Chapter 21 – Millions Of Mirrors

Day 24

The interesting thing about working toward being a badass during a self-isolating pandemic, is that a lot of interaction that is normal, is no longer a part of my life. I am isolated. Except for the occasional conference call for work, and video messaging with my kids. This means that the only person I am seeing now is someone I am loathe to be around. This person is my only mirror to reflect who I am on a daily basis, and I just want to keep my eyes closed.

Two years ago, I met this person. He was new in town and had no friends in town. He came to a meet-up I was attending and we struck up a conversation after the meetup. I was with my friend, so we invited him into our conversation. He seemed pleasant and it turned out we had a lot of interests in common. He had already signed up for another meetup group I was part of, so it was clear we were going to see each other a couple of times a week.

The day after we met, he called and we spent 15 hours on the phone. He was smart, interesting, and it seemed politically we were on the same page, which in this day and age is a thing. I wasn’t particularly attracted to him physically, but I’d long since given up the idea that that was important. We started hanging out first as friends, but it escalated quickly into a romantic relationship. I liked him, and convinced myself I could love him too, and it seemed to make sense to me.

Because he was new in town, he had only temporary living arrangements, and I had a spare master suite that I was using as an occasional Airbnb rental. When we first started seeing each other I was housing a teacher from Detroit that was working temporarily over the summer. She was a nice lady and wasn’t causing any issues, but he kept insisting that she didn’t seem trustworthy. About a week or so after he first visited my house, he suggested that I should kick her out and let him move in instead. Oddly enough, a few days later, she left and let me know a few days later that she had been reassigned and had to leave quickly, ending her lease a month early.

A the same time, he had moved into a shared home with a couple of other men and it was smelly and pretty dirty. I knew I didn’t want to hang out there. Had I had half a brain, I would have broken up with him after our first issue. It should have been a red-flag. I should have seen the manipulation at play, but instead, I fell for it, and I ultimately let him move into my house.

He pretended to love me, maybe even convinced himself that he did. I think he did in the kind of way that a son loves his mother or a puppy loves his human. As long as I was taking care of his needs before anyone else’s I was lovable.

It wasn’t long before he moved out of “our bedroom” and into the other master suite. When my son came to visit for the holidays, he nearly cried when I asked him to let my son sleep in that room for 3 day. With misty eyes, ha actually said, “…but my space”

Between July and the following September, he proved himself to be lazy, dramatic, gluttonous, completely self-absorbed, He was polite, kind and apologetic when it served him; cruel and threatening when he felt questioned or threatened in any way. We’d have fights, he’d threaten to leave I’d tell him to go, and the next morning he would apologize and promise to be better.

He was constantly sick, suffering from toothaches, fear of moving or exercising because of a hernia (which didn’t even exist), diabetes, which of course he was going to have because of the way he ate. He liked to say WE were fat. I guess it made him feel better and me less attractive, so I wouldn’t see I deserved better. In any case, he never stayed well for very long, always a new ailment to keep him from any kind of productivity, help around the house, or ever finding a job,

He sabotaged my relationships within a film group we were involved with. I gave him a role in a film I was directing and he made himself the most important part in the production. He wouldn’t take direction, even though he was sure he had. The night we first screened the film he wouldn’t even come with me, because “it was more about me and not about him”. He constantly complained about the people in the group, which made me feel uncomfortable around them. I was having a hard time dealing with the politics of the group and I quit, rather than deal with the fights at home exacerbated by conflict is the group.

In late summer last year, my son decided he wanted to move to Tucson, He had been thinking about it for several years and decided it was time. He planned to stay with me for a very short time and planned to move out as soon as he had secured a job. It took him less than a month, to find a job and an apartment. Rather than upset this man, I moved my office into my bedroom and made over my office into a bedroom for my son. He acted as though somehow it was an affront to him that I did this for my son. This man who claimed to love me, couldn’t bear to sleep with me for a month.

The month my son lived with us was an eye-opener for me. My son made the observation that this man was sitting in the same position and wearing the same clothes that he was wearing when my son visited the previous January, And it was TRUE! He also observed that I was constantly being gaslighted, something I suspected and felt instinctively, but having an actual witness let me know I wasn’t crazy. I tried to end the relationship on September 2, 2019. He is still living in my house.

When I first asked him to leave, he used the fact that he was diabetic and needed time. He swore that during another fight I had promised to give him 3 month to find a new place (I have no memory of this, and I would never agree to something that stupid) and he was going to hold me to that. He did seem at the time to be looking, he finally, after many years, made arrangements to collect inheritance money from his mother, and made a offer on a mobile home. He was denied credit from the mobile home park to pay for his lot. He was so distraught, he didn’t even try to look for the rest of the month.

When November arrived, the excuse became, “but it’s the holidays…who would kick someone into the streets during the holidays”. In January, he decided to just not tell me that he wanted to stay until the end of February so he could take a networking certification test. He promised to move out as soon as he had taken the test. As far as I know, he passed the test.

He brought me flowers after he passed the test to thank me for the support. I literally wanted to throw them at him. He told me he would make plans to move out right away. And as we all know COVID-19 upended all our lives and all our plans, and he is still here until God knows when. I cannot even evict him. I tried to in March, but the court told me I had to wait until April and then they stopped processing evictions.

So here I am today (for the last 4 days, to tell the truth) trying to work through this idea of the mirrors in our life that reflect to us who we are. I need to figure out if what I hate about him is what I hate about myself, or if what I am is a complete and utter sap, who doesn’t love myself enough to take out the garbage in my life. I think it’s the latter.

I mean, I want to have a good heart and I know I hate conflict and I am kind when I don’t want to be. This relationship; so broken and filled with dread and loathing is locking me down. I am alone and living with someone I despise. I no longer see any good qualities in him. I don’t harbor any desire to repair a relationship that I know will only do me harm, but I feel trapped, even legally, in this situation.

I’m trying to trust that the universe is at work to my betterment and that this is a teaching moment. But the moment has gone on far too long. I desperately need another mirror and fast.

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