So Tuesday night I got all of my work done before I left the school. I didn’t take home any papers to grade. Which is a good thing really. But it also sucked. Because I was home alone with nothing to do. Okay, not nothing. I have food in the fridge that I could cook up, or a closet that I could clean out. Or…well, I’m like any adult, I always have something I “could” do.
But I was overwhelmed with loneliness. I cuddled with my dog a little. I thought about what I could do, or how I could spend my time that would be more useful. I tried to find something on the TV to distract me. I even tried to talk to some strangers online — but all they wanted to talk about was sex and I so can’t deal with that right now.
As I wrote yesterday, “I guess what I’m saying is that I feel lonely without Rick around, and I’m not sure what to do about it. I want to really connect with other people on a deep level, but I’m not sure how to do that. At the very least, I’m out of practice. How do adults make new friends?”
And I want to fall in love again and stay that way. I want to commit to one another and create a life together. But where the heck am I going to meet a guy? (And every time I think about that, my brain still says to me: a guy like Rick.)
So, I have been thinking about my situation, and I sort of realized that it is going to take some major engineering in order for me to meet some new people and have some new experiences. I need to get out there somehow. And I think I need my friends to help.
I put a post on Facebook about it and I got some great responses.
“Okay everyone, Crystal needs some fun and some changes. If you haven’t seen me in a while and you miss me, or you never got to know me very well, but you would like to get to know me better I am open, ready and available for deeper friendships with all who want to try. I’m interested in new experiences and great times. Let’s have some fun.”
31 great responses to be exact. So I have some plans — that’s a start. Some social engineering for myself. I think I need to meet some new people. I know I want to reconnect with my old friends. I also want to find a way to enjoy my alone time again — rather than just wanting to have Rick around. And I used to enjoy my alone time a lot. I would take myself to movies, out to eat, all sorts of things.
So, of course, the big question is how. How can I invest in, and deepen, my current friendships? How can I create new ones? Seriously, how do adults become friends? I know a lot of folks meet people at work, but what if it doesn’t work out and then you have to see that person at work every day? Ick.
Well, I want to go new places with new people and make new friends. New friends who know amazing single guys that they can set me up with. Well, eventually. I am so not ready for that yet. And I don’t want to put myself in the position.
Tuesday night I got to go on a walk with a new friend who already feels like an old friend. Last night I got a good dose of healing at a prayer meeting, And tonight I’m taking care of myself by drying fruit and grading papers — and going to bed really early.
This weekend I have a breakfast with an old friend, plans to get my nails done, and a ladies night in the mix. And tomorrow night I’m making dinner for my parents. I’m pretty excited. Which reminds me, I had better go make sure my apartment is as clean as I’d like it for my parents to visit. Here I go.
And I’m interested in any ideas you all have for new experiences and new people. I think I’m still itching for a small dose of adventure.
I have been working really hard for the past few years and a lot of my friendships have fallen away.
And a lot of them didn’t get to come back to life this past year because, between Rick, my family and my first year as a teacher, I didn’t make room for them.
Rick was my best friend this last year. That’s really the way I like it. I want to be best friends with my significant other. In fact, he was one of the few people outside my family that I spent much time with. It’s not like I was turning down social engagements left and right in order to hang out with him…that’s not how I roll. (Although, I did skip church on weeknights quite a bit to be with him.)
And honestly, being a first year teacher, I probably wouldn’t have seen much of anyone — besides my family — if he hadn’t been coming over to my house. ‘Cause no one else was coming over to my house, and I sure as heck didn’t have the energy or the time to go much of anywhere.
And last year (2013-2014), well I was in graduate school.
And the year(s) before that (2011-13), I was a working waitress. Which means that I worked most of the times that my friends were playing.
And the year before that (2011-2012) I was working two jobs to make enough money to pay off credit card debut and save up to start my own business.
Oh yeah, and then I started my own business in there somewhere too. And ran it.
So, for the last four or five years, my friendships have not been as deep as I might like. And I haven’t been spending as much time with my friends as I would like. And honestly, I had myself busy enough that for the most part I didn’t even notice.
I am lucky enough to have a couple of great friends living in the same apartment complex as me. (You rock, Dee, Cameo and Lauren — and now Annalise.) Without them I know for a fact I would not have been able to make it through the past few years. It would have been lonely-city for Crystal. And probably depressed-city too.
I can imagine slipping slowly into a lonely depression fueled by ice cream and bad TV that would have led me to start getting the proverbial lonely-woman cat companions. And I hate cats. Well, I don’t love them. And I’m allergic to them.
But I’m not even completely happy with those friendships, because I would like to be closer to those ladies as well.
And there is a deeper truth surrounding all of this too. Honestly, I think I have been a little scared to make new friends. I had a few weird friend things happen over the previous years that have made me a little gun-shy.
For a long time, I was investing in people who would ultimately leave. This goes as far back as 2005 when I was working at the Air Force base nearby. I’d get close to people, learn all their stories, meet their families, come to love them and spend a lot of time with them, and then they would get deployed or reassigned.
Suddenly, I’m alone on Friday nights and I have no one close to me. And, unfortunately, I have been awful at keeping up with long distance relationships. (BTW I miss you Kim.)
But the Air Force kiddos were not the only ones who left. A long list of them got married and then moved away. Or moved away and then got married. Or had babies and fell off the face of the earth. Or I started a friendship and it never quite materialized. That has happened a lot — I think because of how busy I have been in the past few years.
So, I maybe have developed some fears of, I don’t know, abandonment?
This gets even more tricky because, around 2009, I had a major life change. Or that’s when the change started. I’ve moved past the religion I was raised in. And as I’ve written in this blog, I’m not just Christian anymore. I’m really loathe to hang out with my Christian friends because I don’t want them to try to convert me. The truth is, I’ve been converted.
So that cut a lot of people out of the mix too.
I guess what I’m saying is that I feel lonely without Rick around, and I’m not sure what to do about it. I want to really connect with other people on a deep level, but I’m not sure how to do that. At the very least, I’m out of practice. And how do adults make new friends? I think I’ll leave this here for now and write a post about that for tomorrow.
I hope this is the beginning of a long life full of self-realization, joy and healing. As I have told you before, I believe that you deserve all good things. And I see you with them. I know because of some of your personal pain, and things in your past, that finding and enjoying some of those things will require some hard work. But I know you can do it. I see you doing it. And I see who you are when it is all done. And you are beautiful.
I see you.
I believe I see who you really are. The full, healthy, healed version of you that loves yourself and the world around you. The version of you that yearns and plans for the joys the future, and learns from the past. You’re a bright light and a wise soul that is waking up. I recognize it. I know from experience that waking up can be painful. But I also know that it is worth it. And I want to assure you of that at this point on your journey.
I see you.
I can see you going through the pain and allowing yourself to fully experience the light, joy and peace on the other side of the dark experiences. You will do the work. You must. You’re compelled and you feel it through all of the distractions – no matter how many you give yourself. You feel the pull. I see it.
I see you.
The Universe has a lot incredible things in store for you. I see some of them. It’s more than you can currently hope for or even imagine. So dream big. Many of the gifts, the Universe is holding out to you with anticipation, and just waiting for you to reach out and claim for yourself.
And you will. I believe – I have to believe – you will.
I see you.
I have seen you on the edge of your darkness, looking out for the possibilities that you feel are there. But afraid – not quite seeing the outline of the shore you are hoping for – that if you pursue them, you may not be able to reach them. But I want you to know it’s safe to jump in. You’ll have to kick. You’ll have to pull. You’ll be tired and feel out of breath at times. But the shore is there and you are getting stronger as you swim for it. I see you on that bright shore.
I see you.
Up until this point you have been afraid to let go of the pain. It’s been there so long. It has defined so much of who you have believed yourself to be up until this point. But it isn’t who you are. You are an ancient, a sage. You are one of our teachers. One of the gentle souls that can heal others just by being who you are meant to be. You hold truth that can touch us all.
I see you.
I have told you these things before and you have said, “I hope that’s true.” This is my urge to you not to stop at hope, but to believe. Believe it. And do the work as if you believe it is already true. Because you deserve it all.
I see you.
You have asked me to let you go, and I am doing that work in the knowledge that the Universe has amazing things for both you and me – whether we create them together or find them on our own. I trust that you will go, do the work, and create something beautiful for yourself. Something strong and joyful that you are immensely proud of. As I leave you, I assure you that I will do the same. The things I gave you while we were together, I gave fully and they are yours to keep. What you gave me, I accepted fully and I will keep it close to my heart.
I see you.
I see you happy, and light and smiling. I see you feeling your purpose and knowing that you are fulfilling it a little at a time each day. I see you calm and wise and taking care of yourself and others. I see you easing the pain of others and teaching compassion easily wherever you go. I see you creating amazing things easily. Things that will outlast us all and continue burning and moving and growing long after you have set them to spark, to spin, to seed.
I see you.
A friend of mine with some first-hand experience with alcoholism – his dad was an alcoholic—mentioned that my situation sounds like my alcoholic using a new relationship as a drug. He’s not the only one who has mentioned that.
He and I were e-mailing about it over the last few days and here is one of my responses that he called, “one of the most beautifully cohesive incohesive things,” he had ever read. And it pretty much sums it up, so here you go:
Yeah, I think that’s what’s going on – the “new person as a drug” thing. And I hope it isn’t what’s going on because I don’t want him to postpone his recovery. But I hope it is what’s going on because then he doesn’t really care about her more than me – he is just using her. But I hope that isn’t true because he is better than that.
But maybe he isn’t really better than that, I just think he is and I’ve been deluded this entire time. Ugh.
And topping it all off is my jealousy and hurt.
And maybe she is an incredible person and they will help each other get and be sober, and they will develop a deep and abiding love. And on some levels I totally want that, because I want the best for him. But I also want it to fall spectacularly apart and become this incendiary thing that shows him how incredible I am and makes him want me instead. (And maybe burns his eyebrows off.)
But also, at this point I don’t know if I want the relationship back the way it was. He was improving and that was exciting and I was happy. But if he could do this, then he probably isn’t as healthy as I thought. And probably not as healthy as I want and need to have the fully-realized relationship that I want. That’s so hard to write because I really was incredibly happy.
And I really do want him back. All of the incredible things about him that I got to share and experience this past year. But I also want more out of a relationship. And truthfully out of myself. I was worn out and weary frequently over the past year – as a result of being burned out pretty fully during grad school the year before. I wasn’t planning for the future as much as I would have liked. I was tired and resting…resting in him to be specific.
And I want the version of him that I see the Universe begging him to be. The sober, happy, ready-to-move-on-and-create-something-beautiful Rick. And I feel like he is so close to being that. Like six months of hard work and love away. And if that’s the case I want him to come find me and woo me like crazy in six months.
Unless, of course, I’m completely in love and ready to marry the man of my dreams. Oh the dilemmas of my imagination.
And maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it is going to take him ten more years before he’s fully capable of experiencing life on the level that I am. So then it’s better if I’m free. I just don’t want that to be true because I want him to be happy whole and full of life. And I want to be right. And I want to be with him.
“Hey gang,” I said weakly to the secretaries on Tuesday morning.
“You don’t sound so hot,” Secretary One said.
“Yeah, are you feeling any better?” Secretary Two asked.
I had taken the day off on Monday to go to the doctor, talk to my pastor — hopefully talk to my counselor — see my chiropractor, and just relax and vomit and … in peace.
“I’m better, but not all better,” I said with a laugh.
“What did the doctor say?” Secretary Two asked.
“Oh, she said I don’t have a virus or anything.”
“But you still don’t feel good? What’s wrong?” Secretary One.
“No. I’ve been throwing up the last two days and my stomach has been mad at me. Food is kind of disgusting to me right now,” I replied.
Secretary Two then said, “Sounds like stress,” as Secretary One mouthed the words, “Are you pregnant?” and one of the paraprofessionals who had been listening said, “It sounds like you’re pregnant?”
“Oh, my, are you?” asked Secretary Two.
“No,” I said with a little laugh.”I think I’m just really sad.”
Are you pregnant? There’s no way, right?
And then I did the math…when was the last time? And what day is it today? I don’t think so…
And the thought made me happy. Any time in the past when I thought pregnancy was a possibility I would immediately panic and almost faint. Thoughts like, “I can’t keep another human alive.” would flood my brain. Fears about being a single mom, and worse. But this time, the idea of being pregnant was nice. Something close to relief.
Relief. It’s weird but it was the exact feeling. Like the oppressive sadness of my situation and any darkness sitting on me was pretty instantly lifted.
And my second thought was, “What the fuck?”
I guess I found it intriguing. And scary as hell, of course. I don’t want to be a single mother…ever if I can help it. But I would keep a child if I were pregnant. And honestly, as hard as it would be, a kid that was half me and half Rick would be amazing.
And hell, that would instantly push me in the right direction as far as looking toward the future instead of the past.
So many things to sort through…and then the bell rang. Time to teach a bunch of other people’s kids.
I got to work, but the idea flitted in and out of my head throughout the day. “I am due to get my period soon…but I haven’t yet.” And from time to time I would have a pang in my uterus. Maybe I was getting my period. Maybe I was…not.
The more I thought about it, the more I found myself kind of hoping I was pregnant.
Again, what the F…
I’ve never really wanted kids. The only times in my life that I have ever entertained the thought are when my college boyfriend Chris mentioned it and I begrudgingly considered it, and times when I have been deeply in love with someone else. When the idea of creating something that is half me and half him was thrilling.
And I had thought about it in reference to Rick. But I knew that was not something he would be able to deal with anytime soon. So I never really even talked to him about it. And I never got to the point where I allowed myself to even want it — because it was impractical.
But I kind of wanted it all day today. Is it my biological clock? Are those last 60 eggs in me dying to be put to use? (Well, either way they are dying.)
Is there some diabolical woman part of me that thinks I could have him back somehow if I had his kid?
But then, I would have him, in a way, if I had his kid — even if I never saw him again. I’d have a great piece of him everyday. A piece of him that would not only allow me to love it, but absolutely demand it.
Or maybe I have just matured to the point that the crushing fear that I would not be able to keep a kid alive is outweighed by the amount of love that I currently have to give, and the few acceptable outlets I have for that love.
Well I had to get a test after work. It was the first thing I did: go home and pee on a stick. Three minutes later, I knew the answer. A half an hour later my little red friend came. So, that’s ten dollars I will never get back.
And I am disappointed. And I’m still not sure exactly why.
Star light, star bright
First star I see tonight
I wish I may,
I wish I might,
Have this wish.
I wish tonight.
Growing up, I always treated this little poem as a special prayer. If I was blessed enough to see the first and only star in the sky, it was as if I had the eye of God himself for one minute. What’s more, I almost always “prayed” for the same thing: “Dear God, I want love.”
Over time the prayer has changed and evolved — but I always ask for love in some form. Sometimes I ask for someone to love, or someone to love me…someone to love me, whom I love in return. I started doing this when I was about 12, so I usually mean romantic love. But that idea has expanded over the years too.
Sometimes I just want someone who will accept the love I give. Anyone, even a stranger. And honestly, that’s not so easy to find in our culture. (Little kids in grocery store lines are always a good place to direct love.)
Well, I saw the first star in the sky tonight. I don’t completely remember what I said, and my current idea of God is certainly bigger than my old idea of a guy with all sorts good stuff up in the sky handing out blessings if we begged correctly. But I still couldn’t help but make a wish — send up a prayer.
“I want love. Big love, deep love. I want to create something beautiful with someone else. I want a partner. I want energy. I want passion. I want adventure. I want deep connection and affection to abide in.
Creation. Passion. Beauty. Creation. Love.
I want a big life. I don’t know what that means for sure. I don’t know what it is going to look like, but I know how I want it to feel, how it will feel, how it feels right now: Big.
You know too, don’t you, Universe. Yeah, you get that ready for me. And I’ll do my best to be ready for it.
Creation. Passion. Beauty…
Big. Big Life. Big Love.”
Star light, star bright…
I was doing well. I felt strong. Still sad, but I had plan. I was going to go to a friend’s birthday party and then cook and grade papers all night. I had been productive all morning. I hadn’t cried much. I was moving along.
As I was moving along to my car in the grocery store parking lot, I saw Rick’s mother. She’s a sweet woman who I have known for years and always loved. In fact, she set us up.
The last time I talked to Rick was Monday. At that point, he hadn’t told anyone that he had broken up with me — not his parents, not even his sponsor. And that’s a big deal because he’s in recovery. He’s been sober less than a year.
Which is one of the reasons I decided to stay here for the next year. He said, “You’re not supposed to make any major changes the first year that you’re sober.” So, great. You’re going to be here. We’re in love. We aren’t going to move. I’m not going to move.
Anyway, I was girding up my loins to talk to his mom — afraid that I may have to tell her that he broke up with me. She gave me a hug and said she was so sorry. She said she missed me. She said that he missed me. I don’t remember all the other details of the conversation…something that made me think that she thought I had broken up with him…something about how I was better off…and something about another girl.
Wait, what? I had specifically asked him if there was someone else. He said no.
She went on. She didn’t know much about it, except that they had met in treatment. That’s means they’ve known each other three weeks. That means she’s an addict too.
That means I’m crying in the parking lot.
…and then for a few hours at home, and then a little bit at the movies with a friend. And then again when I got home from the movies. It was a rough afternoon and night.
All of my old demons came back to try to possess me again. Gargoyles of ideas about how I’m not enough and I don’t deserve real love. A dragon of anger trying to roost in my heart to make me hate him. Harpies of loneliness and despair over the idea that there is no one out there for me. No one to match me. Some slithering thing telling me I’m one of the misfit toys.
I had dreams about it. I woke up and couldn’t fall back to sleep because my brain was full of questions.
I tried to re-direct it. I tried to give the monster something else to chew on. But it wanted me and it chewed me up good.
What do I need to do? What do I need to think? What do I need to believe in order to be able to move past all of this? He’s truly done with me. This isn’t something he will be changing his mind over. But I still want love. I still want to be in a deep, passionate, creative partnership. I want to live a big life. I want someone to be here for my important moments.
It’s not going to be him. Got it. Then who? And where is he? And how can I be ready for him to come as soon as possible? Especially when I have been dragon food so recently?
I spoke to him this morning. I asked him all of the questions that had haunted my brain all night. I feel better. I told him he’s making a mistake. She’s eventually going to want all of the things I wanted, and if he can’t give those things to another person he’s just going to break another heart.
He told me he loves me. He also told me that he kissed her last night.
Well I’m resolved to move on — dragon burns and all. I am the phoenix rising from these ashes. I’m giving myself a week to mourn this. Next Saturday night I am going to have a memorial service for the relationship. I might even invite him. No…I can’t see him. I still want him too much.
Maybe I’ll invite his mother.
I have also decided that I am going to be clean and happy and ready to fall in love again in three weeks. That’s right May 2. In fact, I even want to have a date by then. But most importantly, I don’t want to want Rick anymore. He has “Stephanie.” They can be sick together (although, I sincerely hope he is able to heal).
And hey, maybe I will leave this land of monsters in search of a prince who is willing to slay demons of his own. Hell, maybe he’ll even be willing to fight mine along with me.