The Innocent

A few years ago, after several years of consistent writing (and a fair amount of therapeutic results), I had to stop writing on this site.  You see, my brother had stumbled upon it unexpectedly. I never wanted my family to know about it because I wasn’t ready for my family to really know me.  My brother was the worst possible member of my family to be the one to find this blog because he does not have the first clue about respecting people, let alone boundaries.

After finding the blog he spent an entire weekend reading through the entire thing, and apparently, making notes about every single thing that he felt painted him in an ugly light, was, in his mind, inaccurate, or in some other way pissed him off.  He sent me a lengthy, angry email about all of this and told me I had no right to write, and say, the things I did.  He then refused to unsubscribe to the blog because, he said, I needed to be held accountable for the “slanderous” things I had and might say about him.  “Slanderous”, of course, equals wrong.

I tried to maintain control of my circumstances.  I moved my blog to another platform, but he hunted it down.  That platform, unlike WordPress at that time, allowed me the option to block his IP address, and email address so that he wouldn’t be able to see the blog, but he knows a lot more about computers than I, and he utilized some technological wizardry to force his way in.  I tried setting up a whole new blog, but ultimately, it just didn’t feel right.  This is my blogging home.  So I gave up and I lost something that had meant so much more to me than just a place to exercise my writing ability.

As if all the harm he had done to me over the course of my childhood hadn’t been enough, he had taken away the one thing that, at that time, offered me some hope for healing and achieving peace and happiness for myself.

Some time later, I found this on-line:

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I’ve posted this here before, but it is relevant today.  You see, part of the work I’m doing now is to figure out who I am. Not who I need to be to make other people happy or like me.  Not how to live up to the expectations that others place on me to make me acceptable in their eyes.  But who I am.  For me.  Today.  And always.

My life is mine.  My stories are mine.  What has lead me to this moment, to this point in my life, I own that, and I can do with it as I please.

I no longer wish to hide from anyone.  I no longer wish to live up to anyone else’s expectations.  I no longer wish to seek approval or blessing from anyone.

Going forward, in these pages, there will be no name changes “to protect the innocent”.

THERE ARE NO INNOCENT.

If people want me to write warmly about them, they should behave better.

Therapy Homework: Manifestation, Pt. 2

Let the record show that I have not forsaken my therapy homework, something which I have been very prone toward, partly because some of the homework hasn’t felt that relevant to me, partly because it’s been too hard, and partly because I genuinely forgot about it.  I’m quite sure Melissa will be shocked to find that I’ve bothered.

I’ve continued to think about what she asked of me.  For a little while I thought maybe I was missing the point focussing on love and relationships and not the grander scheme of my life.  The fact is our entire conversation that day was about Alan’s disappearance from the last remaining vestige of connection we had…  (well, I had.  He’s forgotten all about me) and where I expect my so-called love life to go from here.  The last thing I expected my “homework” to be was to think about what I want to “manifest” in my life, following that conversation.

Look the fact is, I simply don’t believe in “manifesting” things in our lives.  Life happens to us.  We don’t have much control over it.  In fact, I think trying to exercise control over our lives is part of what makes most of us unhappy, and I’m as guilty as anyone of it.

Alan was everything I dreamt of.  Look where that got me.

I think the most we can hope for is simply to do our best in whatever situations we find ourselves and wait for the inevitable crushing blow that will remind us that we’re really not all that…  we’re not even the bag of chips.  The sooner it all ends, the better.  But since we apparently don’t even have much control over that, we just keep doing the best we can with what we’re given and wait for the next crushing blow.

I do not believe I will ever love again.  I do not believe I will ever find myself in another meaningful relationship again.  So, sure, I can try to picture an ideal scenario relationship and hope that somehow that will come to pass, but I don’t believe I can cause that to happen through “manifestation”.  And still, at this point that so called ideal scenario relationship is Alan, getting the help he needs, coming back to me and professing his love that he was too scared to accept and face when we were together, begging my forgiveness and willingly living up to the list of conditions that I have in place for the very unlikely event that he does come back to me.

(“Conditions” may be too strong a word.  In order for me to give him the second chance that I want so badly to give, he has to acknowledge his problem, sincerely apologize, go to therapy, prove he’s in therapy, stay in therapy, acknowledge how badly he hurt me, and accept that it s going to come up from time to time, not because I want to hold it against him but because I’m human and healing takes time.  And he doesn’t get to be angry or defensive when it comes up because it’s his fault.  He did this and he has to accept that.  He also has to agree to go to couples counseling separately from his own therapy.  For him to agree to any part of this, let alone all of it, would be a minor miracle.)

You see, I can’t conjure up an image of myself in love with anyone else.  It’s Alan or it’s no one, and since it’s clearly not going to be Alan, I guess we have our answer.

But setting that aside, for a moment, the next best scenario I can imagine, as I mentioned in a previous post, is a wealthy man, who has no compunctions about being with a very much not wealthy man and providing for my every need for the rest of my life.  He should be young, and handsome, and physically fit with a full head of hair.  He should have a great smile, and a fantastic sense of humor.  He should be filled with self-assurance without being arrogant or condescending to anyone.  Oh and he should NOT be a workaholic to accomplish and maintain said lifestyle.  And somehow in all of that should be some semblance of genuine love, though, again, I have no idea how that could happen.

I can’t get any more specific than that.  I don’t believe in going into relationships and situations with preconceived notions of what I think it should amount to and look like.  That’s a sure way to get hurt.

Since I don’t believe any of this is going to come to fruition, I started moving on, thinking about other aspects of life and what I want to “manifest” in it.  A year and a half ago, I made the decision to get out of the corporate world and go to school to learn to be a massage therapist.  I had equally altruistic and self-serving motivations for this…  Maybe not “equally”.  I have always wanted to do a job that I felt mattered, and made a difference in the lives of the people I serve.  I also wanted to stop making other people rich, stop working 60 plus hours a week, pursue other interests in my life, and make a decent living in the Bay Area.  I also wanted to stop working for and with other people and no longer have to deal with the inevitable personality conflicts and workplace frustrations that I have proven incapable of avoiding thus far.

I became a Certified Massage Therapist in January and started a massage job in February.  It’s a great opportunity that is genuinely more than I could have hoped for coming out of school.  The pay is the most I have heard for a payroll position and the location and clientele are excellent.  I work 24 hours a week for this place with no benefits, and then spend another 30-40 hours a week driving for Uber and Lyft to make ends meet in one of the most expensive economies in the country.  Not only am I not making someone else rich, I’m not making myself rich, either. I sure don’t have time to take care of myself, let alone pursue other interests.

I choose to believe that this is temporary.  I have begun working to build my own private practice and I do have a few clients, but it’s slow going and unsteady work, for now, so I keep working longer and harder hours than I ever have before to try to survive.

So what do I envision my future looking like?  What do I want to “manifest” in my life?  I want steady work, but not more than 25 hours a week.  I want reliable, consistent clients who pay my fee without batting an eye, and who when, on occasion I feel the need to raise my rates, will continue to come to me, and will pay those new rates, still without batting an eye.

I want to be able to afford my life without stressing over every little expenditure.  I want to be able to afford health insurance, and not just health insurance, but health insurance I can then afford to actually use.  I want to be able to set money aside for retirement, because I know I’m not going to be able to stay in this career until I die.  I want to be able to do my taxes each year without fear of how badly I’m going to get screwed by Uncle Sam.  I want to be able to afford to take time off a couple times a year to travel and reinvigorate myself.

Most of all, I want to be able to be happy.  But I don’t even know what happy looks like for me.  I never have been truly happy, except when I was with Alan, and even then, I wasn’t completely happy.  There was too much else going on in my life that was stressful and making me unhappy, but when I was with him, when I was in his presence…  Yeah.  I was happy.

So, no.  I do not know how to answer the question.  I do not know how to “manifest” anything in my life.  I do not know how to do anything more than wake up each morning (grudgingly) and slog my way through whatever shit I encounter until I can finally fall back into bed, drift off to sleep and wait until I have to do it all again.

Radio Silence

My family is weird.  We mostly communicate in writing, which frankly, is just fine with me.  I hate talking on the phone and I really don’t like being interrupted and condescended to when I have something to say.

When I came out to my mother years ago, I did so via e-mail.  That may seem like a cowardly approach, but, again, we communicate mostly in writing.  It gave me time to put my thoughts together in a coherent manner.

It took my mother two weeks to reply to the message.  When she did it was a multi-page email riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions which I dismantled one by one.

I don’t remember much of the email anymore, except for the part which said, “I’ll have nothing to do with anyone or anything that puts your name and the word homosexual in the same sentence.”

A loaded statement to be sure.

I responded with two salient comments.  “I am putting my name and the word homosexual in the same sentence.  Will you have nothing to do with me?  I’m prepared for that if that is your choice, but I will not be the one to walk away over this.”  Followed by, “Are you telling me that if I should find myself in love with someone with whom I want to share my life, I cannot bring him around to meet my family?  Do you really believe that given the same ultimatum, my sister would choose you over her husband and children?  I guarantee you she would not.”

It took another couple of weeks for her to reply to that message and all she had to say was, “I love you very much.”

Sounds sweet and touching, right?  We have never spoken of my sexual orientation since.  That was seven years ago.

When I made the decision to come out to her, knowing that she would not approve, knowing that she would judge and condemn, knowing that she would react pretty much exactly the way that she did, and knowing that I was choosing to disrespect myself, in order to “respect” her.  I made that choice willingly so that I could live my life more fully, more openly, and, I thought, more honestly.

 

Last year I met the love of my life.  I met a man who was everything I wanted in a boyfriend and future husband.  I fell hopelessly, desperately, completely in love.  Beyond that, I believed I had received a message from the God I used to believe in, telling me that this was THE man I would spend the rest of my life with.  I was over the moon.

I didn’t tell my mother about Alan, not because it was a secret, or because I was ashamed of anything, but because we don’t talk very much, we live 1800 miles apart and there was simply no opportunity in which it made sense to say anything.  We hadn’t discussed my sexual orientation in 7 years.  Hell, we hadn’t discussed my sexuality in 43 years.

Alan, turned out to have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and ultimately, he destroyed me.  The end of our relationship was a tumultuous ride which I won’t get into today, but suffice it to say, I was strung along for months, and I bit, hook, line, and sinker.  He unraveled me to my very core, and in the end, he just dropped off the face of the earth, leaving me to try to pick up the pieces while refusing to give any answers or explanations or offering any sort of insights that could help me make sense of what happened.

The final, final blow came in early February, and I was a wreck.  My life fell apart around me.  Everything that had mattered, everything that had been good, was just an empty shell of vague relevance which I didn’t care to protect.  I wanted to die.  I couldn’t get through a single day without falling to pieces, and my eyes were in a perpetual state of bloodshot puffiness.  I cried, I thought, until there could be no more tears, and yet, as I write these words the tears are brimming.  I sat in therapy just yesterday and wept over his disappearance from the only source of connection that remained for me.

 

Within a few days of that final, final blow, my mother and I had a text conversation.  I don’t remember what it was about.  It was not especially relevant.  We finished the conversation and resolved whatever we were discussing, and then suddenly, she called me. On the telephone!

I steadied myself and answered.  “I just wanted to let you know I hadn’t forgotten about Christmas,” she said, after we exchanged the customary pleasantries, “I’ve just been really busy and haven’t had time to do anything about it.”  Her boss was writing a book, she told me, which basically means that he was scribbling notes long hand on legal pads, and she was writing a book. She’d been so swamped with deadlines and re-writes and all the other day to day stuff that already filled her life that she hadn’t had time to even think about the holidays, long passed.

I told her that she didn’t need to worry about it.  Since I made the decision to leave the corporate world and pursue an entirely different career path that is still in it’s infancy, I’ve been pretty broke and giving gifts was the farthest thing from my budget, let alone my mind.  I’ve never been comfortable receiving gifts when I’m not able, or inclined to return the favor.  It was just as well that she hadn’t done anything, and didn’t need to.

“Well,” she said, “I’m your mother.  It doesn’t matter if you give anything in return.  Besides, if that’s how things are right now, it sounds like the best thing I can do is just  send you some money.”  It’s worth noting that she never did.

She continued, “Other than that, how is everything?”

There was a moment of deafening silence as I tried in vain to put my thoughts in order and figure out how to reply.  How could I respond to the woman who told me she’d have nothing to do with my sexual orientation when the only thing that mattered in the world was that my heart had just been ripped out of my chest, hurled to the ground, danced upon and set on fire by the MAN I loved.  How could I tell her that every breath is a struggle, climbing out of bed every morning is like climbing Mt. Everest, and every smile I fake for the sake of my clients and coworkers cuts a little deeper and makes me feel a little more dead inside.

In that split second of deafening silence, I opened my mouth to speak the truth, and the only thing that came out was a sob.

“Oooh.  Loaded question,” she said.

“Yes…  And not one that you want to hear the answer to.”

Without missing a beat she said, “Okay.  Talk to you later.  Bye!” and hung up the phone.

We haven’t spoken since.

 

Recently, I found out that in the only conversation they’ve had about me since my life fell apart, my mother told my sister that she (my mother) seems to have “fallen off of [my] ‘acceptable people list'”, an ironic choice of words, I think.  There have been a few half-hearted attempts on my mother’s part over the months to contact me, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to respond or engage.  Naturally, my mother, who I have come to realize has some narcissistic tendencies of her own assumes that for some reason I’m mad at her and giving her the silent treatment.  I suppose she’s not entirely wrong.  I am mad at her.  I’m mad that in the most critical moment of our relationship, she couldn’t find it in her to set aside her bigotry and judgment and just be there for me.

But that’s not what the silence is really about.

It’s been almost ten months since my world stopped moving.  My earth is standing still on it’s axis and I am on the dark side of the planet during a new moon.  There is a power outage. The clouds are heavy and the fog is so thick, I can see no stars.

Nothing matters.  I still struggle to take every breath.  I climb the highest peek every morning I have the misfortune of waking up again.  My body aches, my heart hurts, my mind reels and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to make it stop.

What I do know is that only I can.  And she definitely cannot help me.

The silence is me trying to figure out how to take care of myself.  Trying to figure out how to heal and come out of this anguish better than I went in.  The person I was before is gone, never to return.  And thank god for that, because that guy was a loser who was easily manipulated and taken advantage of, as evidenced by the fact that Alan was not the first emotionally deficient man with a personality disorder to get his hooks into that guy.  No, that guy cannot be allowed to return and I have to figure out how to destroy him for good.  One thing I know for sure is that I won’t heal and I won’t come out of this better than I was by focusing on making other people feel better.

I spent my entire life trying to be what other people want me to be, to the point that I don’t even know who I actually am.  This is the time to find out.  I don’t know how I’m going to do that.  I don’t know what it’s going to look like, but I know that I don’t yet know how not to be that same simpering, pathetic loser I was before, so I steer clear of situations that invite him to resurface.

And that includes talking to my mother.

So for now, I stay radio silent

Confrontation and the Associated Risk

Anytime a confrontation is required there is a strong probability of losing someone. If you and the person you must confront are not both emotionally mature enough to handle a confrontation with open honesty, hear each other out, consider the others point of view and reach an amicable compromise, most likely you will lose someone. The question is, will you lose yourself, or will you lose the other person.

Unfortunately, most people are not capable of such emotionally intelligent interaction, especially not on a personal level. So the question becomes, are you willing to lose the other person in order to preserve your own since of self, your own emotional well-being, and your own emotional health?

I was so afraid of losing Alan, that I lost myself in our confrontations in order to keep him.

I don’t know where that leaves me. I only know that everything written up to here is true…

Therapy Homework: Manifestation

My therapy homework for the week is to think about… document(?) – (who remembers?), what I want to “manifest” in my life. The problem is, I don’t believe in that shit anymore.

Equally big problem is, I don’t know the answer.

Are we talking fantasy ideal here? Then that’s easy. I want Alan, healthy, happy, willing to work at a relationship with me, in my life, in my heart and in my bed, for the rest of my life.

More fantasy? I want a millionaire husband who is happy to take care of me for the rest of our lives.

Hell! If we’re really talking fantasy, lump it together. I want Alan, as a millionaire, healthy, happy, willing to work at a relationship with me and happy to take care of me, in my life, in my heart and in my bed for the rest of my life. Done!

But…. reality? I have no idea.

Why do we have to have answers to these questions? Why isn’t it enough to just live and let life happen? Why must we have preconceptions about what “should be”? Isn’t that actually UNhealthy?

No connection

At some point between the time I last looked at Scruff last night and when I woke up this morning, Alan’s profile disappeared entirely from my favorites screen. For all intents and purposes he hasn’t been online since Labor Day, however at some point a couple weeks after Labor Day he went in and deleted his profile pictures, but now he is gone entirely.

It’s quite possible of course that he has blocked me and returned to his normal usage, but I don’t and won’t ever know that. But given his pattern of late, it’s more likely that he has deleted the account.

Either way, this is distressing to me for two reasons. One, because however irrelevant, Scruff was my last remaining connection to him and now that’s gone. And two because I can’t help wonder what could have prompted him to give up Scruff? Has he actually started dating someone he cares enough about to stop being on Scruff? And if so, why couldn’t he do that for me, unless the answer is in the question and he never cared much about me in the first place.