I’ve been called that a lot. Sometimes, I’ve even said it to myself. And at this stage of my life, I do believe it to be atleast partly true. But just this morning, I thought about the first time i heard someone call me that. It was my first boyfriend. Have you noticed how the most terrible things that have been said or done to you have been by people who supposedly loved you?
So, back to my first boyfriend and his usage of the descriptor that I have since learned to accept as truth. And I wonder what he saw in the 19-year-old me that would cause him to say that. Let’s see - he was my first real kiss, my first love, my first time… I was in a new city, among totally new people, no real family to speak of in the country and terrified about this whole new thing called “love”, having had only my parents as an up-close-and-personal example of what it looks like, or is supposed to… And he called me Fucked Up.
Because I didn’t trust him.
He was right to question that. After all, I was 19! At that age, you’re supposed to be whole and unscarred and trusting and swept away with words such as Forever, Love, Together, Girlfriend, etc from a person you met for the first time 3 days ago and were going to be sitting in class with for the next two years. You’re supposed to believe that love is everything and will conquer all.
You’re not supposed to be thinking about the Father who loved you for 12 years before he walked out the door without a backward glance, about a Mother who loved you for 19 years and used you as an emotional crutch, Parents who loved each other for 16 years and still couldn’t stop saying venomous shit about each other whenever they got the chance… After all, with Love like that going around, how do you possibly trust someone who showed up yesterday and promised a lifetime together without all that terrible stuff?
And that made me fucked up.
So when he couldn’t browbeat and harangue me into trusting him, I picked the kinder choice and left him. His parting words were, “You’re so fucked up, you don’t deserve anyone who loves you." So now, I had another person who had supposedly ‘loved me’ who believed that I didn’t deserve love. Increase fucked-up-ness to level 2.
Boyfriend #2 believed that “Life was fucked up” and sex should never be confused with love and so what if he already had a girlfriend, we should fuck or I will just be proving to the world that I was like all those other emotionally needy fucked up women out there.
We didn’t fuck. But it proved I was “fucked up”.
Enter Father after a 7 year silence. A father who feels bad about having left. A father who’s surprised that I didn’t turn out to be as fucked up as my mother. A father who still ‘loved’ my mother but couldn’t stand to speak to her. A father who believes that him leaving a pre-teen daughter around the time that she would be forming her enduring impressions about men, love, respect and relationships isn’t his problem. That it’s just grown up to Grow Up. That WAS fucked up, even if I do say so myself.
Enter boyfriend #3 who, no matter how many times he said that he loved me, I couldn’t quite believe it. Until one day I returned home to find him packing.
Boyfriend #4 who was sure he could convince me to love him, and if only I wasn’t so fucked up, I’d see that he’s the best person for me.
And so on and so forth - every person who loved me because or inspite of me being fucked up. With every damnation, with every bewildering split, with every hurtful thing done because of “fucked up”ness, I became more so, and thus even less inclined to believe the words of reassurance and love and passion spilling out of the next someone’s mouth. With every increasingly passionate appeal to my sense of affection, every reasoned argument that I should love them because after all, I wasn't so amazing, I became just a bit more removed from them, steeling myself for the inevitability of love ending, often dramatically, amidst words of hate and anger...
... and lately, with barely a whisper.
And end, it did. And each time it did, I became just a bit more relieved, cared just a little bit lesser.
Because I guess I’ve become fucked up like that.