I AM NOT BROKEN

Epiphany #2:  I am not broken. Therefore, I do NOT need to fix myself.

Granted, I am a bit messy right now. My life is a mess, I’ve been an emotional mess, my house is a mess… so THAT is what I’m working on. It is time to tidy up, brush out the cobwebs, dust myself off, and get it together.

It’s going to take a minute. I’m only three weeks in on my quest to get back to being me again, the strong vibrant woman that I used to be, the me he thinks I somehow lost touch with by trying to blend into his world.

Epiphany #1 was That’s BS… I couldn’t blend into his world if I wanted to, the ONLY blending attempt going on was in my kitchen.  I made dietary changes, learned to cook food that he likes, tried to prepare meals that we both could eat, and adapted to HIS cultural thing about making his plates.

In MY culture, mommies make plates for little kids and grown ass men make their own damn plates. Who best knows what your own self wants, eh?

Sometimes I think his cultural thing about women making men’s plates is more about hierarchy in the relationship, with women being subservient to men, than “an expression of love” as I always felt like he inspected the plates and I would catch myself waiting for some sign of approval. Perhaps making his plates unconsciously changed how he saw me… a strong, vibrant woman stands on equal ground, she is not subservient to her man.  Another complaint was that I was too used to being on my own, that I made household decisions without consulting him. A strong, vibrant woman does not need permission or approval for every minor decision. So, there is mixed messages in all that… do you want me to be the woman you fell in love with… or the one who is tamping herself down in an effort to please her man?

OH WELL… I’m just going to work on my mess, get my life and the house back in order.

It is a solitary process that requires a continuous daily effort.  I quit bawling buckets, so I’m making progress. There for awhile, I was an emotional mess. It was like being on a roller coaster, a water ride, with angry highs and sad lows, tears flowing at the slightest provocation.

Flipping rooms helped… he left all his stuff when he walked out the door on the 4th of July, so I’d wake up hugging his pillows, breathing his scent in a room that looked like he just went to the bathroom. Now I’m sleeping in my office and that bedroom has been cleared out and repainted.

I still need some white for the window trim and doors. The window topper boxes need repainted before they go back up.  I also want to do a decorative edge along the color blocks, maybe lines or a leafy vine in Mars Black.  I like the two-tone blues… the pale so light it reminds me of a cloudy sky.

Eventually, this room will be set up as my studio workspace.  It’s open and airy, catches a good breeze, and the morning light pours through an east window.  I want to move my kitchen table in there, use it as a work table, so I need to find something else for out there.  Maybe something round or square with four chairs would fit the kitchen space much better.

It will be alright… by the time I’m done cleaning the house, going through bins and boxes, reclaiming my own space and setting it up as I please, I should feel more together inside, too.

 

Small Plates

I lost my appetite, which is surprisingly odd, considering my history of binge eating disorder.  Feeding myself has become a chore.  I don’t want to cook.  Nothing sounds good.  I’m like a child again, pushing peas around the plate.

I’ve been logging food, writing down what and when I eat, per suggestion of my therapist, trying to put myself on a schedule of semi-nutritional meals. There were too many days of waiting until I felt like I was going to pass out if I didn’t eat something; too many days of eating nothing but variations of toast.

I get tired of writing things down, so I snapped of photo.

Today’s meal was a roasted chicken thigh (meat pulled from bones) with a potato and fresh mushrooms topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chives, served on a little 6″ plate.

Most of my meals are on small plates now.  That’s ye about all I can eat.  It feels weird to struggle with the last bites. Everything is weird.  I’m weird right now.

I bitched out my best friend, or who I thought of as my best friend, when she showed up on my payday wanting to borrow money. Told her no, I’m already out of my comfort zone and she’s in over her head already, done blown me off twice with fucked up stories, so why would I loan her more?  I offered her a job two weeks ago, help me paint the porch, work off the debt, got to eliminate money from our friendship. Yeah sure, she planned on helping me anyway.

The can of paint still sits.

I ended giving her five for her gas tank so she could get to work on her own payday.  She came back later, begging, will I please give her a little more so she can get something to feed the kids?  She’ll pay me back Friday, we’ll go out to lunch, celebrate my birthday… and I haven’t seen her since.

Well, that doesn’t surprise me.

Sad thing is… I really liked her, she was my friend and now I think she was all pretend just so she could use me like an ATM.

Twirled Around

Somehow, this became all about me… we are taking a break because I need to get back to myself, the me I was when he met me. We come from different worlds… he thinks that I’ve been trying to blend into his world and losing myself in the process, so I need time to get back into being me.

I opened the door on Sunday afternoon expecting to see one of my friends as the sound of the knock was familiar, it sounded like hers, but he was standing there… clean, sober, and serious. He came to talk.

He’s right on some of that… when was the last time I went to a poetry reading?

It’s been a couple years, maybe three, since I read my own words out loud on Phelps Street in downtown Youngstown with crowds of people walking by, a few stopping to listen. Or, was my last time reading to a bar crowd in Suzie’s Drafts & Dogs? That was fun. I quit the art committee for the annual Women’s Show after I had that little stroke. Wick Ave was closed, so I’d have to walk in from Fifth Street, and it was just too much for me at the time. Losing the sight in my right eye knocked spatial relationships out of wack, so I seldom try to bead anymore. It’s hard when pliers grasp air next to the wire. I quit going to gallery openings because I cannot afford to taxi home after bus hours.

And why is that? “Babe, I need $10.” Well, there goes my cab fare.

Yeah, wait a minute… how exactly have I blended into his world?

I haven’t… I can’t… he blocks me out. “The Secret Life of [His Name]” is the title of his closed, tightly guarded book. I’ve teased him about that… he lives a dual life. Always has… covert missions to the store for a loaf of bread doing the Arnold thing, “I’ll be back.” Everything is a secret. What he does, where he goes, who he sees when he’s not here with me, even who cooked the fucking chicken that he brought home on 4th of July… all of it, none of my business.

Some secrets, he has told me, is to protect me. There are things I don’t need to know about… people who are not safe for me to be around, what I don’t know won’t hurt me.

Now my life, on the other hand, is an open book… “Bee Out Loud” is more than my tagline. Having spent most of my childhood locked in silence, I have to be open and honest and just throw it all out there.

The only “secret” I kept from him are my written words, including THIS BLOG, and that’s because he told me, back when we first got together, that I needed to keep something to myself, a part of my life for me, not to be shared with him. Yeah, I choose my VERY PUBLIC and easily accessible blog as my thing not to share with him. All I did was quit posting links to this blog on Facebook (which made it two clicks away from his eyes instead of just one) and never once brought it up in any of our conversations.

There was no mention of the key or the chicken on Sunday.

We agreed to take a break; that I need time to work on me, to get back to being my old self. I’m still thinking about that… not sure if he got the idea from reading the title to one of my favorite songs (Joanne Shaw Taylor’s “Lost Myself to Loving You”) but if he actually listened to the words, the lyrics are about NOT losing myself to loving you. Maybe it’s just an excuse… as in, “I’m cheating because YOU changed” kind of thing. Which, of course, he has not and will not own up to… but, I’m not stupid. Someone cooked that chicken and that key opens the door to someone’s crib.

Oh well. Does it matter?

NO… my heart is shattered into a thousand pieces, but it shall heal. And I will NEVER go back to being the me I was when he first met me, even if I start doing the things I used to do all the time more often again.

I simply cannot be the me I used to be because life changed me… having that little stroke changed me. The death of two beloved Aunts changed me. The loss of a sister changed me. My muse and confidant of 20 years abruptly exiting my life had a profound impact on me. My cat dying changed me. Some asshole dumping my nephew’s body in a frikkin McDonald’s parking lot changed me. Another nephew assaulting police officers during a drunken PTSD episode in my living room changed me. The vet wanting to “take a break” instead of just flat out leaving me has already started to change me.

It is not just people exiting my life that alter the course of my existence. Every new friendship slightly changes things, the therapy I started weeks ago is changing me, even a conversation with a stranger on the bus can ever so slightly shift a perspective. Life is fluid, like a river constantly changing, unless your life is extremely stagnant and even then, moss grows. Thing is, if you isolate to track a single drop of water from any river, it will never flow past the same point twice. We cannot turn back time. I cannot be the me I used to be and, in time, I won’t be the me I am right now either. Life goes on.

So okay, we can take a break instead of flat out breaking up… I need time… maybe he’ll use the time to get his own self together. I don’t know… time will tell.