In the drift away from the humanities, we risk losing something essential in ourselves.
"are you safe?" my therapist asks me as I explain through sob-ridden phrases that my boyfriend of over 2 years has just out of the blue ended our life together.
"yes," i answered, choking. "of course I’m safe."
It is with irony that I look back at my previous post about how dating is like auditioning a new family in addition to auditioning a new person. When the movie starts shooting, you barely know each other, but by the end, you can’t believe you’ve read all your lines and are simply looking to have a close-up spot when the credits role.
The truth is that I never once, even during the single rocky phase that Z and I went through, thought that we would end, that there would be an end to the ‘us’ that was so fabulous. We made a promise to each other before he left for the deployment that if one of us started having doubts about the future, we would TALK about it and try to work things out. That’s not what happened. He broke his promise to me. After a preemptive email outlining today’s conversation topic (the end of us), I spent two helpless hours watching us break up. Unable to defend myself , or our relationship, I instead had to sit and listen to him explain that although he cares for me immensely and has been thinking endlessly about the moment that he comes home and sees me waiting for him at the airport, he can’t see us having a future. As the conversation wore on, he admitted that he’s been thinking about this for a while and that all the time he spends with me is so wonderful but is a complete distraction from the fact that he is unwilling to plan any sort of future with me.
I attempted to argue that after being apart now for 8 (EIGHT) months, and feeling the distance that occurs during deployment, how could he possibly think that we could not have a future together? He simply said that he just knows and that there was nothing definitive that he could use to help explain his feelings (no actions, traits, or insanities on my end) or justify his reasoning. He was simply done. It was not a conversation. It was a lecture with interjections for clarification on my end and a lot of crying and attempts to derail the conversation with desperate attempts at reasoning with him.
After 8 months of separation and having less than three months before he comes home, he’s ending things. The idea of being with me and spending time with me is wonderful but it will simply increase the amount of time we spend together because he’ll start to forget about his concerns and remember how good we are. But, as soon as the plot for a future or a move or a trip comes up, the whole matter of not wanting to commit will rise up and demand some face time.
I’ve spent much of the day grieving and avoiding food. Currently, I’m drinking some rather delicious aged single malt scotch straight out of a double glass and have just finished a small burrito. So, calories are beginning to hit my system. I’m awaiting two friends and have another friend date tomorrow. I’m still grieving and find my body racked by unsolicited and violent sobs whenever I consider my life. My plan for staying present in my body at all times is not doing me any favors and I want to fall into the trap of ‘la la land’ that I once found so enjoyable.
I have lost the one person that I cared for deeply. I am now journeying into untempered waters and am doing so without the person that was once guiding my damaged boat. I have also lost my new family.
I am without words, without meaning, without guidance and a light at the end of the tunnel.
How do things get so fucked up so quickly? We had a future together, an unclear, remarkable future together, until about 10 hours ago. I never asked for marriage or children or a big shiny house. I just wanted him, NOW, in the present, not three months from now, not a year, not a decade. I only wanted to have him say “I love you, you’re the best, babe!” and mean it. I guess I’ll simply have to teach one of my birds to say that now.
How pathetic. I keep hoping beyond hope that I’ll get a call tomorrow or the next day or the day after and hear him telling me about the terrible mistake he’s made and that he doesn’t care about the future and that he just wants me now. But, as that’s unlikely, I’ll keep drinking scotch and chronicling my cycle in and out of heartache for the world to read and learn from.
swirling illusions fluttering pages
dancing words tantalizing phrases
terrifying emotions screaming worries
fleeting happiness dying stories
spilling ink shouting songs
empty promises replaying wrongs
hopeful flashes pleasing eyes
pitless lows forsaken highs
Expectations can be fabulous. They help people set goals, strive for greatness, dream big, and all that. I set expectations for myself all the time: will not eat after 10pm, will run 18 miles this week at a good clip, will get paperwork done in a timely fashion at work, will not mindlessly drone out the day with dumb TV after work, will not eat peanut butter (and only peanut butter) for dinner. Simple or complex, expectations give us a mini-preview into our future selves. The problem with all this, however, lies in the fact that for those of us who enjoy perseverating on the future and who also happen to be idealists, reality reveals itself to be a grumpy little bitch. Let me give a few examples of what I mean…
1. Expectation: Friends will be on time to dinner dates.
Reality: Friends will text you after you’ve been waiting for 10 minutes to tell you that they’re on their way AND are bringing their SO. Not a big deal, still a little disappointing.
2. Expectation: The Soy version of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream will be better than the dairy version.
Reality: It tastes like dark chocolate had a baby with a vat of expired soy milk and was drizzled with some substandard peppermint extract. Sad times for vegans.
3. Expectation: SO will remember your anniversary AND get you a shiney present AND proclaim their undying love for you.
Reality: SO forgets anniversary, sends no gift, and does not profess love. (silver lining: as a closet commitment phobe, a confession of undying love might send me into cardiac arrest).
4. Expectation: There will be ZERO traffic (or at least a normal level of traffic) when you’re headed to an appointment in a city two hours from where you live which will allow you to be on time (30 minute buffer provided).
Reality: There WILL be an accident every 30 miles AND a hail storm AND a power outage and you WILL be 45 minutes late.
5. Expectation: Hard work will be recognized and rewarded accordingly.
Reality: You will receive the same pay increase as every other (mostly substandard) employee in your company, will not have your achievements recognized, and you will NOT be exempt from working the holidays and will likely miss seeing your family.
The point of all of these examples is to show that while expectations are great and can be helpful, when you attempt to apply them to most real life situations, you will either be left in a disappointed, teary-eyed heap on the floor somewhere, or will develop thick skin, a healthy sense of humor, and the ability to adapt. And, let’s face it, we could all better our adaptation skills.
Gravel crunches underneath her feet as she steps up the steep driveway. Voices begin calling to her as she slides the door open, echoing in the dark, chilly morning air. Her breath floods around her face as gloved hands pull her woolen hat further onto her head. One hand clutching the thermos of coffee she carries, she feels her away through the now alive building, murmuring “good morning”s and “hellos” to those greeting her. She moves by memory, her early morning routine ingrained in her memory, the quiet voices of her companions acting as echo locators for her barely awake brain. When she reaches the end of the aisle, she opens the final door, and new light begins flooding in, the pink sky burning brighter and brighter as the sun peaks and begins feeling its way toward her, rays creating pathways of light across green, frozen fields. Frost covers the piping on the fences surrounding her and as she shields her eyes from the bright day, she takes a sip of coffee, relishing in the life it creates inside her. There is nothing but silence for her in these moments, silence and the sounds of moving hooves, and low, sleepy nickers. She waits, waiting to feel the slightest warmth from the sun, before she begins moving again. Each morning brings a new list of items to be checked off but she finds time in these moments of peace to steel herself and relish in the freedom being here provides. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees a sleepy face emerge over the top of a stall wall, dark eyes blinking quickly in the face of the bright sun, clean, white blaze creating a stark contrast against its chocolate background. She reaches out a hand to stroke the white marking, imagining the softness of the hair under her glove. As if to urge her along in the completion of the most pertinent of chores, feeding breakfast, heads begin slowly arriving over the tops of doors along the rest of the aisle, nickers becoming more and more urgent as the moments pass. She takes another sip from her coffee, thankful for its burning encouragement, flips on the light switch, and begins her day.
Hand in hand, a young couple walks down a deserted street somewhere in a small Mexican town. He’s dressed casually, khaki shorts, leather belt, open button up. Damp areas mar the area near his lower back where the sweat had pooled earlier in the night. They had danced, for hours on end, relishing in the sea air, the small town energy, the celebration of being free from obligations and free from the stress of their lives back home. His fingers are in constant motion on her hand and she dances away from him for small moments at a time. They never seem to separate, even in the instants in which her body leaves his. His hand clasps on hers, hard as she moves from him, as though he’s scared to let her get too far away. She, dressed in an airy, knitted dress, casually and continually pulls the sleeves of her sweater up to cover her shoulders. Her heeled feet lightly prance across the ground, her voice humming rhythmic music from the band, mimicking words whose definitions she did not know but whose meanings had not been lost on her. Long, beach-weathered hair sways down her back and as she moves from her companion, her body leaps with excitement and fear, as if she longs simultaneously to be far, far away, but is terrified to travel alone.
The two travelers seem not to have a destination or a grasp on where they’re moving but they move with a winding purpose, nailing the fundamentals behind “slow and steady.” The crashing of waves quiets as they move further along the rode and the sounds of creatures, beast or demon grow louder as they venture forward. They continue on their pathway, she singing her unknown lyrics under her breath, her voice light and melodic, he holding lightly onto her, guiding her forward toward their unforseen destination.
When I am alone at night, I often lie in bed, struggling to relax, old injuries flaring up without the slightest provocation. The sharp aches will roll from shoulder to neck to hip to knee before finally resting heavily on my mind, pulling at strings and squirming around in areas better left alone. I recall my lesser moments, brief periods of time in which I’ve said the wrong thing and have only regretted it when the time has long passed for apologies. Many people can recall childhood memories of laughter on the playgrounds, softball games, time spent with friends and family. My only memories of my youth are of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, insults shouted out of anger and embarrassment, periods in history in which I shamed my parents. I recall fights from a few months ago, spawned from pride and the inability to understand that my thoughts and feelings are truly not the only ones that matter.
I craft countless apologize during these dark, pre-sleep periods. My eloquent words toil aimlessly throughout my head, accomplishing nothing but the progression of my long list of regrets.
It is with these things considered that I spend my waking hours exhausting myself, numbing myself with external stimuli in hopes that when night falls, I will be anaesthetized enough to sleep through the night.
i’ve been living in corvallis for about two weeks now. and i’m going completely stir crazy. i’ve yet to find a job, i spend my days meandering about playing ‘house wife’ while my bf is off doing military things, i study my a&p book until i feel like vomiting, and i wait until 6pm to go ride/play with/check up on my wild beast horse who has been enjoying her summer home a little too much.
also, still not sure if pursuing a career in nursing is what i want. i want to write but have no idea how to break into that field, i want to edit but only freelance, and i want to NOT be bored to tears before classes even start.
so, i find yummy things to bake, do loads of sit ups, body resistance work outs to make up for said gained calories, and i attempt to NOT get sunburned for the 10th time this summer while i breathe in fresh air, tend to the volunteer vegetable garden left by our landlords, and defend my herbs from insect intruders …
must. find. answers.
I was scheduled for a nasty little procedure with my doc on Friday and because it was my second time through and I was terrified, I asked them to give me a little something something to help me through the process.
My GOD. It was the little pill that could. I was prescribed 5mg of diazepam, the generic equivalent of Valium, and for the entire 6 hours it was in my system, a new world opened up for me. I am a naturally, uh, “high strung” person. I stress and pour over minute details of my daily life, get upset with my wonderful boyfriend for random, inconsequential things, and lose many, many hours of sleep at night because I’m so caught up in a life without a relax function.
I’m at avid yogi, a professional equestrienne, a student, and a voracious reader so my life is full of many activities that should insight relaxation. However, it’s the little things that burrow deep into my overactive imagination and make me want to pull my hair out. My brief stint with the little pill showed me how peaceful my life could be, and should be.
So, today, as I sit amid a stack of boxes that refuse to unpack themselves into my summer house, I think back on how much nicer life is when worrying isn’t an option.
"A Letter I Will Never Send"
… y’know, just because.
Maybe instead of worrying about where each story is going, who each character is going to become, and whether anyone will even care enough to read any of it, maybe I need to stop caring? Maybe instead, I need to shut off the planning and the thinking and just let everything unfold itself onto paper as it chooses to.
Maybe, that’s how I should start looking at life. Let everything unfold and the cards fall where they may.