This Is Who I Have to be Now
I stand in front of the mirror in our tiny bathroom. The chipped eggnog paint behind me reminds me of my brokenness. And I wonder, who am I?
Welcome new subscribers! We are so thrilled to have you here where we amplify Latinx voices and stories. To learn more about us, visit our about page. Now, here is today’s story.
I stand in front of the mirror in our tiny bathroom. The chipped eggnog paint behind me reminds me of my brokenness. I don’t recognize myself anymore, and it isn’t because of the undereye circles and heavy bags that now decorate my face. Not the grays that sprout here and there atop of my head despite how many times I cut them from the root with a scissor specifically designated for such things.
I used to be passion-filled. I used to know my purpose. To share relationship stories. Heartbreak. My journey to self-love and all of the lessons that I’ve learned from my stumbles. Today, I stare at my reflection in that dark and damp basement bathroom and I wonder, who am I?
I sigh, resigning myself to the life that I’ve chosen for myself. I’m in a relationship with a man that unequivocally wants to change who I am at my core. He’s never said it directly, but his questioning of my person, motivations, and desires speak volumes.
“When are you going to give up?” he asks while on his knees. This isn’t a proposal, he didn’t get on his knees then either. D is fiddling with the bathroom handle. It keeps breaking.
“What do you mean…give up?” I respond, rubbing my belly in circles to soothe Evan’s flutters. D’s line of questioning often agitates me and, in turn, our unborn child. I know what he means. Although he supported my career at the start of our relationship (he even ordered a custom made replica of my book cover as a birthday cake), D has grown frustrated with the unconventional life of a Writer and Creative. He claims it directly affects him and our family. I understand, but I cannot fathom abandoning a career that I have built and worked for since 2006.
“The writing, the radio, the relationship stuff…are you ever going to get a regular job?”
Whoop. There it is. This is what he’s always wanted, I know that. And yet I’ve chosen to remain with D despite the constant passive aggressive remarks that suggest he wants me to sacrifice the one thing that fulfills me. It irritates him, you know. My shine gets under his skin.
But I stay. Because although I don’t always like him, I still love him and we are building a family.
I stay and try not to sacrifice it all just to please him. It’s getting harder not to give up. I find myself questioning every decision I’ve ever made professionally. I am unsure of my trajectory as the go-to-chica for all things love. He knows this and resents it. His resentment reveals itself with snappy comments about my lack of financial contribution to our household and when he “teases” me about my bright-colored wardrobe. (“You’re going to wear that?”)
And yet I stay. Although I don’t recognize myself anymore. Because this is growing up, I whisper to my reflection. This is what it means to be in a relationship. This is who I have to be now.