Secrets and Lies

It’s not that I can’t keep a secret … I absolutely usually 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.

Until now.

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.”

Her response:

“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?

Yes, I am. A dog’s breakfast?

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,

  1. Engaged
  2. Melissa Etheridge
  3. Dog Breakfast

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

-Melissa Etheridge

Delete

Out of sight, out of mind.

I am … deleted.

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.

God damn, it’s every song I used to love.

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.

“…someone who believes leaving and giving up isn’t an option.” Ha. Well, better luck next time?  (credit: @unwrittendiary)

The Shapewear Incident of 2018

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…

That temper tho

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.

I gave it my all and I gave it all of me. Photo credit: @wisdomshewrote
In the end, I stayed so long, all I really wanted to do was stay some more.