Monday, May 02, 2005

Out damned spot!

A little over a week ago I wrote a post confessing that my ex had invaded one of my dreams. Lately, she's been invading my waking thoughts too. I keep encountering memories and reminders of her. I'm not sure why. But I've decided to take the advice, which drips of wisdom, from one of the kind comments left by someone who shared a similar experience with unwanted dreams.

Ari over at Overthunk said: "Probably she's showing up in your dreams because you're suppressing thoughts of her. When I was a kid and I didn't want to have vampire nightmares, the more I tried not to think about vamps, the more I had them. So I just started pointedly, purposely thinking about them for a few minutes before sleep. It worked. No more nightmares. I faced it, so it went away."

So, I decided to take that advice. I thought maybe I should just write to her. Write my ex a letter or an e-mail, communicate directly to her and tell her I've been thinking about her.

The old me might have done that very thing, probably late at night, emboldened by beer or tequila or Seagrams Seven. But what separates the current me from the previous me is that I really have no desire to talk to her. Yea, I have some good memories of our time together. And yea, I suppose if I were completely honest with myself I would have to admit that I still miss her. Miss the relationship. But mostly I miss the me that was part of a relationship. I don't miss the person that walked away, perhaps less dramatically than the
woman from Georgia who faked her own abduction in order to get out of her wedding, but no less painful or dramatic in its own way.

So I've decided to write the letter, and to share it. But not with the ex. I've decided to post it here. Perhaps it will be cathartic. I don't know. But here goes.


I've been thinking about you lately. You've made at least one appearance in a recent dream. And your name and memory comes to mind at some of the most surprising times. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's the time of year.

It is spring, and we had started dating in the spring.

Maybe its because we were supposed to get married this spring.

Maybe it's because April has just passed, and I have been periodically reminded of how last April we spent almost two weeks in Florida with your family for your sister's wedding.

Maybe it's because the Coachella Music Festival was this past weekend, and that was perhaps your favorite event that takes place here.

Maybe it's because I decided to have sushi at dinner the other night, for the first time in months, and was reminded that sushi is your favorite food.

Maybe it's because in flipping through the channels on Sunday I came across the NASCAR race, and remembered your unnatural, almost fanatical, love of that sport, which was perhaps your most quirky and visible tie to your Southern roots. I watched the end of the race before going to work. It's the first time I've done that, allowed myself to do that, since you left. And I hadn't watched NASCAR, asside from covering one race for a former employer, since I was a kid.

I'm about out of cologne and I'm debating on whether to switch brands. The one I've been using is the one you liked. Maybe I'll switch back to my old brand, the one I liked but you hated. Or maybe I'll look for something new. A new scent for a new era.

I came across some photos of you on my work computer the other day. I forget they were there. I took a page out of your book and threw them way. As much as I loathe to throw out any photographs at all, I don't need them anymore.

I'm not sure why I'm telling you all this, other than I am trying to understand why you keep showing up in my thoughts. The memories, while mostly pleasant, are also annoying.

I realized I am not the same person I was before I met you. You changed me, in ways large and small. You got me to try sushi for the first time and made me a convert. You were always so proud of turning people on to sushi who had never tried it before. Now, I am ready and willing to eat all varieties of rolls and slabs of raw fish with the best of them. I use shower gel now instead of bar soap. I've switched from two-ply toilet paper to one-ply.

But mostly who showed me that I was cabable of loving a woman unconditionally and giving my heart and my life over to that love, which I had doubted my ability to ever do.

But I'm not the same person I was when you left either. I tried oysters a week ago, something no previous friend or lover, not even you, could get me to do. And I liked them. But more importantly, I did not revert into the hermit's shell I have inhabited so many times in my life before after suffering disappointment or heartbreak. I've found my passion again. Passion for my work. Passion for writing. Passion for my family and friends. Passion for love. Passion for living.

At the time you came into my life I was something of a broken man, my spirit battered and bruised and ailing. I was resigned to living under the will of others. And I let myself submit to your will as well. I gave up part of myself for you. For love. I'm not sure I'll ever do that again, and hope and pray I will not. Yes, love requires sacrifice, but not submission. And in the end, when I still didn't fit the mold you tried to put me into, you cast me aside anyway. And I was left to rebuild neglected family ties and friendships for which you did not approve. Yes, I will bend for love, but I will not break from the things -- particularly the people -- who are part of my heart and my life.

I learned after you left that there are lots of stages to grieving and that I was grieving the loss of you. Of us. But there was one stage I never really experience in the months after you left, and that was anger. There were things that looked like anger, but mostly it was pain and fear and loneliness. Well, I am angry now. I am angry that you left. I am angry that I gave up so much of myself for someone who did not appreciate it ,or me, enough to make it work. And yes, I am very angry that I spent so fucking much money on a ring that now sits in a store on consignment for which I will be lucky to get pennies on the dollar. I am angry that that gift of love cost me so much emotionally and coupled with the costs of starting life over have damaged me financially. I blame you for it and I blame myself for being so foolhearty. And I blame you for telling me you wanted out of our engagement on my parent's wedding anniversary. I hope the stain you put on that day will eventually fade away to nothing, but I know it will still be fresh this year.

I don't hate you but I hate what you did. And I hate myself for letting you do it. And I hate thinking about you now, when I am so far down the road to recovery and building a new life. I am ready to be done with you. Yea, I'm over you. I may have to realize I'm not completely over the grieving, but that's OK. I learned that such things don't happen quickly. There may still be days of unwelcomed and uncomfortable memories again. Next month it will be one year since you handed back that ring. I hope that fucking thing sells soon. I need the cash more than I need it.

I may never forget you. And I sincerely hope I don't, because I do have many great memories. And I am a better man for the relationship and the experience of growth and healing in its aftermath. But I no longer need you or want you. And nothing can change that either.



Brat said...

I think getting things on paper and out of your mind is always a good thing. I wish we had more control over the thoughs in our heads. Sometimes our minds just have a mind of their own.

I was once in a relationship where I lost myself.I became who he wanted. I lost of all my friends and lost touch with my family. It took me years to get back to me. I give you credit for finding yourself so quickly.

Go luck with clearning your head!

Tisha from Texas said...

Im blown away. Your candor and honesty reminds me of a heartache that I thought would never end. No matter how many people tell you it will get better, it won't until you clean all the cobwebs out of each corner. The scar from this wound will have moments of 'itching' like the dreams, or even ache as you enter a new relationship BUT it will be a scar. And scar tissue, as it is made to be, can be broken up and remodeled to make room for healthy tissue. Time. Don't you hate that? I did. Hang in there buddy. You'd rather miss the relationship than be caught in the midst of a bad one just for the warm body. HUGS

The G-man said...

Brat and Tish:

I have to say, I was seriously having doubts about whether I should have posted this message. I was giving real consideration to taking it down. I thought nobody cares about this stuff.

I thought maybe I should stick to the misogynistic, hedonistic stuff, it's more fun. People want fun. They like fun. Fun is fun. Real is too, well, real, too serious and boring.

What I'm trying to say is thanks for your comments, kind words, encouragement and wisdom.

Thanks for making me smile and for letting me know it's OK to go out on a limb.

crystal said...

Reality is good. Too much hedonistic stuff can have you lumped in with all the fake (or not so fake) blogs done purely for hits and shock value. I like reading about people who have actual thoughts like everyone else does. People with stories.

Sadly, my exes still occasionally invade my thoughts as well. One of them, the one I lived with for 4 years, changed me in ways that I'll never forgive him for. A friend of mine once said that he broke my spirit, which sums it up nicely.

Twice, I've dreamt of one of them, the good one, stopping by my house to catch up on each other's life stories. I'd like to consider it some sort of astral projection and he was just checking up on me, but it was most likely just an overactive imagination. We haven't seen each other in about 10 years, but I know without a doubt that should we meet on the street somewhere we could sit down for a coffee and chat for a few hours without any awkwardness because he was such a good friend to me.

MARYBETH said...

Yes, love requires sacrifice, but not submission. And in the end, when I still didn't fit the mold you tried to put me into you cast me aside anyway. And I was left to rebuild neglecting family ties and friendships for which you did not approve. Yes, I will bend for love, but I will not break from the things -- particularly the people -- who are part of my heart and my life.
Dear G,
If i may be so bold as to recommend copying your wonderful words and posting them in a place you see everyday! Hold to your discovered truth, and dont ever let this go. You are one wise young man.

The G-man said...

Crystal, thank you very much for sharing your experience. I am humbled by that. It means a great deal that you were inspired enough to comment.

And MB, what can I say, but wow. I am not wise enough, or young enough, and I'm not sure I deserve your high praise, but thank you for it. I am touched.

3rdtimesacharm ( 3T ) said...

I think you did a wonderful job G-man, putting your feeelings and thoughts down. It is always therapeutic to do so. I hope you continue to heal.

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