You were unsure which pain is worse- the shock of what happened, or the ache for what never will.
We are gathered here today to remember the life of False Self: Me Edition.
Here lies the man I loved.
Here lies the man I viewed as a gentlemen: he would open doors for me, including my car door. Almost every time. Carry my bags for me. Had a list of “man rules” that included “buy her flowers just because it’s Tuesday”. He shared his food with me. Always insisted on paying. Made a list of things I liked to make sure he wouldn’t forget because of a previous TBI. He believed in planning special dates and spoiling his woman. He made sure I had sunscreen on every time we’d be outside for a while because he knows I always get sunburn.
Here lies the man who showered me with affection. He would always be touching me. Whether it was holding hands, an arm around my waist, his hand on my thigh in the car, he always made sure he was near. He would kiss me. Sometimes on the forehead or the cheek, just because. Hugs from behind in the kitchen. Always cuddling in bed or while sitting on the couch. He told me daily how I was the most beautiful woman he’d ever met. Goddess. Aphrodite. Perfect. I’d never felt so special to someone. So desired.
Here lies my best friend I did everything with. My gym partner, my hiking buddy, my fellow beach bum. We went everywhere together. Tried new restaurants together. He got us matching shoes for the gym. He could always make me laugh. We watched our favorite TV shows together. We gamed together. We were never far apart.
Here lies my perfect man. He believed in asking my dads permission to marry me. He took responsibility of being the spiritual leader of the relationship. He owned his past. He befriended my family, especially my brother. He made sure my dad knew I was taken care of as long as I was with him. He protected me. He cooked for me, he bought me gifts, he spoiled me. He talked about his kids and how he couldn’t wait for me to meet them and for us to move near them. He couldn’t wait to have one of our own one day and neither could I. He talked about how we’d have two, and name them Micah and Isaac. He made me playlists full of love songs, many of which were “our” songs.
Here lies my raggedy man. He told me all the time how he had had such a hard life and I was finally something good. I was his moon, his constant who was always there even when I wasn’t with him. He called me cute nicknames I had always hoped to be called. I was the only one who could make him feel comfortable and like he wasn’t alone in this world. “You and me against the world, babygirl. And they don’t stand a chance.” He’d tell me how he’d seen so much death and hurt but I was how he knew there was still beauty in the world. I gave him hope that he could actually be happy. The man I stayed with every second I could while he healed from a surgery. The man I slept beside in his hospital bed.
Here lies the man I thought would never hurt me, would never lie to me, would never cheat on me, would never use me, and would be by my side forever.
May he Rest In Peace.
He is survived by his other half and partner in crime, True Self.
He is the dirty little secret. The one constant in the infinite amount of false selves. He always comes out on top in the end. No false self survives him, no matter how perfect the target he was created for is. He can’t be hidden for long.
True self made sure the “man rules” were never actually implemented, but they sounded nice. He showed me the list once and I mentioned how he had never gotten me flowers “just because” (he had, however, after days of telling me I was disgusting and trashy, and he would never touch me again). I was shamed for it. He was a good man, I was just ungrateful. He opened doors and insisted on doing everything for me to slowly instill dependency. He insisted on paying for some things….but always seemed to need money and there were many times I bailed him out or picked up the tab. Of course he had a list of my likes, interests, and important things about me…I’m sure it’s hard to keep multiple girls straight, in addition to being tasked with creating a perfect False Self: Me Edition.
False Self showered me with attention, yes. But not to be sweet and innocent. It was because True Self was there, just below the surface. He needed me to be used to it so it would hurt and be very painfully noticeable when he withheld it. So it would send a slightly sharper pain through my chest when he looked at me like I was nothing and he told me to get away from him, or when he’d look me up and down and say he deserved better than “that”. So it would hurt more when he told me he’d never touch me again and I disgusted him. He also needed me (and everyone else) to know that I belonged to him. I was his. Not in an endearing way as I initially thought, but viewed as actual property he had a right to. He had to comment on every post, be somehow included in every post, be in every aspect of my life. He had to be seen with my hand in his, as the one smacking my butt at the gym, as the one with his arm around me in pictures. I was claimed.
True Self needed False Self to be my best friend so I wouldn’t think it was odd that we were together every second of every day. He needed me to think it was because I wanted to be, not because it was a form of control. He needed me to think he was actually interested in everything I was interested in, since False Self and I were perfect for each other, after all.
My perfect man….only slightly different from the other “perfect” False Selves previously created, as it turned out. He asked my dad for permission, yes. But only to throw it in my face later and say it was “such a joke” he even bothered because I was “so easy” to get. He took spiritual leader to mean “dictator” and got upset with me if I ever questioned his very flawed theology, even though I was just trying to have a discussion. He bought me gifts to win me back after being abusive or cheating on me. He could wait for me to meet the kids, yet never made an effort to make it happen. He’d always talk about how he was so careful about who he brought them around and how they were introduced, yet pawned them off on previous girlfriends/fiancés to take care of while he did what he wanted. Micah and Isaac were such special names and he’d only ever wanted more kids since he met me….except that moving to Texas and having Micah and Isaac was his plan with every girl. Of course, it was also “just for them” as well. The playlists were more than half of the same songs in his exes playlists. Of course, she used Apple Music so it was safe to make me Spotify playlist since he was with us both for months and we had no idea. “Our songs” were also theirs. I didn’t understand why he’d lie about things that would’ve been perfectly normal to have as life goals (such as specific kids names and living in Texas) but he just had to lie about them to make us feel special, when we just another in a long, long, line.
True Self loved to lie. All those “cute nicknames” he swore up and down he’d only used for me and that’s why they were so special (I had never asked, he offered this freely) ….had been used on all the other girls as well. Except pond, as in Amy Pond from Dr Who since I’m a red head. But every single other one was recycled despite his best efforts to convince me otherwise. Even when I found an email to another girl where he called her “babygirl” he said he’d never said it before and didn’t know why he’d just call her that that one time. While I spent every second with him making sure he was ok after surgery, he used his spare time while I was sleeping to text and flirt with other women and harass his ex while still in bed right next to me. Sleeping with whoever would let him while away for work.
False Self may have owned his past (meaning the past he wanted to admit and include as part of my special False Self), but True Self would never allow his real past to be known. It was a whitewashed admission which became all I would ever get. Slowly but surely the truth would come out, and slowly but surely False Self would die and True Self replaced him. False Self and True Self were at war for me, and I was caught in the crossfire.
I did everything I could for False Self. I really did love him. I did everything I could think of to save him. Of course, True Self would disagree. I could’ve forgotten the lies, I could’ve turned a blind eye to the constant cheating, I could’ve ignored every bad, every wrong, he did to me and only remembered False Self, and only the pieces he wanted me to. I could’ve completely erased my identity and become solely identified as False Self’s Girl. I could’ve agreed with everything he said without question. I could’ve adopted his warped view of Christianity and abused grace to keep sinning, and also justify it. I could’ve cut myself off from all of my friends and family because all we needed was each other.
I didn’t think I needed to do these things. That’s not what my perfect man, False Self, would want. It confused me. How could he be so happy I was at the hospital with him every possible second one moment, and be not only an inconvenience to him the next, but also make the stay miserable? How could he be head over heels in love with me and worship the ground I walked on only to turn on me in a second and never want to touch me again? How could he tell me he had waited his whole life for me only to say he could do twice as good as me and I deserved half as good as him? How could he be so cruel, malicious, abusive, unfaithful, untrustworthy, deceptive, and evil? How could he have no regard for me, or the consequences of his actions? How could he tell another woman and I that he loved us on the same day? How could he have two relationships and countless side girls at once and be unbothered? Why wasn’t I allowed to be upset when he hurt me? Why did I always end up comforting him when I had been wronged? Why did I always apologize? Why was I always forgetting things, and always wrong? Why was I such a mess and impossible to love?
False Self was dead. I couldn’t save him. That hurt the most.
I miss him sometimes. I like to think maybe some of him was real. Maybe a piece of him cared and really did love me. Maybe some of our good moments were more than ammunition to use against me later, or to convince me he was perfect. Maybe there were things about me that he loved.
But no. I mourned the death of someone who never really existed. I miss someone once in a while who wasn’t even real.
I don’t miss him, because he is True Self. No one would miss that. No one deserves to be stuck with that. No one wants that. No one will ever be happy with that.
Maybe I’ll find someone who actually is who you pretended to be some day, False Self. Someone who actually is perfect for me instead of being a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I wish you had been real, for your sake as much as mine. How lonely your counterpart, True Self, must be. Always making new versions to con good women into thinking they want him. I wonder if he gets tried of the rejection every time they see him hiding under the surface and they leave. I wonder if the repulsion at seeing his True Self even bothers him. I wonder if he’ll ever grow tired of being an immature, desperate, boy…and actually try to be a man.
Rest In Peace, False Self.
May God have mercy on your soul.