Closing a chapter…

It’s easy to say it’s over. The hardest part is finding all the little bits of a relationship and separating them from my life.

One year ago today was one of the happiest days I’ve ever had. It was less than two weeks away from my favourite holiday and I was chatting, once again, with my best friend. It couldn’t get much better, then this happened…

Michelle: (((hugs))) He flat out said, “I like you. Do you want to be my girlfriend?”. I need blatant information like that. Subtlety confuses me.
L: are you asking me to ask you?
Michelle: I’m asking if you’re interested or if I’m just wildly missing something.
L: yes, I am, yes I’m kinda shy, no I don’t want to lose my best friend somehow
Michelle:¬†Aww you’re not losing me (((hugs)))
Michelle: I love you
L: I love you too. Would you do the honour of being my girlfriend?
Michelle: Sure ūüôā Thanks

Suddenly things were a whole lot better. After almost 15 years of being single, I was dating my best friend. Soon we were making plans to get married in Cardiff, followed by a hot air balloon ride overlooking the ocean and pictures at the Doctor Who museum. I even picked out my wedding dress, which needed some alterations and a handful of butterflies but was otherwise perfect for me.

my-dress

We were going to move to Richmond, England together, which I found a tad poignant seeing as my Mom grew up in Richmond, BC. All my life I’ve lived in the same two cities, both side by side. This was my chance for adventure and I’d be doing it with the one I loved beside me. I just needed to hold on.

That was the hard part. I’d been depressed for over a year and it was getting worse instead of better. Plus I was finding it harder to cope at work. But I needed to hold on… I had to. L couldn’t move to Canada and I needed to be sane and employable to move to England. There wasn’t any other way. I just needed to hold on.

And the more I tried to hold on… the more L stepped back in self preservation… and the deeper I tumbled. I didn’t realize I was holding on too tight. I just knew that I couldn’t let go or else I’d fall. And he let go.

I spun into a free fall of suicidal depression that spring, one that ultimately ended up with me in the hospital. The night I got home, I sent L a letter, begging him for our old friendship back, and got this in return.

‚ÄúYour idea of being friends is hiding from issues instead of dealing with them or letting them go. I don’t need to have a pretend tea party every time something bad happens, I need to deal with it. I have changed, and you can’t accept that so I guess things will be very quiet for a very long time because you don’t accept the type of grown up friendship I can give – the only type of friendship I can give. take care.‚ÄĚ

I was blocked shortly after.

I look back at L’s initial nervous fear that he’d lose his friend and it brings tears to my eyes. He did lose me barely half a year later… and it was of his own free will. I don’t think either of us got what we really wanted. How do relationships end up so tangled anyway?

I’ve been slowly letting go. Changing passwords and secret answers so he no longer was entwined in them. Deleting monthiversary notices off my phone. Removing email addresses, phone number, and his snail mail address from various locations. Taking the charm off my keychain… the one I kept there to remember him by. Putting away the postcard he mailed me so I could see his favourite cafe. Removing… deleting… hiding. And now it’s been one year.

The last connecting piece was L’s blog. He started blogging before me and I was one of his first followers (just as he was one of mine). I’d tried to unfollow him before but he wasn’t on my list of email follows. It wasn’t until now that I realized I’d have to log out of my blog in order to remove him. Deleting him reminded me of all the times we spent working on blog posts simultaneously, sharing in the excitement of posting and seeing the stats go up as people read.

And it’s now done. I don’t want to be that person, the one who won’t let go long after a relationship is over. I loved him, and I miss him as a friend, but it just plain didn’t work out.

Someone we both know assured me that if our friendship was meant to be, we’d find each other again and, hopefully, we’ll have kept up with each other. All I can do, in that case, is hope he keeps up because 2016 is almost over and my 2017 is going to be fabulous.

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My almost, but not quite, relationship…

I’m curious about something
And feel free to say no … obviously
I’m looking to be in a relationship.

Do you think you and I are a possibility?

To say this was a surprise would be an understatement. Ann* and I had previously only messaged each other sporadically on Facebook (mostly her messaging jokes about Canada) and had never met. And I’m a demiromantic asexual. I need to know someone in order to be in a relationship. And yet… I’d never get to know her if we didn’t talk plus I’d never know if we were compatible if I said no. So…

I’d have to talk to you more. I don’t know you well enough. I wouldn’t rule it out though.

Then we started to talk about politics and camping and food and families. It was the most we’d talked ever. But I still didn’t know her. I mean I’d talked multiple times a day to L for three years before we started dating. How do you get to know someone through awkward conversation?

I messaged her “good morning” the next day and got a three word reply four hours later. The same thing happened that night (except I hadn’t texted good morning at that point). I was beginning to think she and I were on different pages when it came to learning about each other through messaging.

Then came a four am message. Nothing good ever comes from a four am message.

Hey

¬†I’m sorry for being slow on responding
¬†I don’t even know how to say this.
¬†Now that I’m working the day shift, I’ve rediscovered a crush I had on someone
¬†I’m sorry

What could I say to that beyond “It’s okay”? When L and I broke up I’d needed an Ativan in order to start breathing again but Ann? All I really knew about her was she liked chicken and camping and preferred the term progressive over liberal.

A short while later I was warned by a few people that Ann had a mean streak and could get quite nasty. A short while after that she blocked me when I pointed out it was rude to waste a cashier’s time just because she was mad about a bus delay.

It definitely wasn’t a match made in heaven. It technically wasn’t even a match. But it was interesting while it lasted.

me-in-winter-pjs

Me in my winter pjs, just because ūüôā

*Ann is so not her real name

Trust

I sift pieces as fine and ephemeral as memories
I remember that fragment
It tumbles past as a glimpse of a smile
An impression of hope
Each piece disconnected.

The whole shimmers before me
Untouchable
Intangible
Impossible

My hand scoops and comes up empty
Trust, once shattered
Cannot be replaced.

How do you let go?

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I settled down for bed tonight with an Ativan, dim lights, and some quiet surfing on Facebook until I was drowsy. Then I snuggled into bed with BunBun, one of the kittens, and some quiet music; hoping this time I’d drift off peacefully. It’s been a busy day filled with grocery shopping, swimming, taking the¬†kittens for a walk, writing, and phone calls… by all rights I should be tired. My eyes fluttered shut and I thought, “L never found out about the kittens and now he’ll never know. I won’t ever be able to tell him how sweet Jeremy is with Lara… how Smudge tries to nurse off my stuffed animals as she goes to sleep.”

No one ever taught me how to go on living around the empty space in my heart. No one ever explained how to encourage it to close. There’s surgery for physical holes, what do you do for the emotional ones?

L and I talked every day… all day… for years. Every time messenger chimes, I think it’s him. We talked about everything from meals to philosophy to his hopes and fears about transitioning to my hopes and fears about writing. And we weren’t scared to get downright weird with each other. We were each other’s soul dragons… and then we weren’t. And it hurts so much.

Dear L,

It’s been almost two months since we talked. It seems like almost a lifetime. I’ve bought new (to us) living room furniture and two adorable kittens. You’d love the kittens. Not so much the furniture but, then again, they aren’t really my style either. They are comfy though.

I’ve worked on my novel, scrapbooked, camped, and organized a trip to Niagara Falls for Jeremy and myself. Just 18 more days until we leave. It’s a trip you would love, complete with a tour behind the falls and a trip to a butterfly conservatory. I remember how you talked about your trip to Ontario. If we were still talking, I’d buy you a surprise from the Hershey’s chocolate store. I still have stamps left over for all the cards I knew I’d write to you.

Jeremy’s furious with you but they’re the one who got to see the aftermath of us breaking up and me being blocked. I don’t know what they did with the stuffed cat¬†you gave me. I’m pretty sure they simply hid it but I haven’t asked. They’ve changed pronouns too, which makes a kind of sense since they were your pronouns first. You were the first man they’d trusted in a long time so I guess their anger is understandable. I know you were happy when they put you down as stepfather on Facebook. It was a huge step for them. You were mad at me in June. Did you think of them? I guess they were probably just collateral damage in a war none of us wanted.

It’s so hot these days here. You’d hate it. Forty degrees with the humidex and 30 degrees before that. It’s humid enough that I was carrying cold drinks home in a plastic bag and condensation was forming on the outside of the bag to drip on the ground. Kind of like my own personal rain cloud but smaller and less pretty. Everything feels sticky and uncomfortable. I have to peel myself off chairs and I’m pretty sure falling outside on the pavement would result in 3rd degree burns.

Jeremy’s been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which explains their rages and depressions. Their medication is helping so much. Jeremy bought me the laptop I’m typing on and we’ve both applied for subsidized one bedroom apartments. It will take a few years before we each move and they’re hoping we move into the same building so we can hang out regularly. They talk about it every day.

I don’t know how you could promise to love me forever and change your mind. I don’t know how you could promise to be my friend then block me for asking for the friendship back. I guess I’ll never know and that’s one of the hard things. There’s no closure, no way to say goodbye.

I wish our friendship could have gone on forever. That I could be there to listen to your voice deepen and watch as you grow your first beard. That we could joke about trash pandas and dream about a trip under the northern lights. That we were still swapping good night pictures and counting down for a visit this October. I found the perfect birthday card for you too. The reminder’s off my phone to get you a double chocolate doughnut before I leave.

I hope you’re doing well and have finally gotten reimbursed for your travel expenses. I hope your kitties are treating you kindly¬†and your back is doing better. I hope you’re happy.

Love always, me

p.s. How do I learn how to let go, especially since you’ve already walked away

This is a “no closet” family…

I say this on a regular basis simply because we have three cats (now four since Emma moved in with Tiny Tiger) so I’m often fishing a cat out of a closet before shutting the door. It’s said as a joke but also as a reminder to Jeremy that no one in this family needs to hide themselves. This includes me.

So… I’m reasonably sure I’m asexual. So far the only people who know are L, Captain Glittertoes, and my teenagers.

And, well, now almost 18 hundred more people.

*waves sheepishly*

This is my story. I make no claims to be average. Your mileage may vary.

My Mom and I started reading the Clan of the Cave Bear series when I was a teenager. We found the first book enthralling but were less than impressed by the rest. The first book was a fascinating insight into what life might be like in a neanderthal clan while the later books slowly devolved into what Ayla and her boyfriend(s) enjoyed the most between the sheets. At first I worried that my discomfort with the author’s highly detailed pages of sex meant something was wrong with me but my Mom’s¬†equal discomfort relieved me. We gave each other warnings of which pages to skip. Eventually it felt like I was skipping half the book so I dropped the series. My Mom gave up a short while later.

The first “sex dreams” I remember involved meeting a young unknown man who was kind, gentle, and assured me that he was so small I wouldn’t feel anything. I never told anyone about those dreams (until now). I knew they were weird. I also knew simply not dating wasn’t an option a) because I wanted the close connection of being with someone and b) because that would prove all my bullies right, that I was too stupid/weird/ugly to ever find someone.

I didn’t start dating until I was in college. My ex-husband was introduced to me by his mother and I was attracted by¬†his geeky shyness. He gave me flowers on our first date then¬†gave himself an entirely too audible pep talk on holding¬†my hand. His awkwardness was endearing. Too bad it didn’t last.

Thanks to a medical condition called vaginismus, it took us months to consummate our relationship. I’m sure my ex thought he’d died and gone to heaven as I tried multiple positions in the hopes of finding one that would be¬†equal to (or hopefully better) than chocolate. I never did. I loved the physical closeness and the feeling of skin on skin; otherwise I simply enjoyed his enjoyment of the experience. My eventual favourite position was one that felt, to me, like the world’s closest hug. As our marriage deteriorated, my ex began complaining about my lack of interest in trying new things; telling me the different things his ex’s were willing to do. That was not any sort of encouragement, bedroom wise at least. It was just another example of why I was no longer interested in him in any way.

When we broke up I figured I’d meet a new man and fall in love. Maybe we’d meet at the park, bringing our mutual kids there to play, or chatting on the corner while waiting for a parade to start. I never did meet anyone though. Sometimes I’d think about trying online dating but would panic and push¬†the thought¬†aside. Sometimes I’d tie creating a profile¬†to dieting, promising myself that I’d make an account once I’d lost some weight. Then I’d promptly gain more. Occasionally¬†I’d dream about meeting a wonderful man. I’d picture a first meeting at a coffee shop with us finding common ground in geekery¬†and books. Then I’d move through our imaginary dating until we reached the bedroom. At that point my mind drew a curtain around the whole thing, saying we’d “do stuff that felt good”. Yes I censored my own (not really) erotic daydreams simply because I couldn’t think of anything that would end up with the mind blowing “better than chocolate” sex that people talk about. The best I could do was figure¬†he might guide me to what everyone else said was amazing.

I didn’t really start wondering about asexuality until a few months ago when I was talking to someone (who shall remain nameless but is most definitely not Voldemort). She mentioned offhand that if she has trouble sleeping, she just masturbates to orgasm and that relaxes her enough to doze off.

I stared at her in complete surprise then blurted, “Wait. You can do that?”

Most of the time, touching down there* is about as interesting as rubbing my elbow and produces much the same results. About¬†once or twice a year I’ll wake up with a full bladder and an urgent need to relieve myself in more ways than one. It’s nice because it feels good (although still not as good as a good quality chocolate**). It’s also a freaking pain in the backside because then I’m stuck on the toilet for ten¬†minutes waiting to pee. I can think of a lot better things to do at 3am than sit in the dark on a cold toilet while my cats alternate between crying at the closed door or sitting in the crack of the door playing Gandolf “you shall not pass” with the other kitties.

It took me a month before I broached the topic of mastubation and sensation to a secret group for mothers with mental illness. I was reassured that there was a wide range of normal, which was nice but not what I’d hoped for. What I really wanted was for someone else to broach the topic of asexuality so I wasn’t left wondering if I was just imagining things. It took another month after that for me to bring the topic up with Emma, L, and Captain Glittertoes, although with a lot less detail than I’ve written here.

*waves awkwardly*

And now here I am. Since I’ve stopped mentally pressuring myself to find a guy and start a relationship, I’ve begun to make a more serious effort in losing weight and eating healthy. The hard part is that I still would like a relationship. I miss hugging and kissing. I want to wake up in someone’s arms and have someone to joke with while washing dishes. I’d love to see the Northern Lights for the first time and have someone admire them with me. And I have no idea how to find someone short of wearing a t-shirt that reads “I love hiking and all things geeky but don’t want sex. Are you still interested?” And *cough* I’m so not wearing that. Even if it had a TARDIS on it.

I so want to do this!

I so want to do this!

* yes I know the names of all my body parts and use them and talk about them to my own children. No, I don’t feel like using them right now.

** thanks to all the chocolate references, I’m now baking chocolate chip cookies. At least I can freeze them for lunches.