bury the lede

Dear Internet,

It’s a clear night here on the east coast and I was outside having a smoke (or three), watching planes fly to and fro across the Sound. People winging their ways across the pond or coming back, minutes or hours from seeing their loved ones, taking a risk, starting a journey, or fleeing from a thing that is chasing them. This is an exercise I’m most intimate with, this thinking what this world around me is doing as it continually moves even if I’m standing still. In that frame, I felt insignificant and yet godlike. I have been all of those people, even if I am none of them now.

These are the times I feel most alone and most connected to others, for I feel the weight of their expectations, their glories, their regrets, and all other human emotion on my being. I was none of them and yet all of them. Here in this now, I am constantly running even in my brain and my energy packs are growing thin. I am gasping for breath and my head is on fire, even though I feel like I’m watching everything happening from an outside body. I watch my body move, smile, laugh, and fuck while my brain is somewhere else.

Brendan tipped me off to a service called ZocDoc, a service that allows you to search for doctors in your area and also allow you to narrow by insurance. You know, something your insurance provider should allow you to do without having to jump 15 hoops. I found a prescribing psychiatrist who had appointments open that day and by that evening, I had scripts for Lamictal, Abilify, and my trusty favorite, Klonopin.

Thus, I’m back on the drugs again.

Dr. P. recommended I not go down this road again until I was feeling more sure and stable in my current locale, but neither of us could have predicted that I would spin this far out of control. While he’s been keeping in touch with me, thank Nigel for that, I’m swinging too fast that by the time I talk to him, I’m stable for the moment again. But the moods are shifting too fast and too furious.

I need help.

Every day is as unpredictable as it possibly can be. Some days I’m up at and at ’em at a reasonable hour and days like Tuesday, I’m in bed all day crying or having some sort of massive panic attack. Others are a combination of the two. No one day is like its predecessor.

My smoking habit comes and goes, though if my need for control wears its hat properly, that is something I can fix so I’m quitting again. Tomorrow I plan on working on a daily schedule for myself to get in the grove to create a infrastructure and wait for job prospects to pan out.

During all of this, I’ve interviewed for two positions, of which one I was told to expect a follow up for a second interview while I was passed on the other. A third job prospect with an Ivy has weeded me from the pile of potentials to passing on to the selection committee for the position. This means nothing, no interview has been forthcoming as of yet, but it also means everything because of the potential interview. So while I’m emotionally falling apart, I am in some small ways, keeping my shit together.

That bit is important. I marvel at myself for having been able to not spiral so far out towards the sun.

The inability to articulate, when my verbal word retrieval fails me, has also been a huge part of the problem. I should be writing, even privately, but I haven’t been. Perhaps this is part of the problem I’m having in finding my footing. Not being able to communicate even to myself what’s in my head (even if scattered), which makes it even more difficult to communicate to those around me.

Right now, I do not know where I will end up or what I’ll be doing. But I keep reminding myself this is all very temporary, this shifting, while I wait for my moods to stabilize. Patience.

There are things I am certain of, of things I must do. But I must learn, above all else, patience. That will be my greatest struggle and fight, to remain patient as all of this works itself out.

While there is life, there is hope.

xoxo,
Lisa

headspace

Dear Internet,

I was gifted with a year long subscription to Headspace, a site that teaches you guided meditation in easy, bit sized chunks. In true Lisa fashion, I’m having panic attacks left and right during and after the exercises which sets off a whole slew of everything elses.

That surprised me. Aren’t you supposed to feel whole and unconflicted while doing your meditation and not a hot fucking mess? The answer is no: This is apparently a normal part of the process, as is sadness.

When I posted my experiences on Facebook, there were numerous comments from others that had similar feelings when practicing; hearing I was not alone was comforting. There are times when my own feelings seem to overrule so much of who I am, it is almost incomprehensible others may feel the same way or could fathom where these feelings themselves. Hearing related stories is helpful in addition to being comforting as it indicates no matter how much my brain tells me otherwise, I am not so alone in the world.

That is often very important bit of knowledge that I need to remember: I am not so alone in the world.

The big question Headspace asks is what do you intend to get out of the practice? I’ve been gnawing at this for the last five days as I’ve been working through my foundation pack and I realized the first thing I came up with was: I expected instant gratification and for all the emotional pain to just go away (which explains since I’m not getting instant gratification, I’m going into panic mode when I begin my session). That answer was not the direction I wanted to go in, so it helped for me to actual vocalize what and why I was thinking these thoughts so I can begin to formulate a healthier plan.

I’ve been in such an emotional free fall these last few months which has been amplified by the lack of a solid foundation that should have existed before making any big moves. I know people have got me, but I need to have myself and more often than not, I don’t.

While I find myself acting impulsively at times, mainly with money, I tend to catch myself before I’m entirely stupid. My thoughts are often racing. My verbal word retrieval, which is usually an indicator of how bad the racing thoughts are occurring, is fairly awful on most days. I often find myself attempting to panic on things that I cannot control, no matter how minute or out of my control they are or how ridiculous it would be to panic over that thing. Let’s say I need to do something in the next week. I’ll start the panic process on anything else related to that thing even if that thing is as benign on sorting items out to donate to the local Goodwill.

I have forgotten me in all of this. I have forgotten self-care.

Knowing that this feeling of panic is part of the process, that it is normal to feel this way, takes a bit of the sting out of the attack when it happens. While I’m still panicking during and after practicing, I know where the root of some of the panic comes from. I know that by bringing the focus back to the body more and less on attempting to follow my herringbone mind is totally okay and will get better with practice.

Headspace used the analogy sitting on the side of the road watching the cars go by, something I found I don’t really do at all. Often I’m so busy wanting TO BE the car I forget that I can just let the cars go by and not having to actually interact with them. Working on the meditation allows me to really see that sometimes these thoughts are really just that: thoughts and not concrete methods of decision making.

This was this week’s lesson learned: it’s okay to worry or have a panic thought, this is normal part of all the changes I’m going through. It’s okay to want to always begin with building your own foundation. Thus, for now, that’s what I want to get out of Headspace is the ability to make more mindful decisions, recognize thoughts are just thoughts, and to remind myself to be present in this world while building a solid foundation for myself as I do so.

xoxo,
Lisa

I’ve got you

Dear Internet,

TheBassist and I met in December of 2004 in a community for tall people on LiveJournal. The conversation kicked off about shoes. We were so charmed by the other, we were instant LJ BFFs. Within a week or so, we couldn’t stop mooning over the other. Within a couple of months, he flew out to Grand Rapids and all of that passion online smoothly translated off. I remember sitting on my couch, he fresh from his flight, just holding the other. My face was buried in his chest and I muffled something along the lines of, “I’m dead.” He titled my face towards his and asked me to clarify. I said that if he kissed me, it would be all over. He kissed me and we barely left my apartment the entire weekend.

Several weeks after that, he dumped me.

Some months down the line, a mutual friend got in touch and said TheBassist wanted to get in touch with me again. I acquiesced. We started discussing about getting back together and within a week, he dumped me again.

Nine years go by and the fourth of July 2014, he sends me a Facebook message. He had found the signed to me copy of Terry Pratchett’s Thud! and did I want it? TheBassist had haunted me for years and in the 2013, I found he had been leaving me love notes across the Internet for years. So yes, I was a bit leery about friending him again, signed TPerry or not. But I did not hate or begrudge him and I was curious to find out what had happened, so I offered him a compromise: how about we become Facebook friends and if I felt comfortable with him, he could send me on the book. He agreed. So we did.

So what happened in 2004 was this: TheBassist and his now ex-wife were in the process of their own divorce when we met. They were both dating other people, I was not an affair, everything was above board, it was simply a matter of paperwork. I was in my final year of college and the plans then were if things continued as they were between us, I’d apply for grad schools on the east coast to be closer. He would finalize his divorce. We’d date and then who knew what the future held.

We were pretty sure that the future was looking glorious because we ticked each others boxes like crazy. There was not a thing we did not have in common, believed in, or loved. We could talk for hours, and we did. We laugh darkly now about the cost of our cell phone bills because this was in the days when minutes were counted and texting was not cheap. He was the first person I spoke to every morning and pretty damn near the last person I spoke to every night.

He was the first man to make me cum. He was the first man who knew instinctively what I needed sexually and knows my body better than anyone ever has.

I loved him like gangbusters. He was my everything. Where in the past, partners always tried to get me to reign in or modify my behavior, he encouraged everything about me. He loved me, for me and I reveled in that love. Because I reveled in that love, I loved him just as fierce.

The now ex-wife decided she wanted him back. They had a history. A family. Though she had dumped him and had made no moves in the year plus separation to win him back, now that he was with me, she wanted him back. So he took the known over the unknown and smashed my heart into a million pieces in the process.

I knew this was going to happen — I had warned him this was going to happen. He was so delightedly and blessedly in love with me that she’s going to want in on a piece of that action. It was not that he did not believe me more that he did not think this was going to happen. But it did. This is why I could not fault him for his actions because he is only human, much to his chagrin, and he had done what he thought was for the best.

Stupid decision, it is all around agreed.

He was obviously wrong. Within a few months of them getting back together, they broke up yet again. He came back to me to suss me out but knew that by staying with me the second time, he would only be manipulating me for his own end and not trying to really build a relationship. So he left. Again.

There is more to his story than what I am telling, but that part is for him to share. What I can share is that in the intervening years, I was one of his two biggest regrets.

I am apparently legion on the east coast. There is not a friend of his nor a family member who had not heard of the Michigan Girl in the last decade ad nauseam. I was the bar that was set so high, no other girl could possibly obtain even modicum of my status. I am the love of his life and he would do anything short of murder to keep me and make this work.

A week after TheSoonToBeExHusband and I split, I made an impulsive decision. “What are you doing the following weekend?” I asked TheBassist. “I’ve got a gig, but nothing else, why?” “How about I come visit?” “You don’t need to ask twice!”

So I didn’t.

A three month love affair in your youth that gets romanticized as you get older does not a relationship make. I knew this. But I needed to be with someone who wanted to be with me in all the ways and not some sort of idealized image of me. TheBassist and I were talking every day, all day, by this point. Despite the grey hairs and aging, what drew us together ten years ago was very much still there.

I needed to take a risk.

As we sat on his bed my last day in town, I booked a flight in two weeks hence, and then cried at the airport and most of the flight back. There had to be some kind of goal to obtain and I had to make some clear decisions on what I wanted to do. So the plan became this:

I could not stay in Michigan, there was nothing left for me there. I have a ton of friends up and down the east coast, I could coach surf if necessary. There were job opportunities galore. There were people desperate to be a part of my world. TheBassist wanted not only to make me in his world, but to create a world of our own. There is nothing he would not deny me and nothing he would not do to make me happy. Even though our time together has been brief the first time, there is something deeper, that could not be explained or reasoned away, that binds us together.

TheBassist’s word is his bond and he favors loyalty over anything else. He has a legion of fans up and down the eastern seaboard where the subtext of meeting the legion has been, “Do not hurt him.” I am conscious that my actions right now are suspicious and eyebrow raising – if I sound so sure of everything that has transpired, why am I holed up alone in the middle of nowhere when I ache so much for one?

The best reasoning I can give is this: I went from a world where I was in a marriage that left me not only alone, but incredibly lonely. Now I’m in a world where I do not want for loneliness and I am overwhelmed by the love and support that is being given to not only by TheBassist, but also by his friends and his family. I am panicking because I have never been in position where people have my back simply because they cared. I always had my own back, even in my marriage, I could not depend on the one person I was supposed to depend on outside of myself: my husband.

This past Friday I called TheSoonToBeExHusband and told him I wanted to come home. I wanted to right the wrongs of our marriage. When I told TheBassist I was leaving, he broke down and cried. I am tawdry harlot breaking men’s hearts everywhere I go. What the fuck was wrong with me?

I waffled as fast and furious. The last week has been emotional hell. I was all over the place and every decision felt like a lie. I told both I needed to be alone, with neither of them in my head or space, and I needed to make sure I was doing the right thing. For me.

This is how I ended up alone in a hotel in the middle of nowhere on a rainy November day, chain smoking, and baring free my soul to the internet.

It is now hours upon hours later after I started writing this. The hope was to give both sides of their stories, where I fit in, and as the days progressed this week, to suss out what I needed to do. What was right for me. But as I wrote this, all the fuzziness in my head this past week about if I was making the right decision cleared because two things I had always known with certainty: I wanted to live alone and I wanted to continue what I started with TheBassist. Our relationship first round was born out of chaos. This time was also born out of chaos. I needed to create the space of my own and see if we could really work as a couple outside of the chaos.

I need to be here.

TheSoonToBeExHusband read my post from earlier today and wrote me a long email in kind. In it he says, 

Part of me doesn’t want to pressure you; but part of me wants to fight for you, and part of me wants to track you down; put on a trench coat and hold a boombox over my head blasting Peter Gabriel.

I knew that waiting until my week was up to talk to TheSoonToBeExHusband was futile. Putting down the dissolution of my marriage, something I had done in fits and starts everywhere but never in a single location solidified the hard decisions I had made long ago when I put this plan in motion.

So I called TheSoonToBeExHusband and we talked.

For five hours.

We talked about TheBassist, what he meant to me, what he gives me, and how he makes me feel. We talked about how our marriage broke down, how his depression corroded what was good, and how I had been hanging on by a thread for months.

Both men had told me independently, and without me asking, they would wait for me if I went to the other. TheBassist said he would wait 369 days (in case I got lost coming back through Pennsylvania).

TheSoonToBeExHusband and I discussed about not getting a divorce but simply a separation while I stayed here on the east coast. I suggested to both they could time share me. Surprisingly, neither were terrible keen on the idea. TheSoonToBeExHusband and I went through every how much we very much loved the other, but our relationship had not been working for years. I was alone through most of the marriage and TheBassist offered me a life TheSoonToBeExHusband could not provide for me: TheBassist gives me all of himself. Not halves. Not bits, but wholes. I need to be with someone who wants to love the world as much as I do.

I need to be here. No more waffling.

I did not leave TheSoonToBeExHusband for TheBassist, but he told me if he had known TheBassist was waiting for me weeks ago, that I had this awesome and supportive environment protecting me as I went through this, his heart would have been a lot lighter and he could have started his closure sooner. That is my folly, one that I plainly take on.

I had hoped TheSoonToBeExHusband would not have found out TheBassist this soon because how it looks and how it is are two vastly different things. I did not want to hurt him. I do not want to be unnecessarily cruel. I did not want to give him more pain because the dissolution of our marriage had nothing to do with another man waiting in the wings. But now that he knows and everything is out in the open, this has all become decidedly French. TheSoonToBeExHusband quipped at one point in the conversation,

TheBassist sounds like a great guy – I’d date him.

(Over the course of the last few weeks, both have been quipping things that are insanely identical. It’s like they are in cahoots with the other. Did I mention they are both 6’7 and weigh exactly the same with similar builds? TheSoonToBeExHusband referred to me as his waffle; TheBassist has started calling me Belgian. It is downright eerie.)

Now the plan is this: I filed for divorce last week. TheSoonToBeExHusband will be responding to the complaint this week. We should be finalized in a few months. We had already agreed on the split of everything so it’s all very amicable. Once Throbbing Manor sells or I get a job, I get my own place. TheBassist can bring in his toothbrush. He may get a shelf. We’ll date and see how it goes. TheSoonToBeExHusband is moving to Louisville for now. He’s going to continue seeing a therapist, continue taking his meds. He and I will have phone dates every couple of weeks because he was my best friend for six years and he is part of my world, I am selfish enough to want to keep him in it. He’s making plans to do fun things like take a fjord cruise or go on a big vacation. He told me he saw a sunbeam coming through a glass and shine on an ugly clock and noted that the clock was indeed ugly. He’s beginning to feel things again and he is noting he wants to be a part of the world once more. He’s not feeling dismissive and out of place as he once did. For that I am thrilled and excited. And so supremely glad.

The story of TheSoonToBeExHusband and I is not yet over, but it is on pause. He’s got a lot of work to do on himself, he could not be with me now even if we wanted to make it work. The fear of sliding back to what it was is too great and his emotional recovery from his depression is too soon. But I told him if he ever found himself slipping into that dark world again, to call me and I’ll come. No questions asked.

TheBassist and I, well, we have our own plans. Worlds to discover here and everywhere. Love to make that will frighten the children. Adventures to be had and each other to entertain. We’re going to have so much fun. TheBassist is equipped to handle my foibles and crazy. We’re creating language to help us work through my brain. When he holds me close to him and tells me that no matter what I’m going through he’s got me, I know that I am loved, safe, and cherished.

I know I’m an extraordinarily lucky girl whose met two amazing men who would give her the world if they could. Now it’s time to finally heal.

xoxo,
Lisa