Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Out with the Old...

When I finally called my therapist on the whole "inner child" thing--it was really getting on my nerves, and moreso because I truly didn't understand what she meant by it--it led to an interesting conversation. She basically tried to explain to me that all she meant was the part of me that still experiences life and feels emotions the way I did when I was little, and I was sort of forced to explain that while I can tell stories, many stories, about my youth, I really don't have a part of me that 'remembers' being who I was even ten or twelve years ago, before Baroy, before Em and N.

Now there's a big difference between remembering the hurts brought on by some 17-year-old guy's insensitive remarks about your body, which I have no problem remembering, and being able to actually feel, reach, be the person you were back then. I'm not even able to comprehend the concept, much less accomplish the task at hand.

Let me give you an example. I was never, by any stretch of the imagination, monogamous. Even in my longer-term relationships, of which there were a few, I always cheated. In my last relationship before Baroy--the seven-year-long waste of time--I was at my worst. From a distance, I have to laugh at myself for finding a way to be truly and fully outraged when he basically dumped me for another woman--his roommate, no less. (My explanation: I may have screwed around a bit--OK, a lot, a real, real lot--but I never fell for anyone else. He had the nerve, the gall, the insensitivity, to actually fall in love with his partner in whatever-you-call-it-when-you're-not-married-and-can't-call-it-adultery. I mean, really. How gauche.)

Then I got married, met Baroy, had children, lost my sex drive, managed somehow to screw up my neurochemical and emotional balance to the point where I require medication, and finally found my sex drive again. And in all that time, the almost-eleven years we've been together, not to mention the almost-nine years we've been married, not only have I never cheated, I haven't even considered it. This from a woman who has been known to cheat on the guy she was cheating on her boyfriend with.

Even stranger, I no longer understand why I did that. I can remember doing it, and I can smile a little at my old self, in an indulgent sort of way, laughing at her naivete. I can also frown a little, thinking about how little of a connection she must have had to these men with whom she was supposedly in love--how little she must have really known about commitment and what it meant. But I can't talk to her. I can't ask her questions. I can't get answers. And I certainly can't feel what that younger me apparently felt back then, that rush, the thrill of the conquest, the need for more.

I still flirt sometimes. I do it a lot less than I used to, and I do it for entirely different reasons. And it feels wrong, most of the time. Not like what I'm doing is wrong, but like I'm watching myself and thinking, "What in the world does she think she's doing? Who is she kidding? She has no interest in this, and man, it shows. And she used to be really good at this, too. What a shame. What a waste."

So what happened? It's not maturity. I've given up on having that particular attribute ever really apply to me. And it's not Baroy, though I would like to give him the credit. I really do think that it was simply that an off switch got thrown, and that was that. I went from Old Me--flirtatious, giggly, on the prowl--to Now Me. And Now Me stands by her man, for reasons she can't articulate. Now Me hasn't been attracted to anyone other than her husband in over ten years, despite the occasional lewd comment to the contrary. (And again, said lewd comments result in the same, "Who's she kidding?" tirade that flirting does. My inner critic is truly unrelenting.) Old Me dressed to get a man's attention; New Me cares way more about what her girlfriends think of her outfits than what her husband does.

That's not to say that New Me is some kind of Stepford Wife. New Me is simply a lot more content. Old Me constantly questioned what it meant to be "in love," whether it was even possible, and whether the concept of commitment was one she ought to buy in to. New Me doesn't wonder. She knows what it means to be in love, and she knows that it's possible, and she also knows that it has almost nothing to do with passion and keeping things "fresh," the way she used to think it did. New Me doesn't question the concept of commitment. She doesn't need to define it, because it's just something she does, something that comes naturally.

Old me probably thinks New Me is a loser and a sellout and, most of all, a bore.

New Me doesn't give a shit.

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