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Insecurities and Meltdowns

4 May

My insecurities got the best of me the other day. Missing M horribly, crying nonstop, panicking about everything and anything. I finally cracked and went berserk on D. Just like I had told myself I wouldn’t.

If he only says I love you in response to me saying it, how can I be sure he really means it? I was going nuts imagining how he’d be off soon enough leaving me, alone once again, surprised and insulted, unloved for months without having suspected.

I was sobbing hysterically when I finally decided to text him. It was one of those things you don’t think through, and you kind of know that if you did – you’d stop. But it was a mistake I wanted to make, moreover, it felt like something I needed to do, so badly that it would be a mistake not to.

I was straightforward. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything, but at least there was no beating around the bush. He responded clearly: He loved me. He thought I was incredible. I gave him things that had been missing from his life for years. He wished he could say something more to convince me that that’s how he felt.

I took a screenshot. I would have to reread this message in the future. I said: Thank you. I’ll try to remember that.

Then he came over and we had sex and went to the Robbie Williams concert which was awesome. By the time we got back home, it felt like things had gone back to normal between us, and I thought to myself, it’s not such a high price to pay, my emotional meltdowns, to be with me. I’m kind of a catch.

Relationship Allergies

8 Mar

Yesterday was Saturday, and by chance, D and I were both free in the afternoon. We’ve been seeing each other for almost 4 months and our dates have almost always been nightly encounters, in my living room after my Boy went to bed, or on my night off, out at the movies, having dinner, or under the covers, in and out of sexy outfits, or watching a movie curled up with a cup of whiskey tea.

We both have kids, we both have jobs, we both have very limited time to spend with each other. He puts in an extra shift on Saturday to make ends meet, and we have to say goodbye at 6 a.m. on the only morning that I can sleep in. That’s just the way it is for us, and it’s been fine so far.

Not to mention my new rule of no sleepovers when my Boy is home. For the last two months I’ve been pushing it, allowing myself to fall asleep in his arms and waking up at 5 a.m. to sneak him out of the house before my Boy awakens. But last week, he had bad dreams, and came into my room crying at 3 a.m. I jumped out of bed and picked him up. “It’s OK sweetie,” I soothed him and myself, as I put him back in his bed. He didn’t see D, it was dark and he was half asleep but it freaked me out enough to wake D up and send him home right then and there.

So when we found out we would have a free afternoon together, we were pretty excited. I had all kinds of ideas for plans. We could go to the beach, or to the marina to walk by the water and sip beer and look at the yachts. Or we could catch a movie, or get sushi, or try to find an art exhibition to see. “I have an idea too,” D said, and since I tend to be bossy, and I’m working on it, I went with the flow.

D wanted us to go to the park for a long walk. It was nice to walk with him, in the cool breeze by the little lake with the ducks swimming about and the toads croaking loudly and mosquitoes biting my everything. After our walk we went to the grocery store to buy vegetables, and that’s when I started feeling weird. We got lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes, a red onion, olives and feta cheese for a spectacular salad. D picked out the beers. We left the store and at the car he handed me the keys which he’d been keeping in his pocket for me, and I handed him the groceries to hold while I opened the car door. As we entered the car I felt a familiar yet distant feeling in my gut, a certain niceness, a plainness, a just-another-Saturday-eveningness, buying groceries and making a salad. It was odd.

We got home, made dinner and sat down to eat and watch a movie. I was enjoying the quiet comfort of being together with no expectations. But I wasn’t able to completely relax. My body was reacting to something, sending warning signals up from my feet to my knees and into my gut, making me a little short of breath. This is bad. The last person I shared such intimacy with ended up destroying me. Temporarily at least. I don’t want this. I don’t need this. A walk in the park! Salad! And he sits there on the sofa, and you wouldn’t believe it, scratches his scrotum right in front of me. No. I want to go back to nightly sex sessions and dark movie theaters and drunken silliness. I was so freaked out that I didn’t take my hands off him for the rest of the night, making up for a moment of intimacy with wild sex, until he basically told me he was exhausted and needed a break.

I had relationship allergies yesterday. I had a bad reaction to a moment of closeness that I used to crave. My favorite times with BD were evenings like this one, strolling in the park and making a salad. I used to love going to the supermarket with him. Having him hold the bag as I opened up the car door. I don’t know if I can do that again though. And maybe it’s a good thing that we’re so goddamn busy. It’ll be ages before we have an afternoon like this again.

A Beautiful Cup of Sun and a Moment of OK

7 Mar

Some things I wanted to tell you, M:

Well, first, D told me he loved me, and since then things have been pretty sweet with us. We haven’t said it again, but we’ve been much closer, acting more like a couple, having fun and sex, and holding each other, and saying stuff like I’m crazy about you and basically enjoying one another. We have these inside jokes going on now, that I know you’d appreciate. And he’s totally up for watching cheesy late 80’s – early 90’s romantic comedies with me and judging everyone but secretly enjoying them. We had a ball with Mystic Pizza and we watched Groundhog’s Day last week, which I’m sure you’d approve of. In the middle of the movie he actually said, “They don’t make movies like this anymore”.

Other than that, I wanted to tell you that we’re going to Santorini in the spring! J, E, G and me. We’ve already bought tickets and everything. End of April. And it’s going to be amazing. My birthday comes up before that, and this year I’ve decided to throw a party, with drinks, music and dancing.  Remember that year, when you first moved to the city, you got all your friends together at a small bar downtown and got really shitfaced? You repeated that tradition in the years to come but that first time was so much fun.

This morning it was hot, way hotter than it should be this time of year and I wore a new skirt I got at that boutique you like, the one I can never go into without spending a fortune because everything is so beautiful. It’s green with white polka dots and little brown-goldish feathers. I wore it with black tights and a black tank top and it looked awesome. I went into town to meet J for coffee at a place that opened up rather recently, when you weren’t drinking much coffee anymore. I love that place. You enter it and are immediately overwhelmed with a craving for the warmth and comfort of a morning’s first cup, and it makes no difference if it’s actually your third.

I sat there with J and we chatted. She told me about a new guy she started to chat with online. As I looked at her I saw a giddiness that I hadn’t seen in a very long time and I asked myself if it’s been that long since we’ve been happy that we might not recognize it when we felt it again. But I totally recognized it. A spark of beautiful around-the-cornerness, anticipation of good things that may be coming. Obviously, shitty things will always be coming too. But I think we know now to look for the good, we’ve learned that we need to embrace it – NOW – because who knows what will happen tomorrow.

As I sat there in the sun, with J, drinking coffee, munching on an oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookie, I felt it. The sun, the warmth, the air standing still, my shoulders and feet bare in my tank top and flip-flops, the ice cream parlor nearby, the people riding their bikes, J’s smile, it felt like it was OK somehow. My first instinct was to jump up and say that it isn’t, defending your memory means I need to grieve you, still and forever.

But no. Instead here I am, telling you about the things that are good, the stuff that works out. I promised you we’d be alright, and I wanted you to know that we sat in the sun and smiled and drank coffee today, talking about boys, planning a party and a trip to Santorini.

It’s been 49 days without you. I miss you so much. Horribly, terribly, devastatingly, enormously, outrageously. I will always miss you. It surprises me that despite that, I am able to allow a glimpse of lightheartedness in, through my exposed toes, in desperate need of a pedicure, through my bare shoulders, soaking up the sun. It wasn’t escapism this morning with J, it was simply good.

30 Days, Meltdown, Love and Not Pregnant

20 Feb

I haven’t written for a while as things have been so hectic and I needed some time to process. So, we’ll take it by chronological order.

Day 30 was around the corner and we would be going to the cemetery to see the tombstone, followed by eating Indian and watching Life of Brian as she had specifically requested. The weekend before, J, E and I decided to go up North and basically do nothing in an awesome wooden cabin for 24 hours. I was a nervous wreck, and figured the rest would do me good, but rather than getting excited about the road trip, I was having another where-is-this-going meltdown about D.

Three months since we’d started dating, and I had already told him I loved him, and he hadn’t said it back. While I told myself I should give it time, I was beginning to wonder if, every time he says “this was fun” after sex, he actually means that fun is all that this can be. And that made me draw back to the extent that when I slipped and fell in the shower a couple of weeks ago and actually thought I had broken my arm (which thankfully I didn’t) I didn’t want him to come over, I preferred to be home alone than to see him. Because when you’re down, you only really want to be around people who love you. Not people who just think you’re fun.

So, this mini road trip would be just what I needed. A break from everything, with two of my favorite people by my side, people with whom love is simply not a question. And the trip gave me the guts to have the “where is this going” chat with D, knowing that if the talk went horribly and I felt like shit after, I’d have my friends there to remind me of what was really important. Oh, and it happened to be valentine’s weekend too. Coincidence?

Thursday arrived, the night before the trip, and D came over after I had put my boy down. I put on a dress, and got some Kasteel Rouge and cheese, and basically made sure everything was pretty. He came in and asked what the occasion was and I just gave him a kiss and smiled. And then as we were sitting down to munch and drink I dropped the bomb on him and said we needed to talk. He smiled, and said he’d figured. I said, I needed to know if this was going anywhere. And he asked, going where? I said that he knew I didn’t want to get married again, and that I wasn’t even sure I ever wanted to live with someone again, but that I was looking for companionship, for love, for more that just “fun”.

He said: “It’s still too soon for me to know where this is going. I know that you’re incredible and beautiful, and I’m attracted to you, and I love you, and this is fun, and I want it to continue, and I love you. I don’t know where –”

“Shut up, you’re ruining it.” I interrupted him and we kissed. “I didn’t know you loved me.”

He said, “Of course I love you.” And I wasn’t sure why he thought it was so obvious if he hadn’t said it to me before, but I took it without judgment and allowed myself to feel happy, relived and comforted.

Then I was very, very happy for 72 hours, which included the post-I-love-you-sex, and the he-loves-me-text to my friends, and the amazing 24 hours in a wooden cabin, watching Magic Mikw and drinking hot wine and unwinding with my friends.

I felt like I could rest, and resting felt good. During the whole time up North I didn’t think about day 30 or the cemetery or anything sad for that matter. I remembered M as I do all the time, but not in a bad way, not in a sad way either, more like in a it-just-feels-good-to-think-about-her way. Then the weekend was over and it was time to get back to reality.

Sunday was day 29, and it dawned on me that I would have to go to the cemetery and see the tombstone, and I felt this horrible, cold heavy feeling in my gut. I had a shitty day at work and my day was only saved by hanging out with my boy at home, cooking and doing puzzles and not thinking about tomorrow.

And then it was tomorrow.

I went to work, but I was only there physically.

And then I was off work and I stopped at the mall to buy underwear, which I needed desperately, in hopes that doing something useful would make me feel better, and it did, even though just a very little bit.

And then I was there, at the entrance. I went in. I hugged M’s dad who was very practical about things in his trunk that belonged to M, that he wanted us friends to have a look at. We went to see the tombstone, which was beautiful and unique and I think she would have liked it. Words were said, none of which really represented what M was to me. Her family spoke. They said some religious stuff that I couldn’t connect to and it was pretty much unbearable to be there. I just wanted to leave. Then A spoke, and said something funny about imagining M lying in bed with her eyes closed, waiting for us to leave, assuming she’s gone, so she could finally rest. He imagined her then opening her eyes as the door closed, and rolling them, as if to say, I thought they’d never leave. Everybody laughed and my laughter turned into uncontrollable sobbing. Because it was the way I will always remember her, cynical and humorous.

The Indian food was delicious but didn’t fill the void, and I made a video of everyone singing “always look at the bright side of life” at the end of the movie. Then I went home, and I felt relief that it was over. On Tuesday, D came over, and we ate my famous curry and we drank some beer and had sex and it was good. And it’s been better since.

What I realized yesterday though, was that in all this turmoil, I hadn’t realized I was 9 days late with my period. So, I took a test. And I’m not pregnant. Which is very, very good news.

That was a recap of the last couple of weeks, eventful, yeah, difficult, yeah, but you know what? I think the bottom line of the whole think is how much meaning and love I have in my life. It hurts, obviously, and it also comforts and soothes me. It’s awesome and it’s shitty all at the same time and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The C Word: Compassion, not Cunt.

26 Dec

At 16:55 on Wednesday I arrived at daycare, just in time to pick up my boy. But he wasn’t there. And that’s because my mother had gotten confused, picked him up and took him to his dad’s, which she was supposed to do on Thursday. BD rose to the occasion, thankfully, left work and took our son to his apartment. So I had a spontanious free night, and I spent it working, doing laundry, cooking, learning new Russian phrases, and inviting D to spend the night with me, when he got off work at midnight.

But a couple of hours into my sudden freedom, I became extremely gloomy. It was nothing specific, it was the whole of it, this thing called life, which sometimes presents a bit more of a challenge than I feel I can handle. I stared into nothing for about half an hour. There was something sharp pinching me in my gut, hurting me physically, whispering all sorts of forgotten phrases into my ear: you’ll never get through this; you’re not strong enough; you’re not good enough; you don’t deserve any better; you’ve made too many mistakes which cannot be corrected and finally, the untilmate you’ll die an old spinster (and you’re allergic to cats too, you’ll make a horrible cat lady).

Snap out of it! I imagined myself slapping me accross the face.

And then something wonderful happened, something that made me realize how much I’d evolved in the last year. I felt compassion towards myself, and for once, I was able to be kind to myself. It is, objectively, a hard time for me, I thought. And I am entitled to my ups and downs. I’ve been through bad times, and I always get through. I’m stronger than I give myself credit for, but even the strongest have moments of weekness.

The first thing I did, was text my principle and tell him I wasn’t feeling well and needed to take the morning off the following day. I never miss work if I can help it. I’m the kind of teacher who comes to school with a stomach flu and infects everyone because she’s too much of a workaholic and a control freak to stay at home and let a sub teach her class. But this was neccessary. I took a long hot shower, wore comfy pajamas and made myself tea. And already, my mood had begun to improve.

Then I texted D: Hey, I know we’d said you’d come over tonight. But I just wanted to give you a heads up that I’ve been walking around with a dark cloud hovering over my head all day. I’d love to see you, but don’t bet on me being too much fun tonight. He texted back immediately: Of course I’m coming. You don’t have to be or do anything. I’ll just come give you a hug, and if you want, I’ll stay. Then he added: You should go to sleep, I’ll wake you when I get there.

And that’s what I did. I fell asleep at once. And when I woke up he was knocking on the door. He came in and hugged me. We stood there for a long time, holding each other. Then he stripped down to his T and boxers and pulled me into bed. There was no sex, just hugging and chatting, and kissing for a long time, after which we both fell asleep.

The extent to which I felt comforted, got me thinking about compassion. It’s easy for me to feel compassion towards my son. Everything is always forgiven and forgotten. He will forever be loved and contained. The other day though, my mother began crying in the middle of a conversation we were having and I found myself telling her off: “You can’t cry now. This is MY thing. You have no right to cry about this. You’re supposed to strong for me.” (Not me at my most compassionate, clearly.) I don’t know why I couldn’t show my mother the same compassion that I show my son every day, even when he is throwing cerial at me because it’s not the right kind, or the right bowl or the right spoon. I should have been kinder to my mom.

D may not say I love you, but he is able to show compassion towards me, to be comforting and to not expect anything of me when I’ve got nothing to give. It’s not the L word, but it has weight.

More remarkably, I’ve learned this week that I have he ability to be compassionate towards myself. To put judgment asside and be kind to myself at times like this, when kindness is all that is really neccessary.