Put down the Holiday cookie and pick up the Bubbly, it’s 2019, yo.
On the surface, last year might seem to have been rather uneventful: I didn’t score one solitary kiss (insert sad face). I didn’t change jobs or move. I didn’t travel anywhere new or particularly exciting. Beyond the surface though, while 2017 was a year of destruction, 2018 concludes a year of healing.
So, what does 2019 have in store?
Growth. That’s what. How do I know? Because I will make it so…
It would have been easy to rush back to Seattle after the breakup of 2017 (Gads, has it really been that long?). I have a remarkably sensitive fight or flight instinct (hello, I usually faint), but I recognized on some level that running away from the situation was not the “adult” thing to do at the wise age of 43. And so, I stayed.
After a summer of shacking up with friends, I finally found a lovely condo for rent – it was perfect for me – a starting block for building a new life. I hesitated to unpack because memories; it took a solid 9 months before I really started to make the space my own by putting things on the wall and otherwise decorating. Of course, now I’m rather obsessed with decor and figure I should have been an Interior Designer, even my Myers-Briggs agrees! I love keeping my little space tidy and welcoming; no more hoarding, I toss trinkets and trash away without a second thought. Turns out, I’m a bit of a minimalist, preferring to live wholly within my means.
The house I shared with Love Bomb was a metaphor for the disrepair in our relationship. Unfinished and never-started projects overwhelmed us – a missing wall here, an unfinished wall there, peeling tiles, crumbling driveway, a missing section of cabinetry in the kitchen, wonky gates, a falling-down shed, uh, make that two falling-down sheds, mold and bugs. We were, for lack of a better term, STUCK. We both needed to get out from under that house, but we couldn’t do it together. It’s still hard to believe that Love Bomb just walked away from it after all those many years, but I suppose she needed to leave as much as I did. Her leaving was financial. Mine was, well, mine was because I was kicked out asked to leave, but also because I could not heal or grow in that house as it fell apart all around me. No one could.
2018, you taught me how to be kind to myself and to always be honest with myself. You taught me how to be alone. You taught me that staying in one place when all you want to do is run is cathartic, grounding, and necessary. And now, still raw from all that healing, I look forward to 2019. Here are some things on the agenda:
Libby’s wedding, September.
I’ve signed up for Foster Care classes – the human variety – and hope to take all 13 courses by year’s end. Bring me a baby.
I’m considering purchasing a condo or duplex. Prices are already rising with Amazon’s pending arrival, so now is a good time to invest. Perhaps a 2-bedroom so there’s room for a kiddo, should one arrive at my door.
I’d like to apply for Tuft’s MS in Animals and Public Policy (again), but I’m not sure THIS is the year. I can/should study for the GRE in the meantime.
A move out of state isn’t out of the question if the right opportunity were to arise. (Part of me still yearns to leave.)
Non-dairy vegetarianism. Ok, I can admit that I’m unlikely to ever give up my beloved half & half, but other than that, I look forward to continuing my focus on a more humane lifestyle. Got a good cream substitute? Let me know in the comments.
2019, I look forward to all the promise you hold. Can we arrange for a kiss in 2019?
I have been struggling with this blog for weeks months. Both this entry, and the whole concept of maintaining a blog.
I mean, what’s the point? What is this? What am I doing here? Is this blog my modern equivalent to writing in a diary or journal, like I’ve done since I was 6? If so, why not leave it private? Is it an opportunity to hone writing skills while also venting and problem solving? (I mean, what else is journaling but a channel to vent and solve?) Also, is public blogging attention-seeking? Why? Or, why not? There may be a quiz at the conclusion of this blog…
It’s sotempting to lay it all out there, every excruciating and rather nauseating detail – if you’re familiar with my previous blog (now set to “Private”, sorry, but I imagine I’ll republish a few of them as I go), you already know some of the nitty-gritty. I dohave something to prove. But this blog won’t be about proof, blame, or guilt. This blog is just me adjusting to life as a single woman.
Will there be some juicy detail here and there? Probably. Should you “follow”? Only if you’re prepared to see some of the worst of Yours Truly. But also, maybe some of the best.. because yes, this is my modern version of journaling. I have nothing to hide. I’m a 43 year old woman who’s lived a little and if there’s any doubt that you might be squeamish, best turn away now – I’m about to get all sorts of vulnerable up in here.
My 19-year relationship fell apart last year. It was my fault. But then, it was her fault. I spent nearly half my life with one person, and then (very) suddenly, she was gone. Not dead, but gone just the same. It was completely and utterly devastating, and sometimes it still is, BUT it’s getting better. I’ve read that it should take one month per year in the relationship to really “get over” that relationship after it ends. In that case, I’ve only got about 3 months to go! Woop! Of course, everyone does it differently, but I do believe that grieving the loss of a long relationship is normal. It’s to be expected. My response has also been normal. And finally, I’m okay.
I’m okay. For the first time in a long time, I feel okay! Here’s the thing: I was terribly, horribly depressed for a very long time. Different from wanting to end it all, this depression was subtle, lazy, and complacent. But it was there, lingering behind every peppy Facebook post, every half-hearted smile, every snarky glare – sadness to the very core. Every now and then, I’d find myself at the receiving end of an equally nasty glance in return. I saw the ugly in myself like a reflection.
I avoided professional psychiatric help for a long time in large part due to a history of misdiagnoses in my 20’s which led to taking a mess of meds that were all sorts of wrong for me. I knew on some level that I needed a “tweak” once I entered my 40’s – I was using substances to self-medicate and I struggled to accomplish day-to-day activities and simple chores. I didn’t recognize the depth of my lack of interest, hope, or happiness, nor did I contemplate an escape (well, not often), I just kept plugging along as I always had.
My ex, who, in the interest of privacy, I refer to as “Love Bomb” for the purpose of this blog, recognized my depression to some degree, but was never really able to support my efforts to get better. Discussions about it always came down to her saying, “I’m just trying to make you seeeee…” which drove me absolutely bonkers. I grew tired and resentful of accusations pointing the finger at all the things I was doing wrong, from managing my depression to filling the dishwasher.
What I needed was a cheerleader, not a coach or a boss (she’s very good at being someone’s boss)! I needed Love Bomb to offer to be with me as I made the call for an appointment or perhaps even drive me there .. or to the pharmacy. I needed for her to sit quietly with me when I was struggling without providing any insight or instruction. I needed her to be honest with me about my substance abuse, and NOT pacify me with it in an effort to avoid my shit mood when I went without. Furthermore, she should have told me that we couldn’t afford it! (I was woefully uninvolved with our finances.) I needed for Love Bomb to put aside her irritation with ‘Sober Mazie” and get real about solving some of the issues that were affecting us, like finances, a crumbling home, aging parents, depression, anxiety, and unhealthy coping strategies. But she didn’t want to do any of that.. She didn’t want to deal with me or my depression or anxiety anymore.. She didn’t want to endure a recovery.. “I just wanna have fun”, she said. 19 years, down the drain in the interest of fun – for one of us.
Meanwhile, I fell apart.
Fast forward >>> it’s been a bit over a year since 1. the breakup; and 2. I sought help for my depression. I feel both pleased with my recovery and saddened that I didn’t recognize it or seek treatment sooner. Who knows what the future might have looked like had I acknowledged my depression and worked to feel better, sooner.
And maybe that’s the moral of this story … feel better, sooner.
Depression is a muthafucker and if you’re affected, I want you to know that I am here to gently encourage you to seek help, whether that involves meds, or not. I can recommend both psychiatrists and therapists and then I’ll help you dial the phone. I’ll pick up your prescriptions for you, if you need me to. I promise never to judge or direct you when what you really need is a simple, kind ear. If you deal with substance issues, well, welcome to the club – I am far from perfect, but I can certainly empathize, and we can work though our cravings together.
I tell my story because I’m searching for some way to make sense of what happened to my relationship … and to me. I tell my story because each time I do, it brings a new clarity to a ridiculously complicated situation. I tell my story because each chapter is mine, but sometimes I share…
Right now, I am working on myself and writing my own chapters, for a change. It’s a humbling place to be at 43, but it’s not the end of the world. I love the little life I’ve created for myself, even when I’m lonely. And yes, I am lonely sometimes, but that’s okay .. it’s okay to feel lonely, work through it, and come out the other side a stronger you. Are you loving the life you’ve made for yourself? Isn’t it time you did?
It’s during really hard times that I journal. It I think that’s unfortunate. The good stuff is worthy of journalling, but it’s mostly when my heart is aching and full of doubt that I find myself needing a creative outlet. And so, here we are again.
That’s all I’ve used this blog for anyway … a timestamped on-line journal without the moving boxes full of time-stained pages and grammar mistakes. It’s the being public vs. private concept that still perplexes me. How is this any different from writing a song? Alanis Morisette, Adele, Melissa Etheridge, Taylor Swift – all examples of women who have been forthcoming about grief, pain and loss and put it all out there without regard for, “what will people think?”
A way to practice that pen on paper “creative outlet”. Blogging gives me a reason to formulate actual thoughts with actual words, rather than my old fashioned technique of grinding ink into bold letters on of 100 pages of a drugstore 1-Subject spiral-notebook, accented with bold arrows and exciting exclamation points anytime an “ah ha” moment emerged… er, any time I made a meaningful discovery or connection in my entry.. Someone out there might READ this … and so, I try to make it coherent, at the very least. Whether or not I’m being reasonable at any given time may be up for debate, but for NOW, I will archive my older MazieCakes entries. I am turning a new page…
The unfortunate catalyst for this entry and change of motivation is… I lost my sweet boy, Malachi, yesterday morning. My boy. My main man. My Señor, my good boy, the dude, my Malachi passed away in my arms at about 7:10am on Thursday, June 28.
I suppose, looking back, he hadn’t been quite right the whole month of May. I noticed his appetite was off upon my return from a trip to Boston in late May. (My sister got her Master’s, y’all!) I performed my usual hospice foster techniques, with the knowledge that he’d been an old man for a long time. My purpose was to offer him comfort, and so did’t hesitate to cook up fresh chicken or even mini-steaks when the time seemed right. I offered different brands, flavors, and consistencies lined up in shallow dishes (because he had an overbite) for his approval. I gave him fluids when he seemed sticky, I carried him down the hall and out to the courtyard to go potty, I forced him to eat a rice slurry I whipped up in the mini food processor so he’d have something on his tummy for his meds, and my boy, my boy accepted his bland syringe-fuls trustingly, and then, he even let me clean his face, afterward.
Long story short, my boy had cancer, pancreas/liver variety, we only had a little more time together.
It’s not that I can’t keep a secret … I absolutelyusually can … but when it comes to Love Bomb and her Aussie kitten, I admit, I struggle to keep things contained. I’m quick to express my feelings of hurt and anger, firing off spicy messages, usually via text. The feelings race in so hot, so miffed, so painful, sometimes I just can’t help myself.
I’ve been sitting on some information for a few days now that ohhhhh man, I want to throw out there to SOMEONE, but I’ve managed to it keep it to myself.
Is that progress? Is that growth?
Reaching out has never actually gotten me anywhere close to what I hope for in return: some semblance of remorse, guilt, or sorrow for the way she left me / set me up / sabotaged / replaced / and kicked me out of my home. Usually she just ignores me or complains that I talk to her like shit. Yeah. Yeah, I do. Because she treats me like shit.
Regardless of their engagement status, Love Bomb and her New Girl have been wearing matchy-matchy rings, from what I can tell, since about November. How can I tell? I looked. I used to look via New Girl’s public Instagram account. Interestingly, she’d go private for a while and then, upon receipt of flowers or a love note, suddenly she’d be public again. She did it to hurt me, as if I wasn’t suffering enough.
And then, in December, for whatever reason, she was gone. Maybe she found something better to do than show off for me, since she’s the one whose already “won”; since she’s the one who has a relationship to immerse in. She, and someone else I used to know. Even their “baby’s” profile (their breeder-bought *messofabreed* dog) was hidden from me. K, byeeeeee!
It was around Easter when my curiosity piqued again. I found myself a-googlin’ on a (rare) slow spring afternoon at work. I checked PWCo. real estate records to see if the house was foreclosed yet. I perused the public record of Love Bomb’s second bankruptcy progress. I scoffed at New Girl’s traffic tickets. And then, there it was … an Instagram page with a familiar pair of twatwaffles, publicaf, right there on what’s called an “Instagram Viewer”. Who knew?! It was as if some greater power plopped the site right in my lap, as I’ve never been able to pull up the same search result, since. But there it was, and really, I did not have to look all that hard to find it.
There it was, mixed among weight loss and Zulilly ads, their perfectly picturesque existence, “spoilt” and “thoroughly loved”, living their “favourite” lives. My dogs. My cats. My fish. My old blankets and dog beds. Trinkets that used to decorate my walls and plants that used to hang from my ceiling. A mess of dusty crap, cords, and boxes that used to litter my home.
I try not to check in too often. I recognize that it just makes me upset. Friends who used to show me Facebook happenings have stopped, thanks to my near-breakdown about the engagement announcement(s). They remind me that social media is not real life, and assure me that things are never quite as they seem on social media, particularly when they seem perfect.
But wait. Lets back up just a little bit , back to that whole engagement thing that sent me on a dizzying spiral to Miserytown a few weeks ago. So, that was an example of one of those times that I let my emotions get ahead of me and lashed out at Love Bomb. I wanted to know why she wouldn’t tell me herself, after allll that time we shared, it seemed like the least she could do was tell me in person, and not allow me find out via social media. (Rude.) I expressed my displeasureraged ferociously regarding Kevin’s description of a “Dog’s Breakfast” life with me. And then, I tried to reason with her, smooth things over with a pic of my most recent foster kittens that she missed seeing by not coming upstairs to drop off the tent. Finally, I asked the following:
“It might soothe my heart if you could assure me that the bands you wear with your rings aren’t either of the ones you and I shared on the same finger.”
“I still wear my mom’s. But that’s it.”
And I fucking believed her.
Not two weeks later, I popped on over to that Instagram Viewer just to, you know, torture myself. And guess what? I think this little collage really says it all…
Holy fucking god damn shitballs, you fucking lying bitch, I fucking hate you. Is that clear? Not only have you placed the ring that I wore for years and years and YEARS on your New Girls’ ring finger, but then you bold-faced lied about it! I don’t know which is worse!
And why… why just 2 weeks later? Am I assuming too much? Are you out there, New Girl? Are you showing off?
Remember a couple of posts ago, I mentioned that there really isn’t a song I can think of that doesn’t remind me of the years I spent with Love Bomb? I revealed this tidbit of solitary sadness in an email I sent to Love Bomb a couple of weeks ago – I was originally asking for the tent (she got the TV, both kayaks, the furniture, the Chow-Chow cash cow … so spare me the tent, eh?) and got a little carried away. It happens. I threw it out there that I couldn’t listen to Melissa Etheridge, Indigo Girls, Steely Dan, America, Rush, or damn near every song we ever played on Band Hero, without feeling sick to my stomach – memories of road trips and breezy, open-window spring cleaning with the CD changer set to random. At first, these songs instinctively elicit an easy smile, but then reality bubbles over and I’m reminded that the music that used to bring me joy, now only delivers sorrow.
The good news. I got the tent.
Just over a week later, I was approached by a friend who, in a kind and loving way, approached me with a Facebook post she thought I deserved to know about.
Love Bomb got engaged.
There, on her wall, was a long, self-inflated, rather incoherent congratulatory post from Kevin (who’s name I don’t bother to change here). Call it a coincidence or irony, but the engagement gift presented to the happy couple — tickets to a Melissa Etheridge concert. And not just tickets, but VIP backstage passes to the tune of $275, each. In typical Kevin fashion, he made sure that everyone could see exactly how much he spent, because that’s what Mr. Moneybags does. Besides, Love Bomb can be bought, so that works out for both of them.
I hope you spend the whole evening, every fucking song reminded of me, Love Bomb.
The kicker though, the real kick in the ass was Kevin’s explanation of Love Bomb’s existence before New Girl replaced me. “[Love Bomb’s] life was a real Dog Breakfast till you came into it”, he wrote. On her wall. For everyone to see. On an engagement post (weird), not even a year into our demise. Dog Breakfast. Wow.
It’s not lost upon me that the phrase is Aussie slang, and perhaps it had just as much to do with Love Bomb’s history (despite continued tolerance of) with the Master Manipulator, an overprotective mother, or her financial issues (more of an issue now than ever, btw) but I know … I know that it was about me. So revolting, only a dog would approach it.
Nailed with that triple-whammy,
I put on my big girl pants and carried on without a care – these people are gross and not worth it. I melted into a puddle of tears, had to leave work early, and spent the next two days in bed.
A number of friends reached out to me upon seeing the post to ask if I was okay and to apologize for Kevin’s remarks on his behalf. It’s funny how you don’t really realize you’re associating with a bully until they’re bullying you. And it’s funny that Kevin claims to be an anti-bullying advocate despite 9-pages worth of absolutely maniacal text messages at 1:30am, sent from someone else’s phone since I had to block his, but claims that I was the one harassing him… The guy who instructed me to “go fuck yourself” when I admitted I was flirting with suicide last summer. The guy who didn’t get enough attention, so he blocked both Love Bomb and I, but soon found it possible to forgive her, while concluding that that I, I am a Dog’s Breakfast. Perhaps I bruised his tiny feelings when I suggested he could rot in hell, because what kind of asshole (bully) tells someone, anyone, to go fuck themselves upon reaching out at their most vulnerable. I have an actual reason to be hurt and angry. He’s just holding a childish grudge.
It’s taken a solid two weeks to recover from the triple-whammy.
I do feel a bit of solace in the knowledge that Love Bomb and New Girl are coming across as … ridiculous. Matchy-matchy rings 6 months in, engaged on their first anniversary, which falls 5 weeks prior to anniversary of our break-up. This being New Girls’ third engagement/marriage – damn gurl, what’s the rush / why the urgency to exchange meaningless vows (evidence-based on divorce history) with yet another suitor? They’ve jumped into everything so quickly, it makes you say, “that’ll never last” out loud. Maybe that’s true, or maybe it’s not, but believe me when I say that sticking it out in an effort to “prove them wrong” is a waste of everyone’s time. I would know.
I’m not wasting any more time. I am changing and growing every single day. Yes, I am. I didn’t get a choice in the matter. Because it was never up to me.
Love Bomb and New Girl can go about their business of rushing to repeat the same old shit, jumping from one relationship to the next.
Meanwhile, I’ll be over here living my best, most authentic life, not hopping on top the first willing cohort to approach. Likewise, second, third, or forth – I’ve been on several dates recently with some really nice people, but my bar is held high, and I won’t be lowering it just so I don’t have to be alone. I don’t need anyone to make me happy or whole, I’m doing it for myself.
Is it easy? No. Do I slip up now and then? Yep. Am I worth it?
Yes, I am.
In these days and these hours of fury When the darkness and answers are thin Lovers come and check out in a hurry Shallow and hollow again Come lay your body beside me To dream to sleep with the lamb To the question your eyes seem to send
Am I your passion your promise your end I say I am Yes I am Your passion your promise your end Yes I am
Barring divine intervention There is nothing between you and I And if I carelessly forgot to mention Your body your power can sanctify Come feed your hunger your thirst Lay it down the beast will die You can question my heart once again
Am I your passion your promise your end I say I am Yes I am Your passion your promise your end Yes I am
I will stand firm in the tempest I will ride destiny’s trail To believe when the truth comes up empty To hold and respect without fail Come and be one in the motion A desire they cannot comprehend Never to question again For I am your passion your promise your end Oh yes I am
It’s been a year and a day since the beginning of the end, and I am hurting. She, I’m quite confident, is not.
By all indications she has effectively deleted me from her browser history. The changes have been gradual, like an afterthought. I’m not sure why I mentioned that I noticed she deleted me from Waze when we were at the vet with Kiwi, but she played dumb – “No.. I did? I didn’t mean to, it must have been when I was playing with the settings”. Sure. Is that also what happened to our Messenger conversation, erased from existence? If you’re not deleting these things, who is?
I see that I’m also fully deleted from her Facebook history, too. Uh, I used someone’s account left open at work to take a peek-see, since I am blocked (Hey, I’m an curious opportunist, not a creepy stalker. Don’t judge me). Nearly 19 years, about 10 of them on Facebook, and only one photo of the two of us remains on her page – a photo in which I look to be about #220. Awesome, and thanks.
You know, it’s one thing to be replaced. It’s yet another to be deleted and utterly invisible. Gone.
I no longer exist in her world, past or present, and that just shatters my heart. If I wasn’t convinced (and I wasn’t) that our entire time spent together was a “waste” before, she solidifies it in her pushing me out and away. Not only do I find it impossible to do the same, I don’t want to. I don’t want to delete half my life. Love Bomb and I may have encountered some choppy waters over the years, but we shared so very much, we were the very best of friends, and we loved each other for a very, very long time. I, for one, don’t want to deny or forget any of that, even when it tears me apart.
Is it unreasonable that I’m still mourning? Is my lingering sadness irrational? I don’t think so. We divorced after almost 19 years, why in the world wouldn’t I be sad? A year is NOT that long.
The fact that she’s not sad, never seemed to be sad, never mourned or questioned her own motives, now THAT’S irrational. To be 52 years old and have never spent one solitary day since adolescence unattached in a relationship, THAT’S unreasonable.
As I drove to work this morning, I watched tiny late-spring flakes land on my windshield. There on the passenger side, I noticed smudge marks on the glass. Footprints. A full year later, and her footprints remain from where she’d prop her feet up on the dashboard. Apparently, it’s time to muck out the car 😬 … and I know that I’ll pause over that smudge. Unlike her, I hesitate to erase the past. Even the dirty parts.
But that’s not it. My three-minute commute also involved a Guns n’ Roses song that ushered in another cache of memories: “Swee-ee-eet chi-ii-ii-ii-ii-ild, chi-ii-ii-ii-ii-ild of mii-ee-eeeeine” … Once upon a time, I belted that tune out with Axl Rose and made Love Bomb laugh. I can’t hear that most songs and not think of her. It happens all the time, be it on the radio, a title sequence for a show, or a smudge on a window.
Let’s be clear, just because I am reminded of her does not mean that I want her back. No, sir. I tend to believe that the emotions I’m feeling are normal. It’s what she’s done that isn’t. It isn’t normal to file 19 years away as easily as stuffing a file into the far reaches of a cabinet and locking the drawer, never to be vulnerable in that connection ever again. I’m reminded of some terminology I used early in the separation: Bandwidth. She simply doesn’t have the bandwidth to deal with things in her life that are unsavory. She can’t deal with a break-up appropriately (and never has). She can’t deal with severing ties to a man who abused her, and with whom she maintains a dysfunctional relationship. She didn’t have the bandwidth to even consider trying to work through some of the kinks in our relationship. She files that uncomfortable stuff away because she just wants to “have fun”: her words – the desires of someone in her 50’s who doesn’t have the bandwidth to grow the fuck up.
Putting oneself out there, wading the murky waters of modern dating, I assure you, is not for those with weak constitutions. It wasn’t too long ago that I would rather have plowed my head directly into the sand/gravel/mulch/concrete before I ever set out on any social engagement all by my lonesome. Fortunately, things change. People change. I have changed.
I afternoon at museums and imbibe at dive bars by myself, afterwards. I drive hours to participate in beach-side baby goat yoga, taste-test local honey, and drink microbrews on the hill until they kick me outgently encourage me to go home. I walk to the park, around it, around it, around it again, and then back, just me, myself and my thoughts. Sometimes I’ll bring my little dogs, but then I spend much of our time trying to distract them from the fact that there are other dogs at the park, too (heavens!). I’m equally amused and embarrassed when they get reactive from the confines of their little stroller, rockin’ and ‘a-bouncin’ as my five-pound mini-mexi-munchkins carry on ferociously inside the zippered buggy. It’s surely a sight to behold, and then there’s me, trying to hide in my own jacket’s hood. Nothing to see here! Where will I hide when (if?!) jacket season ever ends? It’s supposed to snow up to a foot on Saturday…
So, I had a date this past weekend. His name is … let’s just call him M, for now … he’s a bureaucrat (whatever that means), has an identical twin, and he’s originally from Florida but has been living in DC for several years. Everything seemed to be going pretty well… big drinks, good conversation, no awkward silences, a few shared laughs. Afterward, he walked me to my car. As he walked away, I caught a glimpse of my reflection there on driver’s side window. Ummm .. why is there this odd patch of stark-white on my belly? Oh, SHITBALLS, that white thing IS my belly – but whyyyy is it out and about?! Classic MazieCakes, I guess I raced through my bathroom routine (that was a huge margarita at 4 in the afternoon) that required fastening shapewear crotch hooks (first date!), and somehow (tequila!) managed to forget to pull my shirt back down, which wedged snugly under my right boob. So, not only did I show off my belly, I showed off my well-used beige Spanx! So hot.
My gentleman caller played it cool when I texted him with my wardrobe malfunction confession (“we could have gotten ice cream and you could have told me about my shirt tucked in my bra!”), said that he thought I was just “showing off midriff”, followed by maybe a few too many ‘laughing so hard I’m crying’ emoji’s. At the very least, we both walked away with a funny story. This is the sort of first date story that could be shared over and over for generations should we ever have grandkids. (Haha. That’s a little joke.)
In an effort to feel more amused and less mortified by the “Shapewear Incident of 2018“, I posted about my date on FB/IG. My friends always keep me laughing at myself in times like these. Aaaand a friend from college suggested I start a blog. (You know what this means? They like me! They really like me! They recognize my vulnerability and appreciate the humor with which I present my … situations.) I replied, “who’s to say I don’t have one, already?”, and now … NOW the requests are rolling in for more details. It’s kind of funny though, now that I actually have a few followers (hello, followers!), none of which I actually know (correct me if I’m wrong, guys!), I feel way more self-conscious about my bloggings. I haven’t shared my blog with anyone I know and I’ll admit that I’m a little nervous to. My regular followers know some of the dark and disturbing places my mind wanders off to, but I’m not really sure that my peeps are quite prepared for the amount and depth of hate, anger, sadness, and despair I come here to unleash. I’ll think about it.
… I am trying my very hardest to be strong this week, next week, this month, next month. Anniversaries abound and I’m uber-sensitive to all of them, even ones I don’t know about. The only things I haven’t managed to unpack in my cuteaf condo are a solid 18 years-worth of photos, cards, and memories. They live in boxes and storage bins labelled, “Not Yet”, but I’m not sure “yet” will ever happen irl. Looking at photos of us literally gives me chest pains and what I suspect are heart palpitations, which feel like a weird flutter in my throat. Also, all the wet stuff seeps out my face.
Some photos, I’ll admit, may conjure a smile remembering how in love we were for so long, followed by that hollow, flutter-throat feeling. More recent photos, like the ones that pop up on my FB memory feed (really, I hate FB), I actually find physically revolting. No longer the uniquely strong, beautiful woman I fell in love with, the last few years brought changes that I struggled to tolerate. Like, working in a pet store and selling animals. I realize that we need jobs and paychecks, and I watched her struggle with unemployment more than once, but selling animals completely violates my values – values that we used to share. And then, she and New Girl go out and BUY a fucking messofadogbreed from a crap-ass breeder who advertises on a notorious Amish puppy mill website … !!! …
WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU because there’s NO WAY you’re the woman I fell in love with! The woman I fell in love with was full of passion and empathy; she had strong convictions and stood up for what was right; she made the world a better place. This new woman is part of a whole range of problems, from animal welfare, breeding and selling, to another bankruptcy, an added foreclosure, even another replacement girl at the ready when the old one got difficult – well, I guess that’s really nothing new, is it?
But, I stayed, despite it. I stayed because I decided to stay a long, long, long time ago. I’m not even sure if it was my choice … I felt such tremendous pressure to make it work, to come back from Seattle, to give it another chance, to “prove them wrong”, over and over, in true Love Bomb style.
And for a while, I was happy in the staying. I really was. We had a number of wonderful years together, sharing lives, our business, our home and furry family. I wanted for us to live happily ever after, and for a while, I could see it – clearly. But, there were also periods of great doubt, regret, and yes, even curiosity about “what could have been” had I not hastily blurted, “Okay!” when Love Bomb asked if I’d be with her one Sunday afternoon.
What’s most painful is that after all the staying I did .. for all those years, she just .. didn’t.
She wouldn’t stay. She wouldn’t even consider staying.
I put in years upon years of staying. I fully let go of things that one held immense meaning to me, like getting married, buying a house, having babies – all in the interest of STAYING.
And why? Because she couldn’t bear to be alone? Because she wouldn’t let me go even if when I tried?
Once again …
IT WAS NEVER UP TO ME.
Now, I live with the knowledge that by staying, I gave up. I gave up on my life, gave up on my future, goals, and dreams … I gave it all up for her. And in return, she tossed me out like an old cat when a cute Aussie kitten trot past. You were always a sucker fool for an accent. #eatyourfuckingtoast
Finally, at the end of nearly 19 years, when push came to shove (as in, a firm shove out the door), I still made one last decision – to stay. I genuinely wanted to try to figure things out, not toss it all away — after all this time, after all this staying.
But she, she was already gone. And it was never up to me.
It’s been a bit. Did you miss me? You know you did.. I know you did.. 😉
Spring has sprung, and so, everything at the shelter has gone full-fledged shit show. (Didja see what I did there?) Something about the warm air brings out the completely unreasonable in people. I don’t mind being busy at work, nor do I mind helping all of the animals. No, it’s when spoiled rotten human adults call 911 because the neighbor’s dog just crapped on their front yard … I just wanna slap their smug, entitled faces off. Here are some of the things Northern Virginians say to justify their general douchbaggery:
I pay my taxes. Well done. I’m sure you’re a fine, upstanding County resident, but your taxes have nothing to do with my non-profit, humane society salary. Your submission of tax paperwork does not entitle either of us to break the law or remove the annoying wildlife digging holes in the lawn or eating your hostas. You should consider using your tax refund to purchase a deterrent or two, like a motion-activated Yard Orbiter or some aluminum pie pans and pinwheels.
I’m an attorney. Welcome. Everyone in NoVa is an attorney, toots.
I have children. Congratulations on your ability to breed. Part of your responsibility as a parent is to teach those offspring to be aware of the world around them. There are and always will be wild animals outside. That is where they live.
You don’t care. Of all the insults, this one takes the taco, Tippy. To accuse me, who hath devoted her entire adult life to the welfare of animals both domestic and wild, of lack of caring is ignorant on a level I can’t even … just no.
I rescued my dog/cat. “Rescue” is an overused term used by folks who need a ‘lil pat on the back a bit more frequently than others. You don’t rescue animals from pet stores or breeders. You just don’t.
One more day till my weekend. One more day.
Oh, and speaking of the weekend…
I have a date.
Actually, I have two dates. I was asked out by two different guys in the span of 24 hours last weekend. I’ll meet with one this Sunday for drinks and appetizers, and plans are in the works for a brunch date next Sunday with the other. Both seem very kind and smart, and as nervous as I am (and I am nervous), I’m also kind of excited to see how we’ll connect in person. I’ll throw it out there that Date #2 has a beautiful 17 month old daughter. Squeeeee!
I’m still doing the low-carb thing (well, mostly) and thoroughly enjoying watching the numbers drop on the scale. I’ve decided not to aim for Ketosis, which is not ideal for those of us wading around in the dating pool (“Have you been using nail polish remover as mouthwash?”, “Oh, no, that’s just my ketones doing their fat burning thing .. so sorry!”), focusing more on being mindful of carb intake, sweets (nope, just berries now and then), and NO processed foods or grains. My refrigerator is full of what seems like a wholly unreasonable amount of cheese, from shredded to slices, crisps, ricotta, cottage, fresh moz, parmesan (by the pound!), and cream cheeses. Really, there is never too much cheese, imho. Cheese. Wine. Eggs. They’re what’s for dinner.
And after dinner, well, let’s just say I know two little dogs and one large cat who are getting their spring hair cuts tonight, but shhhhh… don’t tell them that. Malachi’s ‘do is almost done already (ah, the benes of having your own office in an animal shelter), I just need to tidy around his face, feet, and trim that ridiculous tail that escaped a trimmin’ last time. That tail is so long I mistakenly sit on it in the car and then wonder why the boy seems to be stuck to the seat. OH, sorry little dude.
I continue to work to be present in my transition. (See last entry: “Transition”) I reached out to Love Bomb to request the tent. It’s a nice tent, only used a handful of times, besides, she got virtually everything in this “divorce”. Most of the furniture, all of the gaming stuff, big TV, my kayak, the .. blankets (gotdamn I was cold this past winter). Can’t claim to still be paying for it anymore, thanks Chapter 7! Thing is, when it comes to dating profiles and interests, camping is an eye-catcher for me, and yet, I haven’t a thing offer to the adventure but paper towels. Maybe. I don’t have anywhere to store a kayak, but I can slide a tent quite nicely in my balcony HVAC closet. It will live with my luggage in there – a carry-on size roller that was originally Love Bombs’. I’ve never owned luggage. Anyway, point is, I have room for the tent, and with a little luck, it will join me on some romantic adventures.
Because I will have romantic adventures.
One of these days.
Not desperate. Not grasping. It’s been a full year of being unattached and alone. I have finally, ironically, “found myself”. I’m proud of how far I’ve come. There are still some doozy anniversaries approaching, and I am scared. I wonder if I’ll ever look fondly upon April, ever again. 🥀
Maybe, just maybe, this bump in the road is less about relapse (see last entry, “Relapse”) than it is about transition. Maybe things are evolving. The overwhelming sad though, that feels the same no matter why.
Why transition? Well, it’s been a year since everything changed, if not concretely, at least in essence – the feelings were there at least a few weeks before their admission on April 6, followed by passive breakup #1 on April 23rd, and aggressive breakup #2 on May 13.
Anniversaries – they’re a burden for one of us.
It’s been a solid year since anyone loved me.
I knew it would be a mistake to peek through my photos from this time last year, but I’ve always been a bit of a glutton for punishment. I look at those photos now and I see an unhappy me, just existing day-to-day, and then there’s Love Bomb, who gave no inkling that she was thinking of someone else.
I went back and took screenshots of our text conversations sometime in April when I realized our relationship was on shakier ground than I’d ever encountered before. It’s amazing how fast the destruction progressed once the deceit began. Everything seemed okay until that fated April 6 when Love Bomb and New Girl discussed … feelings … and then, it was just over. 19 years .. 100% over .. in one conversation. A conversation I was told was a Manager’s meeting, encouraged her to go to and “have fun”! Or was that the time she told me that one of the cashiers was “suicidal” and that’s why she had to stay so late and couldn’t answer my texts. Whatever the lie was, from then on, the demeanor of the texts we exchanged shifted from the usual “Hi”, “Miss you”, and even an invitation for “sexy time” one week, to “Going out for drinks after work”, to “Hookah!”, and “Sorry, my phone died and I lost track of time”, at 11:30pm. She would drive down to go out with “work friends” even on days she was off and then she’d “crash” at New Girl’s house…
OMG, WAS I FUCKING BLIND? I’d ask what was going on, she’d avoid eye-content and walk away while she spoke, “We just have so much in common and we get to talking…”. I ignored my intuition, and didn’t put any of it together. I believed her when she said, “It’s not what you think”. Except it was.
She just held me in the background (someone had to feed the animals when she didn’t come home) until she could secure herself in her new relationship, and once that happened, she waited for me to offer the breakup, since she couldn’t even gather the balls to end it herself. (See last entry, “I guess so”.) Fucking coward.
I suspect New Girl is a coward, too. Her husband (second husband, both marriages accumulated less time than Love Bomb and I spent together) only moved out once her new relationship was established, as well. I know because I have screenshots of the time (uh, it was June 19th) I was going to go down to the house but Love Bomb got all weirded out, and finally admitted that there was another dog in the house – New Girl’s dog. Her husband was moving out that weekend and she and Love Bomb were already living together for all intents and purposes, under our roof until he was gone. Ladies, pack your U-Hauls!
Maybe they use the same coping strategies … cowards doing what cowards do … that which feels good with no regard to those who are hurt in the wake. I’m aware that the husband struggled with back issues and a substance abuse problem, as a result. (Oh, we have so much in common!) What a lovely wife to keep him around the house until she could replace him with someone else. “In sickness and in health” didn’t resonate with her, nor “till death do us part” – twice. And yet, she and Love Bomb wear their matchy rings .. I noticed those months ago, back in November. Jump right into that deep end, ladies. I hope you fucking drown in your desperation.
But I digress. Back to that transition…
Maybe it’s because I’ve only just started to decorate my apartment… Maybe it’s because I’m approaching a place where I’m starting to think a bit into the future rather than simply trying to survive the day… Although there is comfort in these things, there’s also some painful adjustment and growth that accompanies them. While seeing past just surviving is clearly a good thing, it also tastes a bit of defeat and even more loss.
I’ve finally reached a place where I think I need to devise a new GOAL or two, or three. No more sharing wholly ignored “core values” and “mission statements” on a stupid whiteboard (we used to fantasize about getting an RV and cruising the country together, a romantic vacation, or even getting our asses in gear to get out of that old house and on the path to a new adventure in a new area). Now, I’m faced with making goals just for me, and honestly, that’s a bit terrifying. I’m having a hard time “seeing” them in my mind after so many years of sharing our plans for a future.
So, what’s next? I’m not sure I want to stay here doing what I’ve been doing for as long as I’ve been doing it. I am very good at what I do, but I’ll admit that I’m not terribly challenged anymore – after 6 years, I know this shit inside and out. But I also feel pretty damn fortunate that I’m left to work independently and I can pretty much do what I wanna around here. Still…
So, what are some possible goals?
School. Well, since I’m no longer a total stoner I could concentrate on furthering my education and would most likely succeed at just about whatever I set my mind to.
Move. I’ve always wanted to move out West, be it Washington, Idaho, Oregon or Montana, ideally. I wasn’t ready to commit to moving last year as my dearest (local) friends held me up every single day. I would have been a fool to run from them, no matter what else I was running from. Besides, I didn’t want to run. I’m proud of myself for sticking it out in an effort to feel confident that I wasn’t just acting on a “fight or flight” response, a reaction I excel at.
Date. Truth be told, with moving on the possible goal-list, I really hesitate to get involved in a relationship rn. As much as I’m lonely (as a home-body, I’ve found that I really miss someone to simply share quiet space with), I don’t want to couple-up just to have to end or long-distance it. So, on one hand, I feel anxious to meet someone and start something special, but on the other, well, there are lots and lots of reasons why I pause. The fear of being hurt is just one. I am simply not strong enough to endure this sort of pain again. I’d rather die alone.
I will regard these first attempts at goal-setting as the beginning of my transition, not the recurrence of relapse. Today is the first day of Spring, which, historically, isn’t a great time of year for me (delayed SAD, you suck). And so, despite lingering depression and doubt, I will try to see the positive in every day this season. I will reflect upon my growth. I will try to forgive – myself seems like a good place to start – maybe the rest will come some other season. I will continue to simply survive on the days when that’s all I can manage to do, and that alone will be okay.