So, to help pass time, I watch continuous episodes of any interesting series that I find on the internet. But after a while, even that gets boring. A couple of days ago, I remembered I used to like watching Dr. Phil's show, so I decided to watch a couple of episodes on line.
Going through the episodes titles to choose those that interest me, I came across 2 episodes called: Inside the mind of a mistress.
I don't know what all of you think of the idea of a 'mistress', but let me tell you what came to my mind when I thought of one, until early last year.
A mistress is a disgusting horrible creature, that imposes its vicious self over a happy family. A person with no morals, no values or standards, a despicable creature that exists for the purpose of ruining other people's lives. A person with no self respect, and the lowest of the low in a society, ANY society.
I say that this is what I used to believe, oh so strongly, until early last year. The reason my beliefs slightly shifted then, is the story I am just about to tell you.
A close friend of mine, another single gorgeous woman out there, became one.
I had known that woman, and her family, almost her entire life. Now, she is beautiful, successful, independent, highly educated and smart. She is caring, by nature, and did a lot of charity work. She has a very warm character, and is fun to be around. She has good knowledge and genuine interest in the happenings of the world. She is not at all the type of woman you think of when you think 'mistress', not in the way she dresses or the way she carries herself around.
At first, she didn't tell me. As a matter of fact and for obvious reasons, she told no one. My friend, and let's call her Reema for now, was always an optimistic and an energetic person. She has an outgoing character and you would love spending time around her- I did.
Reema grew up dreaming about fairy tales, and her knight in shining armor. She was not too delusional about it, but she did often picture her wedding, and kids and a bright future with a loving husband. Growing up, she didn't have many relationships, and she shied away from the stories most giggling girls shared.
As she stepped into her mid twenties, Reema fell in love. She literally fell head over heels, and it was a great transformation in her life and character. I had never seen her as happy or excited about life as she was in that phase. Everything was happier, and brighter and flowers were blooming all over her life.
Reema had her heart crushed in a very cruel way shortly after, and although I see what a great woman she is today, she believes certain parts of her never healed from the agony of that love, and its impact on her life. She went into depression, and during that time, she believed her life ended.
Yet, Reema, being the strong woman that she is, fought against it with all her might, and a couple of years later gave love another try. She dove in once again, with the innocence of a young little girl, daring again to dream and plan and contemplate a future with love in it again.
Sadly, she was rejected shortly after again. I have often read about the patterns we choose for our relationships, and I suspect that Reema was going through that pattern. This second time was harder for her, because of the added miseries of thinking; how could this possibly happen to me again.
Since that day, Reema decided to close the door to love, for once and for all, and to focus all her energy on building the dreams that she can control and work at. She progressed in her career, had a good circle of friends around her, and focused on her relationship with her family. She was a joy to everyone who knew her, except herself. She knew she was missing out on certain feelings that she yearned for, but she was too scared and too in pain to allow it ever again.
A couple of years later, Reema was approached for a great job opportunity, in another country. After careful planning and much thought, she decided to go for it.
So she bid us all farewell, packed and moved on to follow her dreams of a great career. I stayed in touch closely with her, and I could tell from her emails and phone calls, she was very lonely. She was finding the adjustment to be very difficult, and was spending most of her days at home, watching TV or reading. As this was against her very social nature, she found it very uncomfortable and tiring.
It was at that stage that a colleague of hers, a married one, started pursuing her. Later, when she told me, she said she was completely oblivious to it at first, and didn't even notice it. The man had set his mind on her though, and was very persistent. He showered her with praising words, he expressed his infatuation in every way that tingles a woman's heart.
Knowing Reema, I know she is a woman of standards and values. She is not a dumb woman who would fall for any douche bag that pursued her. But she was in such a vulnerable state at that point in her life, that she fell in. She started seeing him, and although, and using her own words, they had nothing in common and felt nothing towards him at all, she found herself addicted to the feeling of being wanted, and to the unrecognized world of being pursued this man was offering her.
At that point in time, she shared her story with me. I was very surprised, but since I try to be the least judgmental that I can in general, I listened. I listened to her worries and her blaming herself and despising herself. My constant argument with her was that if it is making her happy, and since SHE is my friend, then just enjoy it until she decides to move on.
The reason I said that was that I had known her for so long, and I had known what she had gone through and what she was going through still. I would not even suggest that what she was doing was right, but if she was doing it anyway, and cursing herself enough for it, what would have been the point of blaming her even more?
The weird part was that she was not enjoying it. Every time she saw him she would despise him and herself even more. Every moment she spent with him made her even more miserable. In a way, Reema was torturing herself in this relationship, reinforcing her beliefs in the evil of men, and punishing herself for making the wrong decisions in her previous relationships.
She had wept for endless hours to me about the shame she felt about being involved with a married man, and had vowed to herself a million times to kick him out her life. I listened, and I knew that that moment will indeed come. She just had to wait for it, I knew her enough to know that it would happen.
Not too long after, that moment did come. And I breathed with relief when she told me, because for the first time in so long, I heard her say the right things. I heard her say that she had had enough of being sadistic to herself, and that she respects herself more than to allow herself to sink so low ever again. I listened, again, as she described that feeling disgusted with herself was not going to take the pain of her past away, and that she is only adding more pain for her future being in that relationship.
She strongly stepped out of that relationship, and decided that it is better to seek her comfort elsewhere. She moved back home, surrounded herself again with the people she loved and whom she confidently believed loved her, and I see her today the strong smiling ambitious woman I always knew her to be.
Going back to Dr. Phil's show, I watched as another 4 mistresses talked about their own relationships with married men. Some had remorse and were ashamed and trapped in their shame, some had stepped out of the relationships and moved on, and some were making all the excuses in the world to themselves that it is ok and that it is not their fault, but the man's. But what these women all had in common was that they were in pain.
Because no one does not know what is wrong and what is right. Every one does. But how would you know what you are capable of doing or what you are not, if you are not in that situation yourself? And is there a scale of pain after which anything could be tolerable, or does numbness turn people to not care about ugliness anymore? I do not ask these questions judgmentally or sarcastically, but rather, I ask them curiously. I am a woman, who has experienced pain herself. I know what emotional pain does to a woman, and I know how endless it can seem to be at times. I do not want to be a mistress, but I know Reema, and I love her and I respect her, and I can't judge her just because her experience (and I won't even use the word mistake here) was of such a sensitive nature.
I hope that one day we would live in a loving society, that would render love and support to all. A society that would dare to think of causes instead of merely judging results. A society where love heals, the way it is supposed to. I can't stress enough that I am not in any way whatsoever saying that it is ok to be a mistress, or that I sympathize with them regardless of what the situation is. But I had been with Reema throughout this story for a reason. She has gone through it for a reason. It is a reminder of several things: We ALL can fall. We need love in our life, and not necessarily a fairy tale's, but a friend's, a parent's, a child's. We need to and nourish by helping one another during terrible times of self doubt.
If we did one day get to this unrealistic dream of a society, I believe we would be in a much better place. I so heartily wish that we can get to the roots of our problems instead of shaking our heads at the results. I wish we can acknowledge great women for what they really are, instead of focusing on what they are not. I wish we can imagine ALL kinds of successes and futures instead of assuming there is a 'one-size-fits-all' kind of happiness. If women deeply believed that, if they reminded themselves of the greatness that God has given them by being women, we wouldn't have mistresses to deal with at all. I'll bet my money on that!