As I’m sure many of you are, I too am obsessed with the new Queer Eye. Each moment is touching and each individual has a story that connects with a lot of people. I know there were a few episodes that definitely tugged at my heart strings.
Ever since Season 3 released on Netflix, my Youtube dashboard has been lit with the Fab 5’s videos and interviews. One interview in particular with Trevor Noah stuck out to me.
*Little spoiler about Karamo’s life*
In the video, Karamo describes growing up with an abusive father. It was instilled in him at a young age that hitting women was unacceptable, but hitting another man was alright. He brought up his anger and how he would take it out on his partners. He said the police were called on him, yet they didn’t take the domestic violence seriously because it was between two men. He realized then that he was behaving just as his father had, and he needed to turn that around.
As Karamo spoke, my mind was whirling. Words my ex threw at me started trickling through my head, causing unease.
“You treat me like a doll.”
“My mother once had a relationship like ours. He was physically abusive. You weren’t ever that bad, but…”
My ex felt like I didn’t appreciate him enough. He thought me asking him to lie down with me after work was too much. He felt that asking him to dry my hair after a shower was treating him like a slave. He was hurt when I said “just a little quality time,” like every other moment with him wasn’t good enough.
Of course I felt like I wasn’t being appreciated either. I kept telling myself “No, you deserve his attention and a little bit of romance” or “What’s wrong with uninterrupted, no technology, five to thirty minutes a day?” And honestly, part of me still agrees with those statements. Because I know, with the right person, I wouldn’t feel guilty asking for a little more attention. I wouldn’t feel bad about wanting to cuddle after sex. I wouldn’t blame myself or call myself selfish hinting for them to ask me how my day was. Because it would come easy to them.
Now, I know everyone shows their love differently. Some people are more emotional. Some are more physical. Some buy flowers for every random occasion and some make dinner before you get home.
Being in a dedicated, long-term relationship is not always easy. Boundaries have to be set and expectations need to be discussed. Otherwise, you end up years later with a whole bunch of miscommunication.
Lewis C.K. once said, “When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”
I know I am not a bad person or partner. I know that I am passionate, empathetic, and caring. I know that I am not an abusive, toxic person. I have to know that. As humans, we have to believe in ourselves, even if deemed delusional, because that’s how we survive.
I’m not trying to dismiss what my ex said. I take what he said very seriously, because it is. Without proper communication and boundaries, love and anger can get mixed up. It’s unfortunate that people hurting hurt others. It’s even more unfortunate when someone is scared to leave a relationship because of what the other person has done to them or because their perception on love has become twisted.
I’ve only had one serious relationship. We were planning on getting married. We talked about our future children and home. We had plans. We had problems. Without much experience, it’s been difficult for me to know if what we were going through was alright. Part of my brain told me every relationship is different, every couple decides what’s best for them. The other part of me was waving her arms above her head for attention, screaming “Yo crazy lady, this ain’t cool!”
I may not believe my past actions were abusive, in standard terms. My friends and family might not see my actions abusive. My ex may not really see them as abusive either. But I can’t tell for sure. Because each person defines things differently.
All I know is that I have been hurt, damaged, and shamed for what my truth is.
And I know that I hurt my ex.
Back to what Karamo was talking about. It took him a long time to come to terms with his truth and he has grown from that.
I plan on doing the same.
I’ve already taken steps forward in breaking down my individual truths, analyzing them, understanding their meaning in relation to myself and others.
And it is going to take time. Because I am constantly growing and changing and evolving, just as everyone else is.
I guess my take away from this video and my own experiences, is to take time to understand yourself.
Take time to understand your relationships with others. Work on defining them.
Communicate. Be open.
And understand that you are not perfect.
Understand that you are not above anyone else.
You will make mistakes. You will hurt others. You will hurt yourself.
But pain is pain. No matter what or who has caused it.