She Was right

She was right, you know. Your friend. The one who I still think about with scorn and my friends still flame for my benefit alone. She was right when she announced that I wouldn’t help myself until you left me.

Because in your absence I have really changed. I have grown in so many unexpected ways that sometimes I look at myself and don’t quite recognise me.

I learnt a lot in DBT and in therapy with my psychiatrist. I was given all the tools to live a softer, more grey life. A more comfortable one in which my disordered personality was softened into just a personality. I thought that I was happy with you and happy in myself, and in many ways I was.

You showed me so many things. You showed me unconditional love and kindness when I was at my most difficult and you had this knack for bringing out some of the best in me. You showed me my own worth. But I came to believe that those things were dependent on your existence in my life and I think that’s why it was so hard when you said you were leaving.

But without you there to create happiness for me, I truly learnt to create it for myself. To find those little things that I now do daily to be positive and open and optimistic. I am no longer dependent, I have created goals and am chasing dreams.

As I bussed into a remote outback town solo, something I wouldn’t have done some six months ago, I stared out into the desert and thought to myself with a great deal of satisfaction… I really am living my best life in 2017.

So thank you, my love, for leaving.

I really am happy now.

The Human Skin

Lying in another bed, with someone else’s sleeping head on my shoulder. Completely lost in thought after the sex. Or attempt at sex. Of course I won’t be staying long, I’m waiting to be legally sober before I drive home.

But as he rolled into me I felt a long forgotten pull inside myself. And I don’t know if that’s missing you, or just missing a connection, or being ready for someone else. But what I really wanted in that moment was to roll into him too. And be held and wanted in that way.

Not from you though, I don’t think, anymore. Nor from him.

I inched out from under him and began dressing. He showed me out, ‘text me when you get home’.

The experience left me a little disconcerted. A little more wary. It asked me a lot of questions. And more still when I saw him again.

I’m still scratching at answers.

When you’re still looking for what’s Gone

Today, I can’t breathe. I woke up this morning in denial. I rolled over and stared at the wall for what turned out to be two hours. The whole day has felt crushing, empty and emotional.

I know that this is just monstrous PMS. Since my ex left my pre-menstrual week has resumed its aggressive pre-menstrual dysphoria. The last four or five cycles, however many there have been in his absence, have been horrific. So horrible I decided to start drinking Prozac water again to try and smooth the passage. I don’t think it’s worked.

Because the gaping wounds in me are exposed and filled with grief and loss again. I desperately need to connect to people, with someone. But no one is the “right” person. In short, no one is him. Even after four months, and now a month of silence. No one is him.

My mind is thoroughly occupied with begging him to contact me. To do something more than like my Facebook posts. I’m trying to ignore his watching eyes, I should delete him. But I still want him to come back, you see. Even as I counter every positive reminiscence with every time he rejected me, every time he was mean and every time he made me feel like less of a person. It just doesn’t make sense that he’s not staring back at me in the mornings anymore.

All these twisted feelings are welling up inside me, filling and spilling over my wounds. There’s nowhere else for them to go. Because no one wants to hear about it anymore, not even I do. So they bubble and repeat themselves, fighting each other for time as I try desperately to find space and lightness in my mind. It’s been four months, how long can I hurt so aggressively?

My dysphoric PMS has left me incredibly vulnerable. It’s exacerbated quieted borderline traits. I’m taking on the negativity of those around me. The poisonous familial atmosphere at home. The financial strain. The continuing impact of my ever wrong choices. I feel all of it. And deeply.

And the person who knew when to hold me close and when to just sit beside me. Who knew when I needed to go out and when to be distracted with TV. Who was my favourite person, my best friend. Who is still the one I want to turn to right now, is gone.

The comfort here is that PMS ends, and so to may my intensified grief.

 

 

 

In another bedroom

Sitting in a bedroom with another guy from Tinder and I’m starting to wonder what it is I’m looking for.

This guy’s pictures didn’t accurately capture all that he is so I know we’re not going to have sex the moment I lay eyes on him. He shows me around his place, I say hi to his roommate and we walk to the local IGA to buy something to drink. He’s friendly and warm, but I’ve stopped paying attention. I’m on my phone looking for anything else.

We walk back to his place and start drinking and he’s giving me that look and I’m messaging a friend for advice on leaving. I end up just openly telling him that I’m not feeling it and he’s perfectly okay with that. We keep drinking to Rick and Morty, we swap stories. He wants to hear the story of my break up so I tell him. He says ‘I’ve never heard a story of two people who need more space from each other than you two’. I tend to agree.

The guy I’ve been sleeping with starts messaging me and I allow the distraction. I like the sexting and the teasing. When we fuck, it’s good. It’s alarmingly delightful to watch the person you’re riding come apart beneath you. The confirmation that you’re fucking brilliant at this. It’s validating. He confirms I’m physically the 8/10 I think I am with, great sex skills to back it up. It’s intoxicating to experience, the desirability.

But back to the guy I’m sitting with as he tells me about his first girlfriend and how she cheated on him and how he was so swept up in her that he was allowing it. And I agree that love makes us do wild and stupid things. We both agree that this is typical behaviour from a Frankston local.

But I’m sitting in this bedroom with this guy who’s telling me about his life and his kooky religious mum who blessed his bedroom, where he’s travelled, the drugs he loves, and all the alcohol he drinks and he’s hot, but not in the way I like. So I’m wondering what it is I’m looking for, you see.

And it occurs to me that I’m looking for two things, my ex and nothing. Nothing at all. So I announce that I’m leaving and allow a quick hug.

Fuck I hate those awkward “goodbye” hug.

Heartbreak amongst other Things

Nearly all days are good days now.

Even when I’m driving through the rain to work to trudge in mud all day and chase horses in circles in painfully uncomfortable gumboots, it’s still pretty okay. I can go home and say ‘yes, today was good’.

Even when my alarm goes off and barks at me that it’s time for the gym and I needed approximately seventy-two hours more sleep, it’s still good. Especially when I’m tired and I’ve been sitting at my computer for hours not writing what was actually a very straightforward piece for university, the day was still good.

Even when I had to go buy bras due to stripping fat and found that I sit uncomfortably between an E cup and a DD, I still saved $42 on those bras so today was good. And even though my head felt like it was splitting in half today, it’s still been good.

But there’s an absence. An undertone of melancholy. It creeps around the edges and tries its very hardest to slip into gaps I didn’t know existed until it found them. That absence is you of course. The scab I can’t stop picking. The thought that never quite leaves my head. The first person to pop into my mind some mornings because sometimes I’m still expecting to wake up and see a text message from you. The presence that isn’t really a presence at all. But somehow manages to follow me all the same. Still the person I want to moan to about tax troubles and work stress and family drama. The person I still want to share news about my pay rise and tell about that annoying blonde haired girl and curl up next to at the end of the day.

Three months isn’t really that long against all the time that we had together. Sometimes it feels impossibly quick because it’s April now and I’m half way through my first semester of my second chance. And other times it feels impossibly slow, like this has been the longest three months of my lifetime.

Of course it hasn’t though. The days and weeks were long at first, but they’re not now. I am busy. Busy with healing, busy with learning, busy with working, busy with planning. I am busy with my life.

Things are good and it’s so puzzling sometimes that it can be that way. Because some days I’m not quite whole. And some days I’m far away from everything. And some days I’m still wondering ‘how?’. I’ll probably always wonder that a little bit.

But things are good.

They’re really good, even as these tears slide down my cheeks.

 

On parting clouds and Choosing Happiness

Something has changed. I am lighter. There is more warmth, a more consistent warmth. There is peace in my silences were there was once unmitigated concern. There is focus where there was not long ago a void.

And then it hit me while I was walking along the creek trail the other afternoon. This is happiness. A contentment. The peace we strive for. I was stunned. It’s taken me a long while to process how this all snuck up on me. How it became my life, my actual life, seemingly overnight.

It’s bizarre still, to carry this lightness around. It feels suspicious, like it’ll be taken from me at any moment and I’ll be condemned once again to the pervading darkness that marred so many years of my short life. It has struck me as so odd that this is how most people typically experience life. From a place of general warmth. A baseline of happiness. How extraordinarily average and yet one of the greatest awakenings.

I think back over the past three months, and many of the months before that and am gratified that my hard work and persistence has paid off. When my ex-boyfriend walked away my world stopped. But then, slowly but surely, it started to move again. I focused on my job, I returned to study and have begun to map out a career path seriously for the very first time. I took up the gym again with more rigour and enthusiasm, I started to meditate every day and before I go to sleep at night I take the time to write down three good things about my day.

I’m particularly fond of the last exercise. I genuinely look forward to it and often find it very difficult to choose just three aspects. In the past when I’ve tried this it’s been excruciatingly painful to find three, and they’re written down in single sentences. Now I can fill over a page in my journal talking about my day, trying to encapsulate it in just three highlights.

Not all my days are good though. They’re often stressful and filled with anxiety and exhaustion. But I know there are places in myself that I can come to to find relief. I sit with myself in meditation and watch my thoughts come and go; noting them and breathing. I write down my daily highlights, a final affirmation that a hard day was not really that bad. I go to the gym or for a walk and let the exercise and subsequent endorphins form a break from the dreary monotony of the things that are worrying me. And I always remember to breathe.

In short, I trust myself to be my own happiness. I try very hard not to look to others to help me along unnecessarily and provide it for me. My sky is cloudy, but only partly. It’s a beautiful spring day and that spring sky has always been there, above my concerns. I can just see it more clearly now and it’s a real joy to bask in the sun.

A Short Story about Bad Sex

Picture this; you’re having a carefree moment on the d-floor at a club you don’t really like when a reasonably attractive guy gingerly moves in and touches you. You’re in the mood enough, you’re looking for something to brighten up your night so you engage. Bumping and grinding ensues over the next hour and so. You’re felt up, you’re kissed and it’s getting pretty hot between your legs.

So when he says ‘do you feel like getting going’ you can’t wait. You ignore the vague annoyance at his obsession with tongue kissing, you’re already ready to go. Your understanding from a quick poll of mutual friends is that he’s a bit of a slut and it sounds like a good go.

You sit awkwardly in the cab together, where no conversation is being made, trying to repress hysterical laughter – your trademark. He eventually asks how you know so and so and he answers in kind and that’s the extent of it. There’s no touching, no flirtatious glances. The bubbling laughter threatens to break free.

We arrive at his ‘place’. An apartment shared between three people above a shop front in a city suburb. It’s nice albeit cramped. There is still no touching, you can feel it in your bones that this is going to be shit. You enter the bedroom, littered with workman’s gear and it starts to get hot and heavy again.

He assaults you with his tongue continuously and aggressively. It’s not hot. It’s ridiculous and you’re starting to wonder if your jaw is going to dislocate. It occurs to you suddenly that he’s probably not had very much sex and you feel your disinterest bloom.

The rubber is pulled on and he enters you while putting all his weight on you and you’re seriously starting to wonder if your pelvis might fracture. You’re unmistakably bored. This attempt at sex lasts thirty seconds before he crawls off you and looks like he’s about to fall asleep. He tries to play with your clit and finger you and blatantly asks for directions.

You’re feeling annoyed now, drunk one night stands were not made for teaching. Without much help from him – in fact despite his “help” as he continues to try and dislocate your jaw – you manage to have a solo orgasm. Whereupon he says “I feel like going to sleep now, I had a big night yesterday.”

So you look at him and ungraciously announce that you could have gone to another club with other people and instead you’re here being disappointed. He’s unmoved and suggests staying the night to which you simply book the Uber and leave.

And that’s the story of how I spent $56 to get home at 5.25am and wasted a Sunday.

Why you Shouldn’t cut a Circle to fit a Square

Recently a friend told me that she realised, upon exiting a friendship group, that she didn’t like who she was when she was with them.

And as she told me about this I immediately recognised someone who was having pieces cut off them to fit a shape. An expectation. A way in which other people wanted them to exist amongst them.

Back in 2013, around a year after I left high school, I started to notice that I was different when I was hanging out with my school group. I had spent a great deal of that year working in the racing industry and my time in that yard had developed my personality. I was louder, more opinionated and frankly more fun. I took risks, I was dangerous but I lived. When I returned to the company of this group, I fell back into my demure role as ‘hanger-on’. I didn’t fit into any of the cliques, I wasn’t an essential member. I was quiet and passive again. The role they wanted me to play.

This part no longer fit me, of course. I noticed it so starkly one night that I messaged another friend to tell him just that. Because I had realised suddenly that I had outgrown this group.

Initially this truth was uncomfortable. These people were my friends and I didn’t know how to handle the moment. I wasn’t sure who I would be without them and I dealt with a great deal of anxiety about spreading my wings. But it didn’t take me long to realise that not only did other people feel the same way, it was an essential part of growing up.

Things change. In meditating I’ve practiced noticing how my thoughts change and do so frequently, flitting from topic to topic. Feelings too change, when one ends another simply begins. They even co-exist and do so varyingly and never in the same ways. It now seems so obvious that relationships change. Of course they change, the people in them grow. I had experienced personal development that took me away from my ‘school days’ safety net and that was just being human. A perfectly reasonable and average human.

To have stayed in this group was to allow them to cut essential pieces off me. School was not a happy time for me and in stepping into a new world, I had developed aspects of myself that I enjoyed. I enjoyed being loud and proud. I enjoyed partying. I enjoyed me. I didn’t like any of those things back then. But they were a huge part of me now.

I have seamlessly grown into and grown out of relationships in the three years since that first moment. These things come and go and shouldn’t be forced. Just as we shouldn’t be forced to fit a role.

All the pieces we are made up of are uniquely us. We can’t ever be happy in a relationship that demands we lose them. And we work far too hard on ourselves to allow that.

The after

In the last week I’ve experienced a shift in the way I’m coping with the break up. I’m starting to challenge feelings and thoughts and believe that there is actually an ‘after’ him – and most importantly of all, want it.

In the first couple of days and weeks it felt like the world should have stopped. Mine certainly did. Everything felt fundamentally altered. Like it had been broken. I had definitely been broken. It was almost cruel how things kept happening around me. I had a job to go to. I had friendships to maintain. A family to see. An online SIM game to keep up with. I didn’t want any of it. I didn’t understand how life could just keep going when we weren’t anymore. I became a spectator.

And this is where I made the first important choice. I began to seriously practice mindfulness and chase presence. Everyone kept telling me to just distract myself and I started to understand that the ‘distractions’ I needed most were just moments of complete presence and participation.

I fail at this constantly. My thoughts turn to him constantly. I’m still untangling the part of my mind that has dedicated itself to him and ‘us’. But there is nothing more grounding than trying to notice unconcious motions. On the days my mindfulness struggles the most, I challenge myself to notice myself standing and sitting. It’s amazing how such an integral motion goes almost completely unacknowledged, even when you’re consciously trying to find it.

So I’ve meditated daily for forty-three days and try to ground myself through each day when I find myself getting lost in what was, what is and what could have been. The other great healer has of course, been space and time and with both of those at my disposal I’ve started to let go of the emotional attachment and the unconditional love and start to see again.

I am not over him. If he turned around and asked for a second chance I would sit down with him and talk it out. Because I am reasonably certain now that there will always be love and care for him. He changed my life irreversibly for the better. Conversely, I have begun to see the reasons why we shouldn’t try again. Because I deserve so much more than someone who put me last and still couldn’t treat me right after leaving. I’ve started to look for myself. I find myself telling my friends that I want to ‘be me’ again. And I know that I’ll never again find the girl that I was for two and a half years, or even the girl I was before him, because she’s gone. She was permanently altered when he said it wasn’t right anymore and I am working towards letting both her and him go.

These past seven weeks have felt like the longest seven weeks of my life. My bruises are fading though and I’m looking for that ‘after’ now. One that I know exists.