Posts tagged with "Heather"

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.

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  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. []

semi-poly

I hope I’m not belabouring the point when I say I’ve suffered a lonely existence. For much of my life, I’ve kept those closest to me at arms-length, out of a subconscious fear that they’d hurt me. I could never turn to my parents for any kind of support, cause they were more concerned about how I made them appear than how I felt; I had no siblings with which to form an alliance when they became my greatest enemy. The best friend I carried into adulthood was a person who never truly understood me, and my best friend after that abandoned me at the first sign of difficulty.

Managing my relationship needs has been a lifelong struggle. Much of the growing I’ve done (or been forced to do) is intertwined with the solitude I’ve faced; being able to change myself gives me a small sense of control in what would otherwise be a messy and chaotic existence. An added difficulty is that I keep evolving, and my social needs evolve in turn. It takes years to develop the kinds of relationships that nurture me. I’m in the middle of a transition, and my support network is the smallest it’s ever been.

Living with a partner has helped, but at some point my attachment to Heather grew unhealthy. It’s not fair for me to put so much pressure on her to be my lover, friend, therapist, caretaker, gaming buddy…everything. When I start to resent her for my needs going unmet, I know I’m in a bad place and need to check myself.

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not choosing fear

Stepping out of my comfort zone lately means letting someone hear my material before it’s ready, saying I love you without the expectation of hearing it back, posting pictures of myself I find unflattering, being an attentive listener during difficult conversations, worrying that spouses will know my secrets but telling friends anyway, listening to songs that remind me of her, holding important people accountable for hurting me, asking for help before I need it, accepting the fact that no one can be everything I need all the time, loving someone from a distance, letting boys hold me when I’m upset,

girl kissing boy

daring to dream that things will be okay,

putting myself first in the destructive relationships I can’t escape, saying no instead of finding excuses, making love without some kind of reassurance about my looks first, letting myself miss the people I no longer like, being first to call after exchanging numbers, not knowing when I’ll be home and going out anyway, hoping I’m not judged every time I ask her to do that thing I like, giving myself space from people who adore me but don’t nurture me, not trying to please everyone all the time, playing even though I have a decent chance of losing, not cutting someone out after they’ve wronged me, reconciling with old lovers, empathizing with people I hate, going out when I’m not high, spending time around people I find difficult, saying sorry and meaning it, trying to hit chord tones in genres I never listen to, and paying attention to the friends who call me on my shit.

Princess Dolly, 2003–2018

Dolores was more than a pet. She was capable of profound love (or burning hatred), and that loyalty made her feel more like a little person than a companion. With the ability to recognize people through windows, I’d often find her sitting on the sill at the front of the house, waiting to greet me with a chorus of raspy meows when I came home from work; a ritual only special guests may be privy to, if they’ve presented the princess with enough presents.

I adopted her in university, and she was a constant presence through many residences, housemates, girlfriends — we even shared our space with other cats for years at a time. When finding me after a few moments apart, she’d come lean against me with an arched back, inviting me to scoop her up, and I’d make a point of spending a bit of time to cradling her like a baby, even if I was just passing through. Sometimes we’d lie in the blankets and stare into each other’s eyes; there was as much comfort to be found in her purring as my warmth and attention.

I could tell our bond was special from the start, and being fearful that I’d never share anything like it with another cat again, always made sure to cherish every second.

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keeping the rage tender

Fall has fallen, and I was ready. I was waiting. I was trapped for months on end, when my body wouldn’t cooperate or anxiety got the better of me. Even hearing Townes Van Zandt sing to me about snow in Raton was enough to make me miss winter again. I’d live vicariously in any form of visual media I could find, just to remember what it was like to feel the tingle of sun on my skin.

Now I can go out, but on my own terms and for the sake of it, not just therapy or a doctor’s appointment. It’s given Heather and I a chance to date — to dress up for each other, to trade secret glances about people who might be the other’s type, to hold hands and show each other off — instead of all the coping we were left doing after falling into the relationship so suddenly.

portrait of Heather and Jeff

Rachel Weisz has nothing on dem brows.

Ever since she began her career, I found it difficult to deal with how little we saw each other. It felt like we were barely connecting or having meaningful experiences when we had such limited time. Now that she has a better shift and a carpool, we have an extra hour and a half together on weekdays. Combined with Jesse committing to hangouts twice a month to play games or jam, it’s made a huge difference in the way I approach my goals and plan my time.

They’re small steps, but after so much regression, I tend to be happy with any movement in the right direction. Still, I wonder if I’ll ever find a balance that won’t leave me frantic, one that’s conducive to getting my introvert needs met while letting me feel secure in my relationships.

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