“Something is out of balance. Everything is energy…something says something, that’s energy…Every time I get goosebumps, that’s God’s salutation or the Universe telling you that you’re on the right track.” -Jessica Wen
“The Older Girlfriend”
Fiction. Based on a True Reflection.
By Mingjie Zhai
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Dad and I started talking for the first time in awhile. I don’t mean the light stuff, but the real stuff. I wanted to tell him that we’re dating, that I’m in love with you, that you’re crazy and remind me of the man driving me to get my rental car so I can see you later that evening, but all I could muster up was that you were offering to grow my retirement to a point where I can start my for-profit venture.
On the surface, it sounds sketch. A man I met at church with a job, a beach home front studio, who spends hundreds of dollars on food, facials, and tans on himself, is offering to grow my portfolio. You kept insisting that I allow you to help me. You did not want to see me poor, wearing the same clothes, the same shoes, selling my car, going off to Eastern Europe because it’s supposedly a bit more affordable than other parts of Europe, just so I can pretend to live out this exciting life.
Truth be told, I would love to have woken up to you every morning and make love to you every night. Except, Roxy would be somehow tied to the kitchen because you don’t want her on your couch or in your bedroom because you are allergic to her hair. Funny how, it was Roxy who brought us together. I still remember the couch on the second floor where we first met. When I first saw you, I had two reactions. First, He’s gorgeous. He looks like an anime character from a Vampire series who sings opera. Next, I felt your aura--it was sad, deep, and heavy, beautiful like mine. You were not approachable because you were the beautiful mystery man. Yet, it was Roxy who came to you. You had put out your hand for her to sniff you.
I had asked you if you came here often. You said you have been coming here for several months now. You said you worked across the street. When we sat together, you looked at me and told me that you had initially come here to become a model and actor. That evening, you looked like you wanted to me to have dinner afterwards, but I told you that I had to go. I felt like Cinderella who had to leave the golden city to take on the long drive back to mother’s nest forty miles away. I had asked your number so in the future, we could meet again. The following week we did meet again. And two weeks later, I brought a friend and you brought a friend. We sat together and you told me about this other Christian meeting you go to out in Santa Monica where people come together to talk about their stories.
I smiled. Little did you know earlier that day, I was at a meeting, and the girl next to me was also a fellow member of Drinker’s Den whom I had the acquaintance of meeting just a few days back. And that’s when I got a feeling that you could be more than just a church friend.
It was the day I got the love letter I sent to Rylie returned and unopened when I mustered up the courage to call you for a request outside of church related matters. Honestly, I was broken that day I called you. I felt ignored, abandoned, and rejected from the letter returned. Subconsciously, I knew it was my love addiction pattern that was causing this cycle to yet again keep me from developing anything intimate and sustainable relationship with a potential mate. I had sabotaged what was potentially a man whom I could see myself marrying and having kids with. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought that perhaps I could date you but I needed a starting point of social contact, an excuse, to move forward with our relationship. Interestingly enough, I did not need an excuse. I believe you would have said yes if I asked you to clean the beach with me or walk the dog.
You asked me if it was okay that you kissed me in your kitchen. But at the restaurant, you had told me that you were on and off again with your girlfriend. I am seven years older than you and it would be awful to tell your mother this. She definitely would disapprove and would spend the rest of her life making it known to me that I would never be good enough for you. And if I were to ever have your child, she and I would only bond in a superficial way over the rearing of your child. There will always be antagonism and she would remind me on occasion, how I was the woman who stole you from the older girlfriend.
I was beginning to see the synchronistic karma play its clever hand once again…now that I am the older woman competing with the older girlfriend–the girl you had been together with for six years, the girl you had pictured marrying, having kids with, building a life with, but the only real thing stopping you is that you find her immature and she relied on you too heavily as a father figure to replace a father who was absent. You were tired of being that father figure for her. It was the exact reason why Sonny left me for the older woman seven years ago when I was his wife. We were seven years in the relationship, and I saw my mother hurting so badly that I did not know how I could trust the man whom I had planned on having kids with that year. I had projected all my fears and wounds onto my beloved, and it was the same reason why he started having an affair with the older woman–I was immature and relied on him too much as the father figure. I had relied too much on Sonny as the source of my happiness. But Sonny did not know how to deal with it. He wanted an instant solution and that instant solution came in the form of an escape into the arms of what started off as a friend he was attracted to, rather than “deal” with the problem–I had suggested marriage counseling but he refused. He was too smart and stubborn to ask for help and I was too afraid and stubborn to do it alone. We had done everything together. He was my homie, lover, and friend. Yet, when it came to asking for help, when it came to personal development, when it came to self-improvement, he wanted me to do it alone, and I wanted him to take that ride with me.
Sonny loved me with all his heart and soul. The truth is he was right. Certain transformations must be done alone and within. I know this now whilst building out The Love Story organization and from the countless miracles that took place between 2013 and now. Still, I know exactly what it feels like to be in the older girlfriend’s shoes. I was her seven years ago. I could point the finger that it was all my dad’s fault, but what if it were also the other woman’s fault? Where’s her responsibility in all this? The older woman who intrigues with men who white lie that they are not working things out with their on and off again partner when the fact is that they are trying to work things out, for that was the white lie Sonny had told the older woman.
The older woman senses this, but turns a blind eye to the fact that her actions do affect the home of the man’s whom he has made promises to his family to build. He justifies it with all sorts of excuses: “My wife nags, my wife worries, my wife complains…enough is never good enough…,” but what about the other woman? She seduces taken men without concern for the men’s children or the men’s wife, she seeks attention and security because she wants to be rescued rather than deal with the responsibility of being financially responsible for herself. She’s been raised with positive reinforcement all her life to act dumb and helpless so men will find their purpose in the rescuing of sleeping beauty. With third wave feminism, she is confused whether to compete with men or to be the man by replacing him altogether. The answer is neither. The answer is simple. Occam’s razor.
The Woman’s Happiness
The answer for every feminist woman is to be responsible for her own happiness.
If every woman could self-realize this truth, then there would be no older woman and older girlfriend competing for a man stuck in a love triangle built on white lies.
If I could talk to this older girlfriend of yours, I would tell her first that she is pushing you away because she feels that she is unworthy. Next, I would acknowledge that she is also angry at the wounds from the absence and betrayal of the first man she loves and has been projecting all that anger on you and it’s not fair to you. I would tell her the truth is that she is worthy, but that worthiness is not dependent upon some external factor but on God alone. I would tell her the truth that you love her very much, but you have been frustrated over your lack of control and inability to improve her sadness, insecurity, and moodiness, which is not your responsibility to do. The truth is, you have no control over any woman’s moods–not your sister’s, not your mother’s, and your partner’s and the truth is: nor is it your responsibility to manage and care for their moods. If I could write a letter to each of them, I would put simply: Aaron is not responsible for your happiness. You are. I know this is a hard concept to grasp for all women, now that your mother has made you the surrogate husband of the home, but you are not responsible for their happiness, and perhaps that is the starting point to “deal” with something you have been trying to escape from. I know why you sought escape–because the solution is not with you, but over back at the women whom you love so dearly. You did not know how to solve it because it is not yours to solve.
If every woman took responsibility for her own happiness and if every man knew this truth about every woman, then there would be less addicts, less self-destructive behavior, less crime.
I would tell the older girlfriend to stop projecting all her wounds onto you. I would tell the older girlfriend to start taking responsibility for her own happiness instead of pushing you away through blame, shame, and actions that hurt you (doing things to get you jealous or calling you names, criticizing you, trying to fix you so she could avoid dealing with her problems). I would advise her to attend CODA or SLAA so that the two of you have a fighting chance in building a home that you both have been planning for the past six years.
The Energy Healer
My dear Drum and Bass Energy Healer ex-boyfriend once told me the ugly truth about myself. He told me I was dealing with false attachment patterns as a young child. I never truly healed my inner child, listened to her pain, held space to grief with her so that we can both agree to grow up. Now that my mother and father are sleeping in the same bedroom, now that mother and father grows their vegetable garden together, now that mother is making her art every night, dad is swimming every day, and washes the dishes, I realize that the prayer I had made back in 2015, when dad was about to leave mom, when grandmother just passed away, and I was hospitalized a second time in a second suicide attempt, I had prayed to Jesus to bring my family together again. Today, I am in their home typing away, planning for my next adventure with Roxy.
Ah po had visited me in my dreams shortly after she had passed. In this dream, I was standing next to dad facing a door that led to another dimension with my mother and sister standing together on the other side. She told me that I must continue fighting for our family.
I remember as a little girl, I would wake up crying because in my dreams, there would be scenarios of losing close loved ones. I don’t remember the dream, but I remember the pain in my heart. I used to cry so much, I thought that I would go blind. I believe my grandmother once told me of a story of an old woman who cried until she became blind. But then, a church member, an older lady who became my surrogate grandmother for a brief time, once told me that God counts all the tears I cry and puts them in a jar to honor my the heartfelt compassion of the truth.
The Older Girlfriend
I remember that girl curled up in bed, waiting anxiously for her husband to come home, seven years ago. He had told her a white lie. He told her he was out for company business related matters, and he would come home at four or five in the morning, when he was really out with the Older Woman. That girl curled in bed waiting at three in the morning was his wifee. She knew in her heart of hearts that he was lying through his teeth. She knew this dark side about him some seven years ago when they were first dating, that he was a master white liar, his truths as subtle as the serpent’s tongue, and as believable as a charming salesman who can sell sand to the beach. She had chosen him because he was a survivor, but she knew in her heart of hearts that she can inspire him to transform this aspect of himself, which he started doing…he was a better person as a result of being with her because he was inspired by her…but a few months before she started to spiral downwards, her mother told her that dad was leaving her after some forty plus years of marriage…she was dealing with depression without realizing that she was dealing with depression… she would stuff that sadness and the pain by trying to fix, do, build for herself. She was stuck in fear-based thinking…what if her man would leave? What is wrong with women who seduce taken men? Why is the world so unfair? she thought she could do her way through the pain, perhaps if she got a raise by working harder, perhaps if she started to eat healthier, lose weight?
So she started the doing by fixing her husband first, by which he rebelled. She started becoming critical of him–smoking too much, drinking too much, not ready, not ready for the family they had planned on having. It had to be perfect, but it was not perfect, and she felt so alone in trying to fix everything on her own. And then came the Older Woman, who just listened to him with compassion, the same kind of listening and compassion from a place of non attachment that her husband used to give to her all the time. The Older Woman was listening to him the way the Older Girlfriend used to listen to him when they first started dating, but seven years later, this older girlfriend was curled up in their bedroom, crying and having anxiety attacks knowing that there was an Older Woman listening to his pain, seducing his energy away from the focus on the real work, the hard work, the work of a married couple working through the tough stuff. The older girlfriend knew that the answer was to be more compassionate towards her husband, but she could not give what she did not have. She did not know how to listen, hold space, and have compassion because she was filled with anger towards what was happening to her mom and because she had no control over her parents’ situation, she turned that anger inward and just did not know how to hold space. Sonny wanted to tell her to just suck it up and be happy and grateful, but she did not and could not and the tears kept falling, and the pain kept pulsing, and the older girlfriend had no chance competing with the older woman because she had not the tools to compete with an older woman who knew about the power of God more than she did and knew how the world operated from the longer years she’s had on this planet, to know that it’s not what you do that matters, but how you’re being.
The older women knew the secret to love as a way of being not doing and so leveraged it to win the heart of the man the older girlfriend loved so much.
The older girlfriend did not know how to love herself first.
She had lost the man whom she wanted to build a family with to the older woman because she did not know how to source her happiness.
Had the older girlfriend known that the secret to the source of her own happiness is God, then she would have had a fighting chance seven years ago, but she did not, and so she had lost her husband to the Older Woman.
Putting God First
“I want a man who can put God first,” I had told you one day. It turns out that I have to take my own declaration.
I’m letting you go because I’ve forgiven the older woman.
I’m letting you go because this is more about the older girlfriend in me and in her than it is about a retirement and a baby holding you hostage. This is more about faith that I will have both than about the fear of not having so I must have it now with you.
Seven years later, now that I’m the older woman, I choose to respect and honor the older girlfriend, because this time I’m putting God first because God plays a non-zero-sum game.
Love and Blessings,