Monday, September 23, 2013

Unresolved Grief

I've been thinking about and talking about the last blog post, about how getting what I want doesn't feel how I thought it would feel like it would. When talking to my therapist, she asked me what I thought it would feel like. I guess 12 year old and 14 year old me thought it would fix everything. But, of course, it doesn't. Like I told The Professor, there's still this hole. Don't get me wrong, I'm way to old to really think that finding love would do that, but there's still that part of me...Sigh. Even though this makes me feel amazing, I feel like I should feel better, like I have felt better during the honeymoon phase of previous relationships.

I heard this song driving home from work last week and it grabbed me right away, made me cry before I could ever even pinpoint why I was crying. (Yes, I heard it on country radio but I think it would be just as comfortable on Alice or one of those stations. Go ahead and listen to it.)

I put that record on. 
Girl you know what song
and I let it play again and again
you're in every line
takes me back in time....

 I hadn't heard it since so I found it on youtube and listened to it just now. Even as the tears dropped, I thought, "Why the fuck am I crying to a break-up song? I feel completely resolved about my past relationships. There isn't a single ex that I feel like this about or that I'd leave what I have now for what I might have with them. What is this about?"

And it hits me. It's about him. About them. About the ones I've really lost. That it'll never feel like it used to because all those times where before. I tell other people that sometimes you never really get over it, sometimes it never gets better, but that you just adjust to what is now your new normal. And I firmly believe that, but sometimes it hurts like hell when it slaps you in the face again. Two and a half years on and it still seems to color everything.

Last week, in my CNA class, the teacher was giving us definitions of terms for the chapter and one of the terms was unresolved grief, grief that a person doesn't get through within a normal amount of time. I wanted to get up and ask what a normal amount of time is and basically just throw a fucking fit. Yeah, obviously, no issues there. We also learned complicated grief, which is grief that is complicated by some other mental health condition or substance abuse problem. Yeah, don't know anything about that either.

Last year, I read this blog post, which I can't find right now, about trigger warnings (completely unrelated to grief) with a quote that really stuck with me: "It's untenable to go through life an open wound."  I do believe that this is true. Sometimes my life feels pretty untenable. What I actually feel like I'm living is more like this quote from Being Human: "People love that cliche, time heals all wounds. But live long enough and you'll realize that most cliches are true. It's amazing what even the smallest passage of time can accomplish, the cuts it can close, the imperfections it can smooth over. But in the end, it comes down to the size of the wound, doesn't it? If the wound is deep enough , there might be no way to keep it from festering, even if you have all the time in the world." For right now, I'm gonna go back to my song....

I like to believe 
That you're just like me
Trying to figure out how a good thing goes bad

I don't know 
And I can't let it go
Yeah it's about to drive me mad

What are you listening to
Is it a cover band in some college town bar
Where it's na-na-na's and air guitars
And is it something to get you through
Just a sad song playing on the radio station
Tears still fall and hearts still breakin'
Cause you're hanging on
Or is it a love song about someone new
What are you listening to

Is it a feel good song gets you driving too fast
The one that gets you moving on pass to pass
Or the kind you can’t help singing along 
Singing woh-oh-oh-oh-woh

Is it headphones on on a downtown train
Or a window seat on an outbound plane
Is it LA sunny and Memphis blue
I wish I knew I wish I knew

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Can Listen With My Heart

I'm not sure I'll be able to get this down right and its difficult doing it on my phone but I don't want to get up and lose this moment.  It's probably that this is a new relationship driving this feeling but I'm still at that "I want to tell you everything because it feels like I finally have someone who will understand it or at least appreciate it being shared. "

Sitting here with an odd sense of deja vu. Raining outside.  I opened the big Window in my bedroom to hear better. From where I sit in bed,  all I can see are trees and rain. I had a big window like this in the apartment in University Park,  when I was 12. I'd open the window to listen to the rain at night,  sad adult contemporary disks playing on my stereo, softly so they wouldn't wake my parents on the other side of the bedroom wall.  Crying myself to sleep.  That was probably when it should have been evident that I had a problem. 12 year olds don't cry themselves to sleep every night. Or listen to adult contemporary music, for that matter.

The rain made me want to listen to Mary Chapin - Carpenter's "Rhythm of the Blues," then the whole Come On Come On album.  Remembered snatches of a summer spent at The Nightmare on Spruce Street, watching the rain through the big picture window,  cranking up my uncle's cds as loud as I could,  singing at the top of my lungs.  Probably crying to.  I've always had a weakness for the sad songs. The therapist tells me I shouldn't indulge it but some habits are impossible to break. 

"it's a need you never get used to-  soft,  fierce,  and so confused. It's a loss you never get over to the first time you lose."

In those early teenage years,  I longed for. .. well,  hell,  I'm not sure I knew what I was longing for.  Love,  sex,  companionship.  I know I thought of it in very simplistic terms.  Find the right guy,  as it was still a guy though I knew I liked girls too,  and it all gets better,  sorta itself out.  That summer I was 14, my uncle was marrying his college sweetheart and they seemed perfect for each other.  Just hold out long enough to find it and you're set. 
Almost two decades on, with my uncle having come out, divorced and been just as poly as I am working on being now, I can't help but laugh at how naive that sounds.

Right now,  one of you is at work and the other is sleeping so soundly that my trying to cuddle with him didn't stir him at all.  It's beautiful and complicated and yet sometimes much more simple than you'd think it could be,  definitely more simple than my mind wants to make it.  Last night,  all of us in different tired and kinda grumpy mindsets,  hung out together in the living room,  me doing homework, her reading,  him playing video games.  No weird sex stuff.  No drama. Just three people living in the same space.

Once again,  I get to the end of what I had to say without any point emerging. Maybe it's that I feel very ambivalent right now.  Memories of the girl I was flooding back,  trying to evaluate if she got what she ultimately wanted,  and how I feel about it not looking the way she'd envisioned it,  and how it all doesn't feel the way she thought it would when she got it.  "Some people remember the first time,  some can't forget the last.  Some just select what they want to from the past."

Friday, September 06, 2013

He Gave Me You

Small wet spots on the green linoleum and then I have to stop because I can't see anything anymore. I'd knelt down to clean the base of the tub and the toilet and somehow ended up crying there on the floor.

Playing the new Jason Aldean album while I cleaned the bathroom in anticipation of your first visit to my other home. As things in each song remind me of you, I'm hit by a wave of...i don't know. Sadness. Grief. Both and more, so much stuff that I can't separate it out. But that voice in my head is saying loudly and clearly "He gave me you. I never would have had you if I hadn't lost him." 

For I can't remember how long, I've told people that I can't feel like I'd change things in my past because I wouldn't be in the moment I'm in, wouldn't have the good things that I did, if I hadn't had all those things in my past, the good and the bad. And except for sometimes wanting to take back the shitty things that I had done to others, I believed that. Mostly still do. But if I only have this because he's gone, and I could change that, would I? It's probably best that I can't answer that definitively.

It's a bitter pill knowing that I wouldn't have this work that I really do love, this path that I'm walking, these loves I can't imagine giving up, without his illness and death. And, if challenged to discuss it logically, I would tell you that I know this can't be true, that this isn't how the mechanics of life work, but maybe the only comfort I can get from it is that he gave me this because I wouldn't have him. He knew I needed work that would fufill me, give me meaning, and people to love me, finally loves who understood my brand of crazy and my brand of love and sex. He had to wait a bit to give it to me, because I couldn't have seen anything when he first left. But he gave me back my bestfriend, the link to my past, then the therapy to help me save myself, and then the work and then you. Of course, with you, more than the others, he had to walk me through it, sit with me through those sad confused drives away from the life I was standing on the edge of, holding my hand while I figured out how to take the jump I really wanted but had not come prepared for. There's no way I'll ever be able to thank him for all he gave me while he was alive, much less all he has given me since. 

I have to hope that I gave him some measure while he was alive too though. I remember a conversation with drunk him where he said he confessed that his plan was to live in the suburbs of larger Midwestern city until my grandparents passed and then he'd do whatever he wanted, live wherever he wanted, but he had to be the one to stay there and take care of them. I was 18 and couldn't imagine not getting out for that reason. For days, all I could think of was the Tim McGraw song "Everywhere," about the man who sees the love who stayed behind in the small town they grew up instead of taking to the road with him everywhere they go. I'm glad he didn't do that. I know that life forced him out, but, if I mourn that he only got to live less than a decade out, I can't imagine knowing he never got to do that. I hope he knows how happy I was that he got out. At least I do know that he felt like I helped when he came out, even if I inadvertently pushed him out before he was ready to be out with my grandparents. (Not exactly my fault. Most of you know the story.) 

I got the Jason Aldean from him too, and the permission to hang on to my crying songs. I feel him in me as I'm making the drive to see you or the drive from you to work, how my body feels in the seat, how my hand looks on the wheel as I smoothly navigate the big highway between the home circumstances won't allow me to give up yet and the one you provide. Listening to Aldean's "Talk," I'm reminded of our talks, our-singular-male in between play, the long nights of getting to know each other more, and our-singular-female in the never long enough mornings, where I'm torn between never wanting to stop you talking to me for fear you might not feel that open again and wanting to touch you, hold you, kiss you. Then, "Don't Give Up On Me" is how I pray you keep standing by me:
"You tie the knot when I'm at the end of my rope,
You never stop believing in me when I don't know,
Who I am or what I'm supposed to be,
I don't give you no good reasons, 
But baby don't give up on me,"
But right now, I'm loving "When She Says Baby," though I wish I change it to "When They Say Baby:"

Some days it's tough just gettin' up
Throwin' on these boots and makin' that climb
Some days I'd rather be a no-show lay-low
Before I go outta my mind.

But when she says baby,
Oh no matter what comes ain't goin' nowhere she runs her fingers through my hair and saves me.
Yeah that look in her eyes got me comin' alive and drivin' me a good kinda crazy
When she says baby.
Oh when she says baby.

Some nights I come home fightin' mad
Feel like runnin' my fist through the wall.
Is it even worth it what I'm fightin' for anymore feelin'
Torn all the hell with it all.

But when she's says baby,
Oh no matter what comes ain't goin' nowhere she runs her fingers through my hair and saves me.
Yeah that look in her eyes got me comin' alive and drivin' me a good kinda crazy
When she says baby

Everything gonna be alright.
Just lay down by my side.
Let me love you through this life.

Yeah she's the perfect shot of faith.
When every bit of mine is gone.
Somethin' I can believe in a best friend
A heaven sent love to lean on.

But when she says baby,
Oh no matter what comes ain't goin' nowhere she runs her fingers through my hair and saves me.
Yeah that look in her eyes got me comin' alive and drivin' me a good kinda crazy
When she says baby.
Oh when she says baby.
Yeah that look in her eyes got me comin' alive and drivin' me a good kinda crazy."

But now I have to go to that work he gave me and the job that I keep because of the life I want to build with you. And i hope that I can make him proud, if nothing else, if I'll never be able to thank him properly.