1. Watch this.
2. Hear this:
It’s true. We shouldn’t settle.
I like Kristina Kuzmic. She’s one of a handful of mom commentators whose work entertains me and whose opinions tend to jive pretty well with mine. And I love this video, because I love its message.
What single parent out there wouldn’t love this message? It’s so hopeful and pleasant.
But what about the fact that the second, no bullshit, you guys, the very nanosecond that she says that Philip showed up in the middle of the night, not pissed, and sent her to bed while he cleaned her daughter and tucked her in?
It’s my damage. Alright Heather?
Ten points for guessing the reference without googling, by the way.
I mean, there’s literally no one policing this shit and the points are entirely nonphysical and carry no value of any kind whatsoever, but.
I’m off track.
The point I was trying to make, before shitty cult classics elbowed their way back to the front, was that I cannot imagine any universe, real or imagined, where I ever, ever trust any man alone with my child again.
I mean, I’m not saying it doesn’t exist. I do believe that men like Philip could exist.
But when your husband goes to jail for having pictures of six year olds being molested by grown men on his computer, you just never quite recover from that.
And I pushed back against it so hard because I did not want to have to accept this, what I recognize now as a permanent, pervasive suspicion of the whole world, out of hand.
Before Mike, I knew there was evil in the world. I was still just stupid enough (or young enough, maybe, but that’s basically the same thing) to believe that it was rare to come across it. I was young and stupid enough to believe that we have some sort of magical quota of stupid bullshit we are expected to deal with in our lives, and that once we’ve struggled to a certain, unnamed point, it would stop or at least let up.
But that’s not true. That’s not even a little bit true. And there is no worst because there is always something just a little worse than you’re currently aware of.
My therapist would probably say “well that’s just reality and everyone will hurt you.”
I mean yeah, dude. Obviously. But that’s like saying “everything is a risk” to the girl who’s been chased through the woods by leatherface and hung on a meat hook in the kitchen for a while before you try to convince her to go on a road trip through Texas with you.
There are some betrayals that scare you good and proper. There are some things that never leave you.
So while I want to be comforted by the analgesic hope this video seems to imply we all just need to carry with us and look forward to because someday, someday it will be ours too, I can’t. It’s an opiate. It’s the good news testified from the mouth of a woman with two distinct advantages, at the very least.
1. She is attractive. Right off the bat Kristina Kuzmic is playing with a handful more advantages than I am.
2. She’s never had to confront the reality that she willingly loved a pedophile and that he was able to fool her entirely for years.
Not only does she have a greater opportunity and pool of potential men from which to choose than the vast majority of us face as single moms, but she’s still got the bliss of ignorance to just how easy it can be to be “that” woman. She still gets to believe, even if it’s somewhere off in the back of her mind somewhere, latent but powerful, that “that could never happen to me.”
How easy it can be to become someone’s mask without ever even realizing it. You wouldn’t believe how easy and I can’t even explain.
So yeah, as much as I love the idea of having some knight in shining armor story, I can’t imagine letting anyone clean my daughter while I’m in bed because either (1) I stay hypervigilant at all times or (2) I risk being fooled again and all the disasterous consequences that entails.
And no. The idea of being alone for the rest of my life isn’t a problem. If you’d asked me four years ago I’d have burst into tears at just the thought of being a single mom to young twin girls.
Today I’ll just roll my eyes and sigh.
It’s fine. It’s fine. I’ll do it alone forever before I get burned like that again. More importantly, before I put my daughters anywhere near harm’s way.
But it does wear you down, knowing that there is a very real possibility that you are broken in places that maybe can’t be repaired. That the trust it takes to let a decent man clean your daughter and tuck her in unsupervised is beyond your ability to grasp at this point.
I don’t know.
I’ll never settle again. I know that for sure. It’s infinitely better to be entirely alone than with the wrong person. But at a certain point the comfort with solitude is as dangerous a feeling as it is familiar and pleasant. Maybe because I was so used to it for so long that it devastated my ability to date and socialize normally.
There’s a distinct menace to a total comfort with solitude,which is that it will consume your comfort with companionship entirely, once it grows too big for too long, unchecked.
I’m standing on that border right now. It’s a scary place to be again, after all those years.