It went out with a pizza.

Hours into dinner and deep conversation Elliot saw an entry point to go where he needed to go.  “It’s me, not you,” was the gist.  A glimmer of a swell building far off shore shortly after we met had now developed into a giant crashing wave of depression.  He’s drowning.

I went to his house full of curiosity.  I was going to tell him it wasn’t working for me no matter what happened between the two of us, but as the night progressed I was more convinced than ever that ending it was the right thing to do and anything physical was out of the question.

He was pinched and cut off, desperate for the air of solitude and quiet.  I was more than a little impressed that he could muscle through our evening as he did.  Despite my reason for being there, our underlying admiration for each other was strong and we easily talked and laughed for hours over the handmade pizza he’d cooked just for me.

I said all that I needed.  The important things I never get the opportunity to usually say and I got closure, something I never ever get.  He’s a brilliant, but tortured man, and I don’t want to be collateral damage.  I want a man who can handle life’s curve balls with aplomb and a positive attitude.

Perhaps had we been dating for more than a mere 4 weeks when this wave hit us I would find a way of working through it with him – perhaps he’d have wanted me to – but it was too soon and we both knew I didn’t owe him anything while he suffered alone in the dark questioning his ever even being open in the future again and wondering when he’d ever feel normal again.

I’m grateful to have met him and to have experienced what it feels like to melt into someone, to breathe his breath and feel so safe in it.  It was fleeting – a mere blip on the radar – but my hope is that this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.  Only time will tell if our tide will ever be high again.

I panicked.

Well that was embarrassing.

At first I was overly confident and then I was its exact opposite: panicked, frothing and lost.  Super hot mess coming in even hotter!

I thought I had it in me to look at the bigger picture, to remain calm, and to be reasonable.  What I didn’t take into account is the depth of my emotional trauma from my relationships and dating.

Elliot should have let me know he was taking a break from his phone for a day or two to reconnect with his family and distancing from his phone in general, but I should also have done a better job of recognizing the fear hissing in my ear and not let it wrap its ugly tendrils around me.  I let all the beautiful words he said get drowned out by that hiss.

We’ve gotten back on track – I think – and what I’ve learned is that as insightful as I am into myself, I am completely overwhelmed by a cacophony of negative voices when it comes to processing things that involve my needs, and then I unravel.  Quickly.

I didn’t expect to need something from him after meeting Eleanor and what that meant: needing to see him and hear from him with the same regularity and intensity as before.  Not getting it shook me hard.

A person with a healthier sense of attachment and dating history than me might have been able to coolly move on and wait it out, trust everything she’d heard from a man who has done nothing overt to disprove that trust, and also never reveal her insecurities in the process.  Ah, to be that person. 

It is not hyperbole when I say it felt like I was getting dumped.  That’s how awful it felt to me.

I have suffered for years at the hands of callous, selfish men and my own really bad decisions. I read old posts about The Neighbor and me and I weep at my desperate longing and his cruel rejections.  But my issues with people are so old that I can think back to high school situations where I gave my heart away to people who never deserved it and then suffered the predictable consequences.

I have never learned how to trust someone.  What’s the process there??  Currently it’s a hodge podge of leaps of faith and will power mixed in with a rather low bar to pass.  Elliot has surpassed my bar, but does that mean he’s actually trustworthy?  Can you trust someone after only a few weeks?  It seems reasonable in the moment, but saying the words out loud sounds rather ridiculous.  Though, innocent until proven guilty, right??

The truth is I often don’t feel like I trust anyone and it’s humbling to me that after all these years I could feel that way.  What have I been doing with my life if not creating a network of people I can trust??  I suppose I trust some people a little…

I won’t beat myself up for my feelings since those are completely out of my control.  Instead I will point to them as illustration of my complexes, lo complexities, and insecurities.  I am so mistrusting that when there is a change in cadence and intensity in communication and interaction I completely fall apart.   The sky is falling, they have discovered I am an unworthy person!  I have fucked up!  This can be true in friendships as well.

I desperately try to find the thing that I did to ruin it followed quickly by ascertaining that I very likely didn’t do anything “wrong,” but perhaps they have legitimately hurt me and that’s what I’m experiencing.  The process to determine that is murky at best: when do I have the right to feel mad/hurt/offended/sad/frustrated?  As far as I’ve been told my entire life the answer would be never.

So when I conclude that my feelings are in fact legitimate what do I do then?  I have absolutely no fucking idea.  So I panic.

Do I say something?  Do I hide it and pretend I didn’t care?  Neither of those ever really work and so I perpetually feel painted in a corner where I am not allowed to say, Hey!  That hurt me!  Be gentle!  Do something different, please!  Kthanksbye!

With Elliot I hope to explore those kinds of feelings and that includes possibly sharing them even when they’re spastic and reactionary.  He will either accept me while I experiment  and learn how to moderate them (and perhaps be a part of my education) or he won’t.  That’s entirely up to him.

As far as he was concerned, the past two weeks have been perfectly fine.  He was getting sick then got sick, felt pulled in six different ways, was recharging his introvert battery and giving me space to spend time with out-of-town family.

Meanwhile I was gasping for air, flailing around like a complete lunatic, seeing distance due to a change of heart, panicking because I had needs (OMG NEEDS), and generally working myself into a complete and total hissy fit.

You ever see that His and Her Diary of the Same Day meme?  Yeah…

I’m a little humiliated for revealing my underbelly like I did.  I’m hopeful that I got my mini meltdown out of my system for the time being so I may press on and be my normal, charming, easy-going self.  I’m on a steep learning curve here, high EQ or not.  I have not had a romantic relationship in my entire life where I could fully trust someone in a deserved way.

The next time I feel the hot hiss of fear in my ear I’m going to take a big girl breath of air, exhale slowly and calmly, and let it pass right over me and wait for something to actually happen instead of inventing it.  Maybe that’s the first step to trusting someone: just letting things unfold.

 

 

They don’t say beautiful things.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  The birds weren’t chirping, they were harassing…. and there was no text from him.

It’s now nearly 4:30 pm on Friday afternoon and by 6:30 it will have been 24-hours since I heard from Elliot.  He said he called in sick to work yesterday, politely answered my texts as he has been for a week, and then he went radio silent after responding to a funny text.

At 10 I texted goodnight and that I hoped he’d feel better.

Nothing.

I’ve been here before.  Not often, but on occasion and with some regularity.  A man shows intense, overwhelming, convincing interest prior to me giving them something they want.  When I give it, he loses interest and I am left with my dick in my hand.  This time was different, though.  He said beautiful things to me.  He didn’t want just my body, he wanted me to open up and be available.

Spreading my legs and moving on would have been easier.

Peyton and I have had a shitty day together, too – I wasn’t the only one who should’ve stayed under the covers – and as we battled over what activity to do today I had to fight tears: why doesn’t anyone want to do anything with me??  Completely irrational, I know, but I feel so. fucking. alone. right now.

My baby is a child and has no responsibility in this obviously, but the fact that I couldn’t convince a kid that playing in the water with me was fun was a sad likeness to my life in general: Basically that I can’t convince anyone I’m worth their time or effort.

I’ve been weepy.  This feels like I’m getting dumped.

You may be thinking I’m bat shit crazy.  Well, yeah.  I am terrified and confused and I don’t know which end is up.  Welcome to the jungle, my friends.  A place where I have zero chill and to trust is akin to peeling off my skin and standing in a breeze and I. fucking. hate. it.

This is so fucking stupid.

Anyone in years and decades long relationships will probably think I’m goddamned nuts.  “Hy, it’s only been 8 weeks!”  Yeah, well, for a lot of those weeks he said the most beautiful things to me and no one ever says beautiful things to me.  They fuck me and they praise me, but they don’t say beautiful things.

I’m learning that beautiful things are the most dangerous.

What goes up must come down.

I am not good at relationships.

That’s all I can think about as I feel mildly despondent and frustrated since hanging out with Elliot and his wife a few days ago.

We drank bubbly and ate truffled cheeses with crackers, laughed and talked for hours – well beyond what I thought was an appropriate time – and by all accounts had a truly lovely time.

I arrived a little late with a bottle of Moët and a nervous smile.  He answered the door – tall as a damn tree – and gave me a quick hug hello.  Eleanor greeted me from across the room. 

We hugged hello and I looked around for a place to sit.  Elliot sat back down in an oversized arm-chair next to the Cubs game that was on mute and Eleanor sat in hers that was diagonal from his 15 feet away.  I was left to the giant U-shaped sectional.  

And so we sat in our 3 spots spaced out across their little family room listening to New England bands with the game on laughing and drinking and generally being merry.  It was odd seeing Elliot so close and yet so far.  I joked about being all alone on the couch, but neither one moved any closer.

I knew going in that it would be chaste, like hanging out with any regular couple I wasn’t sexually or emotionally involved with, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the surreal nature of it.

Eleanor was charming and vivacious, her wit quicker than most and her laugh easy.  Elliot crackled with charm himself and I longed for some hidden message from him about what I don’t know.

I placated myself with a little fantasy that the twinkle in his eye was for me, but who knows.  Perhaps he was just tired.  He’d worked overtime at least two days in a row and was coming off a 15 hour day.  Maybe his eyes were just glazing over.

When he said with a laugh it was 1 am I jumped up, startled.  “What?!  Oh my God, I’m so sorry!  I thought it was 11!”  I felt horrible that I may have overstayed my welcome.  He got me some water for the road and I hugged first Eleanor then him goodbye.  He walked me to the door, but no further.

I felt something about that.

Half way home he texted to tell me to let him know when I got home.  By the time I did he was fast asleep.  I also texted Eleanor my pleasure in meeting her.

The next morning I awoke feeling taut.  Well that was a big fucking deal, I thought.

When was the last time I met anyone of any kind of substance connected to someone I was dating?  The Neighbor hid me for years and I railed against it.  And there’s been no one else past a shitty third date, so when Elliot wanted this meeting to happen and that made me feel special and shiny.

And then… I didn’t so much.

Eleanor texted at 7 am with a bright smiley emoji and an exclamation point, but nothing from Elliot.

At 9:15 I checked in, asked if he was up.  His reply was groggy, energy-less.  “Yeah, what’s up?”  Ummm.

I asked how last night had gone for him and shared that it’d been odd to be so far away from him all night and I was curious about his thoughts in general.  After a 30 minute delay he replied, “It was good.  We had a nice time, everything was cool.”

I had a half-day training that started at 1 pm and at 9:45 in the morning I helplessly watched the wind slowly leave my sails.  My heart sagged.

I texted again.  I was glad they’d had a good time but I was hoping for more feedback:

“Did I do a good job?  Was I an overly talkative asshole??  Was it no big deal for you to sit 6ft away all night bc it was weird for me.  I need to talk about it more.  I’m having a met-your-wife-for-the-first-time-last-night reaction.”

It was painful to be so honest about my feelings.  Normally I hide and pretend I’m the Cool Girl – God forbid I have needs that exceed what I have been given – but I didn’t want to do that with Elliot.  As he has told me repeatedly, I just need to be myself.

He assured me that I hadn’t done anything wrong, that there was no wrong, and that neither he nor Eleanor had felt weird about the evening.  He was gardening while he texted.  “I’m gonna think on it & try to come up with something profound and astute while I’m taming these tomatoes.”

By 12 I had stuffed tears back into my face as I prepared for my afternoon no less than 3 times.  I felt unmoored, lost, blind.  I had not gotten what I apparently needed from him: a proverbial bear hug.  All I had gotten was a little pat on the back.

I put on my big girl pants and told him I was feeling a little hung out to dry about it all and could we talk after my training.  I held my breath before I hit “send.”

He replied right away and assured me again that there was no big debriefing about me, “Eleanor likes you, she thinks you’re cool, she had a good time. I like you, I like hanging out with you, I think you’re smart & fun & interesting & a kind, thoughtful person. There’s no “but.” It’s only been hours since you were over here, and nothing has changed since yesterday morning. I am personally at the end of my energy at the end of this week & need to recharge. And you know all this stuff, you’re a smart communicator and have a high EQ!”

It wasn’t a bear hug, but it was better.  Much better.

I felt relief flood through me and embarrassment that I needed more than what he’d given me originally, then chagrin that I would be embarrassed at my needs in the first place.  Back to relief, then confusion and irritation – why wouldn’t I need more, that was hard!  Round again to more relief.

It was exhausting.

Now I have feelings, he has feelings.  Everything’s all complicated because: feelings.  On top of that I’m an external processor (clearly) and he is an internal one (obvs), extrovert/introvert problems coupled with an insecure attachment style (mine) and possibly and avoidant one of his.

I am a fucking basket case fighting to stay afloat in choppy waters.

Saturday I turned down his invitation to Sunday brunch at his house; it would have been too much for me to be there with their two dozen friends.  He graciously accepted and acknowledge that he’d worried it might have been too soon and overwhelming for me.  All I could think of is if I’d had that bear hug the morning after I may have been able to handle that brunch, but now my confidence was brittle.

This new need for more feels like a burr in my sock, a pain in my ass.

I need more words, more assurance, more something.

I have convinced myself that his feelings have changed for me because he doesn’t seem bothered that it could be weeks before we see each other due to my custody schedule.  And it seems like we’ve spoken much less and the quality of our conversations have changed since meeting Eleanor.  I also feel bat shit crazy because reasons.  Also: I’m crazy.  (See above.)

Besides being emotionally whooped at the end of a brutal week and not being effusive with his support right off the bat he hasn’t done a fucking thing wrong.  I am unbraiding all by myself. Last I checked neither of us were mind readers.

I think I could dismantle anything that’s even remotely working and this is why I believe I am royally awful at relationships, why I feel so wrung out right now.

I’ve spent two decades on a therapist’s couch and I am no closer to relaxing with another human being than I was when I was a little girl and my parents’ love came with changing rules and strict conditions to not need anything different from what they were prepared to give.  It still haunts me today.

At least I recognize my own stark raving fears now whereas as a young woman at 20, 30 years old I had no idea how deep my fear of rejection went, how white-hot its influence.  I am struggling to decipher if what I feel is real or imagined, but I am also clinging to what he’s told me: he likes me, he thinks I’m great, he wants me to be in his life.  I’m attempting to do something brand spanking knew: trust.

So I close my eyes and I remember his endless limbs wrapped around me in the candlelight and his lips on mine, and I think how could I not believe every velvety word he whispers?  Every silken sigh?  Maybe he knows what he’s doing with all of this and I should follow where he leads me even if the path isn’t as brightly lit as I’d like.

So what if I’m bad at relationships?  Maybe he’s not.

 

 

I’m so confused.

Elliot is a long list of things.  Miles of arms and legs and words and mysteries.  Endless lines of communication and jokes and texts.  Long stretches of deep, soft kisses and fingers in holes with toasted brown eyes and endless gazes.

He also claims to not be sexually motivated.

“Sex isn’t my driving force,” he has said on multiple occasions.  And then I twitch.

My exhusband once told me he could live the rest of his life without sex.  I didn’t believe him and I ended up strapped down into a world of loneliness and neglect.  Should I believe Elliot’s claims about himself when I feel so engulfed in all of him?

He is amorous and loving, sweet and sexy, but I wouldn’t call the energy potent or pressing.  It’s gentle and fog-like, achingly tender.  In the moment it’s white hot, but any time before – during the long days apart – it’s chaste.  My bids to flirt and get dirty are largely ignored.  He claims to have felt less of an urge in general over the years and he shrugged it off as no big deal.  I’m not sure what it means for a relationship with him.

Could this be part of why they opened up all those years ago?  That there was a mismatch between drives and styles?  Perhaps they needed different intensities from their lovers.  There’s so much I don’t quite understand.  And tomorrow I meet his other half.

Perhaps the pieces will fall together when I see her and hug her hello, lay my eyes on her chestnut locks and quirky frames.  They’ve invited me to their house for snacks and booze, their little one will be around in some capacity I imagine, but perhaps my access will be post-bedtime.  I don’t know.

I ordered him a t-shirt with floating Scully and Mulder heads on it – I must be falling for him; I used to buy The Neighbor shirts, my exhusband, too.  Can I fall for another woman’s husband whose libido is by his own admission not a big part of his life?  And is that even true?  Is it not??  I’m so confused.

I want to swim in a sea of passion with him, deep as the ocean, as expansive of the sky and all his long limbs.  I don’t want to wade in knee-deep waters, but perhaps that’s the unique benefit of an open relationship.  Perhaps Elliot will capture and have my heart and I will be left to search for that furor with someone else.  Someone elses.

I reread some posts tonight about TN and me from January and March of 2013.  We were so overwhelmed by our lust for one another.  He played my body like a fiddle and he was always ready for me, hungry for more.  Of course he also rejected me with equal measure.  Elliot invites me closer, to open up, to trust.  My head is spinning.

And did I mention that I’m meeting his wife?

WTF.

I think there is a silent hope among them that I might fit into their marriage, too.  Not just for him, but for her, too.  Could she woo me as he has?  Would I find myself lost in her soft embrace with his lips on my neck?  Their hands all over me?  Does a man with a lower libido fantasize about such things??  Could I date a couple?

Each question I have raises more questions, nesting eggs of curiosity and uncertainty, when all I really want is to be wrapped up in his long arms tracing the lines of his beautiful face with my fingertips and time standing still with him inside of all of me.

 

 

 

 

 

Sticking to it.

To all my fellow Americans, I wish you all a glorious Wednesday mid-week break! Happy Fourth of July!!

To the British, thanks for running from oppression!

And true to form, of course the second I felt like I had to actually write something – as in a wrap-up to my Every Damn Day in June project or whatever else – I clammed the fuck up.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??

I fucking loved June and all the writing I did! It was so fun and free and loose and real and me.

So, I’m not committing to anymore every day stuff, but I am going to commit to not avoiding the blog like I have and like I almost just did. I’m gonna be here hard core.

Next phase is to commit to commenting every day on y’all’s amazing writing – at least 2 a day I think would be good.

In the mean time, yay for Independence!! From colonialism and self-doubt and self-recrimination and the stupid things we let get in the way of our own amazing selves.

Morphing or molting. Take your pick.

There will be more pics.

I used to use this blog to share my images and then Instagram entered my life.  I poured all my efforts into building a follower base and grew to 50k followers in 18 months.  Then the shadowbanning began in 2016 and I’ve struggled to grow ever since.  It’s not that fun over there anymore.

It’s bullshit and sexist and elitist and the rules change and the algorithms change and unless you’re some kind of benign nobody or a super sex-charged celebrity you have no rights.  We are the product, after all.

And so I’ve pulled away since the most recent shadowban from when I posted a text exchange with someone who wanted to buy a date with me and I cheekily said “$10,000.  Maybe and only if you’re cute and no sex.”  And then wrote commentary on the economics of sex and dating.

Clearly a joke, someone reported it anyway and it was removed and the shadowban started all over again.  I lost 250 followers within a day and a half and 2 months later I still haven’t reclaimed them.

I don’t give a fuck anymore.  I pop in, I connect a little, I leave.  I made friends I hope to know forever there, my “portfolio” will live on and I will continue to curate it to some degree, but that season has passed for me.  I need to be back here.

This month of writing here has reminded me how much I love this blog and all of you.  I can’t wait to clear out some space and comment on everyone’s incredible Sinful Sunday images, read everything that y’all have written with me in June, and even do another Share Our Shit Saturday

And I want to use it to share my “photography” – I have to use quotations because I’m hard pressed to call hand-held naked selfies “photography” – because this is where I can be wholly myself without fear of a reprimand and time out.

So if all goes according to my hopes and dreams, you’ll be seeing a lot more of me around here.  In all ways.

I was only in the sun for 3 hours and reapplied twice.

Free association.

It’s always a semi-out-of-body experience when vanilla friends convert and you’re now their Fairy Kink-/Swingmother.

“Hy, Hy, Hy….!” They vied for my attention.

But they are my framily and I love them and I’m happy I walked them through their transition.

Loooong mother fucking Monday.

Got home from that dinner on a steamy patio wearing frumpy work clothes and went straight to bed. Pulled out my phone to doze off to Friends and remembered I hadn’t written yet. Fuuuuuck.

I’m loving that this is considered posting. I feel so naughty.

Wednesday night Elliot is coming over and cooking me dinner. There will be balsamic vinegar and garlic and honey. What that means exactly is beyond me. Beef? Lobster?

I wonder if I’ll finally get to see his sausage.

God I hope his wife says yes.


A long, sad day.

When I was married and miserable I believed that being away from my partner was the best decision and that it would be absolutely worth it.

Today, I question it every time my baby goes back to my ex, to his new wife and step-child where my own blood is not unlike Cinderella.  Mocked and disdained, misunderstood and ridiculed.

My ex’s new house is rigid with its rules and they don’t appreciate the free spirit that is Peyton.  My baby is just like me and that draws a large target.  I’m at once ashamed for my influence – either inherited or learned – and proud.  Fuck those twats.  Live big, baby.  Live big!!

I cried today when I was alone and the transfer was complete.  You’d think that after 7 and a 1/2 years of this it’d be easier, but I swear it’s as painful today as the very first week I was baby-less.  The longing, the fear that Peyton’s emotional safety is at risk, that my selfishness has put us all here in this position.

My ex would have been happy in a sexless and loveless marriage for the rest of his miserable life.  I was the one who said NO.  I was the one who insisted on more.  I was the one who refused to teach her child that kind of relationship was ok.  It wasn’t my ex.  He was a fucking pussy, dead inside from the tip of his pretty pansy toes to his dark grey eyes with the long doe lashes.

I’ve kept myself busy today with crying atop of my unfolded laundry and a little yoga.  Then I endeavored to finish my Game of Thrones binge with white wine and intermittent texting with a friend or two.  Now I’m missing my blood like air and I am sad for all my failures.

Failure to keep our family together, failure to solve the problems that ate us up, and failure to endure our life together.  I will never stop regretting what has happened to my child, but I do not regret leaving the man I married.  It’s a tangled place to live, these two places.  One of regret and one of none. But it’s true.

My baby is here for a reason and I have to trust that has a purpose whether or not it’s easy to fulfill.  So I’ll just squirm in my uneasy extroverted loneliness and hope that my isolation ends soon.

 

 


I’m shook.

It’s been 18 months since I invited anyone into my life via this blog, my thoughts. Without looking I want to say it was Rex, but I could be wrong. There have been so many since The Neighbor left me, so many inconsequential in and of themselves but consequential in their numbers. I have dated. I have searched.

And none have made me feel as special as I have for the past 3 weeks since meeting Elliot. I am confused and excited, nervous and biting my nails about what the outcome will be.

We can’t hang out this weekend like we’d hoped so he’s promised to make me dinner next week. Just like that, an instant solution. No one has treated me like this in recent memory, like something to valuable.

He may fade away soon if it’s a no go for us but I want to carry this feeling forward with me, this sense of being worthy and special to someone. I hope it alters me and my expectations of men going forward and I never settle for less again.

Being treated like a whole and real person has reminded me of what I am: a whole and real person.