I suppose I should know better by now, to have internalized that old Maya Angelou quote that makes the rounds of the interwebs every so often: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” But I have to keep knocking my head against a brick wall for five months instead of just two in order to get the message that someone is emotionally unavailable, incapable of being in a relationship, doesn’t possess the skills to empathize or sympathize, can only make everything all about them even when I try to talk about and explain my feelings. It’s been six years since Jack died, and though I’ve had little relationships in between—two- and three-month flings here and there, along with the 18-month affair that was mostly uneventful and an excellent, drama-free match but ending with a good deal of heartache—this was the first time I’ve felt (in the beginning, at least) that things might go somewhere.
But as time’s gone on, I’ve increasingly felt crushed and flattened and lessened as a person. Long-time readers here know that my growth as a person has been a lifetime of trying to find my voice and spread my wings. I’ve also had to deal with increasing depression and anxiety. These two things combined—feeling as though being myself isn’t allowed in this relationship and knowing that my mental illness cropping up is putting a strain on it/my partner doesn’t really understand/can’t separate my illness from me—have caused a good deal of sadness in my heart. I am lonely. I feel abandoned. (I have been abandoned.) I feel as though promises have been broken. (They have been.) My trust has been violated. (It doesn’t seem to matter.) I’ve been sent so many mixed messages my head and my heart are spinning. (Yet somehow I suspect I’m the one to blame. Maybe I really am.)
All of this is amidst much turmoil in my work and financial life. It’s all so overwhelming that I simply feel numb. Numb and crying, if that’s a possible combination. Which it must be, since it’s happening. Times like these, I feel as though I’m a little girl again, curled up in my bed, under my covers, crying, thinking that when I’m an adult I’ll learn how to cry without making any sounds, and that will mean I’m grown up. Except I’m an adult now. And I’ve learned how to cry that way. And it makes me all the more sad to know that I’ve managed to do so. Or that I’ve actually had to learn how.
I’m so overcome by the immensity of shitty things in my life (none of which I can do absolutely anything about) that I don’t know quite how to prioritize which one to be sad or angry or anxious about first. It’s all just a big knot in my stomach that sits there and stews. Since I can’t do anything about any of it, it all just sits there. I try to get bigger and not so crushed, back to my full self, but it’s really hard when I’m sad and scared and so very sick and in so much pain (physical and otherwise). And when I’m so much alone. There are people all around me, and I hear them talking, and some of them talk to me (and some of them even say helpful things or buy me coffee or give me warm hugs), but in the end, we all still go to sleep alone.
And as I end this, I am still numb and crying and alone, in my bed, trying to cry so my roommate won’t hear, trying to be strong enough to get out of bed and start my day. The pain is immense, but so is the pain of doing nothing.