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J’ai Mal

My body hurts all the time. I’m always tired.

I’ve never been a high energy person. Always a little anemic and not remotely interested in sports. But lately I feel particularly bad. My neck aches every day all day. My knees hurt after 20 minutes of walking and I feel like an old rusted tin woman when I get out of bed.

I volunteered today from 10-4 and by the time I got home, all I could do was take all my clothes off, rub aspercreme all over my knee and go to sleep.

I feel like I’m getting old before my time.

I’m getting fat again. I haven’t found a replacement for my Girard Park routine in over two years. I have three golf-sized fibroids on my uterus who have been, probably for years, causing deluge-level bleeding every month. And I suspect the reason why my heart started running fast several years ago. (The cardiologist said it’s just working harder to keep up with my anemia.) I quit Wellbutrin cold turkey. I seem to be doing relatively ok with that adjustment but I can’t tell if I’m having physical withdrawals.

I generally just feel like shit.

I’ve been thinking about my dad. My dad is mid-70s but he has the health of a 100-year old. Actually, there are probably some pretty spry 100-year olds out there. I get mad when I think about how often he’s refused to follow doctor’s orders or work with physical therapist. I’ve judged him. I’ve told myself that he’s in the state he’s in by choice. By not doing the work and staying healthy.

I remember my grandmother, his mom. She looked like an old, fat, Cajun Momo (pronounced maw-maw) her whole life. When asked how she was doing the answer was always the same, a complaint.

“J’ai mal à la tête…

J’ai mal aux jambes..

J’ai mal, J’ai mal…,” she would complain. Her moo moo swaying above her fat knees. I look down at my legs and see the beginnings of that crescent shape sticking out of my knee. Am I turning into Momo?

Ugh. I don’t want to be an old 50. I want to be a vibrant, healthy 50.

I’m going to Oregon in a couple of weeks to watch The Baby for two weeks while my daughter goes on a trip. I’m terrified. He’s going to run circles around me. I’m doubting my ability to keep him alive. Last time I was there when Lori broke her leg he wasn’t even walking yet and I thought I was going to die of exhaustion. Now he’s running. God help me.

But….while I’m there I’m going to see as many doctors as I can to see if I can’t figure out why I feel like shit all the damn time.

Maybe if I can have the uterus monsters removed, adjust to being off Wellbutrin and figure out what’s going on with my joints, I can get better.

I’ll be damned if I’m going to get old before my time.

Now, excuse me while I go heat up some special cookies so I can sleep with this farkakte knee.

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I Finally Got High

I’ve tried smoking pot before. The first time was while my siblings and I were planning my mom’s funeral. I got a little giggly but I didn’t feel anything. I’m always giggly around my family (yes, even when planning our mom’s funeral)so I couldn’t even tell if it was the pot.

I tried a few other times with my son. The only experience I ever really felt was after a few bites of a cookie that a friend had on one of our many going away night outs back in Lafayette. Even then, I just felt silly after a few hours.

So, I’ve been wanting to experience the “high” everybody’s always talking about. I did some research and found that most people start with doses as high as 100-300mg. I had only taken as much as 10mg of CBD. Nevertheless, I went to a shop I found downtown after one my volunteer shifts and bought 50mg THC pills. It was the lowest dose they had and the price was decent.

I got home and made some blueberry muffins. Around 3:30pm I took one of the pills.

After about an hour I started feeling a bit dizzy. Within the next hour it got more intense. I started to feel queasy when I moved. Things weren’t making sense, like I was intently aware of things but a minute later would have to remind myself of where I was, like the last 5-10 minutes didn’t happen. I was watching Casual on tv. My attention to what was going on was intense, like I was there with the characters but then if felt like I had just woken up from a dream and couldn’t remember what had just happened. I was in a time warp. I turned off the tv because I was worried it was too much stimulus. 

I laid down on the bed. When I closed my eyes I felt like I was in a different world, big and dark with lots of stars. I felt far away. When I opened them, I was brought back to the present with some disorientation at first but then I adjusted easily. Mr. Canada and I were babysitting two dogs and one of them was barking a lot and I couldn’t get him to stop. I didn’t want to talk. He wouldn’t come up on the bed with me. So, I thought if I went down on the floor with him, he might stop, so with great effort and some wooziness, I made my way onto the floor. He still didn’t stop. I kept reaching out to him, saying, “Elmo. Stop. You’re making this worse.”  

By then, what I was feeling was not great. I kept saying to myself, This is bad. This isn’t what I wanted. I thought I needed help. It seemed like I was experiencing two realities and they were in conflict and it was painful. Not physically painful, but I remember thinking that it hurt. 

I was intensely worried about not having told Mr. Canada that I had taken the pill. I was afraid he would come home and find me on the floor, freaking out. And I felt like I had been irresponsible for taking too high of a dose. I wanted to text him but my phone was on the bed. It felt like an impossible task, getting up on the bed and sending a text. Even if I got to the phone what would I text? A long explanation? Or, “very high, be careful” ?

I made it back on the bed and grabbed my phone hoping I would be able to text him but I didn’t. I continued to worry about it until I heard him walk in. 

When I closed my eyes I felt a weird heat and my muscles would tense up and then I would make myself relax all of them slowly and I would feel very relaxed and sedated. When I had my eyes closed, I could see my body floating in space outlined with dark blue bubbles. As I began to come back down I felt peaceful. I could’ve slept forever. 

Mr. Canada found me curled up in the dark with the dogs at my side. He thought I was having a depressive episode. “Are you ok?” he asked as he put his hand on my hair. I somehow managed to tell him what I did. Then he laughed at me. He took the dogs out again. Apparently it had been a long time since I had taken them out. I felt irresponsible. I asked him if he was mad at me when he got back. He didn’t understand why I would think he would be mad. Maybe that was my version of feeling paranoid. Maybe I was still stuck in my marriage way of thinking. Mr. K would have not been understanding at all. He would have judged and blamed me and thought I was being irresponsible. I was so worried that Mr. Canada would feel the same way.

But of course he didn’t. He made fun of me. Made me laugh, which I did a lot. When he wasn’t making me laugh, I was quiet and subdued. He thought I seemed very relaxed. By the time we went to bed, I was still groggy and I could’ve slept on a bed of nails. 

In the morning I could still the effects. It seemed to last a long time. 

So, I don’t think I’ll be taking that much again. Maybe I’ll take the rest of the capsules, open them up and bake something with them, diluting the dosage in a batch of cookies, maybe.

Despite the negative parts of the experience, it helped me feel much less anxious about weaning off my depression meds. Now I know if I’m having a bad day, I can take a pill and lay down and escape the world for a while. Luckily, I have the luxury of free time to do such a thing and a partner who is supportive and only wants me to be happy.

You win! But not really.

This definitely can’t go in the book. 
You know when you break up with someone….like maybe you were married to them for 20 years and the divorce was rough with back and forth accusations filled with bitterness and disdain……and you have those moments when you just want to feel some kind of justice……you just want someone to say, you’re right….the other person is wrong. It’s the kind of feeling your therapist tells you is unhealthy. Its a feeling you hope you get over one day, but there’s always that little petty monster inside you that wants that validation. 
 
Well, I got that validation recently and I have to admit it feels pretty damned good. 
 
My daughter, Lori went to visit her Dad, Mr. K in Atlanta last week. My son, Shawn lives there too. Mr. K had insisted that Lori come for a visit. He wanted to see the boys, he told her. He paid for the whole thing. When she texted me to say she was there, I felt jealous. I always feel jealous when I know the three of them will be together. It’s unreasonable, I know. But I can’t help but think about how he has money he can spend on them. He can take them out for expensive dinners and lavish on them. I have to ask Lori to pay for my train ticket to see her in November. Sometimes I feel like a big loser compared to Mr. K. I’m sure he would agree. 
 
So, when Lori called after being there a few days and she was filled with frustration and disappointed with how things were going, I admit it, I was relieved. I know it’s not right, but I’m not perfect. 
 
Don’t get me wrong, I want my children to enjoy themselves and I know it’s better for everyone if they have a positive relationship with their father. I have been happy to receive reports from the my kids that Mr. K had changed. He is chill, he is cool. His girlfriend is super cool and successful. (Honestly I’ve heard so many good things about her, let’s call her Susie, that I’d really like to meet her one day. Lori calls her the Mr. K whisperer.) And honestly, if you gave me the power to push a button that would make Mr. K have a great life full of peace and happiness and prosperity or a button that would make him a bitter, sad man, longing for validation and justice……I would push the happiness button. I did love the man for over 25 years. And he was so unhappy and angry when I last knew him. I don’t wish that on anyone. 
 
Even so, there was a wicked sense of satisfaction that overcame me when Lori finally got back from her trip and called me to tell me what a complete train wreck it had been.
Mr. K insisted on a busy schedule, talking about how great Atlanta is and all the cools things there are to do. Lori said she felt rushed from place to place with no concern for The Baby’s toddler schedule. He didn’t take much interest in The Baby, which is weird because he usually loves kids and they like him. And that was the reason for the trip. She joked with him about changing a diaper and made a comment about how much I had helped her when he declined. Thankfully, Susie was on the ball and helped out a lot. One night, Mr. K insisted that the three of them go out without kids. They ended up driving and walking around all night, as Mr. K searched for the coolest places to show them. They didn’t drink at all (no loss for Lori but Shawn enjoys a nice night out drinking) and ended up eating a quick dinner and going home. Lori said it was as if he wanted to show off 24/7, like he wanted her to know that he was living a great life. He didn’t ask her about her life, even about her recent leg injury and had no interest in his grandchildren. 
He insisted that he show The Kid (Lori’s oldest) his garage. (Not an attached garage on a home, but a separate building he owns or rents where he can work on his multiple cars.) The Kid was uninterested but it was really important to Mr. K that they see it. 
 
“Wow. This is great,” Lori said to him. “This is what you’ve always wanted. Congratulations.” 
 
To which Mr. K replied, “Yeah. I always wanted a garage but you know your mom wouldn’t have it. Of all the houses we looked at, she hadto choose the one without a garage.” 
 
“Stop, right there,” Lori told him. “I’m not going to do that with you.”
And she walked away. 
“Maybe he forgot who he was talking to,” Lori said to me as she retold the story. He also forgot that I was a teenager when you guys were house hunting. I remember all the conversations. I know he’s lying. He still blames you for everything even when he has everything he wants now.”
This exchange pissed Mr. K off. He didn’t speak to her the rest of the day and took off driving when they were back at Susie’s condo. Lori, Shawn, the two kids and Susie were swimming when Lori and Shawn couldn’t help but mention their father’s weird behavior. Susie chimed in, not able to ignore the discussion. 
“I don’t know why he’s being this way,” she told them. “He loves you guys so much. He just has all these triggers. And something about you (Lori) triggers him.” Triggers him. That’s what she said. Mr. K is triggered by his daughter. 
Lori said Susie teared up as she exchanged text messages with Mr. K. 
Later, Lori heard her side of a conversation. 
“You’re where? Why are you that far away? You want us to have dinner without you?”
Lori was afraid to tell me what Mr. K had said about me. She thought it would upset me, that I would get defensive and try to explain what had really happened. Maybe at one time, I would have reacted that way. 
“It’s ok.” I told her. “It doesn’t surprise me that he still blames me for everything. But here’s the good part, I don’t have to care about what he thinks about me anymore.” 
“He still cares,” she said. 
“That’ his problem.” I said. “I don’t even have to care that he still cares.” 
I think he just needed to show Lori that he won. That he has the big garage and the fancy cars and he can go places and live in a cool city with an awesome girlfriend and he needed to have that acknowledged. But in trying so hard to prove that, he did the opposite and set back relations with his daughter. I told Lori next time, she should have a trophy made that says, “The Best Person in the World,” and give it to him at their meeting and then maybe he can relax. 
Of course, the worst part of it all and the reason why if I do ever manage to publish a book, this can never be in there……is he probably knows that Lori has told me everything, which further sabotages his goal of being the winner of the best parent contest. 
Just as a cherry on the cake, Lori said she realized that Mr. K isn’t as smart as she thought he was and that I’m the smarter one. Ha Ha. I can’t help but find that especially funny. 
Mr. K is really smart. He always scored higher on standardized tests. He was better at math and a wizard with computers. I always thought he was a genius. When Lori recounted her conversation with her husband…”yeah, Lori. I could’ve told you that.” he said, “Your mom’s way smarter than your dad,”………aaahhh that is some funny shit right there. Probably not true, but funny nonetheless.  
So, for that little petty monster inside of me……score one for the loser mom, with no money, no career, no material goods to offer who managed to be a better parent to my grown up kids than the righteous, successful, wealthy, super cool dude with all the cars and the big garage. 
Not the most gracious sentiment, but like I said, I’m not perfect. 

Creative Block in a Utopian State

How many times during my busy life did I dream of having nothing to do. No obligations, no one to answer to, no deadlines. When I was a young wife and mother, I longed for that state of being. I envied single people, even if they were poor. I fantasized about being able to make do with a peanut butter sandwich for dinner. Ah, the freedom of that.

How many times as an artist did I think…..if I just had time. That’s why I wasn’t doing any work. I didn’t have time. But if I had no obligations, no schedule….I would paint, wouldn’t I? I would write or take pictures or market myself and have shows……oh the things I would do. I used to look at other artists with envy and wonder how they managed to produce so much work? How did they get where they are? The answer always seemed to be… they had support, they didn’t work, they didn’t have kids, they had money, they had a leg up.

Fabricorn101But now………..here I am just where I always dreamt of being and I’m doing……not much of anything. I started out making what I call fabricorns. It started last year when I needed Christmas gifts for 2 little girls. (My daughter’s nieces.) I didn’t have much money so I decided to make something. They were into unicorns, so I found a pattern online and adjusted it. I blinged them up with sequins and beads and found some cool, fuzzy yarn to make manes. (Of course I ended up spending more on craft supplies than I would have buying new gifts.) I put pictures of them on facebook and people seemed to like them. I even got a commission and sold one for $35. So, I decided to make more and put them on etsy. I even attempted to Instagram my progress I went along in an attempt to “build an audience.”

_NML0002.JPGThen I started making Virgin Mary’s. I’ve always had a weird fascination with the Madonna image. I took my cloth and sequin skills and turned them to that subject. I chronicled my sketches and progress on instagram, got some attention and a few hundred followers. Put them on etsy……..and nothing. No one seems to even be viewing my etsy page. I don’t know how I’m supposed to sell anything if no one visits the store. Maybe it takes advertising. I don’t know. But in the meantime, making cutesy things with beads and fabric began to feel a bit trite. What was I doing it for if no one wanted them? I started to feel a bit silly. I lost motivation.

I started a painting based on one of my drawings, but then, again, I got bored with it and didn’t want to finish it. I tried to look for another photograph to use as a painting and found nothing to inspire me.

It’s like if I don’t have someone expecting a product, I have no motivation to create it. Like I need an assignment. So, maybe I’m not one of those people who will make art just for the sake of making it, just for my own pleasure, results be damned. Maybe I can figure out a way to do that? Get people to give me assignments and just charge the postage to get it to them?

I used to feel like my potential was stifled by life’s responsibilities. I was the victim of my circumstances. Turns out, no…it’s just me. I’m just a big fat loser.

I feel like Antonio Salieri, the patron saint of mediocrity, with just enough talent to know how mediocre I really am. Just enough taste to know genius when I see it. Just a smidgen of gift dashed onto a broken brain and uninspired soul. Always looking at everyone else wondering, why not me, but lacking any real drive to change and be more.

Not Writing & Quitting SSRI

Rain falling on lily pads at Van Dusen Gardens. 

I haven’t written anything in a long time. I guess I thought this story was done. I’m in a relationship now. No more weird dating drama to report. I thought I might start a new blog in Vancouver. I set it up and everything. All I’ve written so far is one blog about my disappointment that Sweden didn’t win the fireworks competition.

Not surprisingly no one has read it. 

You’d think I’d have plenty of material in a big city. I could get 500 words out of one transit trip alone. Maybe I should start bringing a notepad on my train trips. I could continue to write about my everlasting struggle with depression. I don’t know why I’ve been shy about writing about that on the new blog. I guess maybe I thought this one could be different. More normal? More sophisticated? Ha. Who do I think I am?

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Status Update:
Still with Mr. Canada. Our relationship seems to be all over the place sometimes. He still infuriates me to the point of my losing my temper and walking out occasionally. He calls me a hot head. He’s also the kindest person I’ve ever been with. He gives me total compassion and understanding in all things. Even when I lose my temper. He’s the most supportive friend and partner I’ve ever had. As much as I hate to write the following words as it goes against my feminist sensibilities, he takes care of me. He takes care of me better than anyone I’ve ever known (except maybe my mother). And the truth is, I think I need some taking care of. Let’s face it, I’m kind of a fuck up. I was watching Bridesmaids last night with Nigel and he kept chastising Kristen Wig’s character as she stooped lower and lower in her life, ending up moving in with her mom. The only difference between her and me was I moved in with my boyfriend, not my mom. I’m just as much a loser as her character is. I didn’t point that out to him.

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Speaking of Depression:

I decided to wean off my depression meds for the following reasons:

They don’t always work. I’m still getting depressed often.

I’m tired of worrying about getting them from Oregon. It’s giving me anxiety wondering if I’ll be able to get refills mailed to me on time. It’s not exactly legal and my daughter has to lie to get them to me. 

So, I’ve been experimenting with cannabis. I’ve done some research and some people have been successful in getting off their meds by taking micro doses of CBD daily. I’ve been trying that out as I attempt to stagger my wellbutrin doses. But that’s causing its own problems. Turns out, there’s no easy way to wean off. Every online search for info found endless tales of weeks of withdrawal symptoms and a dip back into depression. I’m already feeling it from the staggered dosage. I feel physically weak and emotionally numb, bored and sad. I’m trying to mitigate this with cannabis pills, but I think my dosage is too small. Maybe I need to up a bit. 

I also want to try more THC heavy dosages. Maybe if I go for a real high I can get some relief from the melancholy that seems to be my default setting. I miss feeling happy. Those days are the exception, not the rule. 

Mr. Canada is remarkably supportive of my cannabis experimentation. I can’t imagine trying this when I was Mr. K. Oh, the judgement that would have come down on me. But not Mr. C. Even when he’s the one footing the cost, he said he is willing to do anything that would help with my mental health and happiness. Meanwhile, I worry about bringing him down. He’s so chill and happy all the time. What must it be like to have such a downer girl friend who’s paralyzed by sadness so often? I worry that I’m not a good thing in his life, though he tells me I am. He worries about me. I can see it in his face and in his questions. Then I worry that his concern is making him unhappy. If I could just find some balance and relief.

I’m hoping that over the coming months, I can wean off at least one of my meds, find a low-cost cannabis routine that keeps me stable and start the new year with a new way of being well. As for writing…..I guess I’m not done here yet. It feels like speaking to the void, but I think that works for me right now. Maybe I just haven’t found my Vancouver voice yet. 

Princess Life…….with a dash of Panic and Depression

I’m sitting at the train station in Vancouver. I got the mom-bat-call this morning from Lori. She fell while running last night and managed to break her tibia and needs surgery. So, I’m off to help out for God knows how long.

The last time I visited I stayed for a week. Lori wanted to take a day to herself so I took over care of the fart-face for a day. That little brat is getting to be quite a handful. At some point the fire alarm starting peeping and one of the dogs who obviously has some emotional issues began trembling with fear. Between wrangling the poop face, calming the dog, trying to replace the battery and stop the beeping…..which is near impossible and attempting to wash dishes and clean up a bit…..it was quite a day. By the end of it, I was pooped. I forgot how much work it is to take care of a kid and try to be housewife. It sucks.

When I called Mr. Canada that night I told him, “I miss my princess life.”

Life in East Van is just that. I get up when I want to, do what I want when I want with no responsibilities or expectations. And so far, Mr. C seems genuine in his assertion that he doesn’t care what I do as long as I’m happy. Of course I try to contribute to our little household. I wash the dishes everyday and take care of the laundry. I sweep the floors and have by now rearranged just about all of his belongings. I’ve been making things and painting and writing. I’m trying to “build an audience” with instagram which I hate doing but I’m told this is the way to market yourself. I have an etsy store with 0 sales. And I’ve been editing these blogs with the hope that maybe somebody might want to make a book out of them one day. It’s a pipe dream, I know but if I don’t try I’ll regret it.

I love Vancouver. I feels more like my kind of city. I’m not sure why exactly. I love the views. The skyline against the mountains. Easy access to water. I finally got my bearings and I can pretty much find my way home from anywhere. It’s a surprisingly walkable city. It’s dense. Mr. C and I go for long walks once or twice a week. Sometimes we go through Chinatown and stop for pork buns. Sometimes we walk along the waterfront. I like that we do that together.

I have a tee tiny craft corner of our studio apartment. I make my silly unicorn thingees and I started making Virgin Mary’s with felt, paper, canvas and glitter. I’m pretty excited about that.

I still have my depressive episodes. I haven’t told Mr. C this, but I started alternating my meds, skipping one or the other every other day. I’m trying to stretch them out. I’m terrified of not being able to get my refills and running out. That would be bad. I thought I was doing ok for a while, then I had a nice little dive into depression the other day and decided to go back to full dosage, at least for a while.

Sometimes I have mini panic attacks about what I’m doing and where I am. I’m terrified of what will happen if it doesn’t work out between us. Every time something goes the least bit wrong or I have a hint of doubt……I start thinking about what I will do if I have to leave. Go back to Lori’s? Go home to Avoyelles Parish? I don’t even have enough money to drive my Element back to Louisiana. It’s terrifying and I find myself up at night hoping I’ll just die in my sleep instead of facing another life do-over.

It sounds extreme but I think that’s just how my fucked up brain works. Damn French-Cajun inbreeding. We’re all screwed up.

So…..I’m living the high life…..sort of. But for the next week or so, I’ll be mom-momo-caregiver.

I miss Mr. C already.

Vancouver Check In

So, it’s been about 11 days since I got here.

So far, I’m surprisingly relaxed. I didn’t expect it to be this easy. I feel more relaxed here than in the room in Portland. I think it’s something about sharing the house, especially sharing a kitchen that I was a bit uneasy about. And I knew that everyone in the house knew when I was home and not home. I loved that little room with its forest-like view but there was still something not quite comfortable about it.

But here, even though it’s not my apartment…it’s more private somehow. It has the anonymity of a real city. Nobody cares if I’m home or not, whether the tv is loud or not. It’s truly private. And I like that.

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I took the train here instead of the bus and it was immensely better! I don’t think I’ll ever take the bus again. It was so roomy and the views were more interesting. The train station in Seattle is weird and beautiful. It’s all white.

My first full day here, I put away all my things, finding room here and there and making plans to rearrange stuff. Mr. C was using patio furniture as his dining table. I had noticed on previous visits that it took more room than was necessary in such a small space. Mr. C mentioned that he had a table top under his bed. Perhaps we could make legs for it out of 2x4s and make a new table. He had two bar height stools so we thought we could make it bistro-height.

“Can we look at it?” I asked. We pulled out the ikea top and noticed it had hardware for screw-in table legs.

“Well, we can just find the right ikea legs,” I suggested.

“You want to go to ikea?” he asked.

“Yes. Yes I do!”

We joked about our first couple’s trip to ikea, hoping we would survive it. It was very crowded and Mr. C kept getting distracted by kitchen stuff. But eventually we found the legs, bought them, got them home, screwed them in, raised them up to match the height of the stools and voila! (The height is still not quite right but I plan on putting my concrete experience from a product design class I took years ago into good use by making some custom table lifts.)

We put the patio furniture on the balcony and placed the table near the kitchen so it could function as a work space as well. And just like that the room opened up and was transformed.

That night Mr. C made saffron butter-infused lobster with pasta and thinly sliced carpaccio lobster, cured on the salt block I gave him for Christmas. We ate at the new table, now with my old mac desktop in one corner. Mr. C looked around. “You’ve been here one day and already the place looks better.”

“And I’m just getting started,” I warned.

“We do manage to live well, don’t we?” he asked.

“Yes we do,” I agreed.

The next day I tried to rearrange the furniture the way I had imagined it in my head, but he was right, there was no other place to put the bed. So, I settled for a good cleaning and wore myself out with moving furniture back and forth. I wanted to move the tv but it was too heavy. I’m glad I didn’t break it as I tried to leverage it up on a dresser.

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So…… so far, so good. He seems genuinely happy that I’m here and expresses happiness each morning that we wake up together. And I feel perhaps more relaxed than I have in over a year, maybe more. I can’t work here, so there’s no pressure to get a job, though I may try to do some freelance work. Mr. C says he doesn’t care what I do. All he wants is to keep me happy. I started on another unidonk (I’m not sure I’ve explained what that is yet). I’m going to try to make about five of them and maybe set up an etsy store. I started walking again. I need to work on editing my blogs more. I might start a Vancouver blog. Maybe it’s time to let this one go. Is this the end of the story?

Probably not.

Just Another Post about Mr. Canada

I had this moment with Mr. Canada a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been meaning to write about it but I didn’t have my computer. It was packed up and taken to Vancouver in Mr. C’s car. Finally, I’m sitting at a table in his…..he says our…..apartment. He’s watching some sappy navy movie wearing this god-awful sweater that he knows I hate. It makes him look like a too-tall, brown Mr. Rogers.

So, I’ll try to remember the moment because it seemed important to me.

Since we began our long-ish distance relationship when I moved to Portland, I’ve been a bit worried about the frequency of our sex. We were together in 2, 3, or 5 day spurts. Sometimes we only had sex a couple of times. Sometimes I would remember being with Z. We couldn’t keep our hands off each other any time we in the same room.

This particular weekend, Mr. C had come into town to help me move most of my stuff into Lori’s garage. He arrived late Friday night, so we slept not long after he got there. Saturday morning, still no action as we got up and started our day of moving crap.

That night, we were watching a movie. I was lying next to him, my bare legs flung over his and feeling, quite frankly a little randy. He was leaving the next day and goddamn it I wanted to see some action. After a while, he closed his eyes and started to doze off. He was still talking to me on occasion but then he started snoring. I sat there looking at him, frustrated. I thought about waking him up and talking to him. Just coming out and saying, What the fuck?! Are we ever going to have sex or what? I couldn’t find the words. I felt that feeling in my gut I had so many times with Mr. K. The frustration, sadness and fear of confronting a problem and not knowing how to do it.

Finally, I gave up. I turned the tv off, put my night mask on, turned off the lamp, told him goodnight and turned over to go to sleep.

After a minute or two, he turned towards me and said, “You know what I’m wondering? When are you going to seduce me?”

“Seduce you?” I said. “Is that what you’re waiting for?”

“Come here,” he said. “You think I was going to come all this way and not make love to you?”

He kissed me in the darkness and we had some pretty steamy sexy time……finally!

Then he picked on me about it, imitating me.

“I’m going to sleep,” he said in a mock voice. “You were just going to turn over and go to sleep?”

“Well,” I said “You were going to sleep.”

“That was just a power nap,” he said. “I was just resting up a bit.”

“Well how am I supposed to know that? I can’t read your mind.”

“Well you could’ve asked.”

“You big knucklehead,” he said. “You can’t let your girlfriend go to sleep frustrated. She should go to sleep sexually satisfied.”

I agree. 

He continued to pick on me about this all day and during our subsequent phone calls.

I don’t know what it is about this interaction that is important to me, but it is. It’s been about 5 years now that I’ve been divorced and I’m still learning and it still amazes me how different Mr. C is from my experiences before. He doesn’t let me get away with anything. I put up a wall and he tears it down. He’s so open and honest and direct. It still surprises me that things can be that way.

 

Anyway, I just wanted to write that down.

Excuse Me, Where Can I Put This Baggage Down?

So, I’m moving in with Mr. C and I’m terrified. I have no money. No savings. No job. No prospects. No plan. I will be completely dependent on him for housing, food and anything else I need.

Isn’t this what I did with Mr. K? We moved in together and I became dependent on him right away. He bought me a car for Christ’s sake. I was young and I didn’t believe that I could take care of myself. I ignored red flags and jumped into a relationship because I was scared. And in love, I thought.

Am I doing the same thing again? Am I convincing myself that he’s “the one,” because I have no other choice? What if it doesn’t work out? What if I’m unhappy?

“I’ll drive up there and pick you up,” Lori said to me, if that happened. But then what? I don’t know if I can face the burden on her and the humiliation of moving back in with my daughter.

Mr. C is saying all the right things. His job is to make me happy. Whatever I do with my time is the right thing to do. He doesn’t care. He can’t wait to be able to see me every day. We’re going to go here and there and see this and that. It will be fine. We will be fine. It’s the start of a long relationship. Sure I can rearrange the furniture. Sure I can paint the dresser.

I’ve interrogated him with questions and scenarios based on my previous experience, testing his resolve. It’s like I can’t believe that he can really be telling me the truth. I’m waiting for the catch. The other shoe to drop.

Can it be real? Can it be true that this man is willing to work 7 days a week, cook wonderful meals, expect nothing in return (I mean besides common decency and love), to love me just as I am, flaws and all, and be happy if he comes home and finds me with paint and glitter all over the floor, knee deep in some ridiculous, useless craft project?

I was talking all this over with Lori as we walked the streets of her neighborhood, The Baby in a carrier on her chest. She threw my own advice back at me, telling me it was ok to be taken care of sometimes. When I told her I was having trouble believing the Mr. C is everything he seems to be she said, “You don’t think you deserve to be loved like that.” Ugh. I started to protest but didn’t have any words. “Wow. That’s some fucked-up damaged girl shit,” was all I said and we laughed. She doesn’t want to go because she’s losing her on-call babysitter. But she wants me to be happy and she likes Mr. C.

I guess I don’t really think too much of myself right now. So, it is a little difficult to understand why someone else does.

And it just goes against everything in my experience.

When Mr. C answers my calls he greets me with “Hi Baby!” with this exuberant lilt in his voice. Like the best thing in the world just happened to him.

I remember how I felt trepidation at calling Mr. K. There was always tension on the other side. Like I was bothering him. Like nothing I could have to say was worth his time. I have memories of terse and dismissive ends to calls. And meals at restaurants eaten in silence on anniversaries because he was there out of obligation and stressed about what he had just left behind at work. Or stressed because he had to make the time to spend with me.

Lori said he’s in therapy and on meds now. Good. I hope he answers the phone with welcoming happiness when his girlfriend calls him.

But he didn’t with me. He conditioned me. He convinced me that it was too much to expect. Friendliness, compassion, laughter, joy….those were things I should not expect from my spouse. Especially!! if that spouse is working hard!! to provide for his family! Respect! Respect, dammit. That is what he deserved.

Aw fuck.

I am still carrying that baggage and it a large trunk of pain that I am having a very hard time putting down.

The truth is, I still think he was right about me. I proved him right. And I’m not sure anything except making a shit load of money will make me feel any differently. Not even the love of my family and this goofy ass man who told me today, “I saw a billboard and it reminded me of you. It said, ‘I love you and there’s nothing you can do about it.’ And I thought. That’s right. I’m going to tell Marie that.”

To which I replied with one of his favorite comebacks, “Challenge accepted.”

Well, I guess if there’s nothing I can do about it then I can’t screw it up.

But we all know I’m going to give it my best shot.

I am reminded of what someone said in that weird divorce-therapy group I went to back in Lafayette. For every year that you were married, it takes 6 months to recover. Or something like that. I just remember, I don’t have that long. But here I am, over 5 years later and the wounds still hurt.

So, how am I supposed to let go of this baggage? Where do I lay down this giant trunk of damage?

 

Portland is Rejecting Me

So, the results are in and this Portland experiment is a failure.

I’m almost finished a freelance project which will pay for February’s rent. I don’t have a way to pay March’s.

I’ve applied for all the jobs. My unemployment is out. The temp gigs are not cutting it.

It’s time to call it.

In lieu of torturing both Lori and myself, I’m taking Mr.  Canada up on his offer and moving in with him. I organized Lori’s garage yesterday so I can put my stuff in it. Sometime in February, Mr. C will come down and help me move all my stuff. (After the last move I made him promise that since he was officially my boyfriend he would help me move next time. I’m tired of moving by myself.) Then I’ll pack a couple of suitcases and probably take the train to Seattle where he will pick me up.

As far as the various governmental agencies are concerned, I’ll be living with Lori and visiting Canada often. I’ll have to come back periodically to refill my meds. I’m hoping every three months. And of course, I’ll miss The Baby like crazy. He’s so adorable. He is the cutest baby ever to live. And he’s almost crawling. I won’t be able to stay away for too long. And when I do come back, it will be for a week or a weekend and I’ll stay with Lori, so I’ll get lots of one on one time with all of them.

Mr. C got a second job and says that it doesn’t matter what I do with my time that he just wants to make me happy. He’s excited about having me with him every day. I am too.

But, of course, I’m terrified for a variety of reasons but I’ll get into that later.

So, all my research has proven to be true and this weird city does not have a place for me.

And while I of course feel like a total failure, I also regret nothing. Being with Lori those first months after The Baby was born and watching him grow and being able to shower him and The Kid with love and attention was totally worth it.

On to the next chapter.