The beginning of the end started in my one-car length driveway, not very glamorous for a Hollywood sex and love addict. Believe me, I wish it was a better location for my plight—something über-fabulous that sets me apart from all the other kinds of addicts who hit their rock bottoms. Maybe I could have been on a star-studded red carpet or throwing rocks at some A-list celebrity’s Bentley. But no, I bottomed out in my small driveway in front of my two-bedroom home in Culver City, California.
I was standing there trying to prevent two men from killing each other. One was from New York City, so I’ll call him NYC. He was a rough short brown-haired thug who had a huge chip on his over-the-top and annoying Method-acting shoulder. The other one was a longtime boyfriend from back home in the South, let’s call him ATL. Yep, this is another battle between North and South.
ATL was a blonde, green-eyed mama’s boy who thrived on taking care of everyone else. The sweetest person you’d ever meet, almost to a fault. ATL and I were high school sweethearts from Atlanta (yeah…that’s where I got ATL). I moved to Los Angeles 10 years ago, and we were maintaining an on-and-off long-distance relationship.
Here’s where it gets sticky. I had been with both of these men for the past two years on-again, off-again, sometimes getting confused when I was on. Sounds pretty bad, I agree, but I have always told myself men get away with it, so why can’t I?
I just loved to have multiple partners at one time, especially if they were both out-of-towners. It kept me on my toes. I would get a high from spinning lies to each guy. One of my fantasies was to mold two or three guys together to create the perfect partner.
And on that day, that fantasy bit me in the ass.
I was at the end of the driveway, screaming from the pit of my soul, “I’m sorry!”
I’m not sure I was one hundred percent honest, but I needed to defuse the situation.
Two men were standing in front of me, asking for an explanation. NYC had a small knife in his hand, and he was swinging it around like a pirate. He bluntly turned towards me with aggression, “Who is this guy, Roxie?”
I tried to think of a clever rebuttal, but was coming up empty-handed. ATL answered reluctantly, “I’m her boyfriend.”
NYC took a charging step towards both of us with his little Swiss Army knife blade, “What???? No, I’m her boyfriend.”
I stepped between them to block NYC from manhandling ATL. I did it as best I could with my 119-pound, 5'7" body barricading myself between these two dudes—one aggro enraged, the other, ATL, very timidly huddled behind me.
“What the fuck are you going to do with that?” I glared at NYC. “You’re a theater actor from Connecticut. Are you going to stab him? Pluck his eyebrows? Calm the fuck down and put that away. It’s embarrassing.” I stood in front of ATL, being his human shield to protect him from the 200-pound beast.
ATL kept mumbling over and over again, “How could you do this to me, Roxanne? I love you.”
I felt it. Right there. Like that mini pocketknife was actually going through my heart and stabbing me over and over again. ATL’s sad puppy-dog green eyes were filled with despair.
This could have been the moment I realized what I did was fucked up, but no, my bottom was lower.
A lot lower!
Instead, I started to detach. It was like I was magically floating outside of my body and watching the spectacle play out like a television actor watching herself in a dramatic, seedy nighttime soap opera. Easy association because I’m an actor on television.
I shrieked at the top of my lungs as NYC with his toy knife chased ATL around his orange Mini Cooper rental car, “ENOUGH! It’s my fault. I did this. Neither of you knew what was going on. I’M SORRY!” It was an out of control, high-pitched scream like Diane Keaton fighting Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn in The First Wives Club. It’s a genius scene and a classic freak-out moment. And there I was recreating the same amount of hysteria.
My neighbors began to exit their houses.
The old, gay couple on the corner even had a bowl of popcorn. I don’t blame them— it was definitely a shit-show at the fuck-factory type of situation. I have to admit, I can create quite an entertaining neighborhood confrontation.
Then it took a turn for the worse.
The cops pulled up with their sirens blaring and announced on their intercom, “Put down the knife and get on your knees. Hands behind your back.”
I was mortified. I explained to the officers over the loud siren, “Sorry to make such a scene. I was kind of cheating and lying to both of them, and they caught me red-handed,” with as much innocence as I could muster.
The badass female cop stared at me, open-mouthed with disgust. To the right, the rugged muscular male officer gave a slight smile of shock and awe.
Within minutes, ATL was sitting on the curb softly crying, while NYC cursed in his fake Irish mob accent as he was being handcuffed. Mortified doesn’t even describe how I felt. But under that humiliation, I also found myself attracted to the male officer’s clean-cut CSI look.
I know, bad timing, even thinking that thought.
Insider information: NYC just performed a role as a mob guy in an off-off-off-Broadway play. He’s a diehard Method actor. This was especially annoying when you were banging him, and he insisted religiously to staying in the play’s character and speaking only in this bogus mob-guy accent. It was beyond frustrating to hear that accent when trying to stay turned on during intercourse.
But at that moment, I was thinking that NYC looked so tough and manly, while ATL was crying like a big old pussy. I couldn’t help it, but overt masculinity turned me on.
NYC–fuckable. ATL–not so much.
My addictive mind made a decision right then and there—I would get him back. This would not be the end of us.
The cops had settled both of them down and defused the whole drama. A huge sigh of relief. NYC’s Swiss Army knife had been confiscated and he was now sitting on the curb with handcuffs.
The judgmental female officer stared at me, while asking ATL, “You want to press charges, sir?” I crossed my fingers, hoping he wouldn’t. That would be another shit-show, having to explain this scenario in a court of law. I imagine testifying about this whole scene wouldn’t be much fun.
I’m usually such a brilliant bullshit artist. I’ve lived many double lives. I’ve spun so many tales of untruths to get out of fucked-up sticky situations, even one where a dude caught me fornicating in the back of a minivan in the high school parking lot!
What was the key to getting away with that interception? Driving away before the confrontation and then deny, deny, deny it to his face afterward. I got out of that conflict with flying colors because the windows were tinted, and he wasn’t one-hundred percent sure.
I couldn’t lie my way out of this one though. I was stumped. My mind was numb. No scheming tale was forthcoming. But these two fellas were lying too. All three of us were living in half-truths. They had met before. I first met NYC on a movie. We were shooting on location in Kansas City, Kansas. The perfect setting to act out, I might add.
ATL came to visit me on the first weekend I was working. We all went bowling together with the cast and crew—nothing much else to do in that town. We were there shooting a cheesy horror movie in the freezing snow. NYC was the muscle-ripped-psycho-killer. I was one of the many victims he mutilated.
I banked my career on playing that sexy, naive character who walks by herself in the woods calling out for her missing boyfriend. You want to yell at the screen with pure frustration—Who would be there by themselves, you idiot girl? Not to mention exasperatingly hollering—Why would she be wearing that crop-top and mini skirt in the middle of the woods in the dead of a winter storm? Then the monster comes out of the shadow and kills my character.
Yep, that was me. Don’t judge.
I bought my house with those paychecks and enjoyed my time choosing my next sexual prey on those sets. On that movie shoot, ATL was in town and NYC was my target.
NYC and I had our first kiss on camera, in the icy cold woods with ten crew members standing around watching, freezing their butts off, while we rolled around in the fallen leaves. I wanted him. He was a damn good kisser, moving his hips perfectly to almost give me a fully clothed orgasm. But here was the kicker, we were gyrating around in poison fucking ivy. I ended up with itchy, red welts all over my ass and my thighs. Not exactly the best ending to a month-long shoot, but maybe it was a huge foreshadowing of the pain I was going to cause myself later.
After bowling, ATL and NYC had even shared a beer at the hotel bar. I was freaking out when I heard.
During the outburst in front of my porch, I wanted to shriek—Come on, guys, let’s not play dumb here, you both know each other. But I kept catching myself. It was probably not the best time to call someone else out on their bullshit lie. I clamped my mouth shut. Which was really hard for someone like me, who hated liars, especially since I was one of the biggest ones. I can’t help it sometimes. I had to get one up on people, especially when I was trapped like a wild animal.
When you are a compulsive liar, you reach for anything you can to justify your behavior. I was like a predator with one objective—to devour. That was what I was doing, devouring these two men, but something happened on that asphalt drive.
I was tired. Tired of my twisted lies. Tired of keeping my stories straight. Tired of the double life, and I had to tell the truth, perhaps for the very first time.
As the cops pulled away with only a warning, AMEN, I walked towards NYC. He turned rapidly and glared at me to stop coming any closer. ATL stood up and stepped towards me to hear my explanation. His eyes were filled with an aching hurt.
“I’m fucked up. And this is fucked up. Things just got complicated with the timelines of our relationships, especially with you, ATL, when we kept breaking up. Not that I’m making any excuses, but… yes, I have been seeing both of you and sleeping with both of you… but never on the same day. Okay, maybe once a couple of months ago when I thought I was pregnant,” I said with as much sensitivity that I could muster.
“Wait, but we never used protection and you told me you thought it was mine?” ATL glared, confusingly distraught over that realization.
“Neither did we and you told me it was mine. And what do you fucking mean by complicated?” NYC responded lividly.
SHIT! I didn’t mean to say that. I hadn’t thought it could get any worse. Boy, was I totally off on that call.
My mind was reeling in backtracking panic. “Huh? Yeah, about that?” I shifted a step away.
It finally hit me how messed up I was. I hated condoms—another thing I realized that was completely messed up. Addicts are willfully ignorant about risk-taking behaviors when it comes to thinking about health—ours or somebody else’s.
NYC called me every terrible name in the book, “You’re a disgusting whore, SLUT, I hope you die from AIDS. Fucking glad there was no baby, I could’ve been stuck with your ass for 18 years.” Then, he added, which hurt like hell, “I’m going to have to get tested now because you have no conscience. You were such a waste of my time!” He left with a theatrical goodbye, “You’re a nasty human being!” He spun around and walked to the end of my street, where I assumed he called an Uber.
ATL just turned away, shaking his head with complete repulsion. He looked at me quietly weeping with as tears streamed down his cheeks, “How could you do this to us, Roxanne? I loved you.” He shut his door of his bright-ass orange rental and slowly pulled out of my driveway, sobbing. He probably went back to the airport.
A small pain hit me in my heart. Was it regret?
Ignoring that feeling, I breathed a huge sigh of relief that this showdown was finally over, and no one got killed. I turned to find all my judgmental, prudish neighbors staring at me.
Great! I’d have to apologize to them. I hated that.
I tried to explain with that same sweet, naive voice I had just used on the officers, picture that annoying young Paris Hilton high-pitched baby voice, which I’m sure was like nails on a chalkboard. But it worked a lot for me. I batted my fake eyelashes, “Sorry! Guys are just plain nuts. It won’t happen again, I promise.”
Nothing, no response from them! They just kept staring at me.
I explained more nervously, “I broke up with one of them, and then the other one was here, and it just got so blown out of proportion and complicated, blah, blah, blah.”
My 70-year-old comic-book-hoarding male neighbor grunted quickly, then rolled his eyes and walked away, having his own conclusion already drawn. I gave up on him, turning towards the other two looky-loos, “Well… why don’t you all just mind your own business? Focus on your own love lives.” With my tail between my legs, knowing they all thought horribly of me, I strutted back to my front door, acting like I hadn’t a care in the world.
I tended to pass the blame onto others. That was one of my talents, redirecting responsibility. It was the only way I could look myself in the mirror without hating myself. I went back inside my house. It was the main location for much of my acting out with both those men. My beloved, old Craftsman-style two-bedroom house was my pride and joy even with its small square footage.
It was all mine.
It’s light gray on the outside with a romantic English garden out front. The perfect cover for an active sex and love addict. A proper conservative exterior to hide the seedy, dirty moments happening inside. As you enter the living room, there’s a fireplace to the right— the quintessential fantasy lovemaking spot. A huge gray sectional couch to the left stacked with soft textured pillows and lots of room to play with my many conquests.
Above the couch is a display of black and white photographs taken by my favorite photographers. One of my hobbies has been collecting local pieces wherever I travel to. Each photo was purchased and gifted to me by various men. They’re like souvenirs of my escapades. Every time I look at that wall, it reminds me of one of those art galleries in Paris. The perfect fantasy activity to escape my real life was staring at the photos, longing for another foreign romance any time my life felt out of control or just plain boring.
I enjoy my out-of-body experiences. Sometimes it’s the only way to cope with my reality.
There’s a small galley kitchen off to the right past the fireplace. Many moments after disconnected coitus were spent in that kitchen regretting the night before, but at least I had my caffeine. My most loved possession is my Breville coffee maker. It’s one of the best espresso makers in the world. That’s my other vice! I love coffee almost as much as I love sex. Sometimes it’s the only reason I wake up in the morning, other than to get fucked.
The main bedroom is dark and sultry with dark gray bedding and blackout curtains. It’s the ultimate seductive love shack to get any man in the mood to seduce me.
The ghosts of my past conquests haunted my abode.
The guest room across the hall is my official office, covered with magazine articles highlighting my career. Images of me hang above the full-sized bed.
I mean, who doesn’t want to fall asleep looking at all versions of me?
Just a couple days before that big driveway face-off, I was getting banged from behind by NYC while he stared at my magazine covers. It was the weirdest experience. He was having sex with me, but looking at all those retouched images from my career. The ridiculous amount of self-obsession and vanity now sickens me.
I walked through the house and turned off the lights. I felt alone for the first time in my life.
After all the tricks I had pulled, this was the worst I’d ever felt. It hit me hard. My usual maneuver was to blame the guys for being stupid and gullible. I’d keep telling myself that men date multiple partners all the time.
Why couldn’t I?
It didn’t work that time. I was twenty-nine years old, and this was where life had taken me. My last television series had just been canceled and I had no job lined up. I now had no boyfriends, and my mortgage payment was due. Here’s another embarrassing factor—ATL had a successful landscaping business and he’d been paying my bills since my layoff those last few months.
Look, he was the one who offered me the help, but I did take advantage of his generosity. I felt because I didn’t grow up with money like most of my acquaintances in this town, I could make some concessions.
But now, I get it—this was just another excuse for my behavior.
I was doing the best I could. I didn’t feel like a gold-digger. I was planning on paying ATL back when I received another payment from a past film that was airing on HBO that next month. At least that’s what I told myself to avoid feeling shame in the pit of my stomach.
Money was always a challenging subject to discuss when I was growing up. Here’s where it gets deep and complex. My parents literally had to hide our cars from the repo men who wanted to return them back to the bank. My father couldn’t hold a job, and my mother did her best to keep food on the table. They definitely swapped traditional gender roles. Don’t get me wrong, I love how the tides have turned and men are freer with their duties and emotions. You just have to understand where I came from. My father was a bit of a sloth and cried when things didn’t go his way, putting his feelings above mine. I grew up believing that men who cried were weak and couldn’t take care of their own families and that my emotional state meant less than my father’s. And I didn’t have the tools to deal with his over-the-top responses at such a young age. They made me feel very unsafe. He was weaker in my eyes than my mother when it came to their marriage.
As I write this, I recognize that I’m still trying to justify my actions that day, but I wanted to give you a bit of my back story as we enter the next half of my bottoming out phase.
There I was at my lowest of my lows, looking into my small hallway mirror after being caught red-handed in the driveway.
I started to understand that I had a real problem. If this were a scene in a television show, as the scene plays out, you’d hear my inner thoughts.
INT. SMALL HALLWAY — EVENING
The CAMERA pushes slowly towards ROXANNE’S face.
They say you’re only as sick as your secrets. If that’s true… I’m fucking dying. We all know someone who drinks too much, they’re alcoholics, and they can make their lives and the lives of those they love a living hell. My disease... not so cut and dry. I don’t drink alcohol. I drink men. I consume them. I need and want them to fix this hole inside me that says that ‘without them, without their attention, their love, and the power I feel when I have it, I AM NOTHING.’ But society doesn’t see this as a disease. Instead, I’m a tease. A slut. A whore. A homewrecker. But just like an alcoholic, I can’t stop. I wake up every morning, promising myself that today will be different. I’m not going to ‘take a drink’ today. But how do you put down something that isn’t a substance? How do you not need that anymore? Because I’ve tried doing this by myself, and as you can see, that shit ain’t working.
I started thinking out loud to myself, “Maybe I should write a one-woman show and open with that speech as my character contemplates suicide with a gun in her hand? Or… maybe an Off-Broadway play? Or maybe as a new cable show? I’m smelling that Emmy!”
Holy shit, I was officially nuts.
Everything in my mind would turn to fantasy or make-believe. I couldn’t even stay with my feelings about what just happened outside in my front yard. Then the words just popped out of my mouth while staring in that mirror, “I need help.”
That was the moment.
That was when I knew I had something seriously wrong with me. I rarely felt bad for what I did to others, and I usually had no problem with my behaviors. But while I fantasized about that dialogue for my fake character in my make-believe show, it actually rocked me.
I wasn’t a character in a play or a show. I was a real person.
Was I missing that gene that would make me care about others? Was I a sociopath? A narcissist? Was I just a cold-hearted bitch? I felt so numb. I felt helpless. I felt worthless. I wanted to die.
Why was I like this?
I realized that something had to change. This behavior was not working, and it was definitely not fun anymore. Men used to be such a high. I loved falling in love. Not really with the person, but with the feelings they evoked for me during the falling-in-love phase. I loved the tingles—the chills from the first touch. The first penetration during sex with someone I barely knew. I loved the power and control I could have over men.
It wasn’t the orgasm I sought. I could handle that on my own. I grew up getting that done as early as five years old. What I wanted–needed—was the build-up to the first act of being with someone new. Even being a new version of me. It was exciting—it was the high I was chasing. I was addicted to losing myself in those first moments of lust.
Unfortunately, here’s the kicker, being confronted in that driveway by two men I was dating was not my bottoming-out.
That’s a big fat nope! Because an hour later, in a state of sheer panic when my “drug” was gone, I felt truly alone with the walls of my house closing in all around me. I started to feel my feelings for the first time.
I completely buckled and answered the phone when ATL called me to work it out. He wanted to come over and figure out all that went wrong with us.
“Roxanne, I love you,” he said. “I can’t live without you.”
I sensed the panic subside and the all-encompassing rush of power return. A jolt of tingling nerves shot lightning up my arms, with a cluster of butterflies fluttering around my stomach. My body was alive again. There was that rushing high from the power I had over another person’s emotions.
I told him, “Let me think. That was a lot that just happened. I need to be by myself to get my feelings under control. I will call you later, I promise.” I hung up the phone after he responded, “I understand. I’m here if you need me.” There wasn’t a single thought to the idea that maybe he must be The One because he was accepting me with all my flaws.
Nope, I’m not that smart of an addict. I’m a low-bottom one, which meant it took a lot for me to get my shit together. I didn’t go see ATL.
And I didn’t have a second thought about those self-loathing feelings I’d had just an hour earlier.
Instead, I formed my ultimate plan—I’d get both of them back! I was like a smoker putting out their “last” cigarette only to find themselves an hour later buying a new pack and smoking them all.
My plan was to show up at NYC’s door with the sexiest dress I could find in my closet filled with ridiculous audition outfits.
Honestly, you should really see an actor’s closet— it’s a chaotic mess of personality types. You name it, I have that ensemble. The girl next door? Got it—even though I am aging out of that demographic. Schoolteacher? Yep, in spades.Prostitute? Unfortunately, that’s a definite yes on my casting jobs. Party girl? Of course. Young mother? Without a doubt at this tender age of 29. You get the idea. My wardrobe matched my need to escape reality by dressing up to play another role in life and my job. The insanity of my career only added more layers to my addiction for male attention. Which included adapting my appearance to whatever was needed for the entanglement.
When NYC opened the door to his crappy Airbnb rental, he barely looked at me in my tight black dress, fishnet tights, and knee-high boots. I walked in without saying a word. It was like a game of chicken and I was not going to lose.
I went to the couch and sat down. He walked over and then stood in front of me. He hovered there, saying and doing nothing.
I stayed quiet even though I wanted to scream—Say something goddamnit! Yell at me! Call me names!
I just sat there, waiting.
He aggressively pulled me up from the couch. Usually, this would have pissed me off, but I was there on a mission. He turned me around and bent me over. I heard the zipper and then his pants hit the floor. I got wet and turned on. I wanted him so badly.
My libido wanted his angry passion.
Ironically, a couple of weeks earlier, when I was in New York City visiting him, I couldn’t stand the sight of him and was repulsed by his touch. We were eating at this trendy hipster fried chicken place in Brooklyn. He was so rude to the waitress. It’s a major pet peeve of mine—to me, it’s the ultimate crime against humanity. I hate people who are horrible to servers. Many friendships had been lost over this moral code in my life.
Anyways, it was the kind of place that was on every corner in the South and would be $5.99 for a bucket of fried goodness. But in Brooklyn, you pay $20 for one piece of fried chicken. We were waiting for our order and the waitress brought us our ice teas. He took a sip while talking about himself and spit it out on the table.
He turned to her lashing out, “Are you an idiot? I asked for unsweetened tea. I’m doing a play on Broadway and I can’t gain weight.” He pushed it towards her with so much disdain. I was mortified and covered my eyes with my hand.
She replied, clearly embarrassed, “I am so sorry, sir. I understand, let me get you your correct drink.”
As she scurried away, I thought two things to myself—Broadway? You mean off-off-off-Broadway? And how can I fuck someone I don’t even want to be friends with? What is wrong with me?
But here I was bent over and getting penetrated from behind by this Neanderthal. The shame starting to surface. I quickly forced that feeling down, closed my eyes, and tried to enjoy it. Feeling his balls hit my ass and hearing him grunt, the louder he was, the more power I felt and the wetter I got.
He gripped my butt with both hands so hard I squealed in sharp pain and then he came, of course, before I did. It always happened like that with these types of guys. I was addicted to an asshole that I didn’t even like and who couldn’t get me off. You would think I’d have left him a long time ago, but nothing an addict does makes any logical sense.
For someone who was so addicted to men and their attention, I have had so much bad sex. It was beyond mind-blowing for me to admit that out loud. Embarrassing, really! But from my conversations with women, most guys never wait for us ladies to get off.
Where did the art of lovemaking go?
This new generation of young men truly needs to take some classes or something to learn a technique or two. I blame it on porn. Especially now that there’s so much unrealistic fantasy produced porn available for free. It teaches men no techniques whatsoever, just plain ole male satisfaction. Makes me disgusted thinking about it.
But… I digress.
Back to the dirty Airbnb, where NYC just pulled out of my vagina with a grunt after completing his act—still, not a single word uttered.
I dazed across the room towards his open suitcase of audition outfits he brought for that pilot season while he strutted to the bathroom. My distaste started to surface once again.
Here I was just having sex with another actor in a stranger’s apartment. And he was an out-of-work actor, too, since his play had closed to not-so-raving reviews. He was now hitting the pavement as a man on the unemployment line, trying to get a job on a bad sitcom, which would probably never get picked up to series anyway. This happens so much in our business—the fantasy of getting saved financially by a single television show pilot was astonishing.
An actor’s life can be so hard. I get it. I’m in the exact same boat since my last job ended.
NYC always played the nerdy types—those roles were pretty much in every series these days. You might have even seen him in some commercials over the years. I think there was a dog food spot. Or was it McDonald’s?
The thing NYC really banked on the most was his proximity to real fame. It was his favorite pickup line—his brother was famous and successful. He definitely got a lot of ass from that, I’m sure. Who doesn’t want to fuck the brother of a famous guy? I even remember back to the first moment we met on that horror set. Every other sentence out of NYC’s mouth was about his brother’s acting process and how talent runs in his family. Ughh… That should have been a big red flag indicating the type of guy he was, but again, my attention-seeking addiction was blinding.
I tended to paint those red flags a bright green.
After NYC pulled out and left me, I sank down slowly to my knees on the dirty brown carpet after our rough intercourse. I felt bruises starting to form on the sides of my ass. He was pumping so damn hard that even the inner lining of my pussy was sore.
As I rubbed my butt to make the pain subside, I heard the shower turn on, and then the loudest fart ever.
It felt like I got the last bit of fantasy knocked out of me by that nasty breaking of wind. That really drove home the absurdity of my situation. His only words to me were when he yelled, “Just let yourself out. I have to get to my agent’s office for a callback in thirty minutes.”
All the feelings of emptiness hit simultaneously, as I sat there with my panties and fishnets around my ankles.
That was it. I was heading further and further towards my bottom.
I was sitting in front of this stained beige leather couch in a shitty Airbnb studio apartment in Koreatown, with this douchebag of a guy who I didn’t even respect. And it smelled like raw fish and kimchi.
And then there was this other guy, ATL, across town at his hotel or the airport, or God knows where he was at this point, wanting to love me and be with me forever, but I chose the douchebag with no job and a big dick. It was a nice dick, but the man attached to it sucked and didn’t even know how to use it.
I was wet in my panties, but utterly miserable and alone.
Something was seriously wrong with this picture. I ripped off my tights and dirty underwear. Pissed off, I threw them on top of the pile of his headshots.
I knew I would never want to put those undergarments back on again. I was disgusted and sick to my stomach. I wanted to crawl out of my skin.
I wondered if that’s how snakes feel when they shed their skin?
Without a goodbye, I quickly got out the door and made my way to the stairs.
The elevator was out of order, of course. This whole damn situation was a broken, hot mess. I desperately ran down six flights of stairs in four-inch heels, skipping steps in my flight to escape. What was I running from?
From the act, the shame, and the embarrassment!
I had to get away. I ran down the street panting, obviously in need of some real exercise. Jogging in stilettos past a row of homeless people was only mildly pathetic. Then I saw him, sitting on the corner—An older man covered in dirt with a sun-beaten tan on his face and a needle sticking out of his arm.
It struck me—I was no different.
We were both chasing the same high. He wanted to lose himself in a place that made his troubles irrelevant. But we had one difference. I was hiding behind my double life. He was out in the open with a dirty needle in his arm, allowing his failures to be seen.
But not me!
There I was, running down the street at 11:30 in the morning, having just gotten fucked by a wannabe actor who yells at servers, hates women, and lived in the shadow of his famous brother. My needle was a man’s penis and the attention I would get from it. But I was done getting high off of it.
It hit me hard, I had a problem. A big problem! I only knew one way to fix it.
I jumped in my car right before my meter ran out. There was a silver lining at that moment, no parking ticket. I would have owed a whopping $70 to the city of Los Angeles if I arrived one minute later. Thank God for that miracle.
I grabbed my phone and called the first person that jumped into my head.
No, not my therapist! Not my best friend! Not my mom! Nope!
That’s right, I called ATL.
In a state of hysteria, completely out of breath, the words poured out before I even had a chance to second guess them. “I love you, and I was stupid and not thinking. It only happened once—I promise. I will never do that again. He didn’t mean anything to me. I love you.”
“I love you too. I was so devastated. I want to work it out.” ATL says, breathing a heavy sigh of relief.
This calm came over me. I had my power back.
Thoughts reared their ugly head—I am still not happy. This was not enough for me anymore. Those reflections were so quick and fleeting. It was hard to hold onto anything rational.
“Come over!” I desperately demanded.
ATL took a moment of pause. I was holding my breath, waiting for him to answer. He finally told me, “I’m at the airport, but I’ll be there in an hour.”
I hung up with another lie, “You won’t regret it.”
I sped home and had just enough time for my typical whore’s bath. I threw off my dress, rushed hastily into the bathroom to clean my 3Ps—pussy, pits, and pooper. After spraying a monstrous amount of perfume all over my naked body, I quickly got dressed in ATL’s favorite tank top and sweater. ATL likes me casual and with no makeup. For me, no makeup was never an option. I loved makeup. It was the mask I wore to interact with the outside world. I even wore full makeup around my house. Plus, I have horrible dark circles under my eyes that need concealer, even with a full night’s sleep.
It’s never been easy for me to accept my imperfections.
ATL also liked the smell of my stinky pits. He loved it when I was sweaty. I know – it’s gross. I don’t understand it, I’m not a fan of that fetish, so I never really gave him what he desired. I cleaned myself up as best I could and tried to wash the raunchy sex off me.
Then, I waited. And…waited.
Two hours passed, I started to feel scared that he changed his mind. The feeling of abandonment began to rise, and then morphed into anger. I turned into a fearful, impatient child.
I started pacing my hallway and cursing his name like he was the one who had messed up—complete narcissism on my part.
The doorbell rang.
I reached the door, ready to give ATL a piece of my mind. I was in control of my destiny, and no one would keep me waiting.
I swung open the door and demanded, “Who do you think you are?”
He stood on the porch holding a bouquet of three dozen red roses and a bottle of my favorite Spumante.
ATL slowly got down on one knee, “We are true soulmates. You are the love of my life, Roxanne. We belong together. I will make you so happy from here until the end of time. Will you marry me?”
I froze—nothing came out of my mouth as I stared down at ATL on one knee. Then my mouth clenched in the form of a small tight smile, just like it does when a reporter on the red carpet asks me another preposterous question that I don’t know how to answer. Feeling slightly inconvenienced, but honestly the best emotion I can describe for both occasions is—AWKWARD.
ATL then declared, “I know it’s a weird time, but I forgive you, and I want to make it work. I also know it’s my fault, I was afraid to move out here. I shouldn’t expect you to wait for me to commit. So… I’m committing. I’ll move here, and we can buy a bigger house and start a family.” I saw all his sweetness I’d adored all those years since high school.
I smiled, as the word “Yes” fell out of my mouth.
The look of love and hope in ATL’s eyes caused me to feel the rush of that intoxicating warmth as it spread through my whole body.
ATL sprung off his knee with joy, “Oh my gosh. She said yes. I’m the luckiest man in the world.” He wrapped his arms around my waist, picked me up and squeezed me with all his might. It was like he’d won the lottery.
When he pulled back and kissed my lips, I felt myself melt into the fantasy of being his fiancée. I kissed him back with the same amount of gusto.
He set me down and stared passionately into my eyes—which always made me slightly uncomfortable, I might add.
He beamed with pride as he handed me the champagne and roses. He said, “Let me go get my bag.” He turned around to walk back to his ugly orange rental.
What started out as this warm feeling of happiness shifted—from the pit of my stomach a rush of energy shot up into my chest and the word “No” shot out of my lips.
That was the moment when my conscience finally reared its head and came into the light.
He stopped dead in his tracks. I could see the terror forming in his eyes.
I heard a small voice inside—You can’t do this to him anymore. It’s been ten years. He deserves better. Enough is enough. STOP NOW!
I looked at him with as much compassion and love I had ever felt for another human being. “No,” I stated again.
He stared at me, confused and hurt.
“I can’t do this anymore,” I explained quickly before my conscience disappeared. “I’m sorry. You don’t want to be with me. Truly! I’m so fucked up—you have no idea. I don’t know what is wrong with me. Please go home and find a girl who treats you better.”
He tried to protest, but I stopped him with the most hurtful thing I could think of to seal the fate of our fractured union. Here was this guy who was willing to put up with anything from me. I had to crush him once and for all to protect him from the monster inside me.
I looked at him with so much animosity, “I’ve been with four other guys while we’ve been together. So no, I will not marry you. You can’t fulfill me.”
I saw it hit. I watched ATL’s chest physically cave in.
Tears formed in his eyes, but for the first time since I was a little girl, I knew that I had done the right thing, even though it was so cruel. He had forgiven me for too many things. He thought he loved me more than my shortcomings, but I knew that declaration would be unforgivable. It was one of the most challenging moments of my life. I saved him from my messy self. For the first time, I was trying to be a good person.
“It’s not your fault. I can’t love you because I don’t know how to love,” I added softly under my breath. I had no idea where that truth came from. My soul?
I made a choice right then and there to stop—to take a break from men. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. But I had to change. I was going to kill someone, or they were going to kill me.
I told ATL, “I truly am sorry.”
I gently shut the door, grabbed a bag of Mother’s Circus Animal cookies and went to my bedroom. I stayed there for two days. I cried and ate all the junk food I had in my pantry. I watched seven seasons of The Great British Baking Championship.
The good news was, I was not using a penis to deaden my feelings. I was wallowing in my pain and treating it with food and Netflix. Not a grand cure, but it was a step up in the right direction.
That was the beginning of the end for me.
I knew with every fiber of my being that I had a massive problem. I needed help, and I wasn’t able to do it by myself. I was broken to my core.
I felt like I was jumping off a cliff without a net.