15 years ago…

So I’ve written a lot about the ex but it occurred to me that I haven’t written about the start. 15 years ago, when we finally found each other.

I was not looking for anyone at that point. I had just made peace with my love life – I’d been loved and I’d loved. I was truly peaceful in that moment of clarity that all was good in my life. That I was OK because I had been blessed with love, both giving and receiving.

To that point I’d had a series of short term flings for three years, including the Detective I’ve written about previously, post the break-up of my first marriage.

Yes that’s right. I have a first wife. Surprise!! My first girlfriend – and how lesbian of us – we met (on a bus!), went out, moved in, got married, got cats, bought a house. Then we broke up. That break up was a completely different story…not today’s story!

So anyway, peaceful me was happily being single – finally – and then bam! I met this woman.

I’d met her before but there weren’t any sparks at that point and to be fair, because I was so blissful in my ‘I’m OK’ state, I didn’t really consider her in the girlfriend way even then. She was just a person I was hanging out with in a group of women, putting together a newsletter.

Within a month that changed. After her not so subtle (but totally subtle) efforts to say ‘Erm hey, I wanna do more than just write articles with you’ finally worked.

It was like a revelation. I was star struck. Her eyes, her lips, her laugh, her smile, her kindness. She was the one who remembered the soy milk for the lactose intolerant person in the group. Before it was actually trendy to do that. She was strong and independent and confident.

Our third date was watching ‘Destry rides again’ because we both enjoyed watching old Hollywood movies.

The chemistry between us, once unleashed, was volcanic. Even when we spent the first three weeks of our relationship sick because we couldn’t stop seeing each other – the cold that keeps getting shared back and forth because you just can’t NOT at least kiss a little…

The magic of meeting someone who you have this amazing chemical reaction to, this amazing and beautiful beginning, this complete connection too…it’s completely addictive. No wonder humans keep wanting to do it!

Of course all of this explosive energy can’t last forever. It matured and deepened into a beautiful love.

So what happened? At some point we lost each other. At some point we drifted too far apart to come back to each other. At some point we stopped watching old Hollywood movies. At some point we shut down, so the connection was lost.

It happens. Life happens. Relationships are challenging. Two people need to be nurtured. Two minds, hearts, bodies, experiences need to meet, to ebb and flow, to swing gently one way and then the other.

And I guess at some point I just felt there was no swinging my way anymore. Was that fair? Was that right? Well no point making those judgments because regardless of any of that, it was how I felt. It’s like when someone says ‘I didn’t mean to hurt you’. Well no doubt they didn’t but you are hurting regardless, aren’t you?

So now, while we still maneuver around the material spoils of 15 years, the non-material blessings are easily counted for me.

The love, that rare explosive connection.

The child we have between us, shared now forever.

The support and encouragement we gave to each other.

The fights, the sex, the debates, the laughs, the jokes, the singing.

All of these things made us who we are today.

For 15 years we shared a journey together that I can never regret, no matter how hard or hurtful or terrible this last bit is.

And even though it’s now ended, those 15 years have shaped me and I’m grateful for them. I’m grateful for her part in my life.

So I hope that one day I will have again this feeling with someone who stands in front of me. Someone who also has this feeling for me. But if I don’t, I’ve still had this beautiful long term love and that is OK. Everyone will be OK.

So here is to believing in the magic…

Eventually someone sees us for the magic inside us, and we see theirs too. We just have to be open for them to see it!

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

If I have love…

If I have love, I want to give it to you.

I want to shower you in it. I want you to have it.

So it makes me sad if I have love for you and I can’t give it to you.

Even if you still care about me. Even if you don’t.

It just makes me sad.

I’m trying not to think about it any more.

Maybe the car crash was the Universe’s way of distracting me. ‘Hey, here’s some physical pain, some financial pain and a whole lot of paperwork and inconvenience for you!’

Yep, top work Universe.

Thanks for another fucking lesson that I have to try to work out.

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

Forgiving the wounded tiger is harder than it sounds

I haven’t forgiven her.

I haven’t forgiven the ex for throwing me out of the house. For going through my things, through my online life. For calling me out on the little bird and saying it was wrong.

I haven’t forgiven her for the violation I felt when she invaded my space. My newly cultivated space.

I haven’t forgiven her for violating me that day.

I know it’s a strong word but that’s how it felt. She and I had stopped sharing our spaces and our things. Then she violated that space and those things.

And maybe it was also that she intruded on my feelings for the little bird and made them dirty, made them wrong. Made me doubt myself.

It’s all mixed up in that day.

I’ve tried to see the positive side of those events.

I’ve tried to see that she has done me a favour by forcing me out of a place that nurtured me, one that would be difficult to leave. Continuing to live there and know we had to go was sad. I’ve tried to see that what she did was effectively rip the band aid off for me. She made me get past moving out because I had no choice. It was removed from me and I had very little time to get just on and do it. Get my stuff and go.

Now I live in one bedroom at my brother’s house. I appreciate the roof over my head. I have a wardrobe and chest of drawers that I share with my daughter. When I finally get my own place, it will feel like a massive expansion. It will feel all mine and my daughter’s. It will be amazing.

So I do thank her for that part of it. The end result – the quick cut to the heart moving out, and the mental and emotional downsizing that I’ve already done. Already processed.

But I really struggle to forgive her for that day, when she invaded my space, went through my things, put them outside like trash. My laptop and my clothes and my washing.

She was angry because she had found out about the little bird. She was disturbed by the age difference but I think mostly she was upset because it meant that our marriage was definitely over. There was no going back from that. I had moved on from her, away from her. My sadness and my guilt had not stopped me, it seemed, from finding someone else. From her perspective it must have seemed crazy, unimaginable, shocking, and ridiculous.

She accused me of the most horrendous things. Hurtful, untrue things. But they must have seemed quite reasonable to her, looking from where she stood in her anger and pain.

But her actions damaged the love I had for her, the love I sought to protect when I left her. The love I’d sought to protect during those months after the split.

So now when we interact I’m defensive. I don’t trust what she says because in the back of my mind she has betrayed my trust in such a big way.

I know that my ending our relationship was a shock for her. She felt betrayed that I would not try again. And there is no doubt that her battle with her ‘not good enough’ was fierce from that point on, compounded then a few months later by my internet romance.

It’s like a tiger wounded who roars at you and strikes out in pain, hurt and anger. You can’t blame the tiger for doing that. It can’t help it.

But it’s still hard to forgive the tiger when you’re bleeding from its sharp claw cuts. It’s hard when you tried to protect the tiger from pain but it found the pain anyway. It’s hard to trust the tiger again to get near enough to interact, when it seems to be calm and then suddenly, another swipe.

I hurt her, and she hurt me.

Now when she reaches out I never know if it’s with claws, but that is what I expect. Which makes dialogue very difficult, because as discussed elsewhere on this blog, going into a defensive mode is in itself, an attack.

So we continue to tussle and get nowhere. She says she doesn’t hate me but I feel it. Or is it my own self-hate that I transpose on her, even when she is trying to be neutral?

I know that I have done the right thing by leaving the relationship. It might take some time for her to realise it, or maybe she already has. I don’t know. We don’t talk about such things now.

Love and the ending of love make people do crazy things, hurtful things.

So now I know that I have not forgiven her for that day and that violation. The recognition is one thing. The act of forgiveness is another.

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

A five tweet message from my head to my heart

Love leaks out…

  • When you want to say so much to someone but they don’t want to hear it. How do I let this love leak safely away?
  • It’s like pouring liquid gold down the sink. A heartbreaking waste of love. But you can’t give love to someone who doesn’t want it.
  • For them it’s like poison and I’d hate for my love to be felt that way. So down the sink it goes and I cry for the waste. The heart will empty.
  • I’ll be empty of love again. Or so I hope, but the heart refills itself on the smallest things and is full again for you.
  • My beautiful heart! How you hurt me by loving her. But I’m glad you take the choice away from me. I’d never love again otherwise.

I’m sorry. I’m flawed, so flawed and I can’t help it. I’m demanding and controlling and sad. I’m wonderful and loving and kind.

I’m a mixture of all the things you love and hate.

But you have made it clear there are no more chances, so I shall steel my heart as much as I can. Because I don’t want to steel it anymore, I don’t want to guard it or put it away or harden it.

But for you I need to shut down because you don’t want me again and there is nothing I can do except to wish you well and send the love into the air where it does no harm to you or me.

And it hurts so much more than I ever thought it would, this ending. So much more.

But when I’m ready, I’ll meet someone to love again and I’ll use all the lessons I’ve learned from you.

You don’t choose who you fall in love with, do you? And once you do fall in love – that obsessive sort of love, that all-consuming love, where two people can’t stand to be apart from each other even for a moment – how are you supposed to let a love like that pass you by?
Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

The little bird and her last lesson

So as I was driving, pondering life and listening to the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack (Baz Lurman style, thanks very much), a realisation hit me.

You see, I’ve been pretty sad about the little bird flying away and as it was in the end, very sudden and final.

Despite that, we nearly got to three months, which I reckon is pretty impressive for us both, considering our various life situations which were, to quote the little bird ‘complicated’.

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about her specifically, but more about the ending and how I’ve been working through that.

I’m still looking for her on the phone, as it was a long distance relationship. I’m telling myself, ‘she isn’t going to be there, she isn’t going to contact you. She is gone. Gone, person. And you know that is the right thing, even though you still want her. Even though you still love her. It’s right for her to have ended this. It’s what she needed to do.’

And damn it, if that doesn’t suck when you have to self-talk yourself around a relationship ending. Literally.

Because it was going fairly well, and then bam! Done. Nope, can’t do this anymore. Goodbye.

Wow, and let me mention long distancers, if you can avoid it, please don’t let your person wake up to that message. Because it sucked. Like a lot. ‘Good morning – you are dropped!!’ (OK, she didn’t literally say that but after nearly three months it might have been nice for a voice message at least, instead of a text.)

It was a bombshell for me because the day before it was ‘I love you’.

So I went through this and have been pretty sad about it. I miss her. What can I say? I loved her. A lot. More than I wanted to. More than I should have. More than what was recommended on the label.

But that’s what happens when you stay open. You love, and then you hurt.

Meanwhile today’s realisation…

So the suddenness, the out of the blue, the curve ball. That was the little bird’s ending. Not that I shouldn’t have seen it coming. The signs were there. I just ignored them.

So too it was with my ex. How she must have felt when she seemed to have been in quite a decent relationship that looked like going on forever with fairly dependable me, going about her business and then bam! I say ‘sorry, this has to end. I’m not happy’.

I had masked a lot of things about our relationship that I was unhappy about until the Universal gut punch. So I’m guessing that although there were alarms ringing in the background of my ex’s mind, she too had just ignored them because she was going through her own stuff.

So now I get it.

I got a miniature taste of the surprise, the shock, the out of control, the ‘wait, what?’ that my ex had to deal with. Instead of three months and long distance though, it was 15 years and up close and personal.

And could I have chosen better, like the little bird, to ease this pain. Yes. But also, like her I did what I had to do, what I could do, based on what I knew how to do. I didn’t mean to hurt my ex. The little bird didn’t mean to hurt me.

But we all got hurt anyway. So that is that. I’ve no doubt that both of them will continue to spring these realisations on me for the next little while.

But I also now have a writing project to get to – two if I do what I think I will – so I’m going to be busy. I’m going to be busy and not looking for any love, anywhere, any time this year. I just don’t think my heart can take another little bird on my branch right now.

Well, it’s not the landing or the sitting, but the flying away it can’t handle.

But my love for both of these people actually grows, despite them hating me, and pissing me off and leaving me. How does that even work?

Well it works because I’m learning all these things about them and me, and relationships. Each time that happens, I get more grateful for their presence in my life. More grateful makes me soften, and soften makes me love.

And sometimes love makes me cry so maybe I’m going to go do that now.

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

The win-win – love and grow

You can fight on and you can fight for justice but it has to be a win-win.

So coming to an agreement after splitting up after any time at all can be difficult if you can’t see how you are winning in the situation.

Sometimes you need to be creative.

Sometimes it’s just down to the tin tacks and staples.

Everybody has to feel like they are winning. That they have gotten something out of it.

It doesn’t have to be material, although in some instances that is all it might be.

It has to be obvious but like I said, you might have to be creative because the other person may not give you anything. You might have to seek the jewels within the shitty lessons. You might have to just remember to be grateful they were in your life. You might have to be happy that they aren’t with you anymore, draining you (and I’m not saying that is just them draining me – it’s a two way street).

I’m sorry to the little bird and the ex for all the things I write you for – you are both my compare and contrast; my teachers; my loves; my losses; my joys and my sorrows. It doesn’t matter about the ‘time we spent together’ difference, it only matters that one appeared shortly after the other and I have to think that the Universe meant this to happen for a reason.

So the next person I’m with can be with a better person. A better me. A more open me, a more honest and less defensive me.

So the win-win for us all is that we will all be better people from knowing each other. Maybe you don’t see it yet. Maybe you’re still blaming me. Maybe you’re still angry or hurt or sad. And I am too, to be honest. It’s too soon for both of you to stop hurting my heart just yet, just as it may be for both of you (I can’t be sure of course, that part of you is lost to me now).

But I can see the win for you both and I can see the win for me.

And I love you both still, even though you appeared at completely different times in my life. Even though you both gave me completely different things, showed me different parts of myself. Gifted me with different lessons.

I’ll always love you both, because the Universe collided us all together in this year…2014, the year of potential. And my potential to love and learn from both of you has been everywhere to now!

But sometimes the teacher leaves the classroom and we have to do self directed learning.

So it continues. So I continue. Today grateful, tomorrow sad, the next day, who knows? But always remembering the love you both had for me and the love I gave, and still have treasured in me, to you both.

If people love you they want you to grow.
Rob Bell

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

Road ends…

So the rollercoaster rolls on.

Its downward trajectory is quite steep today. In fact, it seems that it has been dipping down a lot lately, where it looked like it might go up. For me that makes it harder to cope. It looks like it will be an upward swing and then BANG! Hit the downslope again. I’m nearly thrown out of my seat.

I went for a walk to clear my mind this morning and it occurred to me that this little lane I went down, and the longer road I was on, are a metaphor.

A short, lovely walk full of newness and wonder (and some disturbances) but then an abrupt ending. Road ends. IMG_5957.JPG

There is nothing you can do. No control you have over it. Then you are left to backtrack past the flowers and the beauty and try to skip the part where you got bitten or fell over. You remember all those wonderful things and feel lucky that you got to discover this hidden little lane.

Then you get back to the top of the street.

You are back to where you started. However, you are not the same. You are changed because you had that short trip.

And the longer road, with its endless hills and blind corners. The unexpected truck that barrels past. The looking back and seeing the vastness of the country that you have traversed. The wonder of it, the storms over the mountains and the full plains of lush grass. The scorched earth here and there. The grand Oak in the field.

There is no going back through that road. There is only going forward until it becomes a side road. There is only going forward until it becomes a dirt track and the hills become flowers and you lose the trail because there is a new road, a new land to discover.

If I could stop the pain of my ex, I would. It has to be win-win though. It can’t be that I lose because the cycle can only keep repeating until we both win.

The little bird, I can’t help her. I feel so helpless and hopeless that I can do nothing for her suffering except sit here on the branch. It seems little consolation to me.

It seems that right now the Universe has these hard lessons and I just want to curl up under my blanket and forget that I’m an adult.

I’ll come out again and I will discover the gift of these lessons. Somehow.

Right now I’ll remember my own words. That helps me remember what I don’t want to right now. That all this happens for a reason.

That the Universe is never wrong.

That things will be as they should be, and nothing, nothing that you do will stop that.

Just have to keep moving forward. And now I’m going to plagiarise the tweet I just wrote.

Time does march on, whether we want it to or not. We can let it move us away from our pain or we can keep bringing the pain back. It’s up to us.

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

 

 

What do you mean, you don’t think I’m equal?

I’m always quite amazed about people who don’t believe in equality.

Like, where does that come from?

Emma Watson did a speech to the UN about feminism, promoting men into the movement HeForShe. Engaging men to become involved in equality for women. Because we are all people, and all people are equal. Or they should be. It’s not a women’s rights movement, it’s a human rights movement.

And I’m not sure why but apparently some people have threatened her because of that speech. Like, really? I watched it and there was nothing for anyone to be afraid of. There was a lot of sense made. There was a lot of unity called for. There were a lot of sad facts presented if nothing was done about it.

I’m not sure why some people feel that others are inferior, or unequal or less deserving. Being a lesbian, it’s difficult to understand, living inside myself, how I am different from my heterosexual friends but society says I am.

I’m less anxty about all that stuff than I was when I was younger. I fought a lot, got angry a lot. But then I just got on with living and being me.

Things have changed for the better, it’s true. When I was coming out it was almost impossible to spot lesbians in the media or the community in which I resided – white bread Australia. Let alone positive role models, or people I might even find attractive.

I despaired of ever finding a girlfriend because the lesbians presented to me where no one I really was attracted to – in fact they called them ‘hairy lesbian feminists’. I didn’t identify as that at 18. I figured I was doomed to masturbate to my Sherilyn Fenn Twin Peaks poster for all eternity…

twinp3

(Yes, there she is, in Twin Peaks. Now stop looking at them and keep reading.)

Then Melissa Etheridge, kd lang and Ellen arrived. I started working and met someone, and life started at 20 for this person.

But there were plenty of lessons about how society thought I wasn’t as good as my male counterparts a work, or at least didn’t want to recognise that I was. There was plenty of sexual harassment and trauma in male dominated workspaces to go through.

Oh yes, it was fun in the 90s if you were a woman in a male dominated trade.

However, so much has changed. There are plenty of harassment, bullying and gender protection laws to help now. It seems completely ridiculous that we have to have rules about how people should treat each other as adults in a workplace but there you go, we do. But at least, unlike my mother, I don’t get sacked if I get married. If I could get married that is, but that is for another day.

I can be out at work now without much chance of being harassed in my office job. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It doesn’t mean that every time I meet someone new I don’t assess what they might do when they discover I’m gay.

If you are gay, it is something your gonna have to get used to for your whole life. Constantly coming out in every new situation. Sometimes you just don’t bother. Other times you have to.

Meanwhile, there are still many gender based and sexuality based hate crimes happening, we still have a long way to go.

Which is why we need young women like Emma Watson to speak out and be supported to speak out on this issue. Which is why we need young men, and their fathers, to step up and engage with this human rights issue.

Go Google the speech and spend ten minutes with Emma. Then get on board the train. The feminist train.

Because I believe in equality for all genders. I am a feminist.

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

I know my track record is shit, but I really do love you…

Today I’m not feeling very conscious.

Today I don’t want to be a good person.

Today I want to throw a tantrum and scream and yell and kick like a two year old.

Today I hate the Universe.

Today I hate the Universe for showing me something beautiful then putting it on the other side of the fucking world, in a different continent, a different life stage and a different time zone.

I hate the Universe for whatever lesson is coming next about that.

I really like that the Universe has arranged some property to be sold, fingers crossed. That was the good news from the Universe today.

But I couldn’t enjoy it because I was already grieving for the love that is too far away.

And I couldn’t enjoy it because I was angry at the love that’s gone sour here, right next to me.

I hate you Universe, sometimes I really hate you and your fucking terrible, painful lessons.

But I’m grateful for the time I had, for the shared journey even if it was short, for the joy it bought. And I’m grateful for being able to be strong enough to leave that sour love, even though now it still tastes bitter in my mouth. Even when I try to sweeten it, it turns on me.

Today I wanted to cry and scream and now all I can do is lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling, wondering what will happen next.

Will the distance ever be bridged? Will this love return or leave forever?

Will the sour ever get to be just fine in my mouth, or will I always be wishing I didn’t have to taste it any more, even though it will be with me daily for another decade at least?

These are the things I’m mad at the Universe about. Mad and grateful and sad and blessed and angry and joyful and happy and traumatised. Gladness and grief.

You are a fucking jerk ass, Universe.

And to bastardise the Orange is the New Black vernacular:

Universe: “I know my track record is shit, but I really do love you.”

Me: “Yeah, well, I hate you.”

Universe: “No, you don’t.”

Me: “No. No, I don’t.”

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

Oh those ouchy feelings…

So I’m trying to filter some feelings through a bit of a model (which sounds weird I know). I’m trying to filter these feelings through:

  • Reasonable – Is the request reasonable? Is the feeling/emotion/reaction resulting from the request reasonable?
  • Expectations – Are they reasonable? Do both people have matching expectations?
  • Needs – What are the basic needs the people in the relationship? Are they being met?
  • Self-management – Is this your feeling because of the person’s action/words, or is it a feeling triggered by that but actually belongs to someone else? Are you tired? Is this secondary anger/emotion?

I’m trying to do this so I don’t have confrontations and conflicts in relationships that aren’t about what the fight is about.

I just made those four things up but I’ve read a few things over the years, so I’m guessing they are a conglomerate of my knowledge that I’ve stored up until now, waiting patiently in the background for my unconscious self to wake up.

Well, the alarm has gone off and I’ve pressed snooze a couple of times but this time I’m trying to get my eyes open.

But it’s hard though, because some of these feelings are really, really painful. Like some of them make me cry and hurt my chest when I think about them. They get to the real core of me.

And the other thing is, they are my feelings. They are legitimate feelings. They are real to me. Are they created by a wrong assumption, a ‘not good enough’ moment or miscommunication? Or no communication? Yep, those are some of the triggers. But the feelings are still real and need to be acknowledged.

The tricky part I think is to get to the actual issue, if there is one. There are triggers all the time and it is a matter of being conscious and managing them. That is hard work. I’m still new at this, or so it feels, despite my previous relationships (of which the 15 year one was the last and longest… I had a four year one and a couple of shorter ones too).

I was talking to someone who has been hurt by a break up and they said the person didn’t tell them that they’d hurt them. They just pretended to be fine and then it all blew up. Kaboom! Now my friend is devastated and has no where to come back from because the other person is now too wounded. They weren’t honest with their feelings. They let the hurting fester and then it killed the relationship.

I don’t want that to happen to anything special I have again. I’ve done it before – pushed that hurt down. Not mentioned it. Then it’s poisoned other moments, enlarged other hurts and created more distress and pain.

So as hard as these conversations are, I’m going to have them. I’m going to say how I feel. Even though I know the other person might tell me I’m silly. Or I should just get over it. Or they don’t want to talk about it. Because then we can make choices about what happens next. Then we can respectfully and honestly decide what to do.

I’d rather have a hard conversation and have something end than go through another relationship that has me hurting without feeling like I’m OK to say something. And that doesn’t mean blaming the other person, who may not be aware what they are doing or not doing. People hurt each other without even knowing. It’s not right but it does happen.

At the same time once you tell them, next time they do it is a choice. Or maybe they have some trouble meeting that need. Then they need to ask themselves why is that? That is part of their journey to consciousness.

Meanwhile, I need to discuss these feelings I’m having…

And PS…
“Pain is a pesky part of being human, I’ve learned it feels like a stab wound to the heart, something I wish we could all do without, in our lives here. Pain is a sudden hurt that can’t be escaped. But then I have also learned that because of pain, I can feel the beauty, tenderness, and freedom of healing. Pain feels like a fast stab wound to the heart. But then healing feels like the wind against your face when you are spreading your wings and flying through the air! We may not have wings growing out of our backs, but healing is the closest thing that will give us that wind against our faces.”
C. JoyBell C. Via Purplebuddhaproject

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person