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Hi, all! I'm not sure what today's blog is going to be primarily about, so we'll call it a smorgasbord. We'll try a little bit of everything! It's been a turbulent week (I've been using that word a lot - I feel it best describes a lot of the unexpected emotional twists I've had to endure this past week) and today is only the second day that I haven't felt as if I were on the verge of tears. I've done a lot of thinking and have been able to put a few things into perspective, so am feeling stable enough to try and transfer some of it here. To start with, I have an interesting question for my survivor friends and peers. Do any of you experience an unexplained physical coldness/chill during those 'turbulent' anniversary time frames? My anniversary has already passed - it was on the 4th of this month, but I am wondering if some of the side effects are taking me a little bit longer to move past? It is 67 degrees in my house at the moment (I've checked the thermostat multiple times!) - and I'm FREEZING. My fingers are literally icicles. I've been 'cold' all week last week and thought it was because of the drop in overall temperatures, but....67 degrees? I shouldn't be dressed like an eskimo and have my hood on while indoors just yet. Aside from feeling like my bones are constructed purely out of ice cubes, I feel fine. I do not have a temperature, I am not sniffly or have a cough. My fiancee remains a furnace (I wouldn't want to subject her to cuddling with me right now, though) and my kids have said that they're not cold. I do have to add that I remember feeling cold, above other things, on that night 22 years ago, but I cannot remember if I felt this same unnatural chill during last year's anniversary time - or the previous, and so on. Is this new??? And if it is, what brought this on? So, I had my second group session last night. More people showed up to this one - and one person from the first meeting was there. They first started off with some meditation - something I don't have a whole lot of experience with. I was having trouble with the listening part (the leader was instructing us all to take our deep breaths, try and picture a safe place, inhale, exhale, relax this, relax that) and I couldn't really participate-along with the rest of them because by the time I got the 'message' to do whatever, she was already moved onto the next thing. It wasn't her fault - it's just a casualty that being deaf has taught me to have to accept from time to time. So, safe to say, this part of the meeting was not effective for me. And I'd soon learn that the meditation was something leading up to the NEXT part - although I do already have a lot of experience with journaling, she handed out plain black-and-white composition notebooks and asked us to decorate the cover to reflect and show where our 'safe place' was during the prior meditation process. A place that I'd not 'arrived' at, nor would I be able to envision as effectively as the rest of the ladies in the room. Well, SHIT. I'm already flunking at support groups! So, after some quick deliberation, I ended up taking a different approach on the design of my journal cover. I'll PROBABLY not use my journal at all - this is the place where I've been able to most effectively convey my deepest thoughts. Maybe I'll consider printing out some of my most powerful and impactful entries and pasting them into the book - perhaps there will be a future discussion where I'll be able to read from some of those entries - I'll have already thought them out and perhaps they will resonate with someone else. Otherwise, the pages will likely remain blank. To fill a page wasn't even the assignment; it was to present a decorated cover - depicting or representing my safe place. It's safe to say I don't really have a 'place,' but there are some things that I try to remind myself of when I meditate - or rather, through my own way of meditation. Yes, I do the deep breaths, I do inhale and exhale, but while I do this, I do not picture a particular place. I instead mentally throw all of my cards onto the table and address each of whatever my current struggles are, with a motivating counter-thought. And lately, I probably could do with a little more of (my type) of meditation. I'm going to sideline this particular thought train for a little while so that I can explain a little bit more about why I'm feeling the excess turbulence this month. We already know by now that it's my anniversary month - and that this year, I'm experiencing some different side effects. Another thing that's been on my mind....(and this is something I've had that internal debate on whether or not I should share it with you guys or keep it to myself)...is a recent dialogue with J that has left me very confused, very unsettled and very anxious. First off, it wasn't a fight. We don't fight. We sometimes disagree, but neither one of us wants to fight with the other - we talk about things more often than not, but there ARE times where we 'drop' things and leave them alone because it's something that's not going to be resolved and falls into the 'just bitching' category. Sometimes this is best, but lately, it's only succeeded in mounting our problems and issues and they are now starting to wiggle like a stack of Jenga blocks threatening to come tumbling down at any moment. I've mentioned before that she's become more social and has taken a liking to going out with her friends after work. Sometimes it's once a week, sometimes it's twice. I've also mentioned previously that I am absolutely hating this - not that she's blossomed into a social butterfly, because that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but more so that she's found things to do and ways to have fun that do not involve me but instead involve people that are seemingly taking up 'more' of her than I am. I don't even know if I feel this way because I'm not at that same point in my own life, but either way, it has left me feeling more and more lonely than usual. And lately, I've been more openly 'bitter' about her spending time with her friends - she'll, as a courtesy, let me know when she has made spontaneous plans after work, and I'll usually respond with a one-liner that fails to hide my disappointment. Last week, this such one-liner was, "Ughhhhh." PROBABLY not the best choice of words, but in the moment, it's what my fingers wanted to type. Now, she KNOWS how I feel about social situations in general, and she knows about the anxiety I feel when it comes to the expansion of my own social circle. She also knows that I quietly fume to myself whenever I'm told I won't be seeing her after work. I have been honest about that and we both understand this is a direct result of what my ex has successfully ingrained in me. She continues to remind me that I am no longer married to him, I am FREE now, and I need "more than just her" in my life. This, too, is something I am struggling with - because for the last ten years that I've been divorced, it's been just her and I - there wasn't a need for me to have 'other people' to share (EVERYTHING) with. It was a nice, comfortable, PRIVATE circle. Either way, I've recently (probably for the last year) watched her change in multiple ways, from the person she used to be into a more evolved version of herself. She's now made a true friend out of her boss, is becoming more and more friendly with co-workers and has taken more interest in doing things outside of our home 1-2 days a week. As a direct result of some of these changes in her, she has now taken notice of me becoming increasingly withdrawn and snippy. On top of all of this, she's also made the choice to return to therapy, a choice I support 100% since she's also mentioned the need to do some maintenance work on herself - something I think we ALL need from time to time. I'm not sure if the return-to-therapy is what prompted her to bring up on Sunday evening, that she felt that we BOTH needed to work on things within our relationship. She made it clear that while she wasn't unhappy, she just felt that there were some things that needed changing. This confused the fuck out of me, I won't lie. The first thing that came to mind, was, "Oh, my God, I'm losing her." And for the entire day on Monday, I sat in silence and solitude - ready to cry at the drop of a hat - and thought, thought some more and thought HARD. About everything that was said on Sunday night - which confused me even more. She had stated she wanted me to be 'okay' with her outings so that she didn't feel guilty about them. I told her that I wasn't going to hold her back from going out with her friends, but at the same time, I couldn't be expected to be automatically okay with it, either. It was something I needed to work at, as well as something entirely new that I needed to adapt to. On Sunday, it got to the point where she ended up telling me that I've been saying I would figure it out for a while now (truth) and haven't done so, yet. I responded that I was trying - "Rome wasn't built in a day!" Another thing she mentioned was that she wanted me to be more honest with her about what I was feeling - which baffled me, because I guess, I thought I already was. My "ughhhh" text message was an honest response. My admission that this wasn't easy for me was another honest thought. My snippiness and grouchiness whenever she talks about her pals, you'd think that is all based on some form of honesty. How much more honesty did she want from me? I think she sensed there was more that needed to be said, but at the moment, I was feeling lost and was drawing blanks. Granted, emotions were running wild and I admit to having lost my shit on Sunday night during our talk, in an ugly-cry sort of way. We both agreed to take the day on Monday to do some thinking and we'd reconvene when we were both in a better frame of mind. So, on Monday, after a long day of reflection, I was able to summarize a little bit more of what I was feeling and I broke it down some to J. Not by choice - I was already semi-crying when she got home from work. I had tried my hardest to hide from her my 'I'm holding it in' face, but when you're with someone for as long as we've been together, these things become virtually un-hideable. She asked me what was the matter and I lost it again. And so, out it came. What I'd realized in the less than 24 hours since Sunday's blind-siding conversation. I have not changed. She has. She now has a more demanding job. As is, our time spent together has diminished greatly. She works a 40-hour week and VERY often ends up putting in a ton of OT to make it a SIXTY-hour work week. Add to that, she's become so increasingly tired, unnecessarily stressed out, and on the days she comes home from work, all she wants to do is eat a quick dinner and go to sleep. And as far as her friends go - it feels like they get more out of her than I do because she goes out with them AFTER an already extended day at work. I VERY rarely even SEE her before she leaves in the morning (it's usually right after 6am) and when she's out with her friends, she comes home at 10 or 11pm and I'm LUCKY to get a five-minute conversation out of her before she's snoring. She spends time with her boss for just about the entire duration of the work day and then there's the 'after work' activities that include this same woman, (counting two separate occasions when J went to help her move into her new apartment) so yes, maybe I do have a legitimate problem with that and maybe this is why the MENTION of this woman's name makes me envious enough to want to punch something. MAYBE this is why when J invites me to come along, I really don't have any interest in it. These are the people who are taking her away from me; (I know that's an unrealistic, paranoid thought, but for the moment, it was yet another honest take on it) why would I want to associate with them? They represent the 'fun' that she's having that I am not a part of. I am instead left feeling genuinely lonely after lately not seeing much of my one and only consistent 'person.' And that's just not a nice feeling at all - it's how I felt when I was married to my ex and he didn't want me to have any 'other' people - and it's not how I want to make J feel, either. You see, I KNOW where my strengths and weaknesses are - and perhaps the biggest confusion here is - neither one of us has done anything wrong. We remain faithful to one another - that's never been a question. We love each other. We just are, for the moment, at different places in our social lives and she's just more comfortable with her newfound status than I am. And just because she has changed, does not mean I also have to if it's not what I want or am not mentally ready for. I honestly DO, though. I don't want to let this go right now and then have to revisit the same problem ten, fifteen years down the road when she and her boss friend decide to take up knitting together after work days. (Another unrealistic guess, but y'all get the point I am trying to make!) I am absolutely TERRIFIED that if, by some twist of fate, I ever lost her, I would TRULY be a mess. I'd force myself to physically move on but emotionally, that is going to be the challenge of my life, as I've no desire to forge this type of connection with anyone else, should she become unavailable to me. I can honestly say I'd be FINISHED and a permanent emotional shut-down would likely be inevitable. We had a longer (calmer) talk after my (blatantly honest) little outburst. I first have to admit that it didn't feel so good, though, guys. I know that we're not likely to get what we need or want unless we ask for it, but I can't help but feel as if expressing these (irrational or not?) fears has made her see me in an entirely different light. Does she now see me as an inconsiderate, ungrateful, needy bit*h? I am not a selfish person at all and I'm admittedly the type to want to avoid confrontation at all costs, so just spitting out all of this inner poison has made me feel even more like shit! I thought it was supposed to feel GOOD to take any kind of a stand - but nope, I'm not feeling that, just yet. But, despite what I'm feeling, she heard me. And unlike my ex, she actually acknowledged what I was saying and where I was coming from. This, too, is something that STILL floors me, even after almost a decade of being in a healthy, trusting, communicative relationship. Maybe that's why this feels like uncharted territory - I've NEVER had that before. If I ever were to tell my ex how I felt, he would have slammed me back with insults describing how the way I was feeling was entirely my fault and about how truly damaged I was. My J and my ex are absolutely not the same person - not by a long shot - J is a kind, loving person while my ex was a monstrous asshole that has succeeded in reducing my self worth into an unidentifiable pulp. We have decided that she will work on being more present when she's at home. Together, we'll do whatever it takes, we'll go out, we'll engage in activities that will keep her from falling asleep so soon after coming home from work. Bowling two nights a week certainly helps! We'll liven up our relationship by having a once-a-week dinner date night (not a bowling night), where it will just be the two of us. We'll have a drink together. We'll take in the occasional movie. We'll try new things. Last night was the first of several 'date nights' to come; we met up at a local steakhouse after my group meeting. And it was truly nice to take that time to start to reconnect - because, as much as I hate to admit it, we DID lose something along the way. It's never been MORE important to me to try and reclaim that connection before it drifts even further, simply because she's become too busy or I'm responding by shutting down. And in the meantime, I have some work to do....more so for myself than for anyone else - but work regardless. I will work on trying to find other things to become involved in and I will do so at my own pace. I will put my social anxieties aside and join her on an outing with her work friends from time to time - and I will ATTEMPT to get to know some of them. I've already spent some time with the boss lady, and all jealousies aside, she is not a terrible person. I will keep more of an open mind when it comes to dipping my toe into these social situations. We have established that relationship-wise, I trust my J completely, I am not afraid she'll fall in love with someone else. This isn't the issue. I've determined that I am more afraid that she'll eventually evolve even more and discover that she truly likes or wants more than what she has with the boring, laid-back, homebody that I have learned to be. I am loyal. I am trustworthy. But right now, I don't feel 'fun,' nor do I have much to offer someone as far as a good time goes. I'm stuck in a rut and I NEED to climb out of it. And so, I am going to begin to work on trusting MYSELF; and in my ability to intiate a transformation of my own. Given where I am right now and all of the damage that has already been done, it may take years. But, I will get there. I think I just needed to feel more united and connected with my "main" person in order to take these steps toward learning to trust and confide in and learn to relax around others. I needed to be able to feel that I'm not in the process of losing the one person who changed my life for the better. And perhaps, that's the root of my recent snippiness - I do not respond well when I feel threatened with that idea - it also makes sense that this is why J's family/sister's words to me several months ago are STILL fucking with my brain. This is why I cannot get past what was said to me, even if it was said in desperation or anger. It cannot be unsaid and is possibly where all of this started. Well, at least we recognize it - and I'm happy to say that we are working on us. I know no relationship is perfect and by all means, neither is ours. We are as good a couple as they come, but we've never had to really work at it, though. It's just always come so naturally to us both, and I think I need that reassurance that we aren't the only ones who hit the occasional bump in that road! Now, back to the journal cover that I was to design. I found some 'phrases' in the pile of magazine clippings. Words. These are what I use to get through things. I think about them, I redefine them, I write them. Aside from some not-so-nice things, I've been called a wordsmith. And so this is what I decided to decorate my composition notebook with. Single words and phrases that right now, ring true for me. "A window of opportunity has opened." "Comfort zone." "Friendship." "Chocolate." (A reference to THIS blog - I could not let that go without some form of recognition as this is where I usually retreat when I have a lot of mind-clutter.) "Your future is yet to be written." There were a couple more - along with cut-out letters that I used to spell out my real first name across the top of the book. When my turn came, I explained that I'd taken a little bit of a different approach to my journal cover decorating - and discussed that I use words and phrases in order to quell whatever my current anxieties are. And each of those statements, at the moment, mean something to me. And why did I put my (given) name? Well - my name as well as my identity is another thing that I am struggling to define. I can tell anyone my name, but I honestly don't have a clue who I even am, being constantly torn between the person I really am and the person I present as, is exhausting! You see, here, I am Capulet. You all know why I am here. You all know my story. You know my fears, the things that make me happy, the things that make me sad. Chances are, you feel the same way. I've been nothing but honest with everyone through my blogs, my posts, my private conversations. It helps that being here affords us all that unspoken understanding of each other - we're automatically able to validate one another because, one way or another, we all get it. We don't have to truly know someone to understand them when they write something that rings true with us, too. And so, I honestly feel more connected to myself when I am Capulet and less connected to the person that my given name represents - the person that people offline see. And partially, this is my fault, I have spent so much time shielding these offline connections from the things that aren't so easy to share or explain face-to-face. I feel like I am someone else. And that 'someone else' is what people usually see upon spending time with me. And if these people do not know or understand the reasons behind why I am the moody, withdrawn, shy, anxious, unapproachable person I appear to be (especially in social settings) then it's likely harder for them to make the extra effort it requires in order to get close to me. Additionally I can't expect them to keep trying if I'm going to constantly shut them down. This is yet another reason I feel that I need to work on opening up to more people, (once I've established them to be trustworthy) and allow them to understand me in entirety; allow them to see me, not only as Capulet, nor as the person they think I am. But somewhere in the middle where both 'identities' can merge. Only then will I truly begin to comfortably live my life as an evolved, transformed woman. After the meeting, I was feeling a little bold and inquired about whether the Women's Center had any volunteer opportunities. I was told they do, however they require one full year of affiliation with the center before they consider taking on someone as a volunteer. And so I will continue to attend the group meetings and take them all for what they're worth - even though I may not in the moment be able to gain anything from them, they are thought-provoking and force me to be honest with myself. I should mention that I am also feeling a little anxious about tomorrow's (yes, tomorrow's!) appointment with the VR intake counselor - I will be discussing with her the possibility of going back to school as a full-time student, and then continuing onto acquiring my bachelor's. I am trying to allow myself to feel excited and to ignore that voice within (the one that seems to always be lying and misleading me) that is telling me that my dreams are not possible; that a better version of ME is not possible. That I will have to settle for the minimum because I am aiming too high. I don't think that will be an acceptable answer, and I fear that if this is the one I am given, that it will emotionally derail me - again. I've also made an appointment with the support group leader for next Friday - I feel satisfied with having shared this much tonight, but feel that if J can seek 'outside' help and a place to safely put all of her own 'excess' baggage, then I certainly can, too. I'm not looking for a permanent thing - just a safe place to vent to someone who is unbiased and may be able to offer me some suggestions on how to initiate some of these much-needed and long overdue changes. I do feel a little bit better tonight. I had all day to myself - she again went to trivia night with her friends. And normally, you probably could see the smoke coming out of my ears while I silently fumed over being alone (again) but I think that tonight, I needed it, I truly needed the alone time to think and to process and to refocus. I also think that I need to continue to find a different focus for the times/days she chooses to go out - tonight, my aim was to find a way to adequately express what was going through my mind this past week and I have done that. Moving forward, I will just have to learn to occupy myself with different things and explore alternative ways of keeping busy when she's otherwise unavailable. I just wish this newfound, unfamiliar quest of mine for more purpose in life wasn't so fucking scary! And that it came more naturally for me without my having to work so hard at it. And with that, it is time to wrap up. I am emotionally drained (and ironically this will put me to sleep quicker than a dose of NyQuil) and have been for a while. I've dropped with exhaustion before 12:30am for the last few nights - tonight, I'm up a little bit longer because it was important to me to not interrupt the flow of thoughts. I've got that habitual tendency to 'drop' things if I'm too tired or reserve them for another time, but this simply could NOT wait. In closing, I thank you all for continuing to listen to me, for not giving up on me, for getting to know me, and for supporting me. I know I am by no means perfect and I know deep down that I definitely do contribute to my own problems, but, shit...none of this is intentional - it's just what I know and was taught that was needed as primarily a means of self-protection. It truly does help to also know that the persona that I feel most connected to, truly has an army behind her. So for that, thank you. I truly appreciate you all. , - Capulet
Hi, everyone. Here's hoping you're all well this week! How am I? I don't know, honestly. Mentally, I'm fine. Physically, I'm falling the fuck apart and I don't understand why. You would think that losing over 40 pounds (yes, yes, I did...consider that your small, harmless weight update without details!) would make me feel better - and it has. But lately, after bowling, my left hip has been hurtin' something awful. It's usually fine if I sit stationary, but getting up to get a water refill or to do simple household tasks - HURTS. It's been gradually happening; and most noticeable the days after league bowling. It'll feel better a day or two afterwards and then I go bowling again and am back at square one. I feel like an old lady. BUT y'all will be proud of me when I tell you I've ALREADY been to the doctor...better yet, TWO doctors. The first visit was to my primary care doctor, had to go see him in order to get the referral to the orthopedic. He was my second visit and took x-rays of my hips. He found nothing. It's not arthritis, it's not any other issue with my hip. He did ask me where exactly it hurt and when I pointed, he said based on the location, he feels it's more of a muscle/back strain, and prescribed 2x a day over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, ice after bowling (which I'm not going to do - I don't like ice) and physical therapy where they can work some of the muscles out and perhaps teach me some exercises I CAN do at home that may lead to my back/hip feeling better, overall. My first PT appointment is this coming Friday. I'll keep you all posted. Had my monthly visit with my mother, AKA 'Oompa Loompa.' She was supposed to come LAST week, but forgot that she had promised her free babysitting services to my sister, who had a wedding to attend. So the week before's visit was rescheduled to this past weekend. She arrived early on Saturday, we had lunch here (sandwiches) and she spent some time with the kids before they went back to their Dad's. Then, we actually did something we never really do with her - and we went to a movie - we saw Peppermint - not a very realistic flick, but still was nice to get out of the house and to go someplace where we didn't have to entertain each other by actually talking (see what I did, there?) to each other. When we got home, she went to sleep. That was the gist of Saturday - it was painless, it was 'busy' and she had time to enjoy her grandchildren during the day. Sunday was a little different - she needed the local craft store because my eldest niece will be turning 1 next month and she's making the centerpieces. So I drove us down to the Hobby Lobby - knowing fully well that I was going to be exposed to all sorts of FALL things as soon as I walked into the store. She went off looking for what she needed and I kinda lingered around where the garlands were. Lemme explain a little something else that I may not have shared before - I'm not a fan of the fall. I never was. When I was a kid, 'fall' meant school was starting and summer vacation was over. I hated school - I was constantly picked on and bullied - back in the 80's, they didn't have preventative measures in place so the kids that were fat, handicapped or different in any other way were getting bullied left and right - and because I was 'the pudgy deaf kid,' I was an easy target. When I was a late teen, the fall was the season when I started college as a freshman, and also the same time of year that I was raped. My 22-year anniversary is approaching - October 4th is the 'date.' I do have to say though things have gotten MUCH better, the looming season change has always been accompanied by triggers, memories, little ugly-cry fests (for no particular reason) and bouts of depression, moodiness, sluggishness, etc. I almost always feel crappy during this time of year. Even though many years have gone by since my assault, it's almost an automatic fuck-with-your-emotions-thing at this point. I however, DO like Halloween - I know it's a 'fall holiday' but it was always, ALWAYS my favorite. I loved the idea of being someone (or something) other than myself. I hated myself - why like me? No one else seemed to! But yeah, Halloween...too bad it only comes once a year, right? And there's CANDY...lots of it. That made it all worth it. I don't know if it would have made any difference, but when I finally walked out of that party where the assault took place, I did NOT see any Halloween decorations. The walk from the party site to the diner at a local intersection was not a long one, but still - considering the time of year, I was pleasantly surprised to not see any carved pumpkins. It might have been too early for that, though, the carved jack-o-lanterns don't usually come out until later in the month if not on Halloween night. I might also have not seen ANYTHING but the tear-blurred pavement in front of me. So, at the craft store, there is a section dedicated solely to Halloween - here, you have all your black, orange, green and purple wreaths, the window clings, your skeleton/skull stuff, your cobweb netting, other decorations that you can 'add onto' existing wreaths or garlands, (these are called 'bits') and so, so much more. You can literally go nuts in this store - and I did. I actually found more season-related items than I did Halloween - I do already have some things to decorate further with in the garage - last year's 75% off sales at Walmart were amazing for such findings. Anyway, what I DON'T have is too much generic 'fall decor.' The most I'd ever done was put out my (fake) sunflower bouquet and then when it got closer to Halloween, I'd put out some (also fake) pumpkins and gourds...if I'd made it to the supermarket for a real pumpkin, I'd carve it on All Hallow's Eve and put him out on the front steps for the trick-or-treaters to enjoy. So, I found some leaf, berry and pine cone 'bits' for half-price, then I found a 'fall leaves' garland that was lighted - my creative juices were flowing - I can't explain what came over me in that moment. Here I am, I hate the fall and I'm standing here, appreciating the prettiness of these fake leaves, acorns, etc. What the hell, man? I have no reason to have this idea but here I am, thinking about how I could pretty this garland up even further by adding the 'bits' to it and securing them with thin pieces of twine. I have a lovely mantle in my home that the finished product would look nice on. And so, I filled my cart with small items that I could add to the (also half-price) pre-lit garland. My mother, in the meantime, found everything she needed to put together centerpieces and met me up front. We paid for our items and were on our way home. Once it was quiet-ish, (as much as it could be with my mother's nonstop mouth) I laid out all my 'bits' and the garland on the floor in front of me. I then got to thinking as I began stringing together the garland and the bits - maybe I've been looking at it all wrong, all along? Yes, the fall will forever present as a 'bad time of year' for me, both because of being bullied at school and the sexual assault having happened in the fall. But the season really had nothing at all to do with what happened. People didn't treat me poorly because the air was chillier, because the leaves were changing colors, or because to was October. Hell, classmates or other people have fucked with me at least once or twice in the spring, summer, in the winter, my ex probably had made me cry at least once a month, so all bets were off as far as what my worst time of year actually was. My hatred of the fall really doesn't have to do with something so beautiful; maybe the gorgeous fall scenery should be a distraction rather than a reminder. Maybe instead of grumbling whenever I saw pretty colors up in the trees, I should have refocused on its natural beauty - for that's probably what I needed rather than focus on the ugly memories. I'd been holding onto this particular dislike of the fall for the wrong reasons - and for too long. I should add, this will be my second fall in an entirely new state - I remember last year's fall - we were still new to the area. I had to pick up my son from school daily, and so the drive through the back roads was always SO scenic and absolutely gorgeous in the fall, and then of course, in the winter after snow had fallen. So maybe new state = new slate? Is it time for me to seize back a love for those things that are natural? They ARE more beautiful here than they were in New York City! Plus, here, I was not abused or bullied. Here, I have no reason to dread the change from summer to fall. Here, I have a new life and am sure being three and a half hours away from where I was assaulted is a huge help. Perhaps I can learn to appreciate these things again, or even for the first time in as long as I can remember. I'll ATTEMPT to get a picture uploaded of my finished garland. I still have that irrational fear of the wasband coming across this blog and seeing all the things I've ever said about him, and as he's a frequent visitor in my home (kid transfers, holidays, drop-ins, etc) he knows what my mantle looks like and would be able to pick it out of a line-up (of mantles). I'll play with photoshop and see if I can't crop it a bit and make it a little less incriminating... I WILL say that despite my unspoken rule of having to hate anything having to do with the fall, it IS quite nice to look at - and I enjoy having it lit up in the evenings while we watch television or a movie. I feel at peace with my creation - and for the first time, with the season. Now, I FULLY expect to go through all the motions as my 'anniversary' nears - but perhaps this year, I will allow the scenery to provide me comfort rather than remind me of the inevitable - fall's going to come along every damn year - it's how I embrace it that matters. And perhaps this sudden burst of creativity will make this upcoming anniversary and anniversaries to follow a little bit easier. This year, I made a garland...and I think that on the 'anniversary,' I will make it a point to sit outside for a little while and take it all in. And next year, I'll do something ELSE to reclaim the fall - to take back what, all along, I should have been enjoying but couldn't. And that's progress! Hoping you're all having a good week. I'll update again soon - likely this weekend with a PT update. - Capulet
Today's been somewhat productive. I probably should be getting ready to wind down and attempt to sleep but instead, my fingertips are tingling; if nothing else, it's a signal that my brain will simply not allow me to sleep until I've said my piece. I'll start with this backstory... Lately, my fiancee's relationship with her boss has shifted more toward a developing friendship than strictly professionalism. This woman is J's direct supervisor, but J is also her 'right hand,' she is in a position that is 'above' the other staff members but usually is their go-to person in the event that the supervisor is not available. Resultedly, J has been working very hard lately - taking more naps after work and is seemingly more physically drained. There is one other staff member that is in an equivalent position (the left hand?) but he has dropped the ball SEVERAL times - and J's had to pick up a lot of his slack. The supervisor will call J at random times of the day to vent about this, and about work and all the stupid things that the staff does, etc...and she'll also talk about happenings outside of work - specifically about issues she's having at home with her husband and her child...she already communicates with J several times a day about work-related issues - it's probably a natural reaction to call her whenever something personal comes up and she needs a friend. J is just that type of person. You can talk to her about anything. In that sense, she and I are very similar people - perhaps it's one of the main reasons our relationship has been able to flourish and has become stronger than ever. I absolutely love this about my fiancee. Two weeks ago, J's supervisor came here for dinner and drinks and it was my first time meeting her. I do like her very much, she's very down-to-earth and an overall fun person to be around. We had dinner and we downed Strawberry Daiquiris like there was no tomorrow. Additionally, she will be attending a barbecue I am having this weekend - she's J's friend, though - I do not feel, nor do I expect to feel as if I'm 'within this circle.' She recently told J that she's experiencing a large amount of stress at home in addition to at work. And that she'd like to go for drinks after work one night. Then, she asked J: "Would Cap mind if you took off with me for a few days and we just stuffed our faces and drank and just forgot about everything having to do with work or life for a little while?" J MUST have seen the raised eyebrow when she repeated the question to me. "It's not going to happen, don't worry about it." She said nothing more of it for the rest of the evening. So I pretended it had never been said. But it DID bother me. Yes, I DO think Cap would mind. Here's the thing....and this was the epiphany that decided to hit me like a fuck-ton of bricks while we were having our weekly cheat dinner at Olive Garden. The scale was a little bit bi-polar this morning and I'm starting to think it's been malfunctioning for the last three weeks....but yeah, beside the point. Do y'all remember the asshole I was married to? Yeah, him. Well, while married to his royal highness, I was NOT allowed to have friends. Okay...that isn't coming out the way I need for it to. He never actually made the statement, "I forbid you to have friends." No. His actions spoke louder than his words, even when his words hurt. He casually claimed that he wouldn't mind if I had friends, but he was a firm believer of keeping my friends at a 'healthy distance.' He made it abundantly clear to me that HE was my friend. HE was my spouse. HE was my lover. HE was the one I went to whenever I had a problem. And I tried that for a while, I called him my best friend (barf) and I repeatedly tried to convince him that he was it for me, but I don't think it worked very well. God forbid I wanted to go to a movie with a friend - I'd first have to build up the courage to ASK him to stay with the kids while I went to unwind for a little bit. There was ALWAYS an argument, but he'd begrudgingly let me go. And while I was gone, he'd sit, bounce his leg, stew, chain-smoke three packs of cigarettes, go through my emails, check my browsing history, look for ANY signs of my conversing about personal matters with anyone other than him...why? I wish I knew! I'd NEVER stepped out on him, I was loyal and faithful to him. I took care of his children, his house, did his laundry, his ironing, his errands, cooked his meals...and all I wanted to do was go to a movie or to have lunch or dinner with a friend without being made to feel as if I were committing a mortal sin and that the world would come crashing down if I'd actually enjoyed myself. Eventually it became a matter of 'not being worth it' and I withdrew from everyone. He was my person, but I think it's because he FORCED the situation and himself to be my person. I had NO choice in the matter. He didn't have any friends, either (I don't think I wonder why, anymore) and so when you have two friendless people under the same roof, one who doesn't particularly have anything to say unless it's mean, derogatory, vulgar or a request for sex, it's a surefire recipe for disaster. When he became seemingly uninterested in hearing what I had to say anymore, I began to withdraw...I know I've said this before. This seemed to make him unusually pleased - because if I wasn't talking to HIM about the matters that still bothered me, I wasn't talking to ANYONE. And if it wasn't being talked about, it no longer existed. At least, in his warped brain, that was the case. The only time this changed was when he was done with me and had already moved onto someone else. "You should go hang out with your friends," he would say. "Or if you want to go out with a guy, that's good, too...I'll stay with the kids and spend time with them, you just go have a good time." Yeah....'HUH?' There was no more 'attention' to what I did online, nor was he behind my shoulder anymore when I had IM conversations. He just didn't give a shit anymore, because now, he had someone else. In fact, that was probably WHY he wanted me to do the same. To justify his own actions, like the coward he truly was. So...tonight...J brought up her supervisor again. It was actually because I sat in the car for 45 minutes before we even got into the restaurant. The supervisor called J as soon as we pulled into the parking lot. So I played a few (several) rounds of Candy Crush while they had a lengthy conversation about the problematic staff member they both hated. J did apologize for the delay and we went into the restaurant to eat. She rambled a little bit more about work. Somehow the topic of going out after work came up again. J expressed that while she didn't feel she needed my permission or green-light to go and be with her friends (right now it's just her boss/friend) and have a good time with them, she felt badly leaving me at home (especially since I'd likely already BEEN home for the day already) and that by going out, she was disappointing me. She also recently attended another co-worker's housewarming party (with the boss) and had a GREAT time. She commented on how my face sort of 'dropped' when she mentioned that she'd had plans with her friends. She asked me if I ever felt angry with her for doing so. I put my fork down. I honestly didn't know how to answer that. Because I HAD periodically felt SOMETHING. It wasn't anger. But it was significant and VERY hard to explain. Have I become my ex-husband???? I am NOT the paranoid, untrusting son-of-a-bit*h that is my ex - I trust J COMPLETELY. But has his twisted way of thinking somehow become an unreasonable truth, even in a small way? Was I convinced that I needed to be the only person in her life? I knew I wasn't - she has her sister, she now has her boss, who has become her friend. She has me. Her circle is small, yet it seems huge in comparison to mine. To tell her that it didn't bother me at all would be a lie. And I'm a HORRIBLE liar. And so I spoke slowly...chose my words as I went along. I told her that I wasn't mad. Because THAT was the truth. If there was any anger, it was toward my ex. Because he's the one who has caused me to feel this way. It's COMPLETELY his doing. And now his bullshit was seeping through into my current relationship - a place where such bullshit has NO business being! I wanted her to enjoy life. I wanted her to have friends. I already knew that I wasn't her ONLY person - I don't feel that's the way it should be either - but it was ingrained onto me by my ex - when you're with someone, that's who you spend all your time with. When you're married, you live ONE life, there's no room to forge additional relationships that may or may not derive from the marriage. I know this is a hundred percent wrong. It didn't feel right being on the receiving end of that line of bullshit - and I NEVER wanted J to feel that way - even though purely unintentionally. I finally (slowly) told her that if anything, I was slightly envious - because she HAD nearby friends who would call and ask her to go get a drink or to hang out. I've just gotten SO fucking used to withdrawing from social opportunities, and now people didn't know how to approach me. Either that, or they knew not to bother trying. While I know I'm not her only, she's my only. She's the ONLY one I feel comfortable drinking with, talking about the 'deep stuff' with. And now she's got other people to enjoy those things with. People who don't necessarily want to include me in their plans. And almost automatically, that feels like a rejection. Not particularly by them because really, they've got no reason to invite along someone they don't know. * Side note - I've been working on this, though, on opening myself up to more social situations. I've told J of the little plans I've got to expand my circle, to somehow break down some of these massive walls that I've build around myself. I have no secrets from her and she was seemingly excited to hear that I would soon be going back to school, I'd soon be searching for other ways to spend my (too much) free time, and to get involved in SOMETHING that would distract from the loneliness that I've by now accepted as a way of life. Loneliness that I've learned to like, in a way that is even more difficult to explain, so I'll not try right now. "You should," she said when I told her more about things I wanted to do in the near future, "It'll be good for you to get to know people, make some friends. Go out, have lunch, a drink, enjoy yourself. And it's okay to do that with someone other than me." THAT's when it hit me. The epiphany, along with the side of parmesan-encrusted zucchini I'd just taken a bite out of and swallowed prematurely. And I just blurted out what I said next. I don't think it was even thought out completely. It just seemed to be there, waiting to be purged. And out it came: "You know, that's the same thing my ex said when he was finished with me and he didn't care about me anymore. He encouraged me to go out, make friends, have a good time with someone other than him...and now here you are, telling me to do the same thing. It's what happened just before I lost him completely. Right before I ended up with no one at all. And I can't help but be afraid of that happening again." Although a moment of blunt honesty, it also felt like a moment of weakness. After saying that, I felt tears well up in my eyes. I was NOT going to be childish, I was NOT going to cry! Not in the middle of a fucking restaurant!!!! NO! I think it hit her at the same time, too. ".........ohhhh." She nodded. Her face was silently saying, "Got it." Then she said she understood....and that it now made sense. My faces, my reactions to whenever a friend calls her and invites her out, my unintentional interpretation of why SHE was now telling me that it was okay to go out with friends and let loose once in a while - everything. I managed to swallow the lump in my throat and told her that it wasn't her fault that I was this way. It was HIS. And this was something I now had to add to my list of things I needed to fix....that list of all the shit that's wrong in my life, whether it was taught to me or it was something other circumstances have forced me to learn. She let me compose myself and while she did first assure me that she understood and that this wasn't what she was doing. She firmly believed that we humans NEEDED more than one person in life. We NEEDED a more expanded circle. THAT was the healthy way. And I think I was surprised too...mainly it's the realization of this - I've been divorced for nine years, already. I've had nine years to 'unlearn' his bullshit teachings. Yet, my brain is still fucking wrecked by him. I STILL feel like it's not okay to become emotionally close to other people, even though it really IS. I still feel like I'm doing something wrong whenever I have a conversation that resembles anything close to enjoyable. I still see his fat, fucking face in the back of my head, I still hear him telling me that to emotionally invest in other relationships was the equivalent of cheating. Even something as innocent as a heart-to-heart and a movie was something that would send us to divorce court. And now it's becoming an evident problem within my current relationship to the point where she feels like she's upsetting ME by wanting 'more.' And I do NOT like this about myself, AT all. Yet, I can't easily snap out of this funk I seem to automatically enter whenever my significant other wants to go out with friends. For a long time, I was fine with J's and my 'arrangement.' In our old hometown, she knew the same people I knew. And so whenever I was invited somewhere, so was she. We were truly a unit. She'd go to work and when she got home, we'd go to dinner, we'd go bowling, whatever. We were and still very much are joined at the hip and VERY rarely separated. It's also worth a mention - she was working in a different job then, and her co-workers were not as much 'friend material' as her current ones. But now, things are changing. We've moved to an entirely different place. We BOTH don't really know anyone other than the local bowling crew - the only exception being J's co-workers...she knows and is friends with some of them now. I do have some acquaintances, maybe even one or two who have the potential of being true friends to us both, given the opportunity. But when we moved, I've left behind everything and everyone I ever considered to be a friend...I'm feeling as if I'm back at square one and that feeling of being withdrawn is sometimes amplified. J is evolving. That's not necessarily a bad thing, either - she is not the same person she was when we met. We met here, in fact, if you're just tuning into my blogs and didn't know that - well - now you do. I'm trying not to panic, as the appearance of a friend in my fiancee's life does not necessarily signal the end of our relationship. I suppose it just means she's reached the point where she is comfortable being in social settings, while I'm still trying to find my footing. I just hope that I am able to find it soon - before the misteachings of my ex turn me into the person I don't want to be. This is just an overly annoying, yet significant ingrained fear that I have to learn how to effectively quell. Okay - I think that's about all I've got on the brain tonight. More next time. Until then, I'm hoping you're all doing well. Peace, love, & light, - Capulet