• Tish Burns

Who's really the sucker though?

Dear Friends,

It me. I'm the sucker.

I guess I'll begin at the end of the last post, post haste and whatnot.

In the immediate aftermath of my Norwegian catastrophe I went to confession. I was a freshly minted, newly confirmed Catholic and was still trying to be good at it. I know in this economy talking about being Catholic and having a positive, non-damaging experience in the church might not go over well but nothing, from Michael Jackson to my own father to the priesthood, is all one thing or the other. Nothing is black and white, nothing is all bad or all good. Everything just is, CAN YOU HANG?

I'm not always sure I can but I digress.

So I told the priest all about Norway and his wife and my despair. He told me my penance was to talk to God, he said women know how to do that better than anybody. And then he told me that I was sacred, that my body and my love were sacred and that God didn't intend for me to be doing things like this, hurting others and myself. I didn't fully believe what he saying in the moment but I did my penance, I talked to God, I went through the agony of loss and the guilt, jealousy, resentment, obsession, delusion, etc.

And that word SACRED stuck with me.

In my drinking days I was basically a slut-whore looking for love on the barroom floor. And it worked for a little while. But as my alcoholism progressed so did the promiscuity, the blackouts, the 'who the fuck are you and why am I here and where are my panties' panics. All in a day's not work. It was never a sacred endeavor and it only felt good in that I was fully inhabiting the lowlife piece of shit I really believed that I was.

Going from the gutter to the confessional was (and is) a lot to wrap my head and my heart around.

I'm sacred???

In light of my most recent experience of love and loss and horrible confusion I can say that I am sacred, that my heart and body and sexuality are all bound up together. Since I've gotten sober (8 years ago if you want to count) I've averaged one sex partner per year and have not to this day been able to maintain a relationship for longer than two months. When I was drinking if I went more than a month without sex I thought I would just die. I'm not good at maths and don't remember a lot of who and what I did when but I can say there was a lot more than one partner a year.

That I recently went two years without sex is nothing short of a miracle. There are all kinds of reasons why I waited that long and I'm only now starting to understand what they were. Like I don't want just anybody in my bed. I fucked up on that front because I chose someone who doesn't feel the same way about sex at all, someone who said and did things without really meaning them and without regard for the effect they would have on me. I should have taken the time to get to know him better. And I should have listened to my gut when it reacted to the weirdness of his very public declarations of love and of being my boyfriend. He actually told me he only said he was my boyfriend because he thought it would make a good reddit ama. So basically it was a joke. Ha. Ha. Laugh's on me because I really legitimately felt something tremendous and deep for him. What the fuck is that all about? I told him I didn't want to feel that way about anyone else. And he neglected to tell me that he didn't want to have a relationship at all until it was basically over. I know this is probably shitty of me to air our dirty laundry like this but, as I've mentioned somewhere, I am "processing my feelings." And they have been hard. Another weekend of tears and despair. The fucking gutpunched sense of being a sucker, a dupe, a fool. Betrayed. Misled.

On the flip side of all that I heard a fella say last night: "All gratitude all the time. I am alive and I am sober. Everything else is a luxury problem." Shit. My tears dried up after that. And a little space for compassion for myself and my erstwhile lover opened up in my heart. Maybe I'm not a total sucker fool. Maybe I'm just a person who took a risk, who let herself get vulnerable with someone who said all the right things, just like that married Norwegian guy said all the right things. And, as my sponsor said, God bless him. I know he didn't intend to hurt me but I don't know if he's capable of being honest. And I don't know if he has enough time to learn. And it doesn't matter. Everyone gets to do whatever they want, the caveat always being that they're willing to suffer the consequences. The consequences for us is a lot of pain and the possibility that this won't ever be amended. I think I've kept my side of the street clean. If upon further reflection I have not I will do whatever it takes to make it up.

As Forest Gump said, that's all that I have I to say about that.



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