t have any time to make her up. Still, I couldn’t say, “I hope I am going to like her.” I already knew I would. She wasn’t afraid to look at me. She took my hand the minute she noticed I wanted that. I loved that she noticed my desire, even more the action. She was the things I liked, assertive not aggressive, direct not demanding. At the end of the date she looked at me and said, “I am ready for you.” Those words eased any feelings of dislike. That is so much better than someone looking at me and thinking trouble. I was wrong.
The first mean test came in just under three months, on the 18th Lesson learned it’s not just cookies it is the 18th! When the 18th rolls around I will shut down my computer, turn off my phone and spend the day hiding under my bed. I wish I was kidding, on the 18th I am unavailable. I am busy trying to preserve our relationship! One week after that text I had to block her. I don’t miss her, and that is sadder than missing the Second.
Dear the Third,
I trusted you because you told me your name, telepathically, before I ever met the Second. I heard it very clearly in your voice. Within a few weeks I forgot I thought it was important to meet you. Later you called me “brave” and said “wow”. I didn’t remember these things until our fourth date, the first time you invited me over. You looked at me and said, “wow.” “Hey that was you talking to me!” “I would keep you forever if you let me.” “Why me?” “I know why you.” No, I need to know why me. Why does saying I am not afraid of commitment translate to you, that I am ready for a lifetime with you? Am I the only one who thinks it takes all the seasons to make those types of decisions?
My shooting star, my amulet, my arm candy. You called me two-spirited, a trick. I loved how affectionate you let me be, you didn’t reject any of my words of affection. You would let me hug you all day if that was what I wanted to do. Amulet, you and I together we lite up the room, of course, we were love. When we were the brink of us, everything was wonderful, almost perfect. When you took steps closer to me it felt as if you wanted to consume me.
We saw each other about ten times before we got to sex. That gave me time to adjust to you, comfortable talking. The first two times with you were soft and sweet, it wasn’t magic, still it was better than anything else. You said that wasn’t sex, that was foreplay. Before I met the Second, I asked my friend “How do we have sex that isn’t your turn, my turn sex?” She answered, “I don’t know.” Then on my first date with the Second she pressed her body against me in a way that made me think, “Oh, that’s how. That’s magic. I can’t wait for this.”
On our first date, I mentioned her, later that night when a song came on that reminded me of her I cried and you just hugged me. I thought “Well that’s out of the way, I don’t need to explain how sensitive I can be to you.” You wanted those tears to mean sometime specific and I didn’t know that. You pushed me to explain why I cried and I told you about the song. That made you angry, but why do I have to be who you want me to be and not myself? I am not a character in your book. You yelled at me, and fought with me until the morning. “I am breaking up with you for one week so you can resolve this with her.” “She doesn’t care about me without you why would she care about me with you?” You definitely were not listening to me, you only heard the threat to you. I tried to tell you someone who I thought cared about me treated me like I was disposable. That is not a relationship wound that is a soul wound, a pain that could last lifetimes. Will you please just listen to my pain so I can try to free myself from it? Any attempts to dismiss my feelings, from either of us, doesn’t work. I just need to be heard. I see now you wanted me to take action that would make me say, I hate her. To weaken me into you. I said, “You yelled at me” “It wasn’t yelling, stop saying that. No one else in this apartment heard us and these walls are thin.” “Do you think how you treated me was okay?” “No” “You can’t treat me like that again. You only get to do that once… No, for the duration of our relationship. Whoever treated you like that was not treating you right.” I am not afraid of conflict any more than I am afraid of commitment. This isn’t conflict, it’s aggression.
After that, sex changed, you changed, slowly. Were you right? Was I being emotionally selfish? “Why does it hurt? Is that skill, technique? My pelvis is getting bruised.” – Hate sex? What’s hate sex? I don’t understand. All these things are adding up and I am getting confused. I wish I had someone to talk to but that door keeps getting closed to me – Everyone saying, “Sorry, I don’t have the time.” “There is no difference between lesbian relationships and any other relationship.” “I am listening but I never had that type of relationship so I don’t understand the subtleties,” “You cried in my apartment and that is all I remember of you, and us. So, no matter what I said at any other time I am not here for you.”
I didn’t like sex anymore, but I thought it was a lack of emotional security because you yelled at me and we could get to the other side of that. You were too hard with me, your emotions hardened, your approach aggressive. You were too textural in the way I hate. If I ask you not to touch me like that more than once I am resisting the urge to hit you and storm out. Touching is the only thing that truly makes me angry with someone. I kept asking you for gentle but it was as if you didn’t know what that word meant. Am I the only one who thinks sex should be vibrational before anything else? “Will you still stay with me if the sex is bad?” I gave you a blank stare. Sex was the primary reason I decided to date women instead of men, all of these extras – intimacy, emotional security, lack of loneliness – were pleasant surprises I never knew I was living without.
“You can get fat and I will still like you.” You think you are trying to say something nice but you are trying to possess me. Change me so others don’t notice me, your little secret. That is not a good plan for unlimited reasons. If you want someone you can own completely I am not right for you. You won’t win that fight. You can’t isolate me. I had to learn to stop feeling betrayed when I found out some long-term friends have always had crushes on me. It is just life. You can’t eradicate people from my life because you can pick up the feelings of people you’ve never met, feelings they never exposed. Having feelings is not disrespectful. If someone is being disrespectful you will be the first person who knows.
I see you two to three times a week. You can’t have two-hour phone calls every day. You can’t have phone calls every day. You can’t have more than a few texts a day. I am tapped out. Why are you asking more from me than I am freely giving you? “I don’t understand why you can’t call me when you are doing laundry.” “Why are you telling me I am not enough for you?” I am being told this is just how women are. They are? I have never been like that. I am feeling overwhelmed and consumed.
Eventually, we decided on an open relationship, just a term so you won’t feel like you have the right to ask me where I am and who I am talking to in your aggressive manner. I could breathe again. “Just don’t tell me about other people.” Knowing about other people causes me anxiety. It doesn’t matter if you understand it, just respect it. The whole truth is if you hint at other people I will cling to you before I even know that is what I want. That is too much truth to say out loud, a deadly weapon. I can’t reach clarity about you with this information, so please just don’t tell me. We can talk about relationship status again in October. October? We barely made it into July. You told me about other people. You couldn’t even help it because you just tell the stories that are in your head, no filter. “It wasn’t a date. I didn’t kiss her.” “Okay.” The clinging response only worked the first few times. Even if you didn’t know what you were doing, you knew what you were doing. I was crying, on the subway, telling you I didn’t want to be isolated and somehow you only had friends when I wasn’t around you. You were not listening to me, causing my feelings for you to transform to apathy. Why do you want that? Still you said, “What if you met someone?” “It is a test of faith.” What you think is an open relationship I think is a relationship. I don’t want someone obligated to me. If you are in a happy relationship people are going to find you attractive, it is just what happens, enjoy it. It is not emotional cheating if it is light hearted, non-engaging, and I am the one chosen. I have no issues with light-hearted flirting, or crushes, if I feel secure with you. Eventually I will tell you about my crushes. Am I the one who thinks it’s fun to talk about crushes? I like to see you blush when I catch you having a crush on someone. “Who do you think has a better butt, me of Jennifer Lopez?” You pretended to fall asleep, wouldn’t talk to me for twenty minutes. That made me laugh. I was never going to go out and meet anyone, unless we couldn’t get to the other side of us. We couldn’t get to the other side of us. I wanted proof you could be peaceful, harmonious, relaxed. That you would see a therapist. You wanted passion.
To get me back you tried to prey on insecurities I don’t have, fishing for a hook. You are not like the Second, even if you wanted to be. With her I knew I had blind spots but I couldn’t find access to the perspective I was missing, she always steered me away. With you I don’t have blind spots. I know your game, once I notice someone seeking for insecurities in me to put their hooks into I retreat. I will not give my vulnerability to that. I gave the Second a book on shame, she responded, “yeah, I shame people,” just a reality of her life, a fact. She knew how to reach into me and pull me from the inside out while leaving me confused and thinking I was the one who did something wrong, a natural talent. Her actions saying, “you can stay with me as long as you let me eat my cake, and yours too,” It took me over four and half months to comprehend what happened, part of me wanted to protect her, and part of me wanted to protect myself. I couldn’t give her what she wanted when she wanted it, so she shamed me. No one has ever hurt me the way she hurt me, and no one else will be given that chance. Your attempts were feeble in comparison, but I know you wanted the same effect, me broken. Sensitive does not mean emotional unstable, it means emotionally receptive. You wanted me unstable. Your text, “No one with a good heart would become you.” You didn’t hurt me. I just don’t play that game. If you don’t want to date a figure model, find someone else. I have no shame over my job.
You wanted a passionate relationship with me, that involved fighting into all hours of the night, physical altercations that weren’t abusive because you didn’t hit me, public arguments and heartfelt make ups. That is not me. I want something so peaceful it is practically boring, except in sex and humor. I don’t have the time for that other stuff. I have books to write, a life coaching business to start, thoughts to think. You can’t have all of my mental and emotional space! You forgot me when I wasn’t there, forgot my like for you. That’s part of your disorder. A relationship with you is a full-time job with lots of overtime and I just don’t have that in me.
My hands were always in your hair, on your neck, on your arms. I licked your heart when you talked too much. My body was always against yours. “I always hug you with my pelvis. Did you notice that?” “Stop doing that!” “No, I’m alpha, grrr.” You didn’t win any of our playfights did you? You always melted for me, my lion-kitty. And you thought you could dominate me? We would try to watch movies and I hardly saw five minutes of it. I was watching you, and you let me. It was as if I was amazed that I could be next to someone and not feel lonely.
You said, “damn your proud to be gay,” that made me laugh. Then you wanted me to be less out. No, I will not get in the way of my own happiness. Where the Second saw my weakness, you saw my strength and you wanted to own it. I thought I could be an example of healthy for you, save you from your insanity by setting healthy boundaries. I was just as much of a child with you as I was with the last one.
“Hey ladies there are children here.” The woman choosing me to direct her comment. You give her a look that said, “you think it is safer to talk to her than me, you must be crazy?” She was gone before I could say, “Would you say that to a straight couple? Don’t say anything to me that you wouldn’t say to a straight couple.” My voice would have been as gentle as ever and loud enough for everyone to hear. Don’t tell me I can’t dance with my girl at a free concert playing “danceable” music. The children don’t need to be protected from whatever tells you that it is okay to tell two women to be less in love in public because it embarrasses you. For me holding hands is a lack of affection, for some it is a daring display of public affection. The Second’s friend made a comment about women being too intimate in a lesbian bar. I am not sure you know what you are saying if you never had the experience of holding hands feeling like a daring act.
I wanted to lean into you the way my friend said I could do in a supportive relationship. That’s a thing? I didn’t know that. If I feel secure, I don’t look for threats, and always give the benefit of the doubt. I am being foolish. I am romanticizing borderline personality disorder the same way I romanticized corrections officer. “She won’t hurt me because she likes me.” I thought I could heal you because I am gentle, more or less even-tempered, yet not malleable. I am willing to make sacrifices for love, but they are superficial sacrifices – I don’t care where we live, I don’t mind doing the chores you don’t like as long as it is not cutting vegetables, I hate cutting vegetables! Okay, I will cut vegetables but I will complain about how bored I am. I will make every effort to be more organized, and be a bit more social. But they are things I couldn’t sacrifice if I wanted to, my innate sense of freedom, for one. If you try to take my freedom you will only get a blank stare. When I was three my mother lost my deepest level of trust. She wasn’t eating when she was pregnant and she fainted. She came home from the hospital without a baby. From an adult perceptive this may be a harsh response but the intuition of my child self said don’t trust her. Maybe I would have responded differently if an adult talked to me. However, that response gave me a sense of independence no one could take away even if I wanted them too. Relationships are an expansion of freedom, not a contraction of freedom.
Shooting star? That word just came to me, a foreshadowing. Shooting stars blaze through the skies, they don’t stay. You lit up the sky of my heart and then you were gone. With you I always knew you were going to be gone. I said it on our first date. “Just don’t leave me.” “I said that? Geez.” No wonder you thought you found someone weaker than you, someone to possess. Possess, not love. You admired my sense of freedom, and wanted to take it away. “I thought you wanted a relationship.” “I do.” You weren’t offering me love, you were offering me your presence. That is not a relationship.
Theme song: “Not Just A Girl” by She Wants Revenge
People keep calling me brave. “You have a lion’s heart.” I don’t feel brave. I feel like the thirteen-year-old girl that was left standing on my best friend’s porch after being told her parents said that we were too close and she needed to make more friends. And that summer overhearing things that implied lesbians were gross, or that it was okay to be a lesbian but not for me because I was too pretty and that would be a shame. I feel like the twelve-year-old year girl who is being told by adults that if they were my age they would hit on me, and that I should be open to people who liked me or else I was being stuck-up. And being touched in ways I didn’t like but I was the one who was wrong for thinking an innocent touch was crossing the line. I’m still nine years old and I am being forced to cuddle with the adults in my house because they said there was something wrong with me because I didn’t like to be touched. And eleven when I am told I am too much of a burden to the adults I trusted and I can’t visit my aunt and uncle. No, I don’t feel brave. I still feel like the child that doesn’t understand what is happening and has no one to talk to. I feel like the teenager who kissed girls who only wanted to entertain their boyfriends, and the 20-something that only met women who wanted someone to join them in their relationships. I have been lonely my whole life. I have resigned to it because I accepted it as my fate, just a part of life. Now that I know there is something else, I want that something else.
“You go where angels fear to tread.” I do? I don’t feel like I do. Sometimes we see right through people to their souls, to a part of them they do not know about themselves. Maybe I saw who you could be, or who you have the potential of being but you are just not there yet. Maybe you haven’t met the part of you that I see. I know who you could be but I don’t truly know who you are, who you want to be.
Jules Desiree Wyble was born and raised in New Jersey. She studied Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College where she received her MA in August of 2017. She currently lives in New York City working as a figure model and life coach. She recently took up an interest in learning to box.