February 27, 2020 at 4:00 AM
by Jen Hewson
child dirty.jpg

Betrayal: the violation of a person’s trust or confidence, of a moral standard. Thank you, Webster. Betrayal comes in many forms. We might betray ourselves or it might come from elsewhere. My earliest memories of betrayal came from a memory my mom never thought I could possibly recall. She says I was only around 20 months old, but I remember the day that my father left. I remember the stairs. I remember the yelling, the shouting. I remember the panic in my mother's eyes, and I remember the sounds of metal upon flesh. You see they had gotten into an argument and we're living in a small upper apartment in rural Ontario and in my young mind I remember her falling. In fact, no one had fallen, but he had left, so we all had fallen. He left us. At this point in time my mom was only 16 years old, had not finished school and was left holding my small tiny helpless body and responsible for raising me, helping me to grow and keeping me safe. The memory is a funny thing, especially how it holds on to some memories and let's go of others. I can't remember my school graduation, but I can remember something that happened when I wasn't even 2 years old. Trauma does that to a body and a person's mind. We tend to have entire time periods including people, places and events that we really should remember, but we don't because there existed some sort of happiness. I know there is science behind this thing of trauma and how it blocks some memories and keeps others. I remember the painful moments. I only remembered my father’s premature departure, many years later when I met my father again for the first time. I suppose that part of my mind was triggered, and that memory became part of my conscious mind once again. I remember telling my mom about it, after seeing him again, and how I could recall that day, and she was in complete disbelief of how I could have any memory of it, but there I was telling her a little pin drop of the memories that made up my life at that time.

When my mom met her life long partner, I once again felt betrayed. After all, we had been through so much together: the 9 months held safely inside her small fragile body, the turbulent years between 0 and 4 where we moved many dark nights and looked for safe places to be. The only person who never betrayed me in this time was my mother. She was the constant, the provider, the love and the guidance that I needed in a time when life was very uncertain for both of us. I can't even imagine getting through what she did and rising to the occasion to keep me fed and clothed, safe and warm. But something snapped in me when she met her life partner and I somehow knew that I had lost her, and she had at last betrayed me. I was at war with this man, this man who “How dare he take my mother away!!” As it turns out we weren't compatible and his sharp tongue, punishing hands and drunken fits seemed to align with these feelings of betrayal. How could this beautiful goddess be with a monster that I saw as the architect of the betrayal? And so, began the years and the endless battles between what I now refer to as the good, the bad, and the really ugly. For a time, I was the bad, my mom was the good and he was the really ugly. There were many times when we would leave in the middle of the night when a tooth- lashing, milk curdling fight had occurred, mostly as a result of alcohol and my mother's persistent requests for him to be present and be part of our small family. I look back now and think about this time and how young, foolish and altogether wrong they both were. I have forgiven them both, but the scars run deep in my soul, and I work everyday to undo and soften their impact.

I certainly became the perpetrator of my own betrayal when at last, I left my own spirit behind. This would be at around 11, maybe 12 where I started to walk away from my true self and toward a life where I could pretend to be anything I wanted. I even made up stories about my name being something it wasn't, betraying my own name. No, I didn't go with Cindy, I simply became Elizabeth Ann and was truly trying to leave behind who I thought I needed to run away from: myself and the betrayal that had been my short life. I betrayed all the values that had made up most of my life and had come from my mother and dear grandmother's. I turned to lies, sex and drugs and made it my mission to leave behind that little girl and hide her scars and her pain in new ways. I see this as the greatest betrayal of my life. And the journey to find that person has been long and exciting, dangerous and empty but has led me back to that small frail child, full of love, hope and determination.

Finally, betrayal has come from many romantic partners in my life. The first two were the boyfriends of my past, both of which betrayed me by finding multiple women to seduce and poison while we were together. Looking back, I thought this betrayal was the end of the world, when in fact it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Both men are still living empty lives and I now feel care and compassion for them, wishing them love and hoping that one day they will awaken and see who they are, and decide to paint a new picture. The so-called love of my life, the father of my children, was the one who put the BE in betrayal. We had so many dreams and plans and wishes and they all came tumbling down. I was betrayed not to another woman but to BE rich, which became more important to him than saving his family and investing in time with his wife and children. He has never admitted his failures, the infallible cannot. He points to the fact that I would turn to the bottle to find solace in my loneliness and constant sorrow. You see I felt betrayed again by someone that was supposed to love me. How could someone I love so very much see his quest to BE rich become more important than the love we had for one another or for our small beautiful family? Well, let’s face it, he did. It is here that my downward spiral went full galactic speed and I decided to live life dangerously, without a care in the world, and ended up face down in a dark empty Mexican tequila bar nearly 14 years after our divorce. And so, begins the tale of travelling Cindy.