Living Out Loud Affects How I See My Relationship
Writing publicly about my relationship is changing my relationship.
I knew it could happen. I suspected it would, but I hoped it wouldn’t. When you let other people see what’s behind the curtain, you start imagining what they see. In many cases, people will write you to tell you what they see. I’ve been told in every manner of way that I don’t respect myself by staying with my S.O. I’ve been called ignorant, uneducated, unintelligent, naïve, ridiculous…
You let people in and then you wonder what they see. You wonder if they see themselves. Or if they see a doormat. A complacent tool. Someone who is weak, desperate, and lonely. Do they see someone strong, fierce, and uncompromising. Do they see a bully? A monster? Someone who should hang their head in shame? Or do they see a hero? Someone who can stand up and handle whatever comes at them.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. They aren’t living my life. But sometimes I know the decisions I make don’t make sense outside my relationship. I know they don’t see the ways my S.O. comforts me. How he holds me when I am weak and nurtures me until I feel strong.
I know they don’t see how he takes care of me, offers his strength and makes himself stronger to bear the weight of our relationship.
And I know they don’t see the joy we share…mainly because I don’t write about it. I don’t write about my relationship to tell people I’m happy. When I’m happy, we live in those moments and relish them. We hold each other and laugh together. We don’t struggle to enjoy each other, we just live it and love it.
I don't need to analyze my happiness, especially when it's doing no harm.
When I write, it’s to process and excise the pain. My essays are snapshots of a moment. A period of time that has me stuck. Writing about it gets me unstuck. Writing helps set me free.
I also write because I know that there are other people going through these issues and very few, if any, people are talking about them. I write because it helps me, and hopefully them, heal.
So, whether or not you think I’m making a series of mistakes, they are my mistakes to make.
If you think I’m choosing to live in an abusive relationship, well, I don’t control what you think. I don't think you are looking at the bigger picture, though. We live in an abusive society, one that openly attacks and discards Blackness. One that also attacks and discards women..as well as anyone who doesn’t fit what this society has deemed normal. The difference is that the person in my life owns his shit and tries to correct for it in ways I’ve never had anyone try before. He doesn’t always get it right, but he tries and that matters.
The doubt, though…the doubt is natural, especially when being in a relationship means you choose to be with that person day after day after day. Every single day you make a choice and some days that choice is harder to make. Sometimes, the choice isn’t to stay. Sometimes the choice is just not to leave.
But having these eyes on my decisions sometimes makes me wonder what’s right…if there even is a right way to do this shit. Intellectually, I know there isn’t. But I do know that he and I work to make our relationship as balanced, supportive, honest, and respectful as we can for each other. I know that we try not to hurt one another but that we also accept that sometimes it’s inevitable.
We are building the best relationship we can for each other. The love and caring is real. But so are the difficulties. And I share them so that I don’t feel so alone in this struggle. I share them so that others feel less alone too.
But don’t make the choices I make. Make the ones that are best for you, regardless of who is watching. This is your life to live, so live it the most fulfilling way you can.
And when outside eyes try to tell you how to live, shake that shit off. They aren’t you and they don’t know what you need. Unless you are being abused…that’s a whole other issue.
But if you are being nurtured, cared for, and respected in your relationship, even if shit isn’t perfect, only you can decide what’s best for you.
Always take care of you.