Perspective 12-25-18

I’ve been quiet about personal things instead of thinking out loud on this virtual paper for awhile, opting to post recipes and such. Kept pretty much to myself in real life, too.  Those who follow this blog know about my relationship with the vet, a man who is my polar opposite on everything.

From the get-go, I didn’t think it would work. I put him off for an entire year, said no every time he said something about wanting to hang out together, that he’d like to get to know me. Truth is, he kind of scared me. He can look mean as hell with that military persona, stoic face and all. I had to see him with his granddaughter, watch him met into a puddle of love, to know he wasn’t dangerous. When I finally said okay, let’s go get a cup of coffee, I was thinking maybe it will help him see our differences, that his interest in me would quickly fade once he, too, realized that we have absolutely nothing in common. It didn’t. A week later, he stood with his hat in his hands and humbly said, “God willing, I would like to get to know you.”  It took an open mind and open heart. We had to learn each other, explain what words and phrases meant, as well as the what and why and how we do things. Still, I did not keep a journal like a school girl, didn’t note first anything on a calendar. Didn’t think it mattered. And, to be brutally honest, the first time I banged him was when I needed to feel alive again. I was feeling cold and empty inside after my aunt died, as if a part of me had died, too. It was a “what would Betty do?”

Told my ex-husband after he met the vet and asked how I hooked up with that guy. His reaction was, “Oh My God! You’re aunt was wild, you can’t make life decisions based on what she’d do!”

Yeah, I wanted to feel alive. What would Betty do?

His kisses quieted my mind. That totally amazed me. I didn’t have to think… I could just be. As I got to know him, I discovered a whole new side of me. Part of it might have been that I still didn’t see any possibility of a future with this man… all we had was right here, right now, totally in the moment.

Time passed. Love blossomed and grew as we settled into a routine of being friends and lovers. When I bought this house, he damn near moved in with me even though he kept his own apartment downtown like a security blanket, only stayed there maybe a couple nights a month in that first year. Things started going south near the end of 2017, when behavior patterns coincided with rumors highly suggesting that he was seriously trying to hide an addiction. It was his own private war, one his daughter had told me that he had overcome before, something he finally acknowledged but never could open up enough to talk to me about it. That’s the thing… another one of our opposites. My life is an open book, live out loud, be out loud… his book is so closed that “The Secret Life of [His Name]” would be a fitting title.

It’s always been his world, my world, and a wee little overlap of those two circles, the intersection labeled “US” printed up above with an arrow pointing down to it. His world is closely guarded, very private. I’m not allowed in it. For my own good, so says the man who acts like going to the store for a loaf of bread is a covert mission. That might be a leftover military thing. My world has open borders, come on in, I’ll pour you a cup of coffee, let’s talk about anything. As he started spending more and more time away, coming back with a don’t ask and don’t tell, just kiss me I’m home kind of way about himself, all those secrets got me to thinking that he was seeing someone else… we broke up on the 4th of July because I noticed a brand new freshly cut house key next to the key to my house on his key chain. He couldn’t tell me whose door it opened so I took my key off… hell, he couldn’t even tell me who cooked the ribs and chicken than he brought in and asked me to warm up.

A couple days later, he came to visit and told me that we just needed a break… that I needed time to get back to being me again. He thought I was losing my me by trying to blend into his world. (Wrong! I couldn’t blend into his world if I wanted to… he always kept me locked me out.) So, for darn near 6 months now, he’s been popping by to see me whenever he feels like it and in the meanwhile, I’ll work on me, you work on you.

I still think he’s been seeing someone else; she’s been trying to make herself known… after her last little stunt, I flat out asked him if he was banging her. He gave me a non-answer. So okay, like the lyrics Stevie Nicks sang, I took it as, “the truth has finally come down.”

Surprisingly, I wasn’t hurt or even mad about it. He totally sucks at trying to juggle two women, to the point of being amusing at times. I believe him when he says he loves me… but, I also know it’s possible to love more than one person. I still love every man I ever loved. It’s not the same as every love is different, but if you really love someone, you can’t turn it on and off like a faucet. Whether you act on it, nurture it, or just tuck in away into a crevice in your heart, that’s a choice.

I haven’t quite decided what to do about it… right now I can see us as slowing fading into just being friends. It’s like I told his daughter on cookie day (she’s been reading this woman’s comments on his Facebook posts): if you ever meet her, give her a chance, she might be okay. You know? Maybe she’s easy… easy for him to understand, easy for him to be with… maybe she’s from his world, so he doesn’t feel the need to hide or protect her from what he’s doing, maybe she does it, too.

Me and the vet, we don’t come easy, we’re polar opposites, don’t fully understand each other, have difficulties communicating, we never run out of stuff we have to explain. Like when I told the vet that I had just ordered a little 3 jaw chuck with an M-1 taper for my dad’s little lathe, he looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language and said, “What’s a lathe?”

Yeah… those who know me understand the impact that simple little question had on me. I grew up around machinery. I got paid a quarter to clean my daddy’s lathe. I’m a retired Tool & Die Maker. What’s a lathe? Okay, he’s street… got street smarts. He doesn’t make anything. I’m always tinkering. Just another polar opposite.

It’s been quite a ride…  not easy, never boring, and no regrets. By changing my perspective, the fight has drained out of me, so has the hurt and anguish… I love him, but I can see myself walking away.

Epiphany #5

This “I’ll work on me, you work on you babe” while taking a break instead of just breaking up seems beneficial to our relationship.  We are actually talking to each other now and, in some ways, we are in a better place then we had been there for awhile. It is nice to remember what we like about each other, what attracted us to each other in the first place, and how much we actually do love each other.

I’ve been sharing my little epiphanies… from “I am here, I’m still me” to the “I don’t really know you” with a list of stupid questions like, “Do you own a cast iron skillet?” Yeah, there are a LOT of little things that I do not know about this man.

He got the point:  I need him to be a little more open and honest with me and he needs me to stop hiding aspects of myself that, for reasons real or imagined, I felt like he might not be able to handle it.

Where do we go from here? Who knows? Right now, it is just one day at a time.

 

LATER:  I was thinking about how to tell the new student doc assigned to me at the family clinic that when I ask for an antidepressant, I want a low dose SSRI, preferably Lexapro, NOT 300mg of Wellbutrin (way too much, that’s enough to send me over the edge so I’m NOT taking it) and suddenly, I got hit with Epiphany #5.

How do I tell him? He thinks I lost my me… oh my gosh!

That “strong vibrant woman” he met and fell in love with ye 3 to 4 years ago (I didn’t jot notes on a calendar or keep a diary) was riding a prolonged cusp on the edge of mania, self-medicating with 100 proof peppermint schnapps straight up (hey, alcohol is a depressant) plus Jacks & Coke and a few other things when we first got together.

I ended up back in therapy, bailed out and eventually crashed, series of harsh things took me down into depression… that’s easier to hide. I have a lot more experience going down. I blogged about some of it, from Wired in August 2015 on up past the new year, mixed in with other stuff.

So, basically, he has seen me up and seen me down, both ends of my mental health spectrum, but might not have realized it… stable is the middle ground. So he thinks I lost part of my me… that my stable me is missing something?

Epiphany #5 just opened a frikkin can of mental worms.

Stable me is NOT so vibrant. Stable me doesn’t drink, mainly because I know alcohol is a depressant and I tend to cycle down a lot more than I cycle up. Stable me is a responsible human being. Stable me doesn’t make as much art, doesn’t read poetry on street corners, doesn’t do wacky things.

Humm… I’m going to have to think about this for awhile before I venture to bring it up in conversation.

Thanks for reading!

 

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.