My ex-boyfriend and I had been dating a year when his parents decided to come down to California to spend a week on the beach. I spent a lot of time at their beach house, getting to know the family I would soon be a part of (sooner than I knew at the time – at least, that was the plan anyway – obviously it worked out well).
Anyway, after work every day I would go down to visit. I played games on the beach with his brothers and dad, shopped with his mom, and ate delicious food that they all cooked. (I don’t include myself in the cooking because God knows I couldn’t help them with that).
One night, after a day on the beach and a warm home-cooked dinner, we all sat in the living room of the little cottage talking about life. The boys were grumbling about girl troubles while I tried to balance precariously on the fence of defending my own sex and wanting to be like one of the guys. The thesis of the conversation was basically this: all guys think all girls are crazy. None of you should be surprised by this, I’m sure you’ve heard it before. We’re just crazy (okay, sometimes true, but still, a pretty strong generalization).
After they went on their rant, my ex-boyfriend’s mom turned to me and asked (I think out of guilt for letting them complain for so long) “what is it that girls think all guys are?”
“They’re liars,” I said without missing a beat.
(Yikes. Did your stomach drop as you read that? Because mine sure did).
The room got silent for a minute as my words hit the family like a slap across the face. I was immediately aware what I said was offensive to them and that it made me sound incredibly jaded. And what could be worse than a jaded girlfriend? But I let it sit.
“Really?” She said, “That sounds… Harsh.”
I felt embarrassed. How the hell do I backpedal out of this? There was no way out. Damn my lack of filter and my hurting heart.
I went home that night worried about what I said. I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t true, that not all men lie. After all, he wouldn’t lie to me, right? I found the one perfect guy in all the world… Right? (It’s okay, you can LOL at my naiveté).
I’ve thought a lot about that evening over the last two years (has it only been that long? Feels like another life). It was my natural instinct to call men liars. I didn’t hesitate saying it then in the heat of the moment and I didn’t disagree with it later after the dust settled. I believed it with everything in me, and that was what scared me.
How did I get to this place of such distrust? Well, no, I know how it happened. But why does it still have such a strong effect on my daily life?
It happens all the time. “You don’t believe me, do you?” No. I don’t. At all. I wish I did, but I just don’t.
And that’s something new, I think. Wishing that I did believe them, I mean. A few years ago I would have just shut the guy down, honest or not, and left no room for him to change my mind. Now, though, I find myself saying “I wish that I did believe you. I want to believe you.” Please, prove to me that I should believe you. Show me you mean what you say.
It’s funny how words have such power over my life. They’re my everything. I write them, I read them, I hear them and speak them. But I almost never believe them. They’re so easy to erase and re-write. Maybe that’s what I hate about them – they aren’t permanent, especially if spoken. Spoken words disappear into the air and get lost somewhere within all of space and time. Here one moment, and gone the next.
You know what means more than words? Actions. These are much less likely to escape and disappear into nothingness. They’re here, they’re solid. They’re more difficult than words. It’s easy for me to say what I think (or write what I think, because I’m actually horrible at speaking my thoughts), but do I act that out? Do I live the words that I’m speaking (or writing)? Do you? Does anyone? And how do you know if they will?
The answer, sadly, I think, is that you never know, you just trust they are. See, I’ve never been good at that whole trusting thing. Not a huge fan. For being someone of faith, I really don’t have much of it when it comes to other people. But I think I’m taking baby steps in the right direction. Wanting to believe people is bound to someday turn into believing people. And if they’re not honest, then I guess that’s something that I have to learn to be okay with. Not everyone means what they say, but some people do.
And what’s worse, really? Trusting someone you shouldn’t have and learning from it, or not trusting someone you should have and missing out on something incredible?
I don’t know about you, but I’d hate to miss out on something incredible.
See? Baby steps.
So maybe one day, sometime in the future, be it distant or near, when my future-boyfriend’s mom asks me what women think about men, I will be able to honestly answer with something less abrasive than “they’re liars”.
Maybe I should just stick to “they’re all dumb.” That’s the safe answer. Because that is the truth. Y’all are dumb.
But we love you anyway.
Just believe me.