Guest Author - Derrick S. Slack
When I was a single man, life seemed great. I could do what I wanted, go where I wanted, date whomever I wanted, etc. I could get up at a moment’s notice and travel to the ends of the earth in pursuit of my personal happiness. I could take my savings and spend it on dreams that have taken me literally to the highest mountain tops. I could stay out all night long and not have to remember the day before or expect anyone to ask. I was responsible for me and could afford to be irresponsible. I was a jerk, a liar, a cheat, a heart breaker, a creep, a player, a sinner. But I was an all around smooth guy that could talk his way into some of the most wonderful situations and out of some very dangerous ones. I could spoil myself with a vast variety of experiences; different flavors of women that somehow still could not quench my insatiable thirsts. I could explore my options uninhibited by guilt. Other people were unimportant. I was a child then.
I was not willing to accept that other people existed; that they were special. That they possessed a unique quality that should be exalted not exploited. I was blind and could not see them internally, deaf to their cries and concerns, and did not desire to touch their hearts, if their bodies were intangible. I was “smelling” myself, as the old folks say. I was an arrogant, pompous, ostentatious coward, too afraid to expose the inner most regions of my being. It seemed that opening up would reveal the well orchestrated hoax that was cloaked with a beautiful smile, profound vocabulary, an unrivaled intelligence, and an unrestrained capability to create adventure. I feared that others would know that I did not possess all the answers, that I was filled with self-doubts and insecurities. That I was secretly in pain from utter loneliness and despair. That I was more unraveled than I led on to be. That I was desperate to not be alone or experience abandonment and rejection. Consequently, I engaged in multiple, simultaneous and inappropriate relationships. Addicted to the feeling that sexual experience would provide. People were reduced to body parts and the stimulation, affection, and comfort came not from human contact, but was sexualized. I felt a sadistic sense of safety.
I have always traced my incontinence and nefarious behavior to my first love. We met in high school and quickly became an item. I fell hard for her. I genuinely liked her and showed her love throughout our time together. I saw her as beautiful, intelligent, sexy. As with most first loves, my infatuation led me to believe that she was perfect. I believed she was incapable of hurting me and I poured myself into her. I exposed myself through beautiful poetry and prose that proclaimed my love for her. I was in awe when in her presence. She provided a warm space where I could be free to reveal who I truly was. I felt an acceptance that I had not experienced up until that point. It was like she was my air, thinking that a moment without her would cause me to suffocate and die. I wanted to die when I found out my angel had fallen flat to the earth. Reality revealed its ugly head when I discovered she did not love me the same. That she had several relationships while we were together. That she had lied about her virginity and was still in a sexual relationship with her ex.
It has taken quite some time for me to realize these repulsive qualities about myself and more importantly that the origin pre-dates my first love. First Love, I forgive you and I am sorry. I now realize that the cold loneliness, self-pity, self-loathing, angry, hurt portions of my personality were only enhanced by that experience, not necessarily caused by it. I have placed more time and energy into creating an exterior that is quite wonderful, full of life, doused in inspiration, well spoken, beautiful, and learned. However, I have allowed my interior to remain damaged and beaten, broken and confused. For too long I have been slowly dying on the inside, deteriorating away like a rotting corpse.
To all the girls I have loved before, I am sorry. I have in many ways taken your beauty and attempted to use it to try and make me whole. I have tried to find my laughter in your sweet smile. I have tried to replace the hurt and damage within myself with the wonderfulness you have freely given to me. You have allowed me to trample over you like a wild horse, while patiently you have stood there rope in hand trying to tame me. I sincerely and deeply apologize to the men you have loved after me; for you comparing my thoughtlessness and insensitivity to their good intentions. For not giving them a chance to get close because I had pushed you away. For wanting to do to them what I had done to you. A couple of you had even broken through the wall I built and for a moment we loved each other the right way. But, I was missing an important ingredient in my development that you just could not provide. That I could not provide for myself. This, I realize had to only come from a Higher Source.