Love Like Electricity
In a meeting last we we read a story about a young woman who meets an active alcoholic without a job or a car, twenty years her senior, and the first thing she does is marry him.
That’s my type! I yelled. Everyone laughed. And that was the type I was attracted to before I began the long slow journey of recovery. Down and out, old and broken, with a look of hunger in their eyes. It was that hunger that attracted me most. I knew I could feed it. I knew it would feed me, too.
I’ve written about predators as if I were prey, but in fact I was a predator too. I set out looking for someone to tear me apart. I was not a victim, I was a volunteer.
I was the girl who associated love with longing, whose mother commanded her to stop listening to all those victim songs but who thought the victim songs were the only ones that got it right.
The girl who craved validation and attention, who thought she was ugly and depended-- in a life or death, do or die kind of way-- on others to make her feel beautiful, worthwhile, alive.
The girl who compared herself to her friends and always came up short because there was always someone prettier, cooler, taller, thinner, sexier, smarter, more popular, with a stronger allure.
The girl who loved boys who loved girls – all of them. The boys who juggled girls like hacky sacks, who had harems and posses, who had girls coming out their ears, wrapped around their ankles.
The girl who thought if one boyfriend was good, then two must better, who sought the attention of older boys and then men and then older men until it didn't seem unusual to be 18 and out with a man well into his 30s, married, a father, even, with children closer to her age than she was to his.
The girl who used love like electricity, the fastest way to get a charge, to feel turned on, to feel alive, to feel anything.
The girl who found a boy who was perfectly beautiful, perfectly artistic, perfectly unavailable and had the perfect capacity to be cruel. The girl who felt he must be perfect for her.
The girl who slept with faceless, nameless, meaningless guys, the closest she could come to blotting out pain, even though it never worked, not ever, not once. The girl who hoped sheer accumulation would translate into lovability, proof of existence.
The girl who slept with boys in hostels and on trains, with men from the bus, while hitchhiking, men twice her age who got hotel rooms on foreign coasts when no one else in the world know where she was. Who slept with drug addicts and womanizers and men old enough to be her father.
The girl who finally sought help in a long, gradual process of healing, becoming whole. The girl who recovered her body, her self, and her soul.
The woman who survived.