The sads and you

It’s been three months since you tried to break up with me before we even started … well, anything. Your decision and your words made me feel ill inside that night. We didn’t talk for several days which was, frankly, torture for me. I finally caved and messaged you. You messaged right back, like you were waiting for me. And we continued with this dialogue that, for all intents and purposes, was eerily similar to all the other dialogue we’d had before you lost your damned mind. That’s what I told you — that I refused to accept that the “serious,” mid-coitus conversation had even happened because you had lost your g/God damned mind. You laughed. You agreed.

Things were strained the next few days in that I wanted to just keep going like nothing had happened while, at the same time, never really succeeding at forgetting that it had. We went to dinner one night and watched football and, when you dropped me off after, I said I’d invite you in but that I didn’t know the rules anymore and you needed to set them. You parked and came inside. I sat far away from you while we watched the game and you said I didn’t have to be like that. Again I said that I didn’t know the rules and I was earnestly trying to follow your lead. I want to respect whatever boundaries and rules and preferences you have. But I also don’t. Not for nothing but I also really don’t know exactly what your preferences are and now it feels kind of unsafe to broach that subject because it was SO weird the first time. So I just try to navigate without a map. It’s going great, as you can imagine.

Three months later though, we’re basically back to where we were. And that makes me really happy. I’ve loved the time we have spent together over these months and I always, always want more. I never get tired of you which is super rare for me with … any human, but, as we’ve both said out loud, there’s also really no opportunity to get tired of you. There are times when I feel incredibly happy and times, like earlier today, when I am worried if I allow it spiral too long, that you are intentionally or unintentionally drifting away. We see each other, on average, once a week right now, sometimes every other. I don’t know if it’s the whole winter blues or your basketball schedule with the kids or what, but I don’t like that at all.

I like to be alone in these shorter days too but I find myself still thinking about you every day, multiple times a day, wether you text or not, unless I’m super busy at work, yet hesitating before initiating a text because I don’t want it to be too much or too often or too needy. That’s some high school nonsense. And as much as I also recognize that’s patently ridiculous to feel about a man you are with and have been for several relatively blissful months, I can’t help the feeling. You can call it baggage. I have some.

I try not to think about past relationships, unrequited and otherwise, where I tried too hard to make it work. I gave too much or I just wanted it too much maybe but, regardless, the result was … nothing. Me alone. Never knowing if it was because of me or in spite of me or nothing to do with me at all.

Here’s what I do know and it scares the hell out of me: I am 39 years old. I have never had a relationship that was equal. I have never gotten what I have given. I have never, not in romantic relationships or friendships, been someone’s number one. Not that I always knew that at the time. I don’t know if it’s because I was with the wrong people or if that’s all that exists. I have had my heart broken, shattered twice, and yet “love” is still my holy grail. I want it and long for it and ache for it more than anything. Would I sacrifice my parents or my brother or genocide of a million strangers for it? No. No, I wouldn’t. I don’t think that’s a fair or realistic question and, thanks to Yuval Harari’s “Sapiens,” I’m also rethinking a ton of existential shit that makes me wonder just what, if anything, we have control of in this life.

Does it matter what I want? How much I want it? How deeply I feel the lack of it? Does it matter if I’m a good person? If I put kindness and generosity and sincerity out into the world? Does it have any effect on what I get back? No? Yes? Unclear.

What I also know is that it is unrealistic to think that you, or the next person I meet, is going to be “The One.” But is it worth “wasting” time at this age on someone that isn’t the one? How do you know? Would I feel more confident in this current relationship if I knew that it was, in fact, mutual now that we moved past that initial weird shit in the first month when you got scared or whatever that was? That this could be something “serious,” actually more of the dating and not just (and with increasingly-less frequency) fucking and spending less time together since the days got shorter?

It’s possible that I’ve spent too much time alone in my winter solitude, with the sads, and that I’m making something out of nothing. That happens. I’m acutely aware. So are you. We’ve talked about this. You do it too. By contrast, I might also be making something seem like nothing because I’m hypersensitive in these darker days. I like this man in front of me so much. I love spending time with him and, when I’m spending time with him or even just when we are texting, I feel completely at ease and content and happy with things just the way they are. When it’s been too many days between physical time together, my mind, my heart and that ache that buries itself deep below my rib cage come back like an unwanted specter lurking in wait. I have no idea how a man cannot want sex more frequently. That first week? He was insatiable. So once a week is, you know, less than ideal. For me.

Earlier today and, if I’m being honest, the past several days, I have been worried that he would forget about or bail on this evening. There is thing for Yelp Elite where I get to go to this opening, with free drinks and a plus one. I always love the idea of doing “holiday things,” particularly with a (gag) special someone. I am not immune to the occasional Hallmark movie trope. But I’m also interested because it’s an opportunity to do something, anything, with John. We don’t do much outside of my house. Granted, it’s only been a few months, there are plenty of times we hang out and don’t have sex, but, annoyingly, I can never really get past the “I’m not really looking for anything serious right now” sentiment from months ago. Which he said to me while buried inside me, exactly one month after we met. Who could forget that? What woman who wants to see if there might be more, possibly could?

But he did remember tonight and, although I wanted to wait for him to initiate a “hey, what time do I need to be there” text, I initiated. But then I spent an hour feeling tortured by the lack of reply; an hour that felt like several. Mind you, I waited an even longer time for a return text from a friend today about a play we’re seeing tomorrow night and that caused a very similar, silly anxiety. But John’s reply came, it was clear he was planning on it all along, and I am just so sick of fighting myself to remember he isn’t the last asshole. Or maybe he’s driving over here right now, several hours before we have to be anywhere, just to initiate another “can we be serious for a minute?” talk. I hope not. And I hope there’s never another one while we’re literally physically connected to each other.

Three months ago, after that awkwardly timed confession, I refused to accept him ending things because nothing had started and it seemed premature and unfair when things were so fun and easy and chill. Now though, because of the holidays or because of the four-month (meaningless) milestone or whatever, I can’t help but wonder if I made a mistake in refusing to just take the hurt back then and get past it eventually. Time will tell I guess.

He said back then, in August, that he didn’t want to get down the line and then hurt me because he knows himself and he is selfish with his time. The latter seems to be exactly true and I try to recognize that when I’m feeling slightly neglected. On one hand, he should want to respect that I need to feel serious the way he needs to feel not-serious. Does that, by default, make us incompatible though? Aren’t these normal early relationship things to iron out? Or am I going to get hurt again and have only myself to blame? Is it going to happen again during the holiday season; a season that is already tinged with as much heartache and longing in me as it is joy and happiness in others? I want to be hopeful and be present and just accept whatever will be.

I’m not sure if that is stupidity or willful ignorance or healthy optimism though. And I’m never sure how much of this introspection is normal or would be happening at any time of the year – or if it’s just that the sads that are never far away and are most acutely present during this time of year.

I know that I am a different person in these darker days. The sads are a pall over everything and I have to actively work to remember how easily I can be tricked into thinking my gloomier affect is reality.

It also needs to be said that I question whether I am settling or if I’m just into him because he’s, you know, around and made the mistake of talking to me in a bar in July when I was on the way to being inebriated. He remembers everything though so it helps to know he knew what he wanted. Just like me though, he didn’t know we weren’t going to just hook up and say goodbye forever. If he had, would he have been interested in coming home with me? Would I? I don’t know. He’s been different, better, easier to be with from day dot. That’s something.

I try to be logical – to really think through what I like about him as a person and figure out in my lists in my head what goes in the settling category and what goes in the I-like-it-because-I-actually-like-him category. The thing is, yes, I’m 39 and I am acutely aware of my clock and all that unfortunately and frustratingly real shit. I am also cognizant of the fact that I like being around this guy. So much! He makes me laugh, he makes me feel attractive and funny and smart and accomplished. He seems to appreciate that I am exactly who I am. He knows how extra my mind is, constantly, and he laughs about it with me. I really like his laugh. He doesn’t seem to want to change me so do I want him to change? Or do I not actually know what he wants now? I mean, it’s been four months for both of us. Things have been so, so nice since we chose to move past those silent few days in August. Time changes things, for better or for worse and sometimes back again. But at this point, it’s still early. It feels good. I love being with him. I love talking to him, for hours. I love being the person he chooses to talk to and spend his limited time with. He already makes the sads of this season feel less heavy.

I know that tonight will be fun and I am excited to spend it with him. Maybe he’s what I should have found a long time ago. Surely wish I had.

Winter of my discontent?

I’m affected by the change in seasons, the shorter, darker days. I know this. In reality, I might have “the sads” more frequently than just the winter but I feel it more intensely or just perseverate on it’s never-far-awayness more in the dark, dreary days. I tend to hole up in my house and hibernate which, it could be argued, makes it worse. The solitude is both a security blanket and an excuse. I am irritable over nothing and everything. People that have done nothing wrong, sometimes people I care about, become targets of my frustration, avoidance and even loathing. Why? I have no idea. Like a bout of road rage, I can feel it, recognize when it’s happening even, but I am virtually powerless to be in the feeling and control it, lessen it, stop it or redirect it. Though I certainly do think it through later, when I am calm and have the space and quiet to do so.

One friend, in particular, and for no logical, tangible or concrete reason I can determine, is driving me crazy. Her texts cause me to roll my eyes, feel internally annoyed and exasperated, and immediately begin scrolling through the possible excuses or “outs” in my head to avoid responding or respond in the shortest, least expressive, least engaging way in order to discourage further conversation. Why?? I. don’t. bloody. know. It’s been that way with this friend for several weeks now, if not months. I cannot pinpoint when it started or why.  I also cannot determine any source of legitimate irritation, offense, jealousy, betrayal or any action, opinion or thought or perceived action, opinion or thought that got under my skin. I can’t. 

I do this sometimes with friends though and as much as I wish I were wired differently, I’m not sure how to change or move beyond it or if it’s even possible. I know myself. I’m just simply over it. I have the ick, so to speak. In my experience, once you have the ick, it does not go way.

Maybe I’m making too much of it.  Maybe I’m not making enough of it.  Would a therapist?

I’ve been to a therapist twice in my life; once in college, once as an adult.  In college, it was post Sept 11th, in the winter of course, and I was immersed in courses full of psycho-social-biblical-philosophical discussions, papers and research. The result of talking to this campus psychologist, whose name and countenance I cannot even vaguely remember, was merely being prescribed an SSRI (Paxil, I think). I had some dark thoughts. And I don’t know now if these were before, during or after the medication. I stopped taking it at some point as I didn’t feel like it was doing anything and I didn’t want to go back to talk to anyone in order to get a refill. Not surprisingly, no one prepared me for the withdrawal symptoms of stopping cold turkey. So nauseous. So sweaty. Miserable. Constantly. I remember days of just being in my bed in a ball wondering if I was lucid or not. And then it was over and you wondered if any of it even happened.

A couple of years later, as an adult, living on my own for the first time in Pittsburgh, I went back. To a doctor in my insurance network (I haven’t had a primary care doctor since childhood and urgent care clinics weren’t a thing yet). I told them all the same depressed and anxious and not-sleeping feelings I was having and that I had been on an SSRI before. That was it!? I walked out with a prescription again after maybe 10 minutes of talking to them. Truthfully though, I don’t even remember if or for how long I took it. Don’t even know if I got the script filled. I know that I probably should have been doing therapy along with the pills in order to see any kind of benefit. Grad school for counseling taught me all about that — I just never did it.

I tried therapy again as an adult, for one tear-filled, complete embarrassment of a session, when I had a boss who made me feel kind of terrible every day. I used to sit in my car at lunch and cry. I still have something like PTSD when I hear a certain DC NPR radio voice that used to play during that lunch time hour.

I remain genuinely unsure whether it was her, me or the combination of us. I began my professional career as a school counselor with her as my supervisor at the district office. She was impressed by me and championed me. She convinced me to take a job at the district level as part of a stimulus grant and I did, with the understanding that, when it was over in 18 months, I would go back to my same role in my same high school. I never got that in writing because, frankly, it never occurred to me that I’d need to. Within two weeks of the new role though, I knew it wasn’t for me. I had virtually no interaction with students, I couldn’t actually “fix” anything that was broken and couldn’t even touch most things that needed improvement or streamlining (or complete obliteration) with a ten-foot pole. I did get to work with 80 counselors at all levels across the district and it was nice to learn that they respected me, my opinion and my work. But I was profoundly bored. My boss turned from this sweet, encouraging person I admired and that I used to go on walks with at lunch, into this passive-aggressive, suspicious, accusatory person who never had anything for me to do but would be visibly put out when I appeared not to be working. She would actually come stand next to my cubicle, peer over the top at me with just her eyes, glasses and top of her head showing. WHY?? Creepy as hell. In truth, I spent about 3 months of my 16 months there earning a post-Masters certification in sports counseling … online … 12 credits worth! I felt guilty using company time for it but, honestly, I did not even remotely have enough to do. I would find ways create my own projects or work across divisions but that seemed to rankle her even more, as if I was somehow plotting against her or ingratiating myself with people that didn’t care for her. I never knew, really.  It was just an awful situation. 

At one point we had a discussion about it and I expressed that I felt underutilized, regretted leaving the school, recognized that our dynamic/relationship had changed, and suggested that it seemed like she was threatened by me. She laughed, no cackled, at the last part in the most condescending way. I’ll never forget how that felt and I’ve replayed that moment a million times; I’ll also never know what the real problem was if that wasn’t it. I finished the position two months early so I could return for the start of the school year only I wasn’t able to return to my old school and spent the next two years in a school that was fine but not challenging and never felt like home. It’s overwhelming and weird to regret losing nearly a year and a half of your life. It makes me second guess “opportunities” now, for sure. Unfortunate but it is what it is.

All of that to say, I tried therapy as part of our employee assistance program and after crying uncontrollably throughout the whole session and being challenged on things that didn’t seem relevant but that I still bear the scars from, I never went back. It was a truly awful experience.

I think there’s a lot to be said about talking to an impartial, unbiased, unconnected person about your problems, real or imagined. I just don’t know how you establish a rapport with a random someone and/or how you know that someone is the best someone for you. What if they are behavioral when you need cognitive? What if you don’t know what you need and end up with the wrong type? What if they are too religious? What if they aren’t religious at all? What if they are full of shit? What if they don’t give me advice? What if they do? I know they aren’t supposed to; they’re supposed to lead you to your own conclusions and plans. What if they help me to the conclusion that I’m crazy? That we all are?

I have a person in my life now though that also feels the heaviness of winter, like thick curtains that keep out the light but not the chill. It is nice to normalize the experience with someone that doesn’t seem crazy at all! It is refreshing to not have to talk about it to just know why the quiet is nice sometimes. But I also worry that it could pull us apart if we don’t try to make each other push through.

Maybe we can keep the light on between the two of us. That would be really nice. He’s pretty great.

I need to write more. It’s cathartic and I don’t make time for it enough.

Music for the Mood: Fell on Dark Days – Soundgarden (Chris Cornell acoustic)

Letter to a John

You made me feel like I was rather amazing all along and I really loved that. I was thankful to you for it and it turned me on more than you could know. To have that mirror shatter is … well … hard to put back together without always seeing little cracks.

I do not want to spend another night lying awake feeling myself barely drift toward sleep only to be jarred awake, again and again, by the realization that you’ve decided it’s over before it even really started and be left to abide the gut wrenching ache and confusion that follows. Or we’ve decided? It’s mutual only to the extent that, in order to keep my dignity, I only have one choice.

You’ve only given me one choice and I wasn’t prepared to have to make it yet. It wasn’t even on my radar, John. It might have been there, niggling, that very first morning when you asked for my number as you left or the next evening when you came over before practice but it disappeared pretty much the moment we sat down to dinner in Baltimore, which was only three days later. That was such a great dinner, a great night, all around. It felt like a fucking rom com.

It’s just so early John; too early for definitions, even. I resent that I didn’t get to even glimpse what it could be because you made sure I knew that this particular cute & fuzzy caterpillar of a relationship was never going to be the butterfly I literally ache with want to feel flying around. I have longed for a pretty one to take flight for so long but with so little evidence of its existence that I catch myself wondering if I’m actually expecting a unicorn to fly out of the proverbial chrysalis instead.

I’ve felt that way for a few years now but you, mister, allowed me to dream about it in color again … but, like most good dreams, you wake up before you get to see the real stuff, the stuff you hope is at the end, the stuff you squeeze your eyes shut so hard in order to try to get back to, to see the end, before your conscious wakes up too. It’s hard for me right now to say whether I wish I knew upfront that you don’t give a shit about how carefree it could be to fly around like that and, in fact, that you’re not even interested in crawling inside the cocoon with me in the first place. Because to know that up front? We’d have missed out on the past few weeks that I, for one, really fucking enjoyed. On every level.

So yeah, I’m getting these swirling thoughts out of my head so that nervous energy can be released. Would you believe I reread our entire text history? An entire month of texts. That’s how this letter started. I actually read through them all twice. Once as a masochist who wanted to remember all the details and smile even though it hurt. And then again with a skeptical eye, trying to figure out where I got the wrong impression. But I really couldn’t find the evidence. Which is supremely frustrating.

I desperately want to be allowed to make a different choice here, John. More accurately, I want you to make a different one, have a different perspective, a different desire … or all of them at once. But, as I told you, and as I am very proud to know about myself, I am not the kind of woman who wants to try to change someone. I know this because shades of this very situation have presented themselves across the different tapestries of my life and, although they weave together to form an interesting and colorful collective, I have yet to be able to appreciate the beauty. I can’t get far enough away to see it as more than a mess.

On one hand, I cannot fault you for not wanting to be in a relationship with me. I woke up with you in my bed after taking you home from a bar exactly one month to the day before you expressly laid it all out for me – and while inside me, I might add. You said “Can we be serious for a minute?” The audacity of that conversation, at that moment, while we were in that state … should disgust me or infuriate me or insult me. Maybe someday it will. For now though, it’s a little entertaining given who and how we were together (for what seems like too fleeting a moment), and it seemed more normal than say, sitting on the couch and having one of us say “we need to talk.” The content felt premature to me but don’t those conversations always?

From almost the very beginning, I felt comfortable with you. We shared a lot about ourselves, we were both astonishingly honest, vulnerable, brazen even. It certainly made me feel closer to you faster than I’ve maybe ever felt with a man. And I reveled in it. It was refreshing! Maybe, like many other maybes that have gone through my mind since you left here last night, that was something I should have been more cautious about, something that should have drawn my retracted but well fortified guard back up, been skeptical of. But I love the feeling of abandon, of going all in, of feeling as much as I can possibly feel in the moment because I know too well that (the good ones especially) do not last indefinitely.

Many times over the past month I was blissfully unaware, so enjoyably giddy, actually thanking g/God for allowing you to cross my path and pinching myself that finally a good man seemed to appreciate me for all of the things about me that I appreciate. Someone moderately attractive, kind, considerate, smart and intuitive. An athlete and a smile-inducing smart ass who could match me and didn’t shy away from it. And a man who did and said the small, little things that no one actually wants to ask for, maybe don’t even know that they want or how to ask, but that make you feel like you’re just as exquisitely awesome as, in your soul, you have always thought you might, just maybe … be. 

I loved being wrapped in that feeling and having no compunction about indulging in it. And, if I’m being honest, I liked the surprise of it. That you came out of nowhere. I wasn’t looking for you, I wasn’t expecting a connection, it just happened.

What is hardest for me to process is that there were certainly times where I recognized and even articulated that this was something that kind of inexplicably but awesomely developed from a drunken night at a bar. But every time I had the glimmer of a doubt in my head that I was getting more “in” than you were or that this was just sex to you, there were nearly immediate confirmations that I was overthinking and you were right there with me. You reminded me that you weren’t drunk that night. You knew what you wanted. You never treated me like a fuck buddy. Never indicated that you were only interested in me for sex and when I joked about it, you’d put it right down and prove me ridiculous. Or maybe that’s how you treat fuck buddies? If so, your fuck buddies are lucky but don’t think for a moment that they think they are only that, in their heads anyway.

That very first morning though, I shared how I recently blew an obscene amount of money on a matchmaker and, just two weeks ago, how I was still talking to and looking forward to meeting a guy from a dating site that had seemed so promising. I was clear from the jump that I wanted something of substance. I recognize it’s possible that you feel you were similarly clear that you did not. You have mentioned other women, still live the roommate life (which I find patently absurd at this age) , said more than once that “I know myself” and “I’m selfish with my time” and “I like to do me, what I want to do, when I want.” I have never been needy or demanding with a man though and probably go too far too avoid it now – possibly to my detriment, as seems to be the case here.

So, while I heard these things, ruminated on them and filed them away, I guess I thought that maybe you’d just never been with someone who wasn’t those things and found the experience of it easy and refreshing, as you were for me, rather than constricting and something you should continue to actively avoid. I think I didn’t grasp (and still don’t) the depth to which you’ve experienced commitment, what the word even means to you (because it really is different to everyone) and especially why you are so resistant, almost afraid, to even attempt it with someone who, for all intents and purposes, was really fucking easy to just “be” with … especially in the fledgling stages of a new relationship.

So that, I guess, is the crux of my confusion and, if I’m being honest, frustration and hurt as well. 

I know by your own admission, in our rather robust conversation on the subject (in the midst of you breaking up with me before we were even dating?), that I was not alone in feeling that this little sprout of a relationship was more than a little awesome. It was easy. It was effortless. It was so much fun! You said these things. Those are your words. There was no discernible pressure, no premature expectation, and no resemblance of relationships we’d had before. It felt like friendship, it still feels like friendship and I don’t want to lose that, but with sexual chemistry that, for me at least, was never more than a half second from my mind at any point in the day or night. But especially the mornings.

I will not and cannot understand why you would choose to walk away from that for the sole reason that you want to be able to talk to and explore other people. I mean, I guess that’s the reason? You never really said and I can’t think of any other plausible or rational reason. It’s so early, John! You must really not be that into me because, excuse my language, how the fuck do you know, NOW, that you would even want to be with someone else at some point? Do you know now, already?

That’s the only explanation I can wrap my head around, a month in. That there’s already someone else tickling your senses of possibility and they must be really something. That girl who works at the gym? The girl you said your coworker was trying to set you up with? Someone else?

I’ve never been so happy, so early, exploring someone new but, admittedly, I was also ready to dive in and see where it would go. I don’t have anyone else on the periphery that I feel like you’re taking me away from or precluding me from getting to know. And I’m not opposed to talking to multiple people or you doing the same. I just don’t sleep with multiple people at once and, honestly, it’s too much for me to keep straight if I get to know multiple people beyond the surface at once. We’ve been sleeping together now, regularly, for a month, so I suppose that point is moot.

It is rare for me to have such a connection with so little time and effort and endless pros&cons-ing though. I guess I need to accept that your experience with meeting quality women must be very different than mine meeting quality men. I rarely, if ever, meet men that I am attracted to, period, full stop. But then also like as people so much that I can’t wait to get to know more about them? Especially from the jump. I mean, that was weird for you too, right? That was what you said. Repeatedly.

I didn’t get tired of talking with you, no matter how banal or deep, and I could’ve spent every day with you just as easily as the every few days thing we had going. I could’ve loved more but was really enjoying less. It was sweeter that way and left me craving the next text, the next touch, the next laugh, the next fuck. It wasn’t boring but it also never had a chance to get there, for me anyway. I couldn’t even see it coming on the foreseeable horizon though and that excited me, maybe more than it should have.

I silently wondered more than once what would happen when you grew tired of this “peach” of yours but, again, almost as soon as I’d allow the thought to cross my mind, you’d say or do something to reassure me that I was just projecting past lovers onto you and I’d feel guilty about it because that wasn’t fair to everything you’d shown yourself to be. I really don’t think I’m wrong here. I didn’t imagine it. You treated me like you cared about me. I have enough experience to know how frustratingly rare that feeling is.

Last night, right after you left, and while I was still effectively in shock, you texted and said “Should things change I hope we can reconnect.” It was supremely offensive to me in the moment because, although I can admit now that I don’t know exactly what those words meant to you, it effectively said to me that you aren’t ready to “settle” for me yet. That you want to go out there and meet your coworker’s friend, some other chick at a bar that you met and/or wherever you meet these other great women, fuck around for a while, and are fully prepared to risk that you may ultimately realize you were a fucking moron because none of them have the same combination of ingredients of what you chose to walk away from, what you already have/had and cut off too fast. It also said, should that be the unfortunate result, you’d hope to reconnect with me because, at the end of your exploration and conquests, I would be a good place to come back to, to settle for. Because I’ve said I’m not willing to do casual, you want to move on to your next conquest. I don’t really know how else to interpret it but I welcome your perspective, of course. Clarity on anything swirling through my head these past 24 hours would be welcome.

I might be way off base or being unfair or mean purely from a place of hurt. And that’s plausible. But there is some truth there. I know this because I’ve done it. I’ve done that very thing to nice guys I thought of as friends, great guys I wasn’t that attracted to, amazing guys that tried to get to know me at time when I just so happened to think I had a chance with someone better. It happened more times than my pride wants me to admit and, in every single case, I didn’t recognize it until so much later, years later in some cases. Too much later though, in every case. 

They are all sliding doors moments for me. I have had sliding doors moments in my career too but relationships, for me, carry more weight. They are what I think about when I wonder why I cannot find a man who wants more than to just fuck me. I always wonder if I would have had a different experience if I’d just “settled” at the time for one of those guys.

Somewhere along the line and, maybe because I came so late into the sexual world, I became this woman that guys are (sadly?) amazed by because I love sex. I’m always ready, I genuinely enjoy figuring out how to make it better with my partner, and I seem to have something magical going on below, which most of the handful of men I’ve been with want like an addict wants crack. I say sadly because I think most women have many if not all of those sex-positive qualities but they either don’t vocalize them or aren’t in touch with them.

Yet all of those qualities that I view as strengths and sexual awareness, also seem to make men think that I am equipped to only be their sex toy. I have tried time and again to hold out on sex until there’s an established relationship but there are two problems with that, 1) as I’ve lamented, I do not meet many guys that I am interested in and 2) it sure as shit isn’t fair that I have to abstain from my own sexual gratification just so some guy, who otherwise has potential, doesn’t immediately rely solely on his fuckboy id. It could also be argued that his id would eventually override his superego regardless but I have no evidence, so far, to the contrary. And I went and fucked this one up by drunkenly fucking you from day dot so, again, maybe what I actually regret is that it happened at all. Period.

Last night you alluded to the fact that you never really get beyond “this point,” where I assume this point is the point after which a relationship either ramps up or ends? I don’t get to that point as fast and, aside from meeting you in a bar and taking you home that same night, it’s also why I was so happily enjoying the ride with no real thought to what happens tomorrow or the next day … because I didn’t see a step (or a cliff) on the path ahead yet and it was refreshing as anything! So we differ there and it makes me sad because you’re missing out on so much of the fun along the way, before things get serious and real, real.

You also alluded (so quietly) that you’re afraid of something and didn’t feel comfortable telling me. Maybe you don’t even know exactly what it is yourself yet? I appreciate and respect that. It makes me sad, of course, because I am nothing if not a listener and an empath. I like working through complex things with people, especially people I care about, and I’ve worked through enough of my own ish to prove it. In fact, you said that I’m comfortable in my own skin, it’s attractive. and you respect me for it. I don’t know how accurate that is but I paid $60K for a masters degree that ought to have been in “self actualization.” Every assignment, paper, presentation and discussion I had for those three years seemed intentionally meant to strip you bare so you could recognize and process all your ugly, all your demons, all your limitations so you could effectively help others. That’s not to say I don’t still have some shit that I’ve never quite figured out or that hasn’t morphed and compounded with life events and experience since, but I’m fairly in touch with who I am. More than most people, I guess. I am proud of the awareness, the ability to dig deep and unpack.

Comfortable in that multi-faceted skin though? Depends on the context, like most things of the heart and soul. I think you are similar but I guess I could be wrong about that too. Am I?

So, now I’m way too deep in the ethos. I don’t know how to get out or if I really want to. This space of wondering and wandering is more comfortable than the one of disbelief and abject sadness that I have sat in for the past 26 hours or so. Most of these things, deep or not, never even crossed my fucking mind until you pulled the ejection handle last night. I do not want this to be over. I do not want to lose you or your texts or your physical presence from my life. I have vacillated all day between refusing to accept your decision completely .to. just accepting that I don’t want to lose whatever this is even if that means I’m willingly entering into another indeterminable DP-situation .to. allowing you a length of time to go out and sow your oats or whatever the fuck it is you think you need to do before we can figure out if you still believe that desire for “something” is more compelling than exploring how far the “sure thing” can go .to. just sucking it the fuck up and cutting off all communication so that the faster I start going through the hell of heartache, the faster I can get out of it and start healing … again.

But I don’t really think any of those options are up to me, in the end.

In the end, I like you. If you had asked me last week or even yesterday, I doubt I could have recognized how much because I don’t put too much stock in the giddy days. I enjoy them. I let them consume me because they never last as long as Hollywood has taught us they will. And I try not to think too much about when they might run out or what will/won’t happen when they do. I wish so much that you would just run for your life with me for as long as it lasts, as long as anyone knows any relationship will last before it’s over.

But you seem so sure, so early, for reasons and experiences unknown to me, that you will want to be with women other than me later on, but before we even try. Because I’ve experienced the ugly side of that and the emotional repercussions and insidious doubt that come along with it, I wouldn’t want to always be wondering, “Should I be worried? Is she a threat? Am I not good enough? Why? What the fuck is wrong with me that I’m not enough?” when you are not with me or when I don’t hear from you for a couple days.

I am proud to say that those thoughts never crossed my mind over the past month and that isn’t something I would have always been secure enough to do or feel in a new relationship. But now, if I am being honest, I have thought all of those exact thoughts last night & today and it feels absolutely and completely horrible.

You made me feel like I was rather amazing all along and I really loved that. I was thankful to you for it and it turned me on more than you could know. To have that mirror shatter is … well … hard to put back together without always seeing little cracks.

I don’t know how to end this letter. I don’t want to. There is comfort in sharing the stream of consciousness. Even if it isn’t really shared. I also don’t know how to keep the lines of communication open without making it hard for one or both of us. I know my limits but I don’t know yours. It so easy to talk to you that it is crazy easy just to refuse to accept that last night even happened. For right this moment, that’s exactly what I want to do.

Maybe it was the Fanta?

Music for the Mood: Both Hands – Ani DiFranco