I was jilted in 1975, but today I feel fine. It has taken me years to get over the damage to my self esteem. The feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. In my heart I just knew something was wrong with me and rather than be found out, I told friends that I had left him. My pride would not allow me to do his negative PR on my worthiness unless of course I could find a lawyer who would sue him. Oh, I tried, but he was from a famous wealthy family and because of a lawsuit against the French government filed by his mother, he suddenly had his own money. He was her illegitimate son. He could pay to be kept out of the press. His Wikipedia page is in French. He does not offer interviews. He is afraid of his past and that the truth about how he got his fortune would surface.
But enough about him. What did I do to believe in myself again?
After supporting him for five years by being a successful cover girl, I flew away from Paris, from him and from his bourgeois family, after he refused to answer this question, 'When are we getting married?" His mother had bought me the wedding dress the year before, When I watched Downton Abbey and one of the daughters is left at the altar, I recalled this night Claude rejected me.
I grabbed his teacup poodle and took the first flight out of Paris back to our apartment in New York. I would begin a new life. Unless, of course, he decided to set a wedding date. He played this game for about five years. Keeping my heart hanging. While I drank on. Yes, I had a drinking problem and realized in 1980 that I was an alcoholic. My drinking had started before my engagement to him, but it escalated to the point of dangerous behavior in 1980. When my therapist saw my bruises, she said, "Carole, you are an alcoholic." I was now in a relationship with a man who would beat me up and after being jilted, I felt I deserved this abuse. Who was I? A reject of men. The only solution was to attract very famous men to prove to the world and to myself that I was worthy after all.
But finding my worth in men was not the answer. I took writing classes UCLA, NYU, Columbia and began to write about my life. To try to make sense of it. Writing brought understanding. Writing brought me respect. Self respect. Peace.
Today I have published my third memoir. It is called Picasso's Ghost because that is what I felt like during this struggle to gain self worth -- a ghost. No, it wasn't Pablo Picasso who jilted me. It was his son, Claude.
Finally I am grateful for having been jilted. Claude, who had trouble finding his identity, helped me to find my own identity. One as a writer. Today I teach writing at Rosemont College and Temple University and help people of all ages to value their experiences above all else. To write about their lives. Self discovery is the path towards forgiveness and serenity.
When I now think about my times with Claude, I realize how much happier I am today and how much I have to be grateful for. And that includes a new teacup poodle. My own.