projector

A while back, my ther­a­pist asked, “Do you think Heather will love you, regard­less of whether you’re active­ly con­tribut­ing to the rela­tion­ship?”. I told him I wasn’t sure, cause I was still try­ing to under­stand the con­cept of uncon­di­tion­al love. As a child, my par­ents told me they wouldn’t love me if I wasn’t a good boy, and a good boy would do exact­ly what they want­ed. The affec­tion they doled out was direct­ly relat­ed to how well I did in school, or how much I impressed oth­er par­ents. They used it as a tool to con­trol me, and this dynam­ic has influ­enced my under­stand­ing of rela­tion­ships to the point that it feels like I con­stant­ly need to be mak­ing efforts in them (or they’ll decay).

So my ther­a­pist instead posed the ques­tion, “Do you think Heather will love you, no mat­ter what?”. My first reac­tion was one of con­fu­sion; I heard the same ques­tion as before. When I real­ized it had com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent impli­ca­tions — would Heather still love me if I was an axe mur­der­er; if I was racist; if I burned the house down; if I didn’t love her back — it dawned on me that I was pro­ject­ing this mon­u­men­tal require­ment on myself to be con­stant­ly mak­ing efforts towards the rela­tion­ship. It wasn’t an expec­ta­tion Heather was bring­ing, but my own; one I pro­ject­ed on her due to my child­hood trauma.

To real­ize that I was doing this in such a spe­cif­ic and sig­nif­i­cant man­ner was a shock. My mind inad­ver­tent­ly made bounds in log­ic, and every time Heather said, “I’ll always love you”, I would hear, “I’ll always love you, as long as…1

Continue read­ing “pro­jec­tor”…

  1. It blows my mind to know that Heather’s love for me isn’t con­di­tion­al, that she loves me deep­er that I’m even able to under­stand at the moment. []

I don't sleep, I sit and stare

Autumn in Canada is often as short as it is beau­ti­ful, but this year we lost it to win­ter in just a cou­ple weeks. I sup­pose I’d mind, if there were more rea­sons to leave the house, but at this point I’m con­tent to live in my cozy won­der­land, even if it means deal­ing with the ennui.

It’s hard to tell exact­ly why I’ve lost so much will be pro­duc­tive when my men­tal health is improv­ing, though I sus­pect they’re indi­rect­ly relat­ed. Maybe I no longer feel the need to val­i­date myself or occu­py my time with huge projects. I have to won­der if the med­ica­tion is mak­ing me a fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent per­son, and whether it’s to my ben­e­fit overall.

That’s not to say that my emo­tion­al scars don’t run deep. I still wor­ry about my worth, my attrac­tive­ness. Still wor­ry about los­ing Heather to some freak acci­dent. Still wor­ry what peo­ple think of me. Still get embar­rassed about things I did when I was 15. Still feel indig­nant about the way I’ve been treat­ed by peo­ple I haven’t spo­ken to in years. The ghosts of the past still haunt me; I’m just not as scared by them.

Magic playing couple

One of my major projects this year was the design and con­struc­tion of my first MTG cube. Now that it’s built, I get to enjoy it with my friends, but that also means I fin­ished an activ­i­ty that took up a lot of my time, and I’ve yet to replace it with any­thing as deep and engaging.

Usually, I’m a busy­body when there’s so much hap­pen­ing in my head but the most I’ve been able to do this month is browse the depths of the inter­net, wide-eyed, wait­ing for Heather to fin­ish work, count­ing down the time until I see friends on the week­end. I nev­er thought I’d live long enough to grow old, and here I am in my late 30s with my metab­o­lism final­ly catch­ing up to me.

As the days stretch on it feels like I’m walk­ing a dark­ened path, one that leads in an unknown direc­tion, and I’m too scared of the floor falling out from under me to be excit­ed. I sus­pect that’s why I’ve been roused to inac­tion. Nothing can go wrong if I don’t take any risks. As a per­son who’s still recov­er­ing from a life­time of trau­ma I’m okay with play­ing it safe for now, even if it means my world is small­er and the sky less bright.

those who leave but never leave you

I’m sor­ry she nev­er replied, but I’m also glad you fig­ured out that she doesn’t owe you an answer. I think that says a lot about how much you’ve grown and how far you’ve come as a person.

It was no small step to reach out after all this time and the things you’ve been through togeth­er. I think you did the right thing cause of the way things end­ed. Offering to make amends by putting your feel­ings out there was more gen­er­ous than I’d expect of anyone.

After all, you nev­er deserved to be led on like that. I wish I could explain why she didn’t give you the space you need­ed at first. I’m sor­ry you weren’t strong enough at the time to stand up for your­self, but it doesn’t mean you deserved it. It wasn’t fair. You were lone­ly and vul­ner­a­ble and it was the last thing your heart need­ed to heal. I don’t blame you for hav­ing a hard time get­ting over her after that.

That’s why you had every right to ask for anoth­er break. Needing it was nev­er a reflec­tion or judg­ment on who she was. Just because she didn’t like it doesn’t mean you did any­thing wrong. In fact, she should have respect­ed you and your request instead of get­ting upset or tak­ing it as a val­u­a­tion on her as a person.

I’m sor­ry she nev­er acknowl­edged your pain or her role in it. I’m sor­ry part of you still feels so bad­ly messed up. I’m sor­ry you nev­er had a chance to tell her.

The fact that you haven’t heard back is like­ly a sign of how much she tru­ly cares about you. That doesn’t mean you have to stop lov­ing her. Your feel­ings are com­plete­ly valid. It’s okay to love some­one from a dis­tance. It doesn’t make you a bad part­ner or person.

So take as much time as you need. There’s no right or wrong way to mourn the end of a relationship.

wake me up when October ends

I was doing well in terms of stick­ing to my bi-week­ly writ­ing sched­ule. Putting my mind to some­thing and being respon­si­ble to myself became a nur­tur­ing rou­tine. Then October came and I lost the plot.

pretty girl with bangs

It can’t just be love, right? I can’t be the only one who thinks she’s beau­ti­ful. Her gen­tle smile has me con­vinced it’s an objec­tive fact.

It’s the appoint­ments: den­tists, gas­tros, perios, shrinks. They all hap­pen to fall with­in a few weeks, some of them up to three times. I know they’re all there to help me, but I’ve had a frus­trat­ing and dif­fi­cult his­to­ry with most med­ical pro­fes­sion­als. At this point, I sim­ply wouldn’t have the patience to sit in a wait­ing room if it weren’t for Heather there to sup­port me every time. At least I found a com­pe­tent psy­chi­a­trist; the first one who’s ever tru­ly lis­tened to me before pre­scrib­ing any med­ica­tion1.

Continue read­ing “wake me up when October ends”…

  1. One of the most impor­tant ques­tions he asked was whether or not the hos­pi­tal fol­lowed up with me after my sui­cide attempt. The answer, of course, being a resound­ing NOPE. []

introducing Percy

Losing Dolly at the begin­ning of the year was absolute­ly dev­as­tat­ing. However, I was also buoyed by the fact that we sud­den­ly had space for a new cat in the house. What bet­ter way to help me through the mourn­ing process than to have a new life keep­ing me com­pa­ny while Heather’s at work? And since her dream was always to have an orange tab­by, I set about find­ing her the per­fect kit­ten from the Humane Society back in January.

cat in box

I thought he was still teething, but it turns out he just real­ly likes chew­ing things. Also, sleep­ing in boxes.

Kittens tend to go with­in a few hours of being put up for adop­tion, so at one point I was check­ing the web­site every hour for avail­able can­di­dates. When there hap­pened to be a tiny male tab­by at 14 weeks old on the oth­er side of town, I drove over imme­di­ate­ly and found him in a cage sleep­ing with his sis­ter (a beau­ti­ful lit­tle cal­i­co). It broke my heart to split them up, but I also knew she’d soon be snatched up herself.

Continue read­ing “intro­duc­ing Percy”…