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.
Every couple of weeks, I take a few steps back. Back to lonely. Back to sad. I go from feeling relatively safe and stable to fragile and destroyed overnight. And no, it’s not a meds thing – my meds are in order – I take a handful of the good stuff each and every morning. They do help. I should have sought psychiatric care sooner than I did, for sure. Better late than never, had I not sought help when I did, I most certainly wouldn’t be here right now – I’d be in a box, maybe waiting for someone to decide where to sprinkle me … the Rocky Mountains? Coeur D’Alene Lake? Maybe just sprinkle me in the dog yard at the shelter.
Last weekend felt okay – I nurtured myself and my cuteaf condo. I went to IKEA for a throw rug, duvet cover, and some trinkets. How I’ve avoided IKEA for nearly 8 months since the move to my place is beyond me. Driving to Hoodbridge is just not on my agenda if I can avoid it. While I was in the area I stopped in the driveway of my old home. The tree out front was still standing (amazing), but the storm door must have blown off in Windmageddon, laying awkwardly in the front yard. The place falls further and further into disrepair, an eyesore for the community and a cold reminder of the disrepair in our relationship.
I’m sure that part of this sadness relates to what was happening around this time last year. Everything was changing, but I didn’t know it yet. Love Bomb was beginning her next chapter and I was just puttering along as if I had nothing to lose, as if we could – as if we WOULD – work through any struggle together, just like we had for nearly 19 years. I felt safe in the consistency of our rather boring lives together while she was out there courting another, someone to take my place before our bed cooled.
The hard part isn’t the being alone, really. I like alone time. I’ve always looked at little cuteaf places like the digs I’m in now and felt a bit envious, and wished that I hadn’t bagged out on my last cuteaf place to move in with Love Bomb.
The hard part is the being replaced – that the person I loved for so long could simply disengage, change gears and never look back. That she gets to carry on as if there weren’t a huge hiccup in her life, because for her, things just got better. She didn’t have to do any of the hard work involved in breaking up. She couldn’t even do the dirty work of actually ending it even though she was the only one that wanted to. She just agreed with me when I asked, “Are you breaking up with me?”, one spring afternoon. “I guess so”, she replied. It’s no wonder I didn’t believe her, trying and trying to make it right, to find solutions, working to improve in every way for several more weeks before she left that horrible letter – the one that pointed out what a miserable person I am to be around.
Maybe I am.
THIS is the person Love Bomb hated … the depressed, hopeless, thoughtless lump of self-doubt, boredom and anxiety that fell into relationship complacency many years ago. I suppose if she were to read this blog she’d think, “same ‘ole, same ‘ole”, thankful that she’s moved on to someone more energetic and driven than I ever was.. Someone with a fun accent and money to burn. I didn’t stand a chance.
Sometimes, I still miss her. I miss my best friend, the person I told my everythings to. I miss having someone to come home to and share my day with. I miss sharing the bed with another human. I miss feeling that I am worthy of love. Beyond that, I miss my family. I miss my dogs the most – two went to me and two went to her – I miss my babies, who now know some other lady as “Mama”.
Sometimes (more often than not) I fucking hate her. I hate her for leaving the way she did. I hate her for throwing me away, so quick to move right along in lustful bliss, never to reflect or mourn, like it meant nothing to her because I mean nothing to her anymore. She went from being my best friend and biggest fan in the blink of an eye – as soon she settled her gaze upon someone else.
I’ve been working so hard to finish up the mourning that only I have been doing. I go out with friends on the regular, I joined a choir, I exercise and take good care of myself and my surroundings, I joined a few dating sites, I started blogging… It’s been a year since Love Bomb lost interest in me and in us, and 10 months since I really started to realize how over it was. They approach their one-year anniversary as I approach one-year of solitude, reflection and remorse. Remorse for all that was lost – 18 years of good and bad, that only I am forced to face.
There’s something especially dread-worthy about Valentine’s Day this year – my first V-Day alone since I was pubescent. Not that I remember doing anything particularly memorable for this Hallmark Holiday in many, many years. It’s a similar feeling to New Year’s at the stroke of midnight – like, I know what you’re doing out there … without me. I actually do remember how exciting firsts are with a new luh-huh-ver (channeling Adele) – major holidays, that New Year’s midnight kiss, “Our First Valentine’s Day”. Gah, especially if you’re both Love Bombs. It’s sure to be an extravaganza! I’m imagining flowers (delivered to work for ultimate impact), cards, chocolates, bubble baths (I seem to recall a trail of rose petals that led from the front door all the way to the tub back when weeeee were young (yep, Adele again) and celebrating our first V-Day). And there will be sex. More sex than I’ve had in years. YEARS I TELL YOU.
Left behind is a shitty place to be on Valentine’s Day.
Maybe it wouldn’t hurt so bad if I didn’t know how they relish in my pain. Social media is a real kick in the ass in this modern age of breaking up. Well, that is before I was fully blocked. Blocking, I discovered, was often strategic. I’d be blocked for a bit *until* a flower delivery and then someone would make sure that I could see that bidness. Honestly, I don’t need to do my own research (er, mild stalking?), someone typically sends me a screenshot or mentions a particularly intriguing (or revolting) post. Love Bomb and I share over 100 friends on Facebook, and there are people looking out for me, many of whom are not impressed with how quickly and easily I was replaced.
But New Girl and Love Bomb, they’re laughing AT me and at my expense, “Haha’ing” on posts that, clearly, are about me. Strategic.
Love Bomb didn’t do that shit to “Caroline”, whom she dumped – for me. It was clear all along that she actually had a sense of remorse, guilt, and a certain degree of sorrowful respect for the one she left behind with no explanation or warning. Granted, we didn’t have social media back then (because OLD), but I certainly never laughed at or talked shit about Caroline – ever. I felt guilty and horrible with the knowledge that she was left alone, traded in and replaced. And I … I was the home wrecker. I desperately hoped she might find it in her heart to forgive me someday. We were civil, but was there forgiveness? In hindsight, no, I don’t think so. Not with the knowledge I not only understand, but now share about just how terribly it hurts to be replaced without so much as a real conversation. She was just better at maintaining a friendship with Love Bomb, despite me. She was a better, stronger person than I. She was better at hiding the pain.
Love Bomb and Caroline had a special, undeniable connection. If you couldn’t tell by looking thru just a few of the 9 years worth of photos of a life they shared, it was unmistakable when it came to Caroline’s passing.
Yes, Caroline died. In hospice care – in a room overcrowded with other dying people.
She should have died in her home. The home they purchased and made theirs. The home I was sharing with Love Bomb at the time. A home I never really felt comfortable in. It wasn’t mine.
The morning Caroline died started much like any other. Love Bomb got in the shower while I enjoyed a few more minutes of shut-eye. Her shower was brief; she dressed quickly. She came in to the bedroom and announced that she had to go see Caroline before work. She said she felt an urgent need to go to hospice, like, right now. And so she did.
In some cosmic sort of way Caroline summoned Love Bomb, waited for her, and moments later, she passed away.
I, for one, feel horrendously guilty, and I wonder if it ever occurs to Love Bomb that she threw away a relationship with someone that she was genuinely cosmically connected to. She brushed it off, “everything happens for a reason”, and explained: “I couldn’t have managed that loss if we were still together”. It would have been devastating, of course. Maybe she’s right – maybe she couldn’t have dealt with that loss – she won’t manage the loss of people who are still living and breathing. She will NOT be alone.
Caroline, I’m so sorry that I was a part of your loss, and that by participating in an adolescent game of passion, I took so much more than just your best friend and partner. I wish we all would have done things differently. Soon, I’ll do an entry about the things we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better in light of the crappy things we do and say. I think back on those excuses now and can hardly stand myself. My only solace is that I’ve done the hard work to let the grief in; I’ve reflected upon, grown, and learned from my mistakes. I did not appreciate that my 22 year old self could actually change lives and futures forever. I was thoughtless and impulsive, and 22 was my excuse. At 43, one birthday more than you ever enjoyed, Caroline, I get it now, and I’m sorry.
I wonder what you did that first Valentine’s Day alone in 1999 as I followed a trail of rose petals to my tub. Are you laughing at me now? Do you laugh just like they do?
The forecast was finally above arctic on my weekend (Sun/Mon), so I decided to try, again, to get down to the old house to pick up the last of my and X’s stuff. My dear friend Kim had planned to come with me some Sunday, but it never worked out, mostly because I’m a chicken and let the dread get to me, canceling over and over again. But it’s been nearly 6 months since I moved in to my cute condo, it was never going to get any easier, eventually the bank will take that house and all the junk in it and I won’t have the chance anymore.
I reached out to Love Bomb to see if maybe she’d want to meet me there with the dogs, so I could see “the kids”, both of whom were my babies since 2004 (D) and 2005 (G). She said she had to work both mornings and didn’t like the idea of having to drive “home” (I can’t stand it when she refers to her new place as home), get the pooches, and then drive down to Hoodbridge. I threw it out there that we could meet somewhere else or she could, like last time I saw the kids, come over to my place. MY CUTE AF PLACE. I know this arrangement struck my mom as odd to say the least, but as I explained, it’s not that I hate Love Bomb anymore, in fact, I still care for her even if I don’t love her anymore. That’s not all-together true … I still love her, I imagine I always will; we are not in love anymore, to be specific, I mean, when I don’t hate her. It’s complicated. Besides, I don’t mind letting her in to see my success, my clean (did I mention CUTE?) condo that I take such pride in and just recently – have even started decorating! Yep, it’s taken nearly 6 months to feel like I was ready to start hanging things on the wall and making this little place my own. I haven’t taken the reigns on decorating since college, really – my single-dorm rooms – all mine. I never really bothered decorating my apartment in 1998, I was too busy running around with Love Bomb at the time, I didn’t even fulfill my lease agreement, moving out at 9 months and into the house in Hoodbridge.
So, she came over. It was so nice to see my dogs again! I hadn’t seen them since their last visit — September 4, 2017. Too long. Tooooo long. Love Bomb seemed tense, never took off her jacket and refused a drink. I poured her a glass of wine anyway. The only way I can think of to describe the conversation is “fine”. It was fine. We didn’t get mad or even snarky. It was mostly just sort of routine day-to-day chatter. Fine. There were a couple of interesting moments though. Here we go…
I asked how work was going. She revealed to me that the boss of the local franchise (I don’t know how else to describe his position, it’s a retail conglomerate that I don’t understand, nor do I care to. Fucking pet stores.) was fired for sexual misconduct! Haha?! Seriously … this was a man who made his staff listen to his ramblings on CD and then write a paper on things like values? This “holier than thou” weirdo, a member of one of those huge mega-churches, assigned homework, listening, writings and readings which mirrored the ramblings of “The Secret”. I found him to be creepy and his teachings cult-esque.
Now, Love Bomb wanted me to do this homework, too. She was taken (brainwashed?) with these lessons, even though she’d put off doing the homework until the very last moment. She asked me to listen to the CD’s as well, and then, I assumed, I could help her with her paper. My reaction to this request? Hell fucking no! I went to school for 16 full-time years, I don’t work for this creepy dude, why should I have to listen to him go on and on about values, objectives, motivation, or strategy? I do NOT want to do homework anymore, thankyouverymuch. I do not want to be told what I have to listen to, and I don’t want to participate in your paper-writing. No.
Okay, okay, I understand that Love Bomb was sucked into the teachings of this crackpot, and “The Secret” is attractive at face-value. I wanted to support her in her efforts to achieve, but listening to her boss drone on for 30 minutes every other week or so was about as appealing to me as sitting in traffic or enduring a root canal. It always felt odd to me. That’s not to say that I never tried, because I absolutely did. In fact, near the very end, Love Bomb finally sent me the attachments to some of these teachings she had wanted me to invest some time in, before. Funny, she hadn’t actually provided to me before, but she was pissed that I hadn’t listened. Turns out, she sent them more as a … here are these lessons that could have saved us, but it’s too late.
Well, I did listen to those lessons. I listened multiple times. I took notes and made connections. I erased our “Goals” whiteboard and changed it to a “Core Values” whiteboard, complete with my personal “Mission Statement” and list of SMART Goals. I left one half empty so she could fill in hers. She never did. When I approached her on it, she said that she hadn’t actually DONE THE WORK, and that she hadn’t given me the lessons so that I could actually complete that work – she just wanted me to know where she was coming from and what was important to her now.
Lo-and-behold, those teachings were straight from the craw of a man, who, turns out, wasn’t behaving in accordance to his own moral values – apparently fucking around with someone he shouldn’t have been within the company. Oh, you high and mighty HYPOCRITE! I wondered if he knew that his little teachings were contributing to the loss of a nearly 19 year marriage. Love Bomb said he did. Funny that he didn’t think much of it, huh? Loser.
Moving right along.
Conversation continued, spreading to social media. She asked me just what was going on with New Girl and me on Instagram. A-ha! So, it’s not just me, and it’s not just my imagination! But here’s the thing – how does SHE know that I’ve seen her IG? The only thing I can figure is that she’s reading my blog. How else would she know? Rest assured, jealous one, I can’t see it anymore. I can’t figure out why the hell you’d be jealous of me or why you’d feel a need to check me out – haven’t you already won? Don’t you have a girlfriend, a full house, a puppy to train, and plenty to doooo? Because I don’t. I’m single. I’m alone. A humbling experience Love Bomb has never had to struggle through, and from what I’ve gathered, neither have you. Yes, I’m curious about the woman I spent nearly half my life with who was just gone like a Hall & Oates song. I’m curious about HER, not YOU, you self-absorbed home wrecker. You’re welcome to look at my shit. It’s all about me being vulnerable and real, feeling wrecked and alone. Wanna see? Go for it.
Still debating going private, but I honestly don’t care what you see. Watch me grow, bloom and flourish. Enjoy my honesty. Predict your future, if you dare.
And then, the kicker … as she was getting ready to leave, she looked at her watch. Her new Apple Watch! You know, for someone who’s claiming her second bankruptcy and losing her house to foreclosure, she sure has a lot of fancy toys. Expensive tattoo. Purebred puppy. New car. Flower deliveries. Anniversary sushi. Nice watch! She quipped, “it was a gift”. Yeah, I bet it was, Love Bomb. She got herself another one … Love Bomb + Love Bomb = Two insecure gals who are trying to buy love. We were new and lustful once, too, but we shared love notes and hand-drawn pictures of flowers more than anything.
You can buy buy buy, but you’re not going to find what you’re looking for that way, Love Bombs. What you’re looking for cannot be purchased, wrapped in a bow, or delivered.
True to form, SHE GETS WHAT SHE WANTS, and what she wants is stuff. Stuff that one day becomes junk, gathering dust and littering the floor. That used to be a sort of joke of sorts, “I get what I want”, but I don’t see the humor in it anymore. She gets what she wants because she gravitates to people who give her things. Her step-father gives her anything and everything because he’s a sick, guilty man and buying her has always worked for him, just like it worked with her mother. Kevin, the multi-millionaire thanks to his wealthy partner (who inherited that wealth, he didn’t earn it, he could barely figure out how to work a stapler) who pays for weekends at fancy resorts, French dinners, concert tickets, uh drugs, and more weekends – maybe a cabin this time. I see why she tolerates that dick, after all, he purchased her. Even the Chow lady who just loooooves Love Bomb pays her $500 to groom her dog for an hour or accompany her to the vet. She even threw Love Bomb an extra $500 for her birthday! I was just a tag-along she could barely remember say hello to most times, so strangely infatuated with Love Bomb.
What do you think of that, New Girl? Enjoy it now because one day the money will run out. It always does. I had grown accustomed to the financial gifts I received from my folks at Christmas and my birthday going directly into our joint checking account and then, just gone. I currently pay $1375.00 a month in rent, plus utilities, and everything else all by myself, and despite my downright measly salary, I’m fucking rolling in the dough since Love Bomb traded me in for the likes of you.
Is it that I’m just not very thoughtful? I realized VERY early in our relationship that we were quite broke most of the time, and only rarely have I spent money spontaneously or without permission. You wanna know what the first two attributes that pop up about me on dating apps are? “Frugal” & “Thrifty”. When I hit the grocery store, I take a list and I stick to it. I plan out each meal in advance and by the end of the week my fridge is empty besides condiments. When my co-workers order take-out for lunch, I decline, because I can’t afford to spend 9 bucks on a sandwich – that’s always been true. I used to ask Love Bomb permission before I bought anything out of the ordinary because I wasn’t versed in our finances. Not the ideal gift-giving situation. My mistake – I should have educated myself rather than take her word for it. I should have kept my own bank account. I believed her when she said we had enough money for pot. I believed her when she’d come home from Best Buy with a handful of new games that we could afford them. Love Bomb gets what she wants.
Oh, you know what else? “Our” savings account from which she pulled money for bills or even our vacation out West – that was an account only I contributed to! I was under the impression that we both put 20 in bi-weekly, but NO, it was just me for years and years.
No, I didn’t buy my way into Love Bomb’s heart, although she may have anticipated it since my folks actually do pretty well for themselves, and honestly. It sure ticked her off when my parents wouldn’t just hand over money when things got tight. She found that just another reason to resent them.
Lets move on to Monday…
So, since we didn’t meet at the house in Hoodbridge, I finally put on my big girl pants and went out on Monday, January 22 by myself. I’m glad I did it by myself, it took way longer than I thought it might and was way more emotionally draining than I anticipated. First of all, the place is a God damned mess – rather symbolic of our relationship, I suppose. It’s beyond messy, bordering on downright dirty. There are boxes all over the place stuffed full of a weird assortment of things I didn’t even know we had. The toilets were nearly drained out, the floor tiles all peeled up, dirty litterboxes still full of crap. The first thing I found myself doing was sorting through about 10,000 photos. OMG, talk about heartbreaking. Also, damn, I was FAT very overweight for a while there – woah! Photos of life before me, Carol, even DeeDee, oblivious to what their futures hold. Lots and lots of happy memories, our smiling faces, sans wrinkles, my ears before they got scarred and lumpy. A few of Matt and I strewn in the pile, weird, I grabbed those. I left most of them for her, I took photos of some of us as a couple and grabbed some of our family of animals – Shamu, Harley, Molly, PT, Annie, Chester, Toni, Cane, Cayenne, my dear Creole, Tina and the current crew. So many memories. So many years. So many smiles. It felt so strange to sit amongst the debris of our love in our home, photos strewn all over the floor like years, half-remembered.
Gathering the rest of whatever seemed important went relatively quickly: X’s art, a few articles of clothing, a hat, some hangars, the butter dish, even a few bars of soap and a bottle of Drain-o — hey, you never know when you’ll need it! I grabbed a package of TP – strike that off the grocery list.
Next came the tears. So many tears. I walked from room to room, snapping the last photos of what used to be my home, my life, now in complete wreckage. I locked the doors and backed out of the kitchen slowly, hands to my face as I tried not to alarm someone walking by with my wails. <click>
I sat in my car for a good long time unable to pull away. I texted Love Bomb: “So many pictures of the years and years and YEARS of fun we shared. But when the really hard work came along, you were just gone. Now all that’s left are these shambles of junk, like the junk we didn’t take care of in our relationship. And I think it’s a shame. We may not have exchanged expensive gifts, but we sure wrote a lot of letters and notes, and I think those are more symbolic of our love than watches and flowers could ever be. I wish you could too. I’m not sure how to drive away”. She responded: “I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry. It’s a shame things didn’t work out. I can’t change the way I feel … We weren’t going to change. I spent months saying things needed to change. But nothing ever did. The only way I could change was to leave. The only reason you even consider hard work is because we ended. I had to in order to move forward. All I can say is I’m sorry”. I responded: “Saying we needed to change and doing it are two very different things. You took the easy way out. Again. … You simply didn’t want to do the work. And why would you? Traded me in like a fucking car. Except I know you place emotional value on your cars. You didn’t even turn to see me leave, you just sat there eating your toast and let it all go. And again, why not? You get what you want”.
Then, I puked in the driveway. Fortunately, I only had coffee all day.
I cried some more and decided to take a selfie of this last moment in the driveway. I put it on Facebook and admitted that I didn’t know how to drive away from my old life. Some juvenile, short-sighted nitwit might have considered that airing dirty laundry, but my vulnerability is mine to share on my own page, and when I need support I get what I need – from my friends and family. 69 comments-worth of love and support was way beyond what I expected, but I’ll take all that love with open arms. I received invitations to come over for dinner or just to rest on the way home, phone calls of encouragement, texts of “you got this!”, messages to lift my heart and spirit from family and friends I’ve known my whole life AND people who’ve only entered my life recently – some of them, originally hers.
After a night of trivia with my true BFF’s, I sent one last text to love bomb, just to clear something up. It irks me that she thinks I want to change the way she feels. She’s said that to me more than once. No. That’s not the point at all: “I need to be clear about something. I do not want you to ‘change’ the way you feel. You flatter yourself. I want you to know the anguish you’ve caused. Your trade-in can have you and all the baggage that comes with you, to include G, Kevin, even Chow-lady – your biggest fans and providers of whatever your fickle heart desires. When she tires of you don’t you DARE come crawling back to me. I will be your greatest regret and I will have moved on, stronger than you can even fathom”.
She just has no idea nor care when it comes to hurting people – the people she loves. Hurting me. Hurting Carol. Hurting DeeDee. We all deserved better than to be traded in for a new model without so much as an attempt to repair the 18 year relationship. She hurts people, and then she tosses them aside and proceeds to distract herself from emotion with trade-ins and gifts. She should know the pain she inflicts.
I don’t NEED gifts. I don’t NEED tattoos. I don’t NEED fancy watches. I don’t NEED flower deliveries to know that I am loved. I don’t want or need a Love Bomb. I get what I need with a little help from my friends.