“I call you ‘baby’ because that’s what you are.” We had been arguing for hours, as per usual. My appetite for these interactions had steadily weened away to nothing over the previous months. I had gotten into the habit of trying to gain a grasp of my thoughts in any room of the house, so long as he wasn’t in it. That’s how I found myself, at the bottom of our stairs, just right of the TV he was watching, asking him for what felt like the millionth time, just what was so wrong that made him so furious at me every.single.day.
“A baby,” he continued, “that is completely dependent on me. I don’t mind really, but I expect some cooperation.”
He was staring at me intently, a peculiar and genuinely curious frown on his face. What is he looking at? I thought. Then I realised. I had frozen. My jaw had dropped. I had stopped blinking. I was, quite literally, stunned. Not five minutes earlier, I had been in our bedroom working up the energy to continue this never-ending fight with him, racking my brain for anything to say that might finish it. That was the ‘me’ I knew at the time. Nervous. Unsure. Sorry. Always so, so sorry.
And then he said that.
He and I both knew in that second that something had shifted irreversibly, it would take me months to figure out what; but, at that second, the “click” was almost audible. The air stopped dead on its tracks for a split second, I swear it.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing, and you’re about to reap the benefits of the time lapsed between then and now. “What changed?”, you may wonder. I woke the fuck up to myself, that’s what.
Up until this moment, I took accountability for the living hell that I called home. I have written copious amounts of pages describing the life I lived in another woman’s body; they sound like the ravings of a very confused, angry and disillusioned lunatic so I won’t bore you with further details. Suffice to say, I was raised to be a warrior and I was looking into the eyes of a coward in the mirror every morning. …and that was about to end.
I flipped him off, jumped on my Harley, naked and left him in a cloud of exhaust smoke as I roared down the street.
5 weeks later, I left.
3 months later, I realised why that particular accusation had stopped me cold. By his standards, it wasn’t particularly mean. By my standards, it was the biggest piece of bull-fucking-shit that I had ever heard in my life. When he told me I was mean, I was manipulative, I was vapid, I was selfish and I was unattractive, I believed it. When he told me I was anything but the independent loner my parents were so proud of, I instinctively doubted it. His words were at odds with the very core of my identity. His authority on who I was as a person was tainted beyond repair (thank fuck). And the countdown was on.
6 months later, I stopped blaming myself and the humiliation was no longer palpable.
Ten months later (otherwise known as ‘today’), I read part of Work and Days by Hesiod which describes the tale that Pandora’s box originates from and the Araucanian feather in my hair stood to attention. I was taken right back to that very moment, on the foot of those stairs:
“I call you ‘baby’ because that’s what you are.”
Baby? Me? I think fucking not.
So I’m taking this opportunity to reintroduce myself.
My name is Pamela, and I am a vixen.
I am an idealist. A dork. A hopeless romantic. I am endlessly curious. I am a feminist and I am a cloud gazing dreamer. This is the chaos inside my head, structured into paragraphs.
NEXT – “Pandora and the White, Hot Rage That Epically Stupid and Misogynistic Story Elicits in Me”