Born to Love, Cursed to Feel

I can be on my own. I’m actually quite good at it. I enjoy my own company. I think I’m funny, smart and a good conversationalist. I could talk to myself for hours. I can be silent by myself for longer. I function better, actually, on my own. I have more money, I eat better, my career thrives, I’m thinner. I’m better on my own.

I never expected forever; I wasn’t brought up in a family of forever, but I must admit I got used to the idea of it. I felt like I could relax. I had no fear of making future plans.

I’ve been in love before.  I have loved keenly and powerfully, but with you, I don’t know, it was different. I can’t even say why it was different. I mean, I can give you reasons, like my eye was never turned (except once by an old high school friend who lives in New Zealand so there was no chance of anything coming of it and I wouldn’t have done anything anyway because I was so ridiculously in love with you). Like I could be myself around you, my full mentally unwell, ageing, thickening, witchy, farting and burping self. Like my family loves you. Adores you even. Like I could be wrong and you still thought I was cool. Like, I married you.

And then you lied to me. You did something that hurt me and you lied about it. I was angry and betrayed and I did what I knew I was allowed to do and I felt that anger and betrayal and I didn’t let you slide away from it softly. But I was prepared to forgive because I have been forgiven. I was prepared to love you anyway because I have been loved anyway and to be honest, I couldn’t help but love you. I always knew that I would with you.

It was hard, don’t get me wrong. Everything you did triggered (I hate that word) what had happened with my ex, and all that distrust, that black, sticky doubt came creeping back in, but I wouldn’t let it infect me like it did back then. It was a struggle, but I was determined. Sometimes it overtook my thoughts and strangled them because my BPD doesn’t let go easily, but I was working through it and trying to find ways around it. Understanding myself and my own hand in it. Understanding you and where this behaviour comes from. I understood. It didn’t take the pain away, but it would have eventually. If you had just held on.

But it was too hard. Facing up to not being perfect, owning that sometimes you’re an asshole – just like every single member of the human race is sometimes an asshole – was too hard for you. The fighting that is inevitable after a bond has been tested was too hard for you. The work that had to be done was too overwhelming because you believed you couldn’t do it. You believed you weren’t worth it. So you left. And again, I understand. But my God, it cuts deep into the depths of my soul, a place that I have kept wrapped up and hidden away from the world. The path to that place was something I allowed only a very few of you to discover. A wiser person would grow vines around that path, obscuring it, allowing no one to ever again stumble upon it. But it appears I’m not wise, because I would let you find it once more. You left your mark there. It wants you back.

I was put on this earth to love. I am a nurturer, a guide, a gardener. I am a welcomer and a helper. A healer. But I forget that I need those things too, and I am cursed to feel all my experiences and all of yours and yours and yours and yours and I am left empty and broken but I still feel. I cannot stop feeling.

I am not perfection in any way other than my imperfection. I am a child, stumbling around in the dark, pretending I know the way, faking it until I make it. Life taught me that I must be prepared to make mistakes in order to grow, so I have made them gleefully at times, ready for the wisdom that comes with it. I am a hermit, I am insular, I block people out because I feel too much, I isolate myself because the voices in my head are too much company. I’m a terrible friend one minute and the best person to be around the next. I am selfish and selfless, I am strong and fragile. I am beauty incarnate and the hag of your nightmares. I am the queen of the Universe and the muck on your shoe.

This is who I am. And I will walk this trail again and again until the day I die. I’d just prefer to walk it with you.

An Open Letter to the Man Who Broke My Heart

I write this, safe in the knowledge that the likelihood of this ever being read by the person in question is quite infinitesimal.

This relationship has been going on and off and on and off for nigh on three years. We have been through a storm of trying times together and apart, but we seemed to always find our way back to each other. We couldn’t help ourselves. We couldn’t walk away.

Until now.

There has always been factors against us: age, history, mental illness, his family, infidelity, but we battled through because we didn’t care about anything except how we felt about each other. We were too strong together. We loved each other.

We were about to go on a new relationship adventure together when suddenly things changed. For him. The off switch has been flicked, and I suspect it will stay off. I cannot turn it back on again. Not again.

So I write, because that is what I do. I write to express, to let go, to say all those things my heart can’t articulate in spoken word. Maybe it is voyeuristic for you to witness, dear reader, but I have never been one to shy away from open expression.

So here it is.

I want to eradicate you from my life. I want to rip your memory from my body; trade in the parts you claimed to love with such ardour. I want to erase every whispered sentiment, every passion filled exclamation, every declaration of love. Because, as you claim, every such utterance was a lie.

And oh, how you lied! Oh, how I believed. I thought I could be free and safe. I thought I was secure in tearing down the walls of self protection to let you see the flawed yet beautiful creature within.

How wrong I was. Lulled into that false sense of security by a selfish, scared little boy who talked big but walked small, I failed to see the deception. I failed to notice the apron strings of a self righteous, judgmental mother tangle their way through our tenuous single bond. I failed to see how weak you truly are, and how you could not have survived half of what I have lived through.

I never claimed to be a heroine of epic proportions. All I wanted you to see was my humanity. I never wanted pity. I never wanted concessions. I wanted to be understood. I wanted to be loved.

I found comfort in Martha Wainwright’s exalted, melodic assertations, you bloody mother fucking asshole, but then I remembered your devotion to her brother, and now even the music I retreat into is sullied by your presence.

I wish you failure. I wish you protracted periods of darkness. I wish you to ache for me, for what you have done. I wish for you to feel so alone that even the sun seems to shun you. I wish you separation from your family, disconnectedness, and an overwhelming feeling of being forgotten. I wish you isolation. I even wish you despair.

Interestingly enough, I do not wish you these things with any antipathy or malicious intent. I actually wish them with love. This even surprises me. Because through all this betrayal, all this cruel back and forth, erratic behaviour that you have exhibited, through all this pain you have heaped upon me in unrelenting waves, I wish for you to grow. I wish for you to understand yourself to better understand others. Only then will you be a man worth loving. Only then will you be a man.

And so I walk away, taking my sore, embittered heart with me. I remove my light from your world for the simple reason that you never thought I would. And if you think your absence from my life will cause me to fall, to harm myself, or even to utter a cry of anguished sorrow, hear this:

I have survived without you before. I will again. Effortlessly.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I have trouble letting go of stuff, I can admit that. When a play I’ve been involved with ends; when a friend moves away; Joss Whedon’s Firefly. If one is in a situation in which one is comfortable, and then that situation changes, it can take a while to adjust. I think a lot of people can relate. But do you know what bugs me? What shits me up the wall, in fact? The Ex Boyfriend.

Oh yay, another blog about a failed relationship, woo! Yes, okay, it’s not very original, but I need to vent.

Why is it, that the most mundane and ordinary things make me think about The Ex Boyfriend? On my way home from work, I drive down a street that he and I walked down TWICE, and I always think of him. I get in the shower and as soon as the water hits, I think of him. Radiohead’s Lotus Flower comes on the radio (we listened to it together ONCE), I think of him. I walk down to the mailbox, see a red car (any red car), light some incense, hear a particular turn of phrase, I think of him. It’s been seven months since we split. Seven months!!! We don’t see each other at all. It’s kinda getting ridiculous. He wasn’t even a particularly good boyfriend, really. There were moments when he was actually quite horrible to me. But, there he is, in my head. All the time.

That’s the thing about change, though. I didn’t want the break up, but it’s what needed to happen. And I’ve noticed about myself that I rant and rave against change while it’s happening, but once I give it a chance to settle in, I see the benefits, and actually enjoy the “new” life that that change has implemented. Heartbreak seems to be different, though. The change of ending a relationship is often linked to feelings of loneliness, rejection, isolation, self-loathing, and a big chunk of despair. The stuff that comes after that is excellent (re-validation, self-acceptance, alone time, a new hair cut), but getting there can be a long, drawn-out process (it took me three years to get over an ex girlfriend from 8 years ago, and that was horrid). And every time it happens I say the same thing: “I know this feeling! It’s heartbreak. I don’t need to experience this again, I know what this is!” But there it is, that feeling of blurgh that sits in the chest and slowly advances outwards to infiltrate the nervous system, brain stem and outer extremities to leave me a quivering, red-faced, snotty mess.

Sappho the Cat. The cure for everything. Photography by Phoebe Taylor

Sappho the Cat. The cure for everything.
Photography by Phoebe Taylor

My friends patiently tell me that it takes time. Yes, I know that too! And half my problem is that my pride is dented: here is this person who didn’t deem me important enough to fight for, who dumped me even if in reality it was a mutually agreed separation, who seems to be getting over me right fine and proper, and I’m still thinking about him? I am hung up on him? Oh no. No no no no no, I am a strong, independent woman who needs no man – no anybody to feel validated as a human being! I am gorgeous and smart and talented and … and … when is he gonna come back? *Sob*

Urgh.

Look, I’m no longer angry. Neither am I crying myself to sleep anymore. Intellectually, I know it’s over and the “new” life post break-up is waiting for me, and it’s gonna be awesome. But my heart still aches a little, because it’s been bruised. There’s still the shadow of grief lingering in the back end of my psyche because I failed at something. There’s still that all-too-human desire to be connected with someone special that has been left unfulfilled. And all I can do, just like everyone else, is give it time.

Time. Hmmm. I might go watch Firefly again