When someone shows you who they are….

There’s a saying that’s become popular in the last few years: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” I’ve seen it attributed, primarily, to Maya Angelou, who, in 2015, tweeted, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

It’s a damned good (wise) saying. Much (of my) suffering in life, and particularly in relationships, stems from my refusal to believe people are who they show me they are. This might be benign, as in the case of Bri (who, you may recall, showed me that she is neither submissive nor particularly compliant, but wanted to convince some combination of her/me that she is both; spoiler: she isn’t). It might be painful, as in the case of a veritable army of women from whom I’ve longed to derive something that, from the start, they made readily apparent wasn’t available to me. It might be positive: as in the case of V, who, from the start was, utterly, consistently, submissive, compliant, and delightful – respectful, kind, generous, smart, interesting, funny. (Even when V and I came apart, as we did a number of times, and as we currently have done now for two years, she is a decent and good person, and our interactions, though few and far between, remain warm and kind.)

The most interesting thing, to me, about me? [And I should say, I believe I’m in no way unusual here.] The intensity of my refusal to believe people when they show me who they are. The persistence of my fantasies in the face of dispositive, conclusive evidence to their contrary.

Know what I’m saying?

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