I made to give myself permission to feel all of the emotions I am feeling, and express them so they don't drown me. I called the playlist: Fuck him, Heal Thyself. I curated the list of songs to have a kind of narrative arc - hey, just because I'm devastated doesn't mean that I should exacerbate the issue with subpar curatorial skills - and as I find new songs I add them in their appropriate place. There's an R&B artist named Angie Stone, who had a moment of popularity in the 90s Neo-Soul movement whose song I most recently added. She wrote many songs I love - namely most of D'Angelo's first album, I'm told - but one of her most seminal works is titled, "Pissed Off".
I've never been so angry - so full of ire and the aftertaste of vomit. So hurt. So virtually vengeful. So imaginatively violent. So rug-pulled-out-flat-on-my-ass humiliated. Angie says in her song to a lover she's dismissing, "I can't allow you to live rent free / in my heart or in my head / can't let you back into my bed." The lyrics made me wonder if I charged him enough for my love. He says, "I take care of you, that's how I show you I love you." Was that the price on the invoice of my love? Financial security? Do I require that which honors my greatness in exchange for loving? It made me wonder if my heart's lease agreement protects the owner and the property sufficiently... maybe the owner was a little too eager to just have the place rented out. What do I charge for my love? My devotion? My respect? How much does it cost to become my priority? Am I cheap?
The price of my love isn't monetary, or materialistic. At least I don't think it should be. There is a part of me that mistook his willingness to pay for our needs and comforts - my needs and comforts - as enough. As love. But it's not. Him paying for those things as a means to demonstrate his love and commitment and value of me doesn't do that sufficiently. It turns me into a commodity. It actually devalues me.
My love costs the willing and generous sharing of resources, yes. But it also costs consideration and protection of my best interests and health above all. He endangered me to satisfy his ego. It costs full access. It costs vulnerability. It costs growth and development with me. It costs creativity. It costs faith and trust. It costs honesty, forthcoming truth. It costs respect. It costs the whole heart. I gave him my love on sale. He didn't pay full price. He got a steal. Why was my heart on the shelf in Marshalls like a designer knockoff for him to buy so easily? Money is easy for Malcolm.
In many ways he was completely honest. He showed me that he was a consumer. Never interested in the maintenance of an acquisition, unless said maintenance increases the value of his investment. And even then, at some point, he just becomes disinterested. Never following through if the follow through becomes inconvenient. Never battling obstacles, fighting for a goal. Pulling out tools to fix an issue, but never putting the tools back, or cleaning up. Never making anything, only buying. Never looking into the eyes of people waiting on him. Saying, "I just needed to fuck something." Something. Not someone. "We're all adults here." As if someone agreeing to be consumed by him in exchange for money, makes the commodification okay. As if it protects against the soul damage. Buying new clothes left and right rather than washing the ones he has. Preferring new cars, not the restoration or appreciation of the classic.
He sat at the table of my heart and I fed him an 11 course meal. He ate me up entirely.
And now I'm frightened. And enraged. And sad. And heartbroken. And embarrassed. And frightened. And excited. And freed. And resentful. And frightened. Did I say frightened?
I identified with our marriage, not even considering a future without our union. As Alanis Morrisette said in another song on my playlist, "That Particular Time," "In the meantime I lost myself / In the meantime I lost myself / I'm sorry I lost myself / I am."
Can I forgive? Stop the scar tissue from gathering. Stop the pivot point from being plotted on the graph of my life, stop this event from becoming an organizing principle that changes the trajectory of everything? Is there a future for us? Is my leaving and him letting me go a blessing? Could it be? I think it could. And that scares me too.
I miss the husband I never had.