Here's hoping that June is wrapping up nicely for you all!
It has been an absolutely insane month between trying to get the back yard finished, my son's high school graduation, the end of the school year for all students, having yet another handyman/contractor show up to install a transfer switch for our new generator (our VERY early Christmas present from Oompa) as well as a ceiling fan in our family room so that we don't melt this summer. And I also got the ball rolling (with J's help) on making my first doctor's appointment in the state of Pennsylvania.
Side note: I'm TERRIBLE with doctors, guys. TERRIBLE. I've been sick a small handful of times since we moved here eleven months ago. I've changed insurances two times but STILL have not gone to a single physician, primary care or otherwise. ('otherwise' is the reason for tomorrow's 10am appointment) I don't know if this is the norm for everyone. Yes, I am well aware that NO one likes the doctor or going to visit but I sadly admit that in the past several years, I've gone out of my way to avoid anyone with "M.D." after their names. Dentists, too. While my health is slowly improving due to diet and lifestyle changes that I've initiated without a doctor's recommendation, I've got other, separate issues that I've been ignoring because they're not an emergency and I'm not experiencing any discomfort that I can't live with.
This won't do, though - I'm smart enough to know and realize that this is by no means a permanent solution. Over the past several months, I've had some uncomfortable and unfavorable side effects to the birth control medications I'd been taking for years, now - so it's time for a GYN exam/re-evaluation of whether or not this medication is still good for me or it's time to find something else. This will require a physical examination, I'm sure, as well as a breast exam, a pelvic...and to top all that off, this is a NEW doctor that I've never seen before, and even better (not really) - it's a male doctor.
Honestly, aside from not being able to live with one, I have nothing against men. There are some fine, upstanding men in my life that I love very much. However, from a medical perspective, I don't care if my dentist is a male. I don't even care if my PCP is a male. I don't care if I go to the ER with a mysterious onset of symptoms, chances are you'll get whoever's able to handle your needs first. But if someone's going to be poking around in the nether regions, it'd damn well BETTER be a female! However, I'm not getting my way this time around. The situation I'm having right now with irregular spotting/bleeding needs to be handled NOW (I've had enough) and the female doctor in the office is not available until August. And so I'll suck it up and go visit the male doctor, but will INSIST upon having a female nurse present during the exam. There usually is one, though, so this helps me not to lose my shit over this and focus more on resolving this medication issue and for future appointments, I can always switch to the female as she'll be available for the next visit.
Anyway - let's move on. (chorus: "Yes, please!")
So...recently, I've had some things come up that have made me question how I come across to others. It's also made me question myself, in some ways. I don't blame myself for the REASONS I am who I am, but I wonder if, along the way, I should have made more of an effort to be a different TYPE of person, overall. A different version of me that others see.
Yes, I know....you all have your "HUH?" faces on right about now?
As I attempt to explain this, I don't want to get into extremes because in order to do so, I'd have to share personal background information about certain family members that I don't feel that should be put out there by me. So I will do the best I can whilst omitting incriminating details.
There was a misunderstanding about three weeks ago, between myself and a few of my in-laws.
I WILL say that two of these in-laws (J's parents) are NOT supportive nor do they approve of my long-lived relationship with J, but it is for religious reasons - as a person, they like me, or so they say...but as J's partner/lover, they do not. I have repeatedly felt that they hold J's decision to move away from them against me - for I, at this point, represent to them her choice to leave her family behind in pursuit of love as well as a better life for herself. I often wonder if this sits in the back of their head, even though J made this decision on her own...every time they see me, are they consumed with a level of hidden animosity toward me and this prevents them from truly liking me? Whether they do like me as a person is true or not, I really don't care at this point, but let's be real - who wants to be disliked or given the feeling that they're not accepted in EVERY aspect? I certainly don't, and I don't know if this stems from an early desire to people-please but deep down, the two-facedness of J's parents bothers me a GREAT deal and it has for years.
Regardless, they are her parents and I respectfully keep a distance whenever they are around or we go visit them. I do not believe in their religion, but know that it truly makes them uncomfortable to see me slide a hand around J's waist or hold her hand, or peck her on the lips as I walk by...and so whenever in their company, I find it more effective to just sit across a room or excuse myself entirely so that they can feel comfortable visiting with their daughter without me around. It's not as if they attempt to engage me in conversation, either - when they do, it's simply small talk. They have made absolutely NO efforts to get to know me on a deeper level - I don't think they even know J as well as they would like to think - so I don't take it personally. I am comfortable just keeping that rift in place; although we are polite to one another and we engage in simple, meaningless chit-chat and kiss hello and goodbye, there is always going to be that unspoken understanding between her parents and I. It's unfortunate that it has to be this way, but it's something I simply don't know how to fix nor do I know if its within my capability to do so seeing as they're not only drinking the Kool-Aid, they're also SWIMMING in it.
Now, one of J's sisters is another story. She has always been an ally to us, a very strong supporter of our relationship. She's always been the OPPOSITE of their parents. And before I came along, she was J's 'person.' J felt comfortable going to this sister for emotional support, for advice, for whatever at all she needed. And resultedly, they became EXTREMELY close. She, too, misses J a great deal, and even though she's been living away from the rest of her family for nine years, will sometimes comment on how she wishes that we lived closer to all of them - I'm sure J wouldn't mind cutting the trip back home by a few hours, but for me, that'd be a HUGE no-no based on the cold shoulder I'm used to receiving from the parents. And they currently live WITH her sister, so lately, I've felt myself detaching even MORE and allowing J to go visit them all (her parents and sister) and I'd stay home so that she would not have to hear me moan and groan about how uncomfortable I am and how much I want to go home - this usually starts about ten to fifteen minutes after we arrive. It's not fair to J to have to feel pressured or rushed while visiting her family, and so it's just better this way - it's better for me to stay behind so that she feels less pressure, less tension when she's in their company.
I'm not sure if this is doing us any favors in the end, though.
Here's a short summary of what happened. Recently, J underwent a medical procedure (no further details needed here other than that) - and there was a miscommunication between J and her family and somehow, her sister's claws came out and she lashed out at me because she felt that I wasn't handling the situation in a manner that was acceptable to her. She said some horrible things to me through Facebook messaging and came at me with some OTHER things that were nothing less than surprising to hear, coming from someone I thought was on our side. I'm not sure where THOSE comments came from, but basically, I'm wondering if her sister has also been two-faced all along...because yes, while a lot of things are said in anger that aren't necessarily true, there's always an element, no matter how small, of truth to it. People don't say things that they don't truly believe in the smallest way, so now I'm left with a lot of underlying, leftover stray, random thoughts that are strengthening this rift that was put into place by her parents.
At the time when J's sister got nasty with me, I responded in kind. Actually, I wasn't nasty, nor was I rude - but I WAS firm and I defended myself - I simply told her MY perspective on the whole thing and she seemingly backed off - she ended her part of the conversation with "I'm sorry, I just love my sister so much and if I can't be there, I expect YOU to be." It was something along those lines, something indicative of her belief that I would actually allow the love of my life to be without ANYTHING that she needed as she underwent this treatment. And so, I shot back, "I've been loving and taking care of your sister for the last ten years, almost. I'm not stopping now."
And it ended there...no resolution, no making nice, just a dropped conversation. I was SEETHING, though. I mean...what the fuck!? Never in my life have I mistreated someone, especially someone I've been in a relationship with. I've never cheated on a partner - having been repeatedly cheated on by the wasband, other partners in the past, I'd never dare to do that to someone I loved. I've never been abusive nor have I raised my hand to another person, except in dreams...and many of you will remember that I have trouble doing that even in my dreams. Sure, J and I have got our occasional moments where we bicker but it's NEVER been a full-on fight. We are soul mates in every sense of the word...I've never done a thing to deserve what was said to me, and I truly felt blindsided - I think that's really the gist of why I felt so frazzled afterwards.
J had her medical procedure done, which lasted one week. During that week, I had many, MANY conversations with her. I really didn't want to share what was said to me by her sister/family before she had the procedure done as not to add any stress to her already overflowing plate, but she knew something was bothering me before the procedure and all plans to wait on discussing it went out the window. Honestly, it would have likely made things worse if we had saved these conversations for later. They couldn't be delayed without mounting anxiety in the meantime...and so I shared with her the messages, to include my responses. I was completely honest with her about everything that was said, as well as everything I was feeling. Her sister had made a lot of comments that had led me to believe that she'd been misunderstanding J for a long time, as well - I simply couldn't understand where some of these horrible things CAME from!
Side note - J's parents and sister were invited to the Son's graduation party to be held at our house. Prior to this 'falling out,' they were planning to come. After all was said and hurt feelings and shit being slung from every corner, I wasn't sure they'd still come but they did tell J that they were still attending. Now, her parents, I knew from before, would never change. We're still going to have those uncomfortable, awkward moments - because that's what we've established at this point. It is what it is with them.
But her sister was also coming and SHE's the one I am having the most issue with at the moment. My son's party was going to be the first time I'd seen or heard from her sister since this incident, and nothing had been resolved nor any apologies made, nor any attempts made to set things right. I wasn't approaching her - because I feel I did my part and what she did, she did unnecessarily and it was completely uncalled for.
And so J had a conversation with her sister on the morning of the party. They called to let J know that they were on the road and asked if we'd like to meet them fro breakfast. I declined because I still had a lot of setting up to do and couldn't get away, but J got dressed and went to go meet them. She was also tasked with speaking with her sister beforehand and letting her know that this was NOT the time for continued awkwardness or an argument - it was my Son's graduation celebration and I wasn't going to be made to feel uncomfortable or angry by anyone. This was a day to marvel in the Son's accomplishments, enjoy the company of the people who came to share in it - there was much to be discussed but now wasn't the time nor place.
When J's sister arrived, she came in first, ahead of J and their parents. Without a word, she took my hand and brought me into the bedroom. There, she apologized for what she said to me and explained that a lot of her behavior stems from her feelings of helplessness - being four hours' drive away from J was taking a toll. When J called to let them know that she had to get the procedure done, she had been upset and as a result, her sister's protective side took over - she didn't understand the full picture and so she prematurely lashed out, thinking I wasn't upholding my end of what needed to be done. I told her I, too, was sorry - not for what I said to defend myself, but if I'd somehow given her the impression that I was in any way abandoning J's needs or coming across as being selfish because that indeed is not the person I am. And I also said that while I expected that sort of comment to come from their MOTHER, it was extremely hurtful to even think she'd (her sister) think that low of me after knowing me for nine and a half years. Her sister looked me in the eyes and told me that I, too, was her sister. She loved me, she lost her mind momentarily and her claws would have come out for me too, if there ever were a situation where I needed defending. (And I think this is another 'issue' that needs addressing at a later time - J is a grown woman and can certainly defend herself if she felt the need to do so...and from our talks on this matter, J has never felt the need to do so with me - it looks more to be an internal issue that her sister is having...for the duty of being J's 'person' is no longer hers - perhaps she's having trouble with that and it has also caused her to lash out on me - because I didn't 'do' things the way she would have, etc...)
J's sister ended this five-minute conversation apologizing once again and then saying that she would like for us to become closer. She'd like for us to talk once per week, through text or through FB. She'd like for us to truly get to know one another, beyond the hellos, goodbyes and small talk - which admittedly while I am more comfortable being affectionate toward J when her sister is around than her parents, I STILL don't feel I quite fit in there, either. What happened has certainly driven that wedge further, but we made 'nice' for the moment, which is what I needed to happen in order to start moving forward.
There is still some work and reparations to be done/made as far as this relationship I have with J's sister, but it's made me think about OTHER relationships that exist in my life. Relationships with family members, with my parents, with my sisters, with my children, with the wasband, with friends, with people I've met here. The list goes on.
A little statistic for those factoid-lovers out there - on average, us humans live for 78.3 years. Most of us remember people we meet after age 5. So, let's assume we interact with 3 new people daily in cities, 365 days in a year plus leap yeas days is 365.24. In total it will be (78.3 – 5) x 3 x 365.24 = 80,000 people we interact with in a lifetime. Let's also assume that at least 20% of these people are ones whose names we know, who we remember beyond that first meeting. That still comes out to be a pretty big number of people.
It's made me think about myself a lot, too. About the walls I put up...(I think the POTUS would be proud.)
These walls have been up for a long, long time, I'm guessing. I have such a hard time allowing people through...I am picturing this as I type...there's a HUGE wall, possibly two or three football fields' width, with a single door somewhere in the middle. Some people have made me aware that they've been running into, driving into, attempting to jump over it, even trying to dig underneath it...but can't seem to get through that tiny little doorway enough to say that they TRULY know me. And, you know...this isn't their fault - it's the way I've intended for it to be - all the while I've had the key and means to allow people in.
Right now, after the events that have transpired recently, the only one who is behind this wall and has one hundred percent of my heart, soul and trust, is J.
She's inside this wall, and she's sitting next to me and we're surrounded by this enormous amount of open space. I am imagining though that while I like that well enough, it's still a lonely place - because between the presence of this wall and the amount of time it's been up, I'm at risk of ending up alone later in life. Because as much as I don't want to imagine this ever happening - I have to be realistic and remember that ANYTHING can happen that could result in a break-up or separation. This is NOT to say this is something I am concerned with right now because J's and my love is a strong one, perhaps even stronger than these walls - but I have to repeatedly ask myself - hypothetically, what if someday, she wasn't there anymore? Then what? Where would that leave me, standing in the middle of this huge, empty space? I know that I have been able to scale J's walls but her sister has been behind her wall before me, so if something were to happen to me resulting in my death, I know that moving forward, J would be okay - she has another rock situated there for life. Me, though? She's it. I love her with everything I am and if life could guarantee that she's going to be there for the rest of my life, this wouldn't even be a thought. But it can't. And I've been working so hard and for so long to make sure she's the only one there. I'm not sure if this is more harmful than helpful, though.
Not even my mother has breached this wall. She can't figure out why, and she's expressed many times a frustration over not being able to 'reach' me but, well...that's just too bad. She's too much of a pain in the ass to even WANT inside this wall.
My two children are stationed at the imaginary doorway - if not sitting on top of this wall. I only say this because while I trust my children completely, there are still things they do not know about me and that I've not been able to share with them in regards to my life and my past. I still feel the need to shield them from these details because as their mother, my wish is to spare them some of the grisly details that may otherwise and unnecessarily upset them. Nothing can be done about these things right now, firstly - and secondly, even though the Son is about to turn 18, he's still in many ways a child. The daughter is just 11, she's not ready to see past the doorway just yet. And so they are granted access to the 'inside' by default because of them being 'permanent' fixtures in my life. Nothing short of death will eject them from my heart - and should they, one day, approach me and ask me about my past or for details, I'd be okay with sharing them - but they'd have to ask for them.
I also feel the need to mention that with each time I've been burned by someone, a layer is added to this wall, to solidify it. I think it's all measured in invisible 'materials,' if that makes sense. For example, if someone were to lie to me or break my trust in a minor way that can be eventually moved past, and otherwise apologized for, I'll certainly forgive them but won't be able to help adding a 'dirt layer' in front of my wall that they'll have to spend some time cleaning up/digging to get through, but will eventually be able to find this doorway and try again. If someone were to cheat on me though? A wall made of steel will come crashing down in front of these people and they're not guaranteed to get through this one in this same lifetime. The wasband is currently behind THIS wall - I've forgiven him his infidelities, though - because without having burned me this way, I would not have found my true soulmate. And so, the only reason he remains behind this steel wall and I haven't banished him into an entirely different universe reserved for those I never want to associate with again, is because of the children we share, that love him very much. Between dirt and steel, we also have brick, glass, etc to measure the different strengths of wall required for that 20% of the 80,000 people I'll meet in my lifetime to pass.
So, along with the idea of working with my sister-in-law in future weeks, months, years to come, I'm now wondering if I should further open this make-believe (solidified, of course) door, and see who's still trying to get in and who's given up by now. Do these persistent people deserve a chance? Do I need to work on making room (although I think it's a matter of FILLING space rather than making room) in my heart for others by opening up a little bit more and loosening some of these self-inflicted barriers? I've spent a fair amount of time collecting trust - I am told that I'm an easy person to trust - and I believe this because yes, this is a great deal of who I am. I'm loyal, I'm honest, I'm faithful, I do not break others' trust; I can't live with myself if I ever did, and if that did happen, it'd likely be accidentally or otherwise unintentional. And I always own up to my mistakes when they're made.
I wonder though, if it is time for me to reciprocate and put some of my own trust in others? Even if I do it a little bit at a time (which I'm working on), it's still so, so hard to do enough to allow someone complete access. I imagine that'll take a while but it's another hurdle I'm finding myself facing these days.
How does one even clear this type of hurdle? I'd love to hear, so if anyone has any input, please do comment!
Until next time, folks. My dinner (pizza) and date (of course, J) have arrived. We're taking in a movie and we'll relax tonight. I'll be back later.
, and all my best,