Well, I was not blinded, as my anxiety had predicted.
I’m not one of those people who talks about anxiety a lot, at least not in the sense that it incapacitates me. I’m not trying to throw hate or imply deep personal weakness on people who do have anxiety/panic attacks. We’re all different, and we’re all capable of handling different things.
I, not to brag or anything, am capable of withstanding like Vietnam War levels of emotional distress before I start to come apart at the edges. Because that’s what it always it. It’s an eroding away of your weak spots, you don’t just snap in the middle more no reason. That’s actually one of the things that amazes me the most about my dad and R, you know the two guys I ghosted so hard. When I look at those two relationships, it was obvious the two of them were completely under the impression they could continue deteriorating (mentally, as human beings, in their sense of their position in the way the world works, physically, via their relative alcoholism and pill problems) AND continue to treat me like shit/use me as a sounding board and a fucking shock absorber for ALL of their negative, vile bullshit. They’re still there, their fucking claws dug into your back and scalp, dragging you downwards, pulling you straight into the ground, and they have the fucking GALL to think you still owe them love. With my dad, he thought having played a role in my conception SOMEHOW meant he got someone he got to mentally and emotionally abuse and control as much as fucking possible (which is fodder for life for someone like him – see his stupid parents). With R I think he thought I was so desperately in love with him I’d put up with anything and just continue my docket of 100% constant support and forgiveness and almost duty-free sex. But I never loved him. He’s too much like the bad parts of me, that’s what drew me to him (that and he is attractive, don’t get me wrong). I’m not going to say I wasn’t dependent on the escape of spending time with him, which is good because it SUUUUCKED having to go to work at 6 am after falling asleep drunk at 2 am. While his ass would sleep until 1 pm. Then I would always have to pay for everything because he just lived with his dad and didn’t work. There were also the MANY nights that were completely ruined because he go too shit-faced before I came over. I was there trying to forget about my husband’s alcoholism, only to realize I’d just found a worse model and thought spending time with that would somehow fix things.
I mean, it KIND of did. Because when it stopped I realized how much I missed my husband. How much I’d missed him during the entire R thing. And I try not to go into detail about them, because my husband really has made an effort to not drink and he hasn’t at all since he officially quit (8/30/15) but there was some seriously fucked up shit that went down due to his drinking that like…MOST women would’ve left over. Or at least some women I know would have bailed. The weak ones wouldn’t have. They’re not hard to pick out though, least not for me. But when things got so shitty even I was done with it, it made me realize I just wanted things to be good with my husband again, which they hadn’t been for years. All the time we spent apart because I was gone with R didn’t help, I know that. But here we are, all those years later. It’s like the drama of an affair but in actuality it was the least affairy affair, for there was no sneaking around or lying. R would only protest to have feelings for me when he was really, really drunk and even though THAT happened all the time, it was still only like twice that he said something along those lines to me. I just deflected it both times. It’s not hard. It’s not hard to shut someone down, people are just afraid to. It’s not hard to lie to someone, to promise something you know won’t happen. I’ve done it. I got put on the spot and asked to take care of a certain sibling when certain parents are no longer around. I said yes, but my personal philosophy towards child-rearing is MUCH different than this promise-procurer’s. So I’ll do what I think is best, but somehow I don’t think it’s what they had in mind. If you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of self-soothing, self-sufficiency and intrinsic motivation. I mean, what else is there?
Two times in my life I’ve had someone say “I love you so much” to me and they said it SO insincerely on these two occasions…it was almost sinister. Like in that moment I became sure this was not a safe person I was dealing with anymore. I described this weird dread to my husband once, it’s like you’re out in the middle of a field with one other person. No one else is around, you don’t even see any cars going by on the miles-away dirt road. Everything is fine because you trust and know this person, but something gets hinted, somehow your isolation is made a point of. And you feel that first deep stab, that’s cold and unexpected because it hits you so deep, that maybe you aren’t safe with this person. I guess it’s the onset of dread brought about by the sudden appearance of someone’s sinister side. And where I grew up, everyone has one. Even me, I just do something quite different with it.
The first time I heard a creepish, unfeeling “I just love you so much” was from my first boyfriend. I don’t know if I’ve ever gone into extreme detail about him. We met on myspace (that’s right) and I was really only in the market for a prom date. I’d been prom-dumped by a cute cousin of a girl who was in my class the day after I’d finally told everyone about it. I could NOT show up alone, and I could NOT NOT go, my Grandma had paid for my dress like always (and the shoes, and dyeing, and alterations) we couldn’t not have any pictures to show her. So I felt like it was divine intervention that I met first boyfriend. I wasn’t even pushing for a relationship, I was just trying to get through prom with a date. And maybe that was my issue, I always came off as totally disinterested in a guy because I didn’t want to seem desperate, but then I’d come flooding at them with this torrent of emotion at the end and it’d seem almost scary I felt so strongly yet acted so differently. (It took me A LONG TIME to figure this one out). Granted he was nothing special, but he was the first guy who’d taken a dating interest in me. It was because he was from another town and high school, though. We lived 45 minutes away from each other, which is really annoying when you’re in high school and work part time. He did some dickish things. He’d openly mock me to more than one person for ordering super tiny amounts of food at restaurants (again, I didn’t want to be embarrassed by eating too much….have I somehow NOT mentioned my dad and his food-shaming?) he let my brother “front” him the $70 for our prom tickets then never paid him back, he complained to me that because he was escorting me to mine, he could no longer afford to go to his own senior prom despite the fact that he only ended up paying for his tux rental, he didn’t even get me a corsage. Honestly that last one hurt the most. BUT 1) I wasn’t accustomed to being treated well, or at all, by guys 2) I just wanted a boyfriend. I mean it’s shallow I guess but it was very true. I was very pretty when i was younger (obviously, if I’m still attractive now, i’m aging well but I never spend time in the sun so that makes sense) and I didn’t even know what “needs to lose weight” would feel like. I was my absolute skinniest as an adult the winter I was 18. But by that winter, first boyfriend and I had broken up. It happened at the end of summer, when he was moving to a different town 45 minutes a different direction away from the town I’d moved to (I left my parents right away, remember? in fact first boyfriend owning a pickup truck played an important role in my moving out). I guess I wasn’t surprised, but I also had thought we could make it work. He of course I’m sure wanted to be a single freshman at his party school.
But that first year in college didn’t go so well for first boyfriend. I mean I guess everyone has some annoying angsty existential crisis when they’re a freshman totally on their own in the world, like i was. I’m very glad I had college as a part of my life just then, because it gave me meaning and purpose when most else didn’t. Also, this was when i started renewing my friendships with best friend and her twin because they ended up going to the same hometown university as me (they would both transfer to state school years later). Though I pined at first, of course, we slowly grew apart. When the movie The Departed was in theaters, I went on one date with a guy named Patrick whom I will always regard quite fondly because he was the very first person in all my life who liked me (solely) for the person I was. How did we meet? Myspace, again. He was hella emo about a girl who’d just broken up with him, while I was still in that same headspace due to first boyfriend. He said he’d taken to scouring Myspace profiles to distract himself from missing his ex, and mine was the first one he’d found that actually seemed interesting. Mine was definitely different. I had the same cliche background and color scheme as a lot of girls (pink with black font and vice versa, of course) but the content was its own. So Patrick and I went on one date, but i think the fact that I was 18 (he was 21) and the fact that I was way prettier than any sort of girl he’d dated before, he couldn’t handle it. Plus i remember distinctly not knowing how i really felt about Patrick because I was so definitely still fucking around with first boyfriend. I felt no qualms about going on a date, since first boyfriend had done his damnedest to imply we were friends and benefits only. There would be two more guys I casually dated that winter/spring of my freshman year in college, one I would have sex with (the hot one) one I would not (the one from school). But, by the time our mutual freshman years were drawing to a close, my first boyfriend’s life drastically changed for about the eighth time.
His parents had divorced when he was still a toddler, his dad had married and divorced more than once since then, he even had two more kids. His mom had remarried once. Well, that spring his parents both hit him with “I’m getting divorced” moves, and then come that spring his mom was moving clear across the country in pursuit of a job a friend could get her (she was a nurse so it’s not so shady seeming). Which kind of just made my first boyfriend freak out mentally, I guess just a little more instability is not what he was looking for. He took it out on me, of course. He followed his mom to the desert, because he didn’t feel obliged to work extra hard to support himself and stay in this state. Staying with his dad was out of the question, given the two young children and BITCH of a stepmom he had that (I met her once, if you can tell). After he moved he called me and told me (had I not done things that I’d done the last night he was in the state the night before he and a friend drove his truck to his new state) that he was going to mail me a ring and propose over the phone.
Yeah my first boyfriend, the first person I’d ever had sex with, tried to convince me to move several thousand miles by offering to marry me. But then, after this phone conversation, he just disappeared. He left me hanging emotionally, in every way possible, then when i finally had the courage to IM him about it, he completely shrugged it off as the inevitable erratic behavior of someone who’s “going through a lot right now.” I FUCKING HATE THAT PHRASE. Because, guess what, EVERYONE is going through a lot, like all the time. That shouldn’t be an excuse. But it always is.
And yes, you can ask the inevitable question of “Why did I give this idiot the time of day after all of his bullshit?” and well, I guess my answers are going to be annoying and trite, because I was a 19 year old girl, I still obviously retained some portion of romantic feelings for this person over the year we’d been “broken up” but still together on some level because we talked all the time and met up for sex when advantageous (and I wasn’t into anyone else, but that only happened like 3 times that year). Plus, I didn’t have that much going on for me just then. I lived by myself in a tiny one bedroom apartment with like….16 different pets (I’m not even joking…it was a hoarder situation almost, except I did take good care of them, but I really just felt like a zookeeper most days). I worked at a pet store, i had very few friends. I remember, one days off in the summer when it was sunny and hot and perfect for the pool or lake…and I’d be by myself in my apartment, wishing I had someone to spend time with and somewhere to go. I know that sounds pathetic…but what can I say I can be pretty pathetic. I know it. Even though I knew he didn’t mean it I still WANTED to believe he meant it. Again, sad. I was still a teenager then so….idk what you want from me. I think the fact that I was doing all that I did at that age was remarkable. Plus I truly don’t regret the memories that make me feel “normal” and being a pathetic lovelorn 19 year old is actually pretty normal…so….
So that was the first time someone SO insincerely told me they loved me it creeped me out. The second time was actually the last time I spoke to my dad on the phone. It was at some points, month after the wedding, after the winter holidays. My dad said something to imply that he knew my husband had a drinking problem (this KNOWING came about because my husband’s sister had started spending more and more time at my parents house, due to my brother, because they kind of “fell in love” as she once put it, at our wedding, and so my darling sister-in-law was telling my parents things about MY fucking personal life that I DID NOT want them to know. Because they’re both fucked up and it’s not their business. I guess with Ma I just don’t want to worry her. My dad can just go fuck himself) and then my dad said something to insinuate that my husband was probably physically abusive towards me because a lot of drunks are (OH, WHAT, LIKE YOU, DUDE?). I was so outraged that he would feel comfortable speaking to me like this I didn’t respond which of course he pounced on (ever the cop) Oh, have I hit a sore spot? That’s what he asked. The thought delighted him, I could tell over the phone.
YES. BUT NOT THE ONE YOU THINK. It was just the perfect epitome AND culmination of how invasive and cruel he was always going to be. And that meant it was up to me to save myself, to stop everything.
It helps that I have 0 financial ties to them. I got my birth certificate and social security card, which had both been in their safe deposit box. We’d changed my car’s title back when I had to unexpectedly take over my car insurance payments. I have like 80 financial ties to my in-laws, but none with my parents. Not anymore. I was on their insurance for as long as I could be, but I’ve had my own through my job for the past 5 years anyway.
But after the “have i hit a sore spot” question, he told me he wouldn’t ask these sorts of things if he didn’t love me so much. It just creeped me out the way he said that, just like when my first boyfriend did it. I think I can hear the manipulation in people’s voices. I fucking hate it. There’s nothing I respond less to. At least like, try to reason shit out to me, don’t just imply that some totally fake emotion on your end is somehow to blame for ALL of YOUR bad shit. Bleh.
So, here we are, this is the weird thought I had this morning. I didn’t want to wake up early, but unfortunately, it would seem that during the night I slept on my stomach, which I KNOW is unhealthy, and especially right now as my eyelids are healing (I just had them tattooed, after all) it’s especially bad to smash my face into a pillow all night, but it’s how I want to sleep dammit.
So I woke up around 8 am, and I couldn’t even open my eyes, they were so bad. When I finally got them clean and separated (the pigment is still running off, it’s getting ANNOYING) I was far too awake to go back to bed. Besides, I already am thinking about how I’ll need to go to bed early tonight. The end of a long weekend is sad, but it was a good one.
As if 3100 words isn’t enough – how was the weekend?
Thursday – my actual birthday, I know, how funny that I’m such a fucking stoner and my birthday is 4/20 but the bulk of the people in my life don’t have the slightest fucking clue about me and the weed. Like really if they saw how much I really do smoke…..I feel like they’d all be shocked. Anyone I tell can’t believe it. But anyway, I went in for the permanent eyeliner I’ve been going on about. It’s a tattoo. I had my upper lid lash line tattooed with jet black ink. The awesome woman who did it was impressed that I was so upfront about what I wanted. I am so that way. She told me that makes it easy for service people. I didn’t tell her I NEVER get anything done to myself, I cut my own hair and haven’t dyed it since before the wedding, but back when I did, I definitely knew what i wanted. I hate having my hair touched (I don’t know why) so I don’t miss that, but I miss getting my nails done. I’d always have a variegated color scheme with two sometimes almost clashing colors, I’d always get short and pointy gel nails with shellac. It ran me abut $65/month. I HATED the hour of my life i had to sacrifice once a month to get a fill-in. But then i realized I could afford a housecleaning service for a the same cost. So we did that for awhile. Then we had to cancel that as well, so now I’m down to paying once every 3 years to get eyeliner tattooed on my face, but yes I knew what I wanted. I knew exactly what I wanted. I’m a LITTLE bit more like a cartoon character than before. How else am I like one? My voice, the different weird voices I talk in. My eternal same hair cut (layers with bangs and face frame….laugh if you must) and color (a natural, ashy reddish golden-brown I like to call it, it perfectly matches my eyes which I’ve always found fascinating) my quirky addictive behavior, and my many weird piercings i never change. None of them are in my face, of course, and actually I took out my navel ring a year or so ago, and that was the last of my body piercings. But I have a bunch of weird, random ear piercings, and I’ve had most of them 12+ years now. So now, with my first tattoo, I’m just a little bit more like one.
Friday – Saturday : begin boring normal weekend. I went grocery shopping, my eyelids looked so raw and puffy the self checkout cashier asked if I was doing all right. So that’s how sweet I looked Friday morning…. Then from then until now it was just boring house stuff. We’re either moving in two months or signing up for another year of this house, either way it could stand some cleaning. There’s 5 cats in this piece. We had to run to the laundromat because we haven’t even attempted to have the washer fixed. It’s annoying. This week we had SEVEN loads of laundry. There’s just two of us. I find this appalling for one week. But at least we can dry at home, makes it less annoying I guess.
I also made the mistake of watching 13 Reasons Why. Just don’t, if you’re thinking about it. There’s two horrific rape scenes, and I literally wouldn’t look at the screen throughout the entire suicide scene. Just hearing it was disgusting and horrifying. I’ve had this especial terror of slit wrists in particular since i was a young kid (overly graphic scene in a daytime soap opera of, again, a young woman in a tub). As I get older, and realize I don’t always have to act fearless about everything, I realize I’m fucking squeamish about certain things. I tried watching a documentary on the illegal organ market, which is a topic I gave a presentation on in grad school because literature is really obsessed with it…I think for obvious reasons (see – Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and Harvest by Manjula Padmanabhan) but I couldn’t deal with watching a kidney being extracted.
So now I say farwell to my rare friend, the 4 day weekend. Of course Memorial Day isn’t too far off, a 3 days are nice as well. Getting holidays and weekends and night off was the stuff of dreams when I was in college, for the million years i was in college.
So in hindsight, shitty men always end up reminding you of one another, and my permanent eyeliner is amazing, but it hurt like a motherfucker and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to go in for a touch up soon anyway.
But either way, good birthday weekend. Good start to the last year of my twenties.