“betrayals……they run deep and are everywhere – sadly, sadly, sadly”
This was my friend’s response to my email that yet another man in my life had broken boundaries with a female I love. These two revelations crushed my hope yet again, and even more because these men were familia of choice. I did not inherit them from biology, I embraced them because of values, culture, and trust. The ripped shreds of my confianza lay scattered about me as I sobbed, especially for the first one that involved a child I had been around when the degraciado violated her trust. I looked and looked, trying to find the beginning of the tear, the place I could have said stop, the place I could have protected her from harm. It was not there, not even in retrospect. There were the usual foibles, the insecurities, the lack of progress at times. But the stench of power gone awry was nowhere in my exploration of the seams and creases of that, or the second relationship.
I am not the woman who denies children’s truth when they say something is wrong . In this case there was no revelation I could investigate. I was doubly dumbfounded because I have a good radar. I suss out fools quickly, closing myself off the minute I feel the stink of sexism and privilege. These hermanos sent me reeling. I gave them leeway, I loved them up, and saw them as men who my children could admire, learn from, rely on. I relied on them, honored their manhood in a white society that so often tamped down their down.
It always burns worse when it is familia, whether bio or chosen. I am sitting amid the hot coals and waiting for the lessons. I can feel myself closing down, wondering who else fooled me, who else laid hands where hands should not be lain, spoke words that were mierda. Is there a place to go and get my radar repaired? I have never been this wrong. The ratas were right there, dressed in warm brown eyes and mired in twisted thoughts of power and need.
It took my father’s death to see he did indeed love me with energy that, near the end of his life, was unconditional, and I eventually came to rest often in that quiet place where loss and love are intertwined. I had forgiven him his betrayals and committed to being different. I saw what I had done to keep him at bay and had opened my corazón with men who carried his essence – my brothers, other Latinos, men in general. And so many had betrayed my trust, even before these two, had made me wonder why I kept trusting.
Fuck you I want to scream. Fuck the harm you have perpetrated and the lives out of which you have squeezed light and love. Fuck the dreams you have tarnished, never again able to shine with the joy of trust. We are done. I am with the mujeres. There are times when the line has been drawn and forgiveness is eons away.
My desire to rant directly at the men is in the corner, begging me intermittently to be set free to break dishes and kick groins, but I look it back each time. My energy is better spent sitting with the roil and seeing what emerges.
The week after I heard of the second hombre’s betrayal, one of my TV dramas serendipitously aired a episode where the main character was fleeced by his love. All his money gone, all his risk to love for naught. His initial response was to shut down the loving heart he usually radiated. He took the road of anger, isolation, and self-abuse, seeing himself as a fool who had been taken. He ignored his loved ones and focused on punishing himself for falling prey to the devious nature that all humans can act on at times. His amiga, the other protagonist, had my question: “How did I miss it?” She felt his friends had failed him. I feel that. It is a clean failure, not one smothered in guilt and shame. We fail people. We just do.
That is my roil, the one that still wakes me up at night. We are gonna sit together until we are good friends. Until I can accept that unwelcome truth of what it means to be human — we trust when it is not the time to trust. I can certainly name everyone who has failed me, but I steer clear of thinking who I have failed. These two situations, one on top of the other, have forced my pride to step aside. Bob Marley said: “The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just have to find the ones worth suffering for.” Not an easy task.
In my TV drama, the friend tells him he can miss who and what was lost. Can wish it was still real. I cried as she said that because I do wish it was still real. I wish it with all the broken pieces of my heart. The friendship, the support, la noblesa, el amor. I miss it all. #52essays2017
photo credit: lalesh aldarwish