Betty and the Reluctant Heart

Like many of you, I have binged until I can’t binge anymore. I have found myself watching programmes that I wouldn’t have given a slither of a chance pre-the-dreaded-pox-upon-man-that-is-covid. 

Tonight I found myself watching Dirty John on Netflix (for those of you that are unfamiliar with the series, this is not the point where I explain to you what it is but tell you that it is not a show about sexual deviance in case the freaks who are reading got a little too excited and picked up their remotes). I started with the second season because I have always been intrigued with the curious case of Betty Broderick, the woman scorned (I don’t think there is a word in the dictionary that exists powerful enough to describe the emotion that propelled her) to murder her ex-husband and his second and younger wife (former secretary at the law practice that she helped him build). 

Now, I was not interested because I have a fascination with murderers (well, maybe I do because I watch true crime stories to lull me to sleep at night) but because throughout my life I have identified with the underdog, the loser and have been paralysed with the idea of success and great things happening to me. 

You may be struggling to understand how these two concepts are related and what the hell they have to do with Betty Broderick killing her ex-husband and his new wife in the 80’s whilst they slept…..

I think that Betty Broderick’s actions represent what could happen if I reach the pinnacle, success, brilliant career, beautiful family, house, husband, the dream sold on the back of shiny glossy magazines that we should all aspire to that I have always avoided. Let’s face it, I have dedicated half my blog content lamenting the fact that I have been single for ten years (I do this on social media too. I am sure some of my two-faced friends and acquaintances discuss this behind my back but suit you!). 

The truth is and let me clear my throat (fingers)…… I am not sure that I ever want to be in a relationship again. What if I meet the best guy on the planet, I am talking gorgeous, brown skinned man, socially conscious, emotionally and physically available, compatible in every way imaginable, my family loves him, we get married and then what? And then he cheats on me or leaves me and my world bottoms out and I have to pick myself and put the pieces together. Of. Me. 

The thought of this. Of this imaginary man. Leaving me. scares the tripe from belly. I have watched and felt and bled and cried seeing this. Feeling this pain. Not personally but close enough that I don’t think I have the gumption or nerve to weather this storm. 

Watching Dirty John episodes (I am allowing myself to digest this series slower than I normally would), I can draw parallels to many elements of my life and those I love. I can see why I have settled at work and metered the efforts I exert and not pursued some of the positions I KNOW I can deliver in because the only way to go from the top is to the very bottom and it is much more comfortable to remain obscurely in grey of the middle, unnoticed and safe. 

I am not condoning murdering two people, in their sleep, or otherwise. What I am saying is that I can understand the pain,  the dismissal, the disregard that takes a person. As an empath that gives her all to everything, I view Betty Broderick as a cautionary tale to guard myself, to mute my excitement (I am sure those of you who know me personally find it hard to believe that I hold back but believe me, I do), to keep something for myself.

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