The Job That Sucked.

Note: This gets very long. I promise I get to the point eventually.

At this point in my life, I don’t get a lot of Work passed my way. Once in awhile, something comes up that involves other people but not very often. I currently don’t have a lot of skills to do stuff with, which is okay, but I have the ability to be myself which is sometimes just enough.

My first real exposure came via my attendance at a Samhain ritual at a local pagan church. I went, felt like a fish out of water, and didn’t return for several years. When I did, it was for a weekend-long Beltane ritual. As I didn’t have a car at the time and lived what felt like a billion miles away from the farm it was to take place at, my attendance was facilitated by a friend who graciously transported me and all my camping junk and pretty much held my nervous hand through getting there and setting up.

As I was putting up my tent, I looked across the field and was almost knocked over. There was this guy whom I’d never seen before and, boy, did he get my attention. He was totally [at the time] my type and I was instantly enthralled. I know better now that this was the beginning of the end, but at the time, I didn’t think much of it. I was single and a year plus out of an abusive relationship that had not ended well. I was at a serious crossroads in my life and I was looking for change. He turned out to be that change and not in the ways that I had anticipated.

I was a lot braver then than I am now and I crossed the field and introduced myself. We spent most of the afternoon talking and I was sold. The weekend progressed and I was spending every waking and sleeping moment with him. This wasn’t odd for me at all. At that time, I fell into relationships hard and fast and, as was lovingly pointed out to me recently by a good friend, I still do. I like to think the difference now is that I walk in with my eyes open and do not blindly accept whatever crosses my path.

The weekend progressed and the main ritual happened on Saturday. There was a maypole and then there was a group spell involved a spelled string that, if you touched it, was meant to put you on your path. I touched it and was convinced it would do nothing—I was pretty much an unbeliever in all things magical and thought it was a bunch of horseshit. I’d already been interacting with Gods, but somehow this was different in my screwed-up head.

The weekend concludes and The Guy drives me home. We have more sex at my house and he goes home that night. We decide to keep seeing each other and I am thrilled. A lot of what is to transpire can be laid at my feet—I was tired of being alone and was desperate for a partner. I wanted to be wanted. My previous relationship had left my self-esteem in the basement and I was susceptible to what looked good. I had poor boundaries and was extremely codependent. At no point do I give away my responsibility for what happened in this relationship, though there were outstanding factors that I didn’t have any control over.

Things are going well for awhile, even though I am out of work. The Guy is supportive and I go see him on the weekends. We spend a lot of time in bed and a lot of time going to punk shows and hanging out with his friends. Out of the blue, I get a phone call one Monday night and I am unceremoniously dumped. The reason? I am too fat for him to be attracted to.

I was destroyed by this pronouncement, absolutely destroyed. This was the second person in a row who had told me that I was unattractive as I was. I’d previously gone on a hellbent mission to lose weight and had been ‘successful’–I lost sixty pounds in one month. I’ve since regained one hundred percent of that weight back.

Most people would be all ‘fuck that guy’, but not me. I pulled myself together and circled the wagons and decided that I would just try harder to make him want me. Crazy, right? It sure looks that way in retrospect.

So, I embarked on yet another mission to make myself appear more attractive. I got really femme, which Is very much out of character for me and surprised a lot of people around me. We cautiously started seeing each other as friends and he surprised me by saying that I looked good. I decided to do a kamikaze weight loss mission and stopped eating around him, which meant I was usually not eating from Friday until Monday when I returned back to Somerville.

We got back together and things continued to be weird. He would casually deride my weight and appearance and I continued to accept this as okay and as normal. He even did this in front of other people, who later told me that they could not physically get the words out to tell him that they thought this was unacceptable. Funny, huh?

We continued to hang out. I became the ‘perfect’ girlfriend. I catered to his desires, attended his band’s shows, and was a generally a doormat. I decided I really was a girl and had just needed the right catalyst to realize this. I literally threw out almost everything that had to do with me being a masculine-presenting creature and I still regret that.

Throughout this, my life continued to be crazy. I was interviewing all over the place, but couldn’t land a job. I was emotionally unstable and my mental illness was off the charts out of control. I know now that I was slowly going crazy on purpose and that things were being stripped away with specific aims in mind. I spoke to two different shamans who gave me the same answers and I dealt with them as gracefully as I was able to manage [which was not very]. I was told point blank that I was not allowed to work and that was very difficult to hear. At one point, I picked up a tiny part-time job at an art store, but was not allowed any kind of ‘proper’ employment that would support me. The easy explanation was that I was too crazy to hold down a full-time job succcessfully.

In all of this, Deity involvement was overwhelming. My god radio was turned up to a deafening volume and I was Hearing things that I didn’t need to, to the point where I was overhearing things that weren’t meant for me. I had no idea how to handle this and I honestly didn’t handle it, instead I fell apart and spoke out of turn a lot of the time. Mr. Mister wasn’t in the picture yet, though I had a very clear dream about Him in one of His faces right in the very beginning.

About eight months after we started dating, I moved in with The Guy. This was not a good decision, but I know why I made it. My apartment in Somerville fell through and, on unemployment, I couldn’t afford to find another apartment in the Boston area. The Guy proposed I move in with him and I accepted. My hope was that getting out of the city would up my chances of finding work, since I was still fighting to get work. I’m nothing if not stubborn.

Things got rocky for a variety of reasons and, while I can’t remember the exact progression of events, I ended up sitting with two shamans and a priestess for an emergency reading. The reading was anything but positive and it was one of the hardest emotional moments for me to date. I cried and cried and cried and those present were exceptionally good to me.

The end result of the reading was hard. It turned out that the relationship was a Job for me and I was contracted by his Matron to do the work. I was not allowed to leave him. That was the hardest part—I was now stuck in the relationship and I could not tell him one bit about how he was a Job or how I truly felt. I was very torn—I thought I loved him, yet was having trouble reconciling my feelings about how he was treating me. And not one person could tell me how fucked up the relationship was. Not one. I don’t blame anyone, as I know it was god stuff, and I probably wouldn’t have listened anyways.

The relationship lasted three years and two weeks. Three very long, very hard years. As time passed, our sex life dwindled due to my supposed unattractiveness but I still had Work to do. I had to keep poking at the issues. My very existence pushed his buttons and, in turn, my own buttons and insecurities were punched.

This was the point of the Job—to flay open his insecurities and help him resolve them while chipping away at my own issues. Unfortunately, this did not work. We had violent, destructive arguments over my physicality and whether we should stay together. I fell into a deep depression, which is entirely unsurprising. When we argued, I found myself begging and cajoling him to stay committed to the relationship, even though I didn’t want that to happen. My mouth would literally form the words and I’d sit there having a ‘what the fuck’ moment in the middle of a very upsetting argument.

About two years in, I was D-O-N-E. I wanted out and in a bad way. My life was starting to take shape and The Guy was slowly not becoming a part of it. I had accepted an apprenticeship in magic with my then-teachers. I had found Mr. Mister. I was seeking help for my mental illness, which had turned into a huge tether to The Guy. I had finally been able to find work.

One of the hardest parts at that time, besides the obvious, was that Mr. Mister could do absolutely nothing. The contract, which I had backed into completely unknowing, preceded Him and He had no negotiating power, not that I think the Party in question would have negotiated with Him. He had to sit back and watch me struggle.

Everything came to a head on Beltane, appropriately enough. We were at a Beltane celebration far from home and he decided to take advantage of our open relationship which, at base, would have been fine except that it tweaked me in the moment. I lost my shit at one in the morning while he was off fucking someone I found noxious. I was almost in a place where I saw killing him as a viable option to getting out of the relationship. I distinctly remember stomping into my then-teachers’ cabin and flipping out at them. I probably woke everyone up in the process, but, in the moment, I didn’t really care.

One of my teachers was nice enough to drag me outside and throw down a quick reading for me in the hopes that I would retain my sanity enough to make it through the weekend without any acts of violence. This is where the real lessons of the Job came out.

It was revealed that I was doing Priest work. I was learning how to traverse rocky territory and do my Job, even when every button I had was lit up like a fucking Christmas tree. I was training for the future and, surprisingly, I was mostly succeeding. It was confirmed that Mr. Mister couldn’t do anything, BUT that I had the power to negotiate my contract and this is where I turned the corner.

I still couldn’t leave him, but I could work to make my situation palatable. I already had a favor in the bag from The Guy’s Matron—that, when things seemed at their worst, I could call on Her and She would help me. I still have that favor and, though I’m not sure I want Her type of help [She is a Deity of creative destruction], I hold it pretty close.

I started to negotiate. I stopped Working and stated that there would be no more Work until my demands were met. I asked for the moon—a raise and/or promotion at work, for a car to fall in my lap, and I can’t remember what else. I stopped dressing like a girl. I stopped catering. I finally started to feel the first inklings of what self-esteem felt like. I received counsel from one of my teachers that, if he should start the break-up talk again, I should not engage in past behavior and that I should let the relationship go.

Two weeks later, he dumped me. It was very matter-of-fact for me. He got very teary and I was a stone, which, in some respects makes me feel bad, but not that bad. The first thing I did was shave my head, as he had threatened to leave me before if I ever cut all my hair off [I had a foot and a half long mohawk that was pretty girly]. The second was me calling my teachers and telling them the news. My relief came out as laughter and I remember trying to stifle my giggles so as not to appear like a great big asshole.

We continued to live together for four more months. Money was an issue and I couldn’t find a place within my price range [he had been living there before I moved in, which is why I was the one to move]. In the fourth month, Mr. Mister had enough and the exact amount of money I needed to move into a place I’d found fell into my lap, so off I went.

I’ve never really looked back, except in times of extreme stress. I know things are bad when I start thinking ‘hmm, it really wasn’t so bad with The Guy, was it?’. Yes, yes it was that bad and, no, I do not want to go back, truly.

The Job was overall a failure. I did not achieve what The Guy’s Matron wanted. She laid some of the blame at my feet for some of my ineptness, but I don’t feel bad about it—how could She expect perfection from someone who had never, ever done any kind of spirit-work before? The majority of the blame lays at his feet, for his refusal to look at his crap and own his insecurities, his character flaws, and his skewed worldview. Instead of changing, he stayed the same and it is my UPG that his relationship with his Matron changed dramatically because of this.

In other ways, the Job was a success. Though it was incredibly painful and destructive experience for me, it did exactly what it needed to do. It forced me to recognize my personal hot buttons. My gender eventually dragged itself out of the closet and became more cohesive and defined. I learned to set boundaries and discovered what I am and am not willing to accept in a relationship. I grew a thicker skin and became able to take criticism without internalizing it, even though I internalized a lot of the derogatory statements thrown at me during the course of the relationship. I found myself dragged closer to Mr. Mister despite my general distrust of Deity after dealings with The Guy’s Matron.

I know a lot more about myself and about spirit-work in general now. I know that the feeling when I saw The Guy for the first was the on-duty light going on. I know better how to understand what is a God talking and what is my crazy speaking to me. I know that I don’t have to say yes to what Gods ask of me [except Mr. Mister—I’ve given my eternal yes]. I now somewhat know how to negotiate with a Deity and am pretty comfortable in asking for compensation asked of me. I know that I can pull through an extremely difficult situation and be moderately okay in the end.

I left the relationship with a lot of anger that I’ve only recently really been able to put aside. I asked Mr. Mister to take a lot of it away and He obliged, happily. I’ve worked through a lot of self-hate and self-esteem issues in therapy. I’m not completely anger-free—I still cannot grasp how someone can treat another person as I was treated with a clear conscience—but that’s a process and, at the end of the day, it’s not something I have to understand.

What I get angry about now is that my past is informing my present. I don’t want it to. The part of my that internalized the negative messages about my body still lives. It’s hard to hear and believe positive statements about my body and I think that frustrates Boyfriend, but it’s something that I feel like I have little control over sometimes. I choose not to embrace that voice like I used to and do my best to believe what I’m told. It angers me that any one person held so much power over me.

There is some part of me that wants revenge and wants to see him suffer for the pain that he caused, but I have to let go of that because, if I give into it, I will never be satisfied with the outcome. The nasty part of me wants him to go through exactly what I did so he can feel what it’s like to be rejected over and over again. The more rational part of me says that, whether he knows it or not, he’s already paying for his part and will someday have to pay his karmic debt for his actions. I can’t say that I don’t look forward to that happening.

I’ve told Boyfriend that if I ever feel like my physicality becomes an issue between us, I will end the relationship. I don’t think I could take a third relationship where my body is the battlefield. Moreover, I don’t deserve that. I deserve a relationship where someone thinks I’m beautiful and desires my body as it is, and I think I’ve got that, which makes me very happy even when I can’t internalize it all the time.

If you’ve taken the time to read all of this, thank you. It’s almost six pages in OpenOffice, which is a gigantic blog entry for me. It’s the first time I’ve ever written about this publicly even though this has been one of the most formative experiences I’ve ever had. It’s a little scary, particularly because people who could cause drama could see it. It’s more important for me to be as truthful as I know how to be and to tell the truth without shame as best as I can. There IS a lot of shame involved in this entry—it’s very hard to talk a lot about what happened because, like lots of people who go through similar experiences, I feel responsible for most of it, even when I logically know that it isn’t all my fault.

So, there it all is.

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~ by Alex on July 4, 2012.

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