The Seeker

For most of my life, at least what I can remember of it, I’ve been a Seeker.

A Seeker of knowledge, in that I love to always learn new things. I have a gift for remembering seemingly useless trivia, earning me one of my many nicknames. “The Queen of Useless Knowledge”. But, I also constantly search for new wisdom to fill my brain, of all sorts, be it historical, medical, scientific, supernatural, esoteric, you name it.

I used to seek for affirmation and approbation, as well. Other people’s opinions of me were almost more real than my own, and would color how I viewed everything, from how I acted, to how I felt about myself, and the world around me. I don’t do that anymore, because I discovered that I was never going to receive what I needed in life that way – SELF acceptance and love. I had to learn, over and over, that no one else’s opinions of me mattered, only my own. It took me a long time to realize that, but I’m better now for it. 

And, I’ve always been a Seeker of love. Love of family and friends, as well as that of romantic love from someone else.

That’s…been a lot harder to find.

I thought I had it in both of my marriages, only to be proven wrong. The first one, well, I’m not sure he knows what loving someone else means, that you have to give up a part of yourself to the other person, and that it’s about being there for each other, not just when things are easy, but most importantly, when things are bad. He never seemed to get that, so I had to walk away. Twice. It took me over 20 years, and 2 attempts at a relationship with him to get that through my head, but it finally stuck.

The second ex-husband…well, he hoarded all his love for our son, thinking that, well, since he married me, he didn’t have to actually love me anymore, since marriage says forever, right? All the hard work was done while we dated, so now he could sit back & watch me do all the work in the relationship. No. Just – no.  

And, I’ve had other relationships since, which have all fallen apart, for one reason or another. 

So, I’ve been doing some hard contemplation, lately. 

About what I truly want.

About how I’m going to get it.

And about what I’ve been doing up until now, that’s prevented me from truly Finding what I’ve been Seeking.

I settle.

Because there’s still a part of me that feels as though I’m not worth it. That…if all these men can leave me, that the fault must be in me, somewhere.

And, to a certain extent, that’s correct.

The fault does lie in me.

Because I settle.

If I’m truly going to find Love – yes, with a capital letter – then I have to make some changes.

First – no more settling for less than what I want.

If I want real love, the kind that will stay, will fight for a relationship with me, the kind that will work with me to keep the relationship a good one…I HAVE to act, and believe, that I deserve it.

No more “hanging out and hooking up”.

No more accepting relationships that have no future.

If I want Love, Marriage and Forever, and I do, (no pun intended), then I have to stop letting myself settle for anything less.

I will find Love again, someday. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, next week, or even within the next year.

But I will stop settling for its pale cousin.

Because I am a Seeker.

And I will Find another, someday.

Say The Words…

Before it’s too late,

Say the words.

While they’re still near you
While they can still hear you

While they still want to

Say the words.

Before they walk away

Before the end of the day

Before it’s all over

Say the words.

You don’t know how much time you have

How much time they’ll give you

How much longer they’ll care at all

Before the fall

Say the words.

Don’t let fear rule you

Don’t let time fool you

It’s not forever

If you never

Say the words.

Doubt

#daily-prompt

There are many things in my life that I am certain of. 

*My children all love me, & I them. Same with my parents. 

*My Nephew is one of my dearest & best friends, & over the last few years, we’ve gotten so in synch, that often we can tell before picking up the phone, that the other one needs a call. 

*my cats are assholes, but I love them anyway. Same goes for the ferret.

*I will do whatever it takes when it comes to a loved one in need.

*men in my life will disappear without a trace.

Which leads to my doubt.

There is serious doubt in my heart that I will ever find a man who will decide that I’m worth committing to, and if he says he’ll commit, that he’ll actually live up to that promise.

There is doubt that I’ll ever be a part of a “we/us” dynamic ever again. 

There is doubt that love will ever really happen for me again.

Broken promises, fear of commitment, fear of even catching feelings… They all fall into the “doubt” trap. 

And I doubt that I’ll ever be able to truly trust any man, ever again, because of it.

I don’t really let anyone “in” anymore. Not to the emotions.

Because it hurts too much when that doubt rears its ugly head & tells me they’re about ready to bolt.

When asked how I’m doing, I usually answer – “I’m fine.”

Because that’s what they want to hear.

Whether it’s the truth or not, doesn’t matter, it’s the veneer, the semblance of normalcy, that matters.

I doubt that the full truth would change anything, so why bother? It would probably send him screaming for the exit, anyway.

So, I doubt this’ll change anytime soon.

Selling my Soul

My emotions have been a rollercoaster lately, not gonna lie.

And I don’t see the situation changing in the near future. 

But, today at work, I had a “minipiphany”. 

I was talking to a coworker about my current relationship situation (there’s only 1 there who gets to, or, maybe, is forced to listen to my relationship foibles & follies – Because I know she’ll keep shut about it), & while I was describing the phone conversation I had with E on Saturday night, I figured something out.

Ok, a little back story music, if you please, maestro…

A few years ago, the first time I ventured into the world of online dating, I met – the Dragon. That is my nickname for him here, & it fits for many reasons, none of which are pertinent to this particular story. We got along very well, even though he is living on a small island in the Caribbean, so is geographically inconvenient. We spent a lot of time talking online, via Skype, & had even planned a meet up.

There was a period where he disappeared for about 6 months, due to some obligations that were very hush hush, & I didn’t know where he’d gone, or even if he was alive or dead.  After 6 months of messaging, emailing, & attempting contact via text, I finally decided that he was probably gone for good, & tried online dating again. 

Meeting E. 

Shortly after, the Dragon showed back up, & as happy as I was to see him, I did tell him that I’d met someone, & felt I owed it to E to see where it went. (E had already told me he loved me, & wanted to marry me- fast, I know. It made me nervous, & I wasn’t sure I wanted to move that fast. Ironic, that)

The Dragon told me that he couldn’t get into any kind of relationship anyway, after what had happened in his last, he felt too vulnerable, & exited stage left.

It hurt me. A lot. In the time we’d known each other, I had come to think of him as Chosen Family, & that doesn’t get said about very many people. But, I’ve only ever wanted him to be happy, so had to let go, instead of begging him to stay.

Fast forward to December, 2016.

I dreamt about the Dragon, & knew I needed to contact him, to let him know I’d never forgotten him. I waited till after the New Year, fearful of rejection, but I sent off an email.

He responded positively, & we’ve exchanged a couple of emails since.

About this same time, I’d told E that I was done waiting, done being last place to everything else, & I had “drawn the line where I said No More.” 

These 2 events were mutually exclusive, having no bearing on one another.

BUT, getting back to today’s miniature revelation.

I told the coworker that if E showed up on my doorstep tomorrow, I didn’t know what I’d do. After all the broken promises, the shattered trust, I honestly don’t know if I can get myself back into that relationship far enough to ever trust him again.

And I realized…

If the Dragon showed up at my door tomorrow…

I know exactly what my decision would be.  I’d choose him. Every time. In whatever capacity he needed me to fill in his life. Friend, pen pal, confidante, family, lover, you get the picture.

So, coworker said “Ok, so there’s your answer. Tell E you’re out.” 

But, here’s where I am weak. Here’s where I fall apart.

E still wants to marry me. 

He says he loves me, & will always love me. He wants forever. (If he can ever fucking get here) 

I am 46.

And overweight, & have health issues, & mental issues like anxiety & depression.

Gods…

I feel weak even saying this, & I want to cry, & kick myself, & just crawl in a hole.

Part of me wants to stay with E…simply because I don’t think anyone will ever make me this offer of marriage & forever, ever again.

And I don’t want to be alone forever.

I know someone who would be happy to be FWB, but doesn’t want monogamy & commitment. 

I do. I want monogamy. I want commitment. I want forever.

I’ll never get to have a 50th anniversary with anyone. 

But, I want to have anniversaries again.

And, I have no idea whether the Dragon will stay around this time, or if he’ll disappear again.

I don’t know what his feelings are at all, right now.

I wish I did, but I don’t.

And, there’s E. 

I can’t stand hurting anyone.

But someone’s going to end up being hurt by whatever decision I make.

It’s a foregone conclusion that I’ll end up hurting, either way.

There’s no winning.

If I tell E I’m out, I’ll hurt him, hurt myself, & possibly end up alone for the rest of my life. If I stay with him, I feel as though I would possibly be selling my soul to prevent loneliness.

If I tell the Dragon how I feel, I could scare him off. If I tell him I’m staying with E, I’ll hurt him. I know it. And I could end up alone there, too, because dragons are unpredictable & skittish.

If I tell them both that I’m out, that I can’t take the whipsawing back & forth, the uncertainty, everyone ends up hurt.

So, what happens next? 

Stay tuned to see if I sell my soul, hand off my broken, twisted heart, or curl up into a defensive posture & roll away into the night, leaving all I know behind to start over somewhere else.

Not quite a rose ceremony…more like a bad emo poetry reading with stale cookies & knock off koolaid.

Fuck.

Panic Attacks and Pain

Last night was horrendous.

The man that I’ve been in a long distance relationship with for the past 3.5 years has been texting me pretty much non-stop, with me avoiding replying, trying to distance myself from the pain. I had told him months ago that I couldn’t take the distance anymore, & that my seeming lack of importance in his list of priorities, namely, that he’d never once, in those 3.5 years attempted to see me face to face, breaking promise after promise, was too much.  I couldn’t do it anymore, and it had to stop.

I succeeded in the not-replying for a week.

Guilt trips, anger, begging, bargaining, & even subtle threats coupled with accusations weren’t enough to get me to respond. In fact, it drove me further away.

Until last night.

And in the depths of remorse over the hurt I was causing another human being, I reached out.

What followed was a sobbing, wrenching, painful phone call that left me wrung out emotionally, & in the throes of a violent panic attack. 

I didn’t sleep last night.

Finally, after taking some medication to force me to sleep, I stole about 3 hours of rest this morning, only to wake in the middle of another panic attack.

Heart racing, short of breath, and shaking, I’ve been huddled in my house, constantly on the verge of tears, & unable to calm myself until just the last hour or so, when the anti-anxiety medication finally took over.

Now, numb & hollowed out, I don’t know what to do anymore.

Heart and head war with one another.

Logic and emotion cannot agree.

And the pain of either decision before me looms large, black and all-consuming.

Either way, someone will be in pain.

Either way, I will hurt.

And it will be me who causes it.

Can I run now?

Fine

I’m fine.

Except when he calls. Because I won’t answer, I let it ring, silently, while I attempt to get ready for my day; putting on the mask I have to wear for the next 8-9 hours, so no one knows there’s anything wrong. But I know it’s ringing, even when it’s laid, facedown, on my sink. I know it’s ringing, 3 or 4 separate times, because he simply – Won’t. Stop. Calling.

I’m fine.

Except when he texts, because I refuse to answer during the day, trying to remain focused on what I have to get through at work, knowing that he’s furious & accusatory; pleading one minute and threatening the next…I can’t even look to see what he’s sent most of the time, but then…have to look when I take a break, because, like a train wreck…you just- have to look. And then the shakes start. And I have to remember how to breathe, and when to smile, so no one knows there’s anything wrong. Doubling the anxiety meds some days just to take the edge off to appear “normal”.

I’m fine.

Except late at night, when I have to put my phone on vibrate, so it doesn’t ring in the middle of the night, when he’s frantically trying to get me to answer him – due to the time difference between here and there.

I’m fine.

Except that I can’t block the communication completely, my lovely phone plan not allowing me to block, but only to “auto-refuse”, which means I don’t see the calls coming anymore, but it doesn’t stop the texting, or the emailing.

I’m fine.

Because I refuse to tell people around me that he – Will. Not. Listen. To what I told him. That I’m done, I can’t take the broken promises anymore, and I need to focus on the life I have going on around me, instead of some long-drawn-out and never-manifesting wish I had that I could be happy with someone, that I could be loved by someone responsible & honest & someone with integrity & commitment to me in his heart.

I’m fine. 

Don’t worry.

I’m fine.

Because I will get this behind me, somehow, some way. I will do this on my own, because I refuse to be a burden or an obligation to anyone, and this is my responsibility to handle this fucking mess. I don’t want pity – I hate seeing it on anyone’s face.

So I don’t tell.  I don’t talk.

I’m fine.