It’s been 23 years.

This isn’t even remotely a sexy post.  My life is filled with less “sexy” these days and a lot more thinking.  I can’t find anyone I’m attracted to, first of all, and secondly, no one seems worth my time.  So I’m just going to write what’s in my heart instead.

I remember standing at the bus stop on my brand new college campus far away from home and feeling miserable.  I felt raw and overwhelmed and I hadn’t yet acclimated to anything about this city.  Not its culture, its heat, its weird streets and freeways, or its university with what seemed to me to be an atypical rabid loyalty from its students.  (Turns out, all colleges are like that, but I had no idea.)

“I just have to work hard and get out of here,” I thought as I watched throngs of students walk by and buses lumber past.  I’d been here for all of 2 months, but had already had a falling out with my father, and the mantra which got me out of California, painted on the wall of my room, didn’t really make sense.  I was where I’d worked so hard to get to.

That was the moment I realized I needed help, because everywhere you go, there you are.

I booked an appointment at the Student Mental Health Clinic that same day.  I want to say that I even walked there from the bus stop, but I can’t be certain.

For 16 weeks I met in one of the dark, windowless basement rooms with a beautiful PhD student whose name I can no longer recall.  Every session was recorded so his professor could monitor our progress and his acuity and I remember surreptitiously glancing at the red recording light on the camera mounted in the corner.

In that stack of email printouts I found recently I’d written someone about my sessions with him.  About how I struggled with feeling comfortable with his shockingly good looks and how much I cried about my dad and my friends from back home who never wrote. Sometimes it feels like my life started in that basement.

When the sessions ended (because 16 is plenty for a girl who’s been completely traumatized by her childhood and is on the brink of engaging in reckless drug and sexual activity) the center gave me a list of neighboring clinicians I could go to out of pocket.  My mom agreed to pay and for $100/hour in 1996 I sat on Sigmund Freud’s couch while he slurped his fast food drink and finished his lunch and I angrily wore sheer white shirts with no bra to get back at him for his disrespect.

It lasted 6 months before I realized he didn’t really give a shit about anything I had to say.  Besides, I felt better.  I felt generally more competent and emboldened: it was ok to do what I wanted.  I dated a girl, made lots of friends, drank and smoked weed with the honor students and smoked Benson and Hedges Menthol 100’s and requested them with a straight face.

By senior year my partying began to take its toll on me and my school work and I found myself back at the Mental Health Center, this time with a drug counselor of a sort who liked to draw me lots of diagrams and give me handouts.

She let my best friend come with me and we’d do a fun little couples session on how to set boundaries with our other friends and make better choices.  Debbie never judged us and she encouraged moderation over a hard line of abstinence only.  Obviously, we liked that.  But then those sessions ran out too, college ended, and I was out on my own in the big world at 21.

Twenty-one.  They say that’s a grown up adult with all the responsibilities and obligations of all the other adults, but when I think of that girl I think it’s a miracle she survived 22 more years.

I moved downtown and worked in a bar after graduation and snorted most of my piddly earnings and drunkenly fucked my way through my “industry” brothers.  Sex and alcohol were like peas and carrots in my book and the attention I was getting from men was its own intoxication as I’d been largely ignored since arriving at school.  What?  Men liked me??

That life only lasted a year before we all moved out and on and by 24 I was more or less behaving myself.  I’d gotten a cat and a dog, found steady work.  I still partied a little on weekends, still had drunken sex, but I also fell in love for the first time and had a “grown up” relationship where I practiced saying No for the first time.  I had varying degrees of success with that.

Therapy wasn’t a part of any of this.  My life was like a hamster ball rolling and bouncing downhill – and I was obviously the hamster just hanging on for dear life.  It worked just fine until my father crossed another line and I fell apart.  I kicked him back out of my sister’s and my lives, but that didn’t stop him from traveling from Colorado to knock on my front door one Sunday morning.

Disheveled and hungover, wearing my white satin Victoria’s Secret shorts and top ensemble I looked through the peep hole.  I should have pretended to not be home.

It was another traumatic visit which found me assailing him with my anger and him deflecting and blaming me.  What did he want?  Why was he there?  Why wouldn’t he fucking listen to me??!  It felt gross and needy and violating on every level and me being braless and in satin didn’t help.

Hours later he left and I crumpled into a hot mess of tears and blubbering.  I called my mom and she insisted I start therapy again.  I was 26 and – with the exception of the times I had a baby and toddler to care for – I have been in an office pouring my heart out ever since.

My last therapist was a father-figure in all ways.  He shared a look with my dad, a similar build, but where my father was disgusting and titillated by the world, Rich was calm and detached.  He was safe and encouraging.  He helped guide me to graduate school and into my marriage and helped me begin to trust men, just a little.  But when I left my husband, I lost him.

My wild sexual ways as Hy befuddled him.  He thought I needed to go to Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, he thought I was bipolar.  I relentlessly fought both: No, I was exploring and loving and feeling alive.  This wasn’t a manic episode, this was me!  I ended our 10 year relationship abruptly one afternoon and I haven’t looked back.

I was without therapy for another year before I called my couples counselor, the wizened woman who had tried her very best to help me and my husband reconcile.  Would she see me?  Yes, she would.

I have spent thousands of dollars over the years on therapy.  Thousands. That has meant I didn’t have money for travel, for fancy things, for a savings account.  It has been a monetary sacrifice, to be sure, but how do I put a price on saving my own life?  On having one person in this entire fucking world whom I can trust and be myself with?  When I feel so lost and isolated 99% of the time I feel at home on a couch.  I don’t even care that I’m paying her; I know she cares about me.

I cried yesterday on her sea-foam colored armchair because I miss Peter and his steady presence in my life, and where I am resolute in how I handled that situation, I feel less certain about The Golfer.  I am rehashing our times together trying to figure out what I may have done to make him reject me.  It’s a useless and silly exercise, a juvenile one like how little kids think they’re responsible for the terrible things their parents do to them, but I can’t help it.

And then I remember that one time in the very early days with The Neighbor when while walking up to a movie theater he grabbed my hand and I pulled it away.  “Friends with benes don’t hold hands,” I’d told him.  What if that one moment I rejected him shaped the entirety of the rest of our time together?  What if I had just let him hold my hand?

With TG I think, “What if when he was clearly being vulnerable with me and sharing that I was his only lover this year I had lied and said he was my only one, too?”  Perhaps my eluding the question hurt him deeply and that is why he is rejecting me now.

It’s embarrassing to admit such twisted logic.  I am a strong, intelligent, powerful woman after all, with more to give than most.  What is wrong with me??  But I don’t have to fear reprisal from my therapist.  She likes to sit quietly most days and ponder, absorb my flood of emotion, then speak thoughtfully.  Yesterday was no different.

“Hy,” she said at the end of the hour, “I shouldn’t be bringing this up right now [since we have to end], but I can’t help but think that both TN and TG are so similar for you.  With TG everything fun is on his own terms – everything – just like with TN.  He says when and where with no thought to your needs.  TN did the same thing.”

And that is why I will keep sitting on that couch until the day I die – hopefully more than another 23 years – because therapy is, quite literally, life.

 

 

 

Tantrums.

I don’t know how else to describe what I’ve been going through except a psychic tantrum on all fronts.

I feel unmoored, terrified, emboldened, devastated, excited, powerful, overwhelmed, gleeful and lost.

Yeah….

It started when Pey left town with my ex for the two-week trip they usually do each year together at the end of June.  If one week without my baby is bad, two is exponentially worse.  Simultaneous to the separation, I embarked on a six-month-long side project at work, that if I pull it off, has the potential to completely change my life forever and those of everyone I care for and love.

Additionally, I have continued to process the enormous revelations related to my childhood trauma and the hole in my heart that ceaselessly demands my attention.  Peter, The Golfer, The Vet, random dates here and there, The Neighbor, powerful articles that sear my heart; drawing boundaries and gaining clarity in my life.  This all seems to be the name of the game for my 2019.

And I am a fucking wreck.

I am smoking again, drinking in excess, not exercising, procrastinating on almost all levels, and I’m going to bed at either 8:30 or staying out way too late with anyone I can get to spend time with me.

The funniest part of all of this is that I doubt anyone would have a clue.  Nothing but Me is falling through the cracks.

Everyone at work thinks I’m doing a bang up job, Peyton adores me as always and things are better than ever, my family are proud of me, my very best and closest friends don’t hate me and continue to support me, my animals are all fat and happy and get lots of scratches and pats and even the plants aren’t dead or even wilting.

I am living in an upside down world where shit smells like roses and the pretty things make me sick.

I’ve never been a “successful” person.  I have never dated anyone who really got and understood me, loved me wholly and rooted for me in all ways.  I have never been deeply vulnerable and connected to anyone.  I have never been financially stable.  Ever.  I have never treated my body like a temple – I’ve always been more partial to a Caligula type of lifestyle.

Yet, I am in the midst of casting aside everyone in my life who treats me like I am worth about as much as a pack of bubblegum: fun to chew for a little while, but ultimately disposable.  I have distanced myself from friends who aren’t caring about my heart and time and done the same with the men.  I am listening to my inner voice for the first time in my life and embracing the awesomeness of that: I get to choose whom I share Me with.  I’m not interested in just anyone anymore.

Still, I’m horny, lonely, and terrified.  I cum each morning and then cry as I whisper to no one, “Leave marks on me.  Please.”  Who would?  I don’t know.  But I yearn for that person in all of this all the same.

I’m allowing my tantrums to play out and watching myself carefully.  Yes, I am making poor decisions, but I think what would be worse would be to beat myself up for them.  I am a steady ship – always have been – I will course correct eventually.  I just may be fat and asthmatic by the time I do, but so what.

One of the most powerful things I’ve realized this year is that seducing someone and getting something from them is not actually love, affection or validation.  It is a nutrition-less elixir that keeps me high and distant from what I need most: grounding.

I look at all of my relationships – from those that involve throbbing cocks to those that include bottles of wine and confessional hearts – and I can see how much I hold back and how impenetrable I really am.  Everyone thinks I’m so open and I still can’t understand why.  No one knows my heart; I never show it.

I’m never brave enough to draw lines and demand better and more and different.  I accept – sheepishly, gratefully – and live on emotional scraps.  I send all the wrong messages that this is ok.  But I actually want people who are as strong as me.  After all, I could handle a boundary set on me and to be asked for better, more or different from someone.  I’d jump at the opportunity to show my love and loyalty.  If a relationship crumbles because I express my needs then so be it; let it scatter in the wind.  Good riddance.

Good riddance to the men who say they want a strong and sexy woman, powerful in who she is, but when she expresses herself shut down and retreat, taking their ball with them.  Fuck the men who say all they want is casual, never showing up to see what’s beyond the playgrounds of our bodies and eliminating the joy of more.  Screw the people who are so fragile they can’t reach beyond their own fingertips to be careful with others’ tender hearts, tromping on everyone on their little private, selfish trail of tears.

I’m tired and cranky and flipping the fuck out.  Excited and enormous in my hope, equalled only by my terror to fail by not trying.

My life is waiting for me just around the corner.  I swear I can feel it.

Fuuuuck.  This is so scary.

 

 

The Neighbor moved away. Again.

I’d noticed this week that his car wasn’t around in the mornings or at night.  I thought maybe he’d started going to the gym again or perhaps he’d found a lady friend.  But this morning, as I struggled to feel natural below his third-story balcony in the dog park I braved a glance up and instantly noticed something was different.

All the blinds in his windows were pulled up, a closet door was left open, and most telling of all, all the black and white patio furniture was gone.

The moving truck I’d driven by on Friday and seen him walking towards all sweaty and hefty was his after all.  I’d considered it, but quickly dismissed it.  It’s only been 9 months since he moved in, after all, but there it is: he’s gone.

Finally.

And hopefully for fucking ever.

I’d like to think my note had something to do with it.  Or running into me all those times the last few months.  Or maybe my “HBD” written in spit on his dirty window the day before his birthday because I was so sick and tired of the bullshit.  You wanna move back next door?  Fine.  Happy fucking birthday, asshole.

Of course I doubt any of those things – save for possibly my initial note – had any effect on him.  If he was caught off guard by it I can only blame his lack of due diligence.  I mean, if it were me and I was planning on moving into the building next to an ex of mine I’d have done a little work to make sure he was gone.

In any case, I am finally free.

Hopefully.

Except now I’m worried he’s going to show up in my next complex come fall…

 

I finished the letter.

And now I don’t know if I’ll send it.

The world seems to be crumbling around us and I can’t be bothered to focus on my anger today.

Instead I’m focused on surviving, trying to pay rent, being healthy, my baby, just living.

But I’m ashamed to admit that a part of the reason I didn’t immediately hit send once I’d proofread it three times and signed my name is because I’m afraid of hurting him.  Even now, two-and-a-half years later, I’m afraid of saying something that will hurt him.  And I’m afraid he’ll say, “No, Hy, you were the asshole.”  But I’ll have to handle it, I want to handle it, I need to handle it.

He’s probably thinking that this is the beginning of us being friends and it’s that misinformed expectation that causes me pause.  I held no punches and described what the last couple of years have been like for me, which have not been pretty.  God, why am I so afraid of hurting him??  All I’m doing is sharing what my life has been like in the wake of our relationship, his lies.

I’m afraid of being wrong.  That’s all it is.  I’m afraid he’ll say, “None of that is true and none of your feelings matter,” just like I was always told as a child.  I have zero experience telling someone they’ve hurt me and getting a sincere and heartfelt apology back and this is even scarier because I don’t have a relationship with this man anymore; I don’t expect an apology, but I suppose I do expect a retaliation.  And I’m ok with that.

I am not expecting him to help me move on or bring closure. 

I’m doing that, that’s my job.  The creation of this letter is purely for me to send it, not for me to receive something back.  I am responsible for me, he’s not.

It would be a dream come true, though, if he came at me on his knees and confirmed all my suspicions of lies and deceit.  It’d be poetic because there’s something sick about having a gut feeling things are off, but being told you’re crazy and not to worry only to discover later you were absolutely right when your boyfriend of 3 years walks out on you one day.  A lot like that paper cut on your tongue as you suck a lemon.

It’s late and I have an early start tomorrow.  I wonder how the letter will read in the light of a Monday morning.

I remember a time.

I remember a time when you reached for my hand.  Your warm skin on mine startled me.  I pulled away.

We continued to walk towards the theater and I awkwardly explained my reaction.  That we were just to be friends; no hand holding is allowed in a friends with benefits situation.  You seemed to shrug and keep walking.

In the darkened theater our hands molded to each other’s thighs and dipped below belts and skirts.  That was ok.

But don’t hold my hand.

A lot has happened: Bullshit no longer accepted here

I’ve been looking forward to this moment for weeks, this desire to sit down and write.  Like hunger, the posts still form in my mind, but my body remains far from this place of catharsis and raw sharing, this rich meal of creativity.  The reason why finally occurred to me the other day: I’ve been processing.

The other morning after dropping Peyton off at school, dressed in leggings and a hoodie and sporting two long braids and virtually no makeup, I met a man for a non-date at a nearby greasy spoon.

We met on AFF and though our politics, desires, and physical characteristics match up there was one glaringly obvious mismatch: after a 20-year marriage he is looking to play the field and I am not.

We confirmed the bad timing in an email or two, but he seemed to like me enough to ask me out for coffee anyway.  I agreed because the idea of meeting someone new without the threat of decisions about sex or having to figure out anything beyond enjoying his company seemed like a welcome breath of fresh air.

We chatted over an omelette, brisket hash and black coffee until he had to leave to catch a plane; two straight hours of life stories flew by like 5 minutes with an old friend.  It was the first time I’d been able to be unapologetically open with anyone new.  Nothing was at stake.  I didn’t regret one word, one move, because I wasn’t playing a game.  I wasn’t trying to win him over.

I spoke openly and brazenly, held nothing back as I might with any friend.  It was listening to myself sum up the last 2+ years of my life that I it all came into clear view like Neo finally seeing the Matrix for the first time.

The first year after The Neighbor left me and we attempted friendship felt like I had a bag on my head in a hallway filled with razor blades.  I was blind and in unbelievable pain.  I wanted only to be filled up with cock and my mind blown, but the closest I ever came was with two men — each of whom were just flashes in the pan.  Little did I know what a boon that year would actually be.

I ended the friendship the end of the first year and started year #2 completely TN-free and although it was definitely the best thing I could have done for myself, the rest of the second year could be defined as pure shit from every angle.  My finances were in the toilet along with my emotional and physical health, dicks lasted all of 2-3 minutes as did my interest in them.  My approach to life was simply to survive, not conquer.  It was a shit show with only one little bright spot.

So here I am in the third year, the year I have reclaimed as my own.  I announced to myself and the world in January that I was switching gears, that I was ready to let someone in.  I changed my dating profiles and started to screen for similar relationship goals.  It hasn’t gone well.

I knew it’d take work and time, but I will bashfully admit that for some unknown reason I believed in my heart of hearts that I was the only obstacle to finding love and that once I removed it I would drown in all the feels from all the men.  Go ahead.  Laugh.  I sure as fuck am.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of obstacles out there to finding a good mate.

For one, being vulnerable is tough.  I find myself trying to find that fine line of self disclosure and TMI.  When they ask me about my last relationship what the ever-loving fuck do I tell them??  Do I mention how I was *this close* to dumping him, but then he followed me to my current apartment complex and he still lives there?  Do I mention all the deceit and denial and distance?  That he continues to stalk my nudie profile?  Or do I just say, “It’s been a little over 2 years,” and leave the impression that I’m not still really fucking fucked up about it?  The difficult part of it is that I need someone to be gentle with me because I’m still so very. fucked. up. about it.

Two, turns out I can fuck a Trump supporter, but I can’t date him, and there appear to be a bunch of them in my age bracket.  It’s not because I’m a sore loser.  It’s because I vehemently disagree with his policies, his choices for heads of state and agencies, and on a purely party-line argument, I want the choice to do with my body what I will.  I don’t think these anti-abortion men realize that if I’m forced to have their baby, they’re forced to fork over a shit ton of money for it, as well.  I also don’t know how I’d introduce a Trump voter to my extremely liberal family.  My sister would vomit on her shoes as she clutched her brown babies and black husband closer.

And three, men are just simply shits.  Like Rex who strung me along with days worth of texting and phone calls and long conversations about what it was I was looking for during our 4 dates only to eventually ghost on me like a 23 year old; or Mr. Panties who when I said I didn’t want to have sex that night saw it as a challenge and was relentless until I caved, bragged about his 9″ dick (it wasn’t), and who, while I was dressing by the light of my phone the next morning, had a pair of women’s underwear inside workout pants on the floor by the bed and didn’t know to whom they belonged; or Devon, he who didn’t ask me any questions, who fucked me for our second go-around on our second date in the dark pre-dawn, but the morning before our third date texted to say he “Just wasn’t feeling it,”; or Trey, the big, muscled gym trainer who tried his best to get me to call him “my king,” as he pressed me against the wall of his Amerisuites room roughly 3 hours after we met; or Joe, the single father who worked weeks at a time on oil-rigs in a nearby state who came after 10 minutes (with an 8 minute blowjob) and never got hard again and so we just left it there forever; or the 21-yo (who’s now 23) who was supposed to just be fun, but after fucking for 20 minutes his mom called and ripped him a new one for forgetting to pick up his little brother.  He left to get him and was supposed to come back, but his worry his mother wouldn’t pay for his Spring Break if he left the house again overrode any desire to spend the rest of the night with me; or lastly, Logan, the sweet 28-year-old who I brought home after our first date and let him stick his giant dick in my ass, but who after he fucked me on our second date went to his car to grab his phone at 2 am and just never. came. back.

This isn’t an invitation to pick apart my choices or try to figure out why these men have done what they did.  Some of those men were supposed to be strictly for fun and others I was legitimately gathering data to see if he was a possible mate.  I have found that my needs for cock do not diminish just because I’m attempting to feed my heart  — it’s confusing — but what happened with Logan, being treated like so much trash after many hours of talking and building what I thought was a little friendship only to be literally cast aside…

My cage is rattled.

I have had some pretty horrible things happen to me at the hands of men over the years ranging from benign neglect to all out sexual assault.  I’ve been lied to, cajoled, begged, ignored, and relentlessly pursued, and all of it felt par for the course to one degree or another — even the assaults — but to be left by a lover whom moments before had been buried inside of me as if I were an empty plate he had no more need for… that fucking hurt.  That got to me.

It was the final experience of the past 2 years and 3 months that finally drove it all home: I am worth so much more.

I am worth the effort of someone to get to know, to take time away from other things to spend on me.  My pussy is worth as much, as well.  It isn’t up for grabs anymore just because it’s weeping with need.  Together, my fucking pussy and I, we are an incredibly valuable being deserving of far more currency than I’ve been charging.

I don’t want to fuck anyone just because I can or just because I need to feel something between my legs.  I don’t want to fuck a cluster of cells.  I want to fuck a man, a person, someone who is real to me.  Someone whose heart I can feel beat beneath my ear and whose cock pulses in time because we’ve decided to share it together.  Because he’s earned it.

This shift in me saved my pussy and me from fucking a Trump supporter the other weekend.  BJ was a dashing, funny, charismatic man whom I met on Coffee Meets Bagel.  We’d met for drinks on Friday and it had been a B+ date (he lost credit for talking about his crushingly beautiful ex-girlfriend and not walking me to my car).  The next day while wine tasting with friends, he became effusively day-drunk and wanted to see me again.  Immediately.

After royally pissing off my girlfriend by naively telling him where we were because he was on the other side of town he and his friend joined us.  It didn’t turn out badly.  He was affable and fun and I invited up to my apartment after drinks.  I also told him I wasn’t interested in sex.

We made out like lustful teenagers, but he respected my wishes and we slept curled up together fully clothed.  He in his t-shirt and shorts and I in my pajamas.  The next morning we cuddled and laughed in the soft morning light and I coquettishly rubbed on his bulge and imagined what it’d feel like to be inside of me.  But our hands remained atop all fabric.  By 1 pm, after more napping and canoodling we agreed it was time for me to take him home.  It was right about then I discovered he voted for Trump.

I groaned and felt a visceral clench around my gut.  “Does this mean I have to walk home?” he joked.  Apparently he had decided to ignore my “I’m allergic to Trump voters” line in my profile.  He said he didn’t know why.

I searched my soul for days after and came to the conclusion that he and I could never be more than friends.  Much like having a hard-line religious difference, I have realized my political beliefs in this election climate are as close to a faith as I have ever had and he and I appear to believe in very different things.  And it was with this realization that I felt the full benefit of waiting to know someone before I let them put their blood-stuffed body part into me: I got to walk away from the night unscathed and with all my emotional money; I had spent nothing on being with him.

There are still two sides of me — the professional, mommy, daughter, sister me and the dissolute, sexed-up, hungry, wild me — but each of them are a little bit wiser now.  The public-facing and the private Me’s have finally realized that all men will have to do some work to get either of them and that bullshit is no longer accepted at this establishment as a means of payment.

 

Following through and opening up.

I have put it out into the Universe that I want love.  I have changed all of my online presence to reflect that.  I have written about it here, I have spoken about it with friends, potential partners, my fucking therapist.

I believe the time is right and that now more than ever I am ready, but with all this preparation and declaration I have also been brought face to face with the reality of what and who I am.  And I am scared.  It all seems completely impossible.

I have deactivated my accounts across all dating platforms.  It was getting too noisy and bumping into Rex made me realize that I need quiet in order to do this.  I had a full dance card on Sunday and by Saturday I had only kept two engagements.  Both with him.

He crowded my thoughts all week and other men were distant seconds due to their own innocent ignorance.  Why would I pretend to be only half of me with one of them when I could attempt to be all of me with him given the opportunity?

::

I came across a quote on Instagram today — I’ve seen it before.

He says you are too much.

You talk, laugh, smile, feel far too much.  But baby….

here is the problem:

He is too little to appreciate that it took an entire galaxy

being woven into one soul to make you.

I was married to that man, that little man who made me feel like I was wrong and whose own soul was in a self-imposed box.

I took up too much space on the sidewalk, he said.

I spoke too freely of my opinions, he said.

I shouldn’t need him to say I was beautiful, he said.

My art, my being, my movement through life was unacceptable.  It made him uncomfortable and self-conscious  It took me nearly 7 years to realize that his words for me were really for him.  He was a miserable shell of a man afraid of his own shadow, his own needs, and I had inadvertently married a man who personified my inner voice: I was too much.

I cried when I read the quote.  It felt all too familiar.  And I am feeling fragile today, far too vulnerable.  Telling people I want to be loved feels like peeling away my skin.  I feel raw, weak.  Like I am shivering and helpless and strapped to a tree in the goddamned sparkling snow.

Being honest about what I long for means I must demand certain things of the men I meet and of myself.  Honor and respect, kindness and compassion.  I have not had kindness in my life in so long and even the smallest glimmer of it creates a fracture in my facade.  I am suddenly and completely armorless.

Is this what it’s like for other people?  Normal people?  For everyone else who doesn’t have what feels like crippling issues with intimacy and trust?

It wasn’t long ago that no one could hurt me.  I was on a pedestal far above the fray.  Fuck me, leave me, don’t text, don’t show up, cancel on me, lie to me.  Fuck you, do it.  I’m not here anyway.  It’s just a body and I’m merely feeding it.

But I am no longer hungry for that.  I want to be a human, not that thing I was for so long, whatever that was.  I want to fill my heart.

I want to fill it with a man who knows me.  Whom I can introduce to my baby, my mother, my friends.  Someone who will help me move furniture I struggle to drag from one end of the city to the other on my own.  Someone to fucking care, to tell me everything is going to be ok when I’m not at all sure it will be.  Someone to just hold me, stroke my temple, press his lips to mine and breathe me in.

::

I sat across from that small man, my exhusband, last week and the disdain and resentment in his eyes burned into me.  His words cut and confirmed what I had always known about him: he never liked me.  I let his inner road map route my life because, I’d thought, it’s what I was supposed to do.  The truth is, I should have ended our relationship 2 months in, but his interest in me was mesmerizing despite his criticisms.

Step by step he moved us closer to marriage and all along the way he rejected who I was.  Six years after I closed the book on us I have never regretted escaping his dark cloud, but I have yet to find the sunshine.  I have operated under my own dark cloud of fear of people.  He betrayed me.  He made me promises he never intended to keep and he told me it was my fault.

The Neighbor never bothered to make a promise, but somehow convinced me he was worth having in my life.  Or maybe I was just an fucking idiot and the sex and his daily rejections were my catnip.  I’m open to that possibility.  Looking past and around them my life has been filled with men whom never deserved my energy, yet I gave it freely all the same.

They were safe because they would demand next to nothing from me in return.  I could be safely ensconced in my armor of detachment; they could be easily dismissed for behaving awfully.  Deciding to open up and be myself positions me for love and hurt, but I suppose it’s time to woman up and follow through.

I can either cry about being alone and continue to play child’s games or I can change the game altogether.  Be myself instead of someone else, but the truth is that when you line up all the pros and cons of Hy there are an awful lot of cons to get past first.  I’m not saying the cons are greater than the pros, just that there are many brambles to cut back before someone reaches the castle gates.

I feel like a branch heavy with snow about to break.  Can I really expect anyone to take it all on?  I mean, can I??

And the answer is yes, because if it were anything else then that would mean I had already given up and I have only just begun.  I have only just begun.

It’s been 2 years.

January 27th, 2015 I wrote about our last time together.  Only thing was, I had no idea that’s what it was.

It was a tender moment between us — good sex, spectacular sex — and it wiped out the doubt and worry I lived with about him and had me hopeful for our future.  I contemplated what we did next with our relationship, moving it forward.  I was the girl who got all dressed up for the dance and her date had entirely other plans.  Somewhere else.

And then, the day after I wrote the words he walked into my house and left me.  Technically we ended it 2 weeks later, but the truth is he left me the night he said he wanted a break.  Perhaps it was the last time he was buried inside of me; a real goodbye fuck.

In the weeks that followed we cried together as I begged him for a reason why.  “I don’t know, Hy.  I just don’t want to be in a relationship,” he’d say wearing a sad, heavy face like a drama mask.

Spring turned into summer and our meetings were less tearful and more reorienting.  “If we’re going to be friends, then you can’t hide things from me, TN,” I’d gently lecture.  “I don’t want details, but friends tell each other when they’re dating someone.”

“Don’t worry.  I’m not dating anyone, I promise.  I have no interest.”

He was working out early in the mornings by then, bootcamp at dawn.  I couldn’t get him up before 9 am when we dated.  He’d said he wasn’t a morning person and never would be.  He did yoga, was kayaking, even hanging out with his workout crowd.

My birthday was in late summer and the night he took me out to a fancy dinner to celebrate he complained about how tired he was because of the hot yoga he’d done in the morning and when I pressed and asked if he was doing it for a woman he claimed it was with “just a bunch of middle-aged women” from his bootcamp.  “Don’t worry.  I’m not dating,” he’d added unprovoked.

The next day I ended our friendship amidst his protests and angry, mournful tears.  I was still in love with him and watching him change into the kind of man I’d always wanted him to be right before my eyes was too painful, a slap in the face of my ill-conceived sacrifice to accept him as he was.  What a fucking idiot I was.

That fall, a mere weeks after saying my final goodbye, I ran into him with a woman at my favorite gym class.  A class that I had introduced him to and which we had attended together for a year.  She was pale and pretty and he struggled to ignore me even as he paid her every ounce of his attention.

A couple of weeks later I stumbled on his Facebook page filled with pictures of him with the same dark-haired woman.  I was devastated.  Everything – everything – he had told me about himself was a lie.

Apparently he was the kind of man who went out to parties and concerts and yoga.  He dressed up for Halloween and brought her to his work events.  He was snapped kissing her and beaming a 100-watt smile at the camera with her in his arms.  And he allowed her tag the ever-loving-shit out of him on Facebook whereas I was forbidden from giving even the slightest hint of our association with each other on social media beyond friendship.

I was glad I had preemptively ejected him from my life based on not only my ongoing feelings for him but the deeply held, but as yet unproven belief that he was lying to me.  (Posthumously and accidentally discovering hidden profiles seeking alternative sexual relationships with women during our active relationship helped cement my feelings about him lying.)

I was left in shreds.  Barely myself.  I limped along month after month of 2016 fully free of him in my life, but was repeatedly reminded of his existence — both because he remained in our complex and because about every week or so he would visit my Adult Friend Finder profile, deliberately leaving a visitor trail.

Once.

It’s now nearly two years to the day he abandoned me out of a troubled left field and I still — still — miss him.

I miss our easy rapport, our shared politics, our chemistry, our love.  And by far most of all — because I’m beyond and round the bend of the other things — I miss his fucking cock. 

Since we’ve split I’ve had 20, 30 more and not one has come close in making me feel the things he did.  Bones was an approximation, David was massive and fat but didn’t have the curve and length, Remington never let go despite having a lot to work with.

Everyone else had curves, lengths, and girths that just didn’t compare and despite my best efforts to refocus, let go, really enjoy and embrace what was in front of me I was left with a bitter aftertaste which was decidedly not TN.

Regardless of the shape and size of the penis — truly — the bottom line is no one has fucked me like he did, like he could.

He was a maestro with our bodies, perhaps I was, too.  Playing each other like seasoned musicians.  Eyes shut, feeling the chords, the notes, and the symphony in our bones.

Even that last meaningful night when he had assuredly decided he was leaving me and was completely checked out.

I can’t help but ask myself how is that even possible?? How can two people have that level of connection and pleasure while one is utterly gone?

I am ashamed and deeply humiliated at my gullibility and inability to move on.  I’m afraid that no one will be able to supplant the memories with new and better ones.  I’m scared I’m stuck.

Two motherfucking years and I have what feels like nothing to show for all my work, all my suffering, all my tearful, painful meanderings through the tangled paths of my heart.

I’m ashamed to share the depth of my broken-ness, of my mistrust, my longing.  No one can penetrate the fortress I have built around my heart except for those whose proximity and viability are null.  Men equal danger.  They cannot be trusted.  They don’t listen to me, they use me, they are not safe.

Therefore I will use them, chew them like bubblegum and rub my mound on their parts until my juices burst and runneth over and the sticky-sweet bubbles pop on my puckered lips.

Twice.

I wonder if he ever thinks of me.  In general.  I know he must considering he visits my AFF profile regularly, but I mean in real life.  Does he have anxiety about getting his mail?  Driving in and out?  I’m long since past all that, but the ghost of his cock lingers in my psyche, my pussy, my heart.

I have fucked everything that walks in an effort to replace him and to heal and all to no avail. I’ve hoped love would find me and now I’m hoping to find love.

The only thing left to try at this point is not fucking at all except I’m failing at that, too — of course — but I’m hanging in there with the hope and the will to push forward.  If I found someone like him once, surely I can find someone like him (but better) again.  Right??

At least the thought helps me sleep at night.

 

I’m not all ice and black heart.

Luke and I have been talking every single day for weeks now and it is this lone connection that reminds me I have a soft, gooey center beneath my icy demeanor.

For almost two years now my world has been a landscape of slate and black.  Jagged, torn edges that have left me bereft and alone.  The Neighbor’s abrupt departure from my life shone a light on how I have avoided intimacy my entire life, how its light scorched me like the sun upon a vampire, and in the ensuing months I have bumbled along self discovery and acceptance: I have intimacy issues.

Me, who opens up and shares the most intimate of details of her sexual life with virtual strangers.  Me, who entertains gaggles of friends with her lewd stories and tearful sharings of dead fathers and complicated mother relationships.  Me, who bares her body for tens of thousands of pairs of eyes and who elicits both hateful and lustful responses in equal measure and weathers them all with unapologetic and not not disdainful aplomb.

Yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

I’m a motherfucking mess.

Man after man — 14 this year alone, I think, plus the handful that I haven’t mentioned — have added to the bleak illustration of my life, some post-apocalyptic land where even the lightening bug’s glow is dim.   None have given color, none have inspired.  I have been free of a muse for too long, drained of inspiration and weighted down by the pressure to impress and be loved by the masses, but I am feeling color seep back in.  Because of him.

We may never meet.  We may never touch.  We may never taste one another, but what has happened is a tiny little fire has been lit inside.  The tiniest, just ever so, like the little diamonds in the slim band upon my finger.  It is there.  I can feel it.

I am no longer filled with dread when I think to write and the words spill out of me much like school children down the sidewalk after school: freely, with some joy, and with purpose.

I tease him about talking to me — he’s far too sweet for the likes of me.  “You’re a smooth talker,” he replies.

“Tell that to me when you’re between my legs,” I say.  “Then I’ll believe it.”

He persists in smearing color on me.  “You’re a great person.  You need to appreciate that.  I know there’s a big heart within that ice block,” he laughs.  Then adds, “For the record, you’ve never seemed as cold as you think.”

I’ve been cast a bright line to the old palette I used, rich in color and light.  His kindness, his ever-present warmth, his sweetness.  After years of grey to see this sliver of color I find myself almost afraid.  Afraid to reach for it, afraid to believe in it.  But I can’t deny that it’s there.  That little ember, ever so small, lit within me.

And I can almost breathe again.

 

My little diamonds.
My little diamonds.

Sometimes you miss the one who hurt you the most.

In the depths of my fears I think of only one voice and feel only one set of arms around me as the storm slams against the shutters: his.

I long for his calm words, his thoughtful response, his bulldog ways.  When I was broken he rushed to my side.  Always.  He was my safe place.

It’s been one year and 4 months since he showed up to my house to stay the night and instead asked for a break from me; 8 months since his tear-streaked face left my home for the last time; 6 months since he brought his new woman to my gym class;  5 months since he clutched her in photos and kissed her smooth, smiling cheek; and two days since he last looked at me online.

The knot of suspicion I carried with me like a baby clutched close to my chest left when he did.  I celebrate its absence, dance on its grave each time I breathe with a lightness which eluded me when he was close and yet I pine and I miss.   I miss him.

I am ashamed.

I am embarrassed.

My longing proves my weakness, my failure.  The seasons have changed and I have not.

I have raged against the machine of men clamoring to get between my legs and bellowed at the one or two who have dared to acknowledge my heart.  I have no safe place, I am unmoored and I have no one to blame but myself.

I hate that I miss him still, this soft and sad part of me.  It clings to me like the scab that it is and I want it to be gone, to peel it away with a long, low sting to reveal the fresh pink of health below.  But maybe there is no health beneath all of this.  Maybe I will always be lost and stubbornly stuck in the rot of my life.

::

The gale of confusion and impersonal betrayal I experience in my dating life has worn me down to a bloody stump; doubt in men has seeped into my consciousness and it scares me.  If I lose hope then who am I?

I scour the transcripts of my interactions searching for clues and force myself to put one foot in front of the other only to admit to my own subterfuge.  I am abnormal, extraordinary.  I turn an innocent afternoon of get-to-know-you into a mastermind game of deflection and redirection: do not get to know me, get to know what I’m willing to give you.

Sex is safe, I am not.

::

He will be leaving my life soon.  All the way in the way that the internet can afford us, anyway.

I will no longer be subjected to his fancy black car parked neatly near his building.  Checking my mail will be an ordinary event: I will no longer feel compelled to open the little brass door only if I am sleek and beautiful.  Walking to the office, to the pool, living my life in my little square block will become an empty theater.  My audience and potential critic will be gone.  Not that he probably cared anyway, I’m sure.

Longing for his support when the clouds have blocked the sun is an outright betrayal of myself, of my determination to heal and move on.  I recognize I have no control over how I feel and that this is [obviously] part of the process but I am moved to tears nonetheless.  Why have I found nothing to fill the void he left behind?

I still feel the spring of the curls on his chest beneath my palm, the scratch of his beard on my face, his beautiful cock buried deep inside of me, his taste.

This is an extraction.  Nothing will grow back.  I’ll have to chew around it.

On occasion I find myself in that filthy sess pool we call Facebook.  I slap myself with knowledge I have no right to know and grind on happy thoughts, toss darts on the board of Good For Him.  I walk away stiff-legged and raw, armed with ammunition to continue my quick clip away.  Thankfully.

This cycle of need, burn, and retreat is like the earth around the sun: there’s a summer when it’s hotly uncomfortable and a winter when I am cold and distant.  How many times do I have to go around him?  How many seasons must pass before I break loose and no longer taste him?

The gift of hindsight left a present at my feet: I have never loved anyone as much as I loved him.

When I loved him, when the loving was a thing I did every day, it became a part of my fiber and when it was stripped away I was left bereft.  A tree in the dead of winter, naked and bare.  Starving for a spring that has yet to come.

Instead storm after storm and a longing for a man who didn’t want me, who never wanted me, pounds at me.  I foolishly throw myself to the wolves hoping one of them will recognize me instead of devour me.  I own that.  But I must rest.  I must stop.

I must surround myself instead with my other anchors.  The batwomen and sisters I rely upon, the one or two or three men who encourage me to be sensitive, the sister who now knows that I write and is proud of me.

To look at me you would never guess at my continued heartbreak.  To read me you might not guess it either, but it’s time to be honest. It’s true: I am still heartbroken.

I still feel his absence.  I still wish that things were different, that someone, anyone cared about me, but most of all him.  I am terrified of attempting to find someone new.  In fact I feel wholly ill equipped to do so.  I am a big, fat faker.  I only go through the motions because I derive some sick purpose out of it.  I am a masochist to a frustrating degree.

::

Longing and heartbreak are the same as it was a thousand years ago.  I am blathering on about nothing, as usual.  I wonder what their advice was then all those long seasons ago.