A couple of weekends ago, M- and I had just escaped a horrendous hippie party and were in the mood for acoustic guitar-free pitchers of beer at one of my favorite dives in Old Town. I hadn't had a loong night like that in ages; it felt really good to become one of an anonymous crowd. But there was a brief exchange that stuck in my head.
We found ourselves sharing stories about When We Were Single and What We Were Looking For. The most recent example I'd had of being a wacky single was, of course, my liaison with LTF (aka, B-; aka, IncognitoLatino.) I didn't dwell on the details but said that while I was thrilled I was no longer connected to him, I could understand why some people make the wrong relationship choices they do.
Like a knight on a horse, M- comes to my own defense.
'Your mom died, babe. You weren't really in the right place.'
'I know. But that's not really the whole thing ...'
'You were all messed up.'
He was right. When I met LTF/B-/IncognitoLatino back in 2002, I was all messed up.
But my mother's death and my grief don't really account for the years 2006-2009.
I had will and I exercised it.
I chose that situation with him. It was my decision to be there and experience LTF/B-'s bizarro world with him. Sure. The foundation of my choice was boredom and a faint (very faint) curiosity, but it was still my choice. If I'm going to own ending our liaison, I must also own staying in it for 7 years. As much of a freak B- was, he didn't kidnap me, lure me or seduce me into making the weekly train ride to his shabby apartment in Uptown.
He wasn't a Svengali molding my vulnerable mind to his own nefarious or perverted ends. (In fact, if you cornered him in the dank corners of El Gato Negro, his version of the story paints me a manipulative bitch who ruined his life and crushed his soul. Potato, potahto.)
Most people don't recognize that women have will, I think. (Don't misunderstand me; I am not making the argument that all women choose their individual situations - especially the bad situations - and that they are the masters of their own exploitation. I was not exploited or abused; I merely endured an emotionally unsatisfying affair with someone I didn't really care for that much.) I'm saying that, like men, women have agency. We make decisions; we make choices. I was not an object acted against; I was a subject.
It seems I'm too over-determined about this, but I think it's an important point to make about women in general and me, in particular.