Before I Go To Sleep

Ok, it’s been awhile I know this. I have been to London and Colorado and now I’m chilling on my bed in Chicago, I am pretty fortunate this summer.

I’ve been reading this book called Before I Go To Sleep and it’s the 13th book for me this year. It’s a big deal last year I wanted to read what like 25 books? I didn’t make it and this year I decided to start lower and do 12 that meant 1 a month. I’m already ahead of the game which is cool. So this book I’m reading Stephen recommended because I love thrillers.

The main character, Christine, forgets her memories every night and wakes up barely remembering much aside from childhood and snippets of university life. So she wakes up believing she is 21 or sometimes a little older and it turns out she is middle aged and has a husband. Things get shady because she starts to keep a journal and has a doctor friend who calls her each day to follow up. Turns out her husband is keeping details of her life from her, such as the fact she was a writer and they had a son together. Makes you wonder who she can trust.

It made me think of what I remember and what we forget, memories are an interesting thing. Especially because we remember things differently and sometimes our version can differ from someone else’s, so she feels she can’t rely on her memories fully.

It made me think of my memories with Stephen, the beautiful moments we share and the difficult times when we disagree. I feel relief, this huge relief that I have someone that I can trust and cares for me. Someone I can go to with my facts and feelings. And books of course. I’m about to embark on this stressful time of my life going to grad school and I’m glad he’s my home base because I’m gonna be going mad come autumn. I am going to remind myself that writing is one of my best ways to cope just like it is for Christine!

Ordinary

Sometimes I want to give it all up, I want to curl up and just say I can’t. I can’t do this anymore because the feelings are overwhelming and  I want to be alone again. It’s easier then. It’s easier to run away or in my case walk away. For some people the brave thing is to leave, but for me it’s the opposite. I’ve dealt with so much heartache and I have a hard time trusting myself in any situation now. It’s like if anything goes wrong, I want to call it quits and say it’s too difficult. Where’s the line between too much work and just the right amount?

When I read Brené Brown, she would talk about “ordinary courage”, it’s not any sort of fancy and amazing feat. It’s about basically showing up to those hard situations and trying to wade your way through the cesspool of fucked up feelings. She said it far more eloquently than me. I show up and I just want it to be enough but it requires lots of introspection. I have so much going on and I don’t feel ready. I feel like I have no clue what I am doing, I feel I am good at being like this will happen but how it will happen is anyone’s fucking guess. In those moments people see me as ballsy but really I am just coasting because at night when I’m alone–I’m scared shitless.

As for my relationship, people again see it through this lens of judgment because they know my boyfriend and I are comfortable in having disagreements and often or they see it in rosy tinted glasses of “wow, he travels with you, gifts you trips and talks about the future with you! you see him 2-3x a week and talk daily… that is serious” and it’s like no this isn’t some magic carpet ride where I end up in foreign cities and my boyfriend and I horseback ride into the sunset.

I have doubts and I freak out. We’re so imperfect, we argue, we are emotionally healthy thank fuck, we still try to figure out how this shit works, he is far better at it than me because my knee jerk reaction is to go outside for some air because I have to unlearn all the unhealthy shit from the past: years and years of unhealthy interactions in my memory and also managing to stand my ground while being empathetic. It can be draining. Sometimes all I can say is “I love you.”

But we have to come round and talk about the icky, hard bits and when he tells me how much he loves me I feel reassured but I told him: “love isn’t always enough” because it wasn’t. I thought it was but you need more than love to make a relationship work. Love is just a fraction of that, you need to have similar core values and empathy. There needs to be all these other components depending on how you’re wired. Like me, my independence is so crucial. My ex was threatened by my autonomy.

I have been listening to a lot of music lately to help me process and John Legend’s Ordinary People is a go to for me because seriously I can relate my life to a movie, song, or book… but it’s so true for us, we’re ordinary people, we don’t know which way to go.

 

Didn’t Know I Needed That

Alright y’all. I have grieved for my country and tried to write a novel. I got about halfway which is more than I had any year before, woot! Some of it was old writing, new writing, and some things I didn’t even know I was capable of. I still want to continue my novel and edit the fuck out of it. The community of writers I follow in Chicago are so supportive and I hope one day to meet up with some of them to chat and write, they were very compassionate when I knew I couldn’t finish 50,000 words by the end of November. I hit a rut and I was so crazy busy.

I almost worked part of my holiday break until my therapist strongly recommended I take a breather. I have been stretched thin with work, dancing in the pantomime, social events, holiday shopping and spending time with my boyfriend. It’s been a doozy and I have hardly spent time at home let alone by myself in a peaceful environment! So I took her advice and decided to take care of my physical and emotional health. I was struggling with a cold and a bout of eczema so this weekend I went to the doc, got my meds and creams then huddled in my apartment. I haven’t left since! Today I plan to venture out and get some air but I think I really needed that time to just lay, answer to no one, moisturize, schedule some appointments, and just think about what I want to get done on this break.

Sometimes that sneaking feeling of I should be cleaning or doing this and that came in but I told myself I have plenty of time to get that done. Without having to work extra hours I can do as I please, sure more money would be grand however I desperately needed time away from the school I work in. Most importantly, I need time to write my essay for the psychology school I want to attend. My boyfriend says that has to be my priority for this break and it is. I began a draft, mostly stream of consciousness stuff. A starting place to get all my thoughts out (well the first part of them!) and then I can go back to smarten/condense the words. After that it’s a matter of 2 recommendation letters to get submitted by my coworker and an old professor.

I admit I am nervous but if I take care of my essay, the rest is just following up on my recommenders…

Also this week my boyfriend left for a solo trip to Washington D.C. He needed a break himself, he handles emotions in a different way and he is definitely able to keep busy without it taxing him. Color me envious but our needs are different. Even then, he too decided time away to himself was necessary. He mentioned it once in passing when I planned to apply to school that he would like to travel and sometimes alone because he couldn’t pay for my ticket all the time. At first it stung. Like a lot.

I wanted to travel but going back to school would mean I wouldn’t work for the first time in a long time. I would ideally like to find a small job but it still wouldn’t be a ton of income. I don’t make much now but all of it is going to me and my lifestyle. That will change next year. It’ll be going to school, books, other expenses and the money will be borrowed instead of my own. That’s gonna suck. I remember crying a bit and taking a breather in the next room to process that reality. Not only would it be a challenge for me but our relationship.

Going back to school is huge and it’s going to last a few years, years of not being able to go on trips when I want or attend social events that I enjoy, etc. It really hit me and I expressed how I would be upset. I would never stop him but it would suck because I’d feel like baggage left at home since I have so much to do. He assured me that wasn’t it, what he appreciates about our relationship is that we are both independent. We could do things on our own and together. He admitted that if I wasn’t even mad about him wanting to do things alone it would have concerned him.

I want to do all of things but I have to accept I can’t! He booked these tix to the east coast and I thought I’m going to miss him terribly. I’ll be real I miss him a lot I love hearing from him, seeing pictures and getting his snaps. Also, I really do love having this time alone even though I’m in dreary, cold Chicago! Same old, same old… but having this time to myself, no sharing the bed haha, not having to speak to people that I don’t want to talk to (too many holiday parties), staying in my pajamas, watching the movies I want, making messes that I can clean up later. It’s totally what I needed.

Soon enough he’ll be back in a day or two and if anything it gave me a chance to miss him, to recenter and also to look forward to my own solo trip. 🙂 He bought me tickets for my Christmas present. I’m going to Arizona by myself. I’ve always wanted to check out the desert and I’m hoping to book a day trip to Grand Canyon. We’re hoping to save for a couple’s trip in Spring and we have Ireland/England this summer. I may not have opportunity to travel a ton next school year but I’m getting it all in now so I can focus on my career goals. Here’s to remembering to take care of myself in the coming year.

 

A Little Prayer

Wanting to put my feelings out there that life is so unpredictable and anything could happen, be it something magical or tragic. I have had my share of both and lately I feel I have had quite a magical ride so far! This past weekend, I spent it with my family to share some empathy and touch base. It was most needed and as always I want more time! We made more plans to meet up in an apple orchard and for them to meet my new love, also to make tamales, and even get together in different states/countries. It filled my heart. Also this morning I got a call from my love that last night he got in a legal hiccup and he is so worried about losing his job or being sent back to his home overseas due to this mistake.

I can’t lie, at first I was in lecture mode and he was straight up in saying that this was the opposite of what he needed right now. He was scared and I have not heard him so scared before, he told me he even cried (he is not emotional like me) and was so anxious he vomited at the thought of his life in America ending because of some bad choices.

For some reason and those who know me best would be shocked, I kept my cool and I honestly believed with absolute certainty that the worst case scenario would not be the scenario. It is weird because I am such a worrier and I’m always going mental about something or the other, but in this case while he was losing his mind with concern–I sat there completely chill knowing it wouldn’t come to that, he wouldn’t be sent away.

And if he was… it wouldn’t change my feelings. Granted, I am annoyed that this even happened. I would be devastated not to spend time with him each week if he was told to go back to Ireland. But it wouldn’t stop me from feeling love for him and for believing that we would find a way to sort it all.

He asked me to pray for him which he has yet to ask of me at all. I said I would and this is me putting out good feels that hopefully more good feels would come our way, especially his way during his time of need. Here’s to a pleasant solution and learning a valuable lesson.

How Can You Be Sure?

I think that’s what bothers me about falling in love again. I was so sure the first time and it was so enveloping. It drowned me.

This time, I can be independent and I like being able to separate the us time and the time with friends or family. I want to share more with him. I want to spend all this time with him and I can see this future before us and i like it. But I get scared. Like is this it? Am I “settling”?  People say never settle but then you might miss out on something truly awesome just because you keep looking for the better scenario. More money, more abs, more flair, etc. Whatever it is people always tell me they’re looking for it’s pretty damn hard to find someone who fits all the criteria. It’s like that scene from Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth Bennet asks who Darcy’s ideal woman is and Caroline Bingley tells it all, then Lizzie’s all well how the fuck did you expect to find a woman like that I’ve never met someone like that in my own life! Or something like that you know, I paraphrase.

There are totally those contrary voices that come in and say well you’re just being safe or you’re making shit up so that it won’t work out because you like drama. But what the fuck is wrong with safe? I don’t want to be with someone mental and unpredictable someone who could hurt me just because s/he can excite me. This guy still excites me but not in startling ways, it’s like he surprises me with his kindness and selflessness. The way he can listen and be true to himself but it doesn’t come at a cost. He surprises me because he wants to make plans and they actually come to fruition. He said let’s plan a weekend getaway. We had something booked within a week. This man speaks things and they come into existence. He is a man of action and shit, he is inspiring me to get my shit going too.

I want to be all these things but I am struggling because I also don’t want to forfeit my true self. But I also don’t want to just say this is the best version of me, I want to continually improve. I get so worried that I am the only one doubting it felt good to know I wasn’t the only one who had doubts. I just don’t want him to think I will leave him suddenly like I did before. I am looking at this from all angles because I want to make a life the real thing this time. Where I do things that I want to do and make those ideas into realities. speaking things into existence like he does.

Some parts of that will be domestic life but also I want to make sure we don’t get bored. That we still pursue our adventures and so far it feels like that is definitely on the to do list. We’re already planning a Europe trip for next summer. I don’t want things to be monotonous and routine but sometimes I like a bit of routine… fuck I am such a worrier. i stress myself out and give myself anxiety over the future and all he said was to enjoy the ride. I’ll do my damn best!

Think About It

Tomorrow, I am flying to Nashville to visit friends, lay by the pool, listen to live music, drink, eat, and just chill. I am looking forward to it especially since I will go with my best friend. It’s a family reunion of sorts, this friend group is my family in the South. It brings up my trip from February, when I visited Nashville for the first time with my boyfriend of sorts. At the time, I didn’t see him that way. I was still sorting myself out and there was a lot of miscommunication. Our magic from the NOLA trip didn’t transfer to Nashville especially since I wanted to pop by to visit who I consider family. He didn’t see it that way, he saw this as solely a couple’s trip which it was… but there was so much unspoken between us.

Back then, I didn’t know how to talk to him or ask him for what I needed. Emotions ran high and he ended up offending me in a big way by being rude to my friends. I could not get past it and shortly thereafter, I left him. I don’t regret it. It’s one of those things that needed to happen. I needed to be alone. I needed to process my shit and I needed to remove myself from this situation. I was a bit rash believing I had to break up because he couldn’t keep his shit together in Nashville. But I had to re-examine a lot of things.

What I wanted, what was expected of me if I pursue relationships, what I’m looking for and all that shit I’d rather not face. I still don’t know what I want exactly, but at the time I wasn’t satisfied and I wanted to explore what other kinds of love existed. But that’s the deal, I knew I loved him but I thought I didn’t love him like how he should be loved. Now I see that I was in love but I didn’t want to be because I was still grieving my ex. I couldn’t help comparing the two either which is sucky but I totally did it. I thought well I was head over heels for my ex for 2 years, I went bonkers living and breathing in this other person. Wanting everything to do with him and being intoxicated by his presence.

With my NOLA/Nashville guy I wasn’t going insane or completely enveloped in him, I loved hearing his stories and how he rang me up to talk… But I wasn’t obsessive or nearly as possessive as I was with my ex. We were pretty tame and I thought, fuck does this mean that because our love is not intense in every aspect of our relationship that this isn’t going to work out? We’re not oozing romance constantly therefore I can’t really be that in love right? Right.

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Wrong.

Actually, post breakup I felt like I could say all the shit that I didn’t say before. The lines became blurred and I dated other people and so did he… but I kept thinking about him. Not my abusive and intensely passionate ex. I thought about the emotionally healthy guy that took me to different US cities, who checked on me, who was definitely fed up with my mixed signals but couldn’t help but ask what really was going on. We’re so different, we talked about it so much. Similarities here and there, but vastly different in other ways. Not to mention that sometimes I still bring up that ex that broke my heart which after months of courtship must drive him nuts.

So now we’re in this unclear space where we love each other but we haven’t decided what to do about it. Until now. He told me he is at a time in his life where he can’t be messing around. I should think about what I want when I am off in Nashville and he can think about it while he is Wisconsin then we can talk about what we thought about…

Well I am already panicking because part of me is like hell yes, I want this. Let’s try again! Another part of me is like well, flirting and crushing is fun too. Do I want to give that up again? I did try dating other people but that was a total drag for me, people my age are at a time in their life where they DO want to mess around and just explore themselves. Which I totally get, I am still exploring myself but I also don’t want to connect with people who are going to be temporary. I don’t have time for that shit, I’m too emotional for that business too. My time and care is precious, I can’t be giving it away like I used to. I learned that giving too much is damaging.

I can go for this but then I have to be serious and bring up topics that probably make me feel uncomfortable or I can say fuck this, waiting for a grass is greener scenario. Both are a gamble. I guess my real fear is that I will end up being half a boring couple who think about buying houses and marriage. I don’t want to be end up boring. I also don’t want to waste my time dating people who are going to end up being irrelevant months later.

But truthfully, I am kind of boring! I like doing adventurous stuff, but I like being at home in my bed taking pictures of my taco pillow or playing games on my phone. Welp, I have five days to think about it. Be boring by myself or with someone I love? Sounds like an easy decision but for me, it never is.

A Look Back

Soon it will be a year since the biggest, most mature, yet equally heartbreaking breakup of my life. It’s eerie as it is a huge fucking relief. To think of the letters burned or tossed, gifts or clothes that will soon be donated, and I even checked my texts… I found that old conversation dating back to about a month after the breakup. When we tried to talk and it failed. When he attempted to lay groundwork for winning me back and I rejected it. I read every single fucking text. I read and I cringed. I saw my sincere efforts at trying to stay calm and losing my shit on him when he would throw me moon sign jargon.

I thought about leaving it in my saved iMessages but I told myself no. I can’t keep rereading those messages every other month and visiting those feelings. Even now I am itching my chest like I am getting hives thinking about how lovesick I felt at the time. How I had to fight every instinct that told me to contact him or reminded me of how much I loved him. I thought it would take so much longer for those feelings to fade and it makes me kind of sad to think how I thought that love was everything I needed. I worked my ass off to get over him and now I am but it’s not like I’m magically cured of all ills. It still aches like my wrist does even though it was back in high school when I injured it.

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Definition Pending

It’s so easy to write off people especially when they make mistakes.

During my tumultuous relationship with my ex who was both physically and emotionally abusive, quite a number of my friends or even acquaintances were eager to label him as this: Batterer, abuser, bad guy etc. They said he’ll never change, he’ll always be in this person who would use his anger in the most frightful of ways. I knew that he had this strong reaction to certain events or words. It made me cower and retreat. I was always so careful with my words and actions should they lead to an all out match between us. But I would see him as more than this man who would fuck up and hurt me so. It sucked and it wasn’t right that I stuck it out so long. That I kept trying to fix myself because I thought that I was the reason he would explode. Sometimes I triggered him and other times I would escalate.

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How To Fall In & Out of Love

I follow TedTalks like many Millennial Americans that I encounter on a daily basis.

The one that keeps popping up on my feed as if I needed “to fall in love” (which I don’t because love is usually what gets me into all sorts of trouble) is Mandy Len Catron‘s talk: “Falling in love is the easy part”. It speaks about her article in the NYT about her little experiment of asking 36 questions and stare into each other’s eyes for a full 4 minutes in order to fall in love. This experiment was conducted originally by Arthur Aron and it was way more scientific whereas Mandy’s experiment was more of a lark but she did the whole shebang. Yes, she did fall in love and her TedTalk is about the choice to fall in love and how there’s more beyond the experiment. The love you may find after conducting the experiment may not be the romantic variety however it still strengthened or sparked a love that may not have been at the stage previously.

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Strings

It’s been a long ass time.

I’ve been going through a lot. It’s been the theme of the past year I suppose… or more. Whatever. It’s happening. This thing, these changes and it’s been making me go mental. I have been that person who has lost their cool and lacking confidence because there’s this whole shift within me. I cannot even explain it clearly. It’s just going on. Ever since I left the guy I went to New Orleans and Nashville with. It’s this mixture of emotions that never ceases, I tend to feel more than one emotion at once and that sucks.

From confusing him post break-up to remembering that I used to be in love with someone else completely, I’ve been in a major mental and emotional block. Part of me didn’t want to admit that I still had SO MUCH left unpacked from my ex and a huge part of me didn’t want to give up one of the few positive distractions: traveling with a new love. But I couldn’t be a girlfriend, I knew something was up when I didn’t feel like I was someone’s girlfriend. Not again. It didn’t feel right and I couldn’t explain it. There were other issues like the fact we worked together, how he treated people I cared about, the lack of PDA… there were small things but I couldn’t face those little hiccups without dealing with myself. Did I want to enter into something serious? No. Did I want to sleep around? Not really. I wanted to go back to the in between and that wasn’t happening.

But I am addicted to distraction. That’s my new way of coping which helps sometimes, but it doesn’t work for a long term solution. If anything being with someone new reminded me of the strength and resilience I had to move on. But still, it’s really hard. I want to have romance and move on. Not exactly something that can happen simultaneously.

I still have to sit with myself and say “do you want to expedite the process and just end up in a mediocre relationship because you’re too lazy to deal with yourself?” And I tell myself no but somehow I would persuade myself to reach out to former lover/still coworker and get tangled up in a new mess. Repeatedly. He would get frustrated because he wants commitment and he knows I’m not giving out any guarantees. He wants to be able to date without any strings.

I have strings, like a lot. Strings to lots of different things. I am trying to see where each leads and I am in no mood to making any romantic gestures. I owe this man a lot for helping me and being there, I loved everything we did. I loved him even. But there’s something missing and finally, through some sick twist of fate and knowledge–I think this time I can let him go. Properly. He was/is my crutch and that’s not fair for anyone. I hope I can stay clean/clear of him in the emotional department. For now, I still have to see him at work… wish me luck.