And, as always, I have a plan. This is the 60-day-get-your-shit-together plan. After 60 days, I am going to be well again and get back to blogging about Nathan's boogers.
[By the way, I'm bummed about moving. My old place was comfy. I really need to change the wallpaper over here and some other things. Pardon my dust.]
Signs that I have reached rock bottom:
- I huddle in my bed in the mornings in the fetal position;
- Monday, when Grandpa Mario dropped by the office to worship me, as he often does, I broke down and he ended up clutching my head to his argyle sweater vest while I sobbed. He stroked my hair and whispered Spanish platitudes in my ear;
- I am seeking counseling. To a child of the Upper Midwest, this is a horrible weakness. We prefer to solve our problems with extra ketchup.
- Accidents of birth! For example, I'm a dreamer and a malcontent. When I was young and unattached, I dealt with these qualities by throwing a backpack into the belly of a plane and going to live somewhere else. No more.
- More birth defects! I am a romantic; passionate with equal chances of wild sex or soapbox rants; a little eccentric. This stuff, I have boxed up. My mom says that when comparing people to the four elements, I am the only person she knows who is 100% fire. "Fire Woman", she called me once. Unboxed? I would be impossible to hang out with. Intolerable.
- Yet another ingrained trait: Prima Donna! Big show off! Loose cannon. Look at me! Teaching ESL is the perfect job for me.
- I love to fix problems. To be needed and nurture. I love lost souls, which is why I'm drawn to immigrants: they're wanderers; seekers. I want to change the world. I've trained myself to be contented with a postage-stamp-sized portion of it. For these reasons, Guadalupe is my muse. Or it was, until I lost my fucking mind.
- Now we get into the stuff I did. Let's start with marrying a man I did not know well. He's a Brit, and it was nobody's fault that we only saw each other when we were on vacation. We were a couple for six years before we got married, but during most of that time, we would spend a week together twice a year or something. The only way to solve the problem? Get married! I was willing to overlook some red flags, because they didn't pop up very much They didn't pop up very much because we were almost never together. Ladies, should we marry a guy who won't tell us he loves us? Sure: what the heck? Simon never said the word "love" until after the wedding. And should we marry a man who is generally nice but, when he gets mad, has a vicious, cruel streak? Sure! Because we're not going to fight. And he's probably a lost soul. I like those! I will soothe him with my love.
- So, after a few months of marriage, I discovered that we had a big, fat conflict resolution problem on our hands. I could not fix it nor resign myself to it. Eighteen years of marriage, and we are still stuck on the same treadmill.
- Then a few years into it, I realized that a girl like me needs a little bit of romance, affection and occasional adoration. He couldn't give that. When I chafed, he would ask me for specific instructions for adoring me. That kind of wrecks it.
- We sold the old place and moved out of the mountains into town. I wish I had known about blogging when we lived up there. The cabin made my life special. Something interesting happened almost every day: moose on the porch; eight-foot snowstorms... Now, selling was a smart decision. That lifestyle (no winter road access; wood heat; elevation 8,900 feet) got to be a huge burden. But I always said I would never live on some dumb suburban cul-de-sac with a sprinkler system and a two-car garage. And here I am.
- Can-cer... Get up off the sofa and find the world has suddenly filled with imperatives. Have it at age 41, when you're due for a mid-life crisis anyway? And you still want to be all hot and sexy? Kiss of death.
- Speaking of death, we lost our dear friend Edie to the same type of cancer at that same time. That has been especially hard on me because of what I hear called "survivor's guilt".
- Let's skip back to the conflict resolution issues with Simon, and having one of my attempts at dealing with it turn into a minor domestic abuse incident. Bad enough to wind me up under the table, but not at the shelter....
- ...followed by my descent into total marital passiveness. Yes, TOTAL. As in, we didn't argue for over a year, because I just acquiesced to EVERYTHING. Guess what? That doesn't make you a saint, it makes you resentful. Simon didn't notice.
- Quick break in our regularly scheduled programming for Dad's death.
- Followed by the realization this past September, triggered by yet another mean spell, that I didn't love this guy. Didn't care whether or not I hurt him; didn't want to have sex with him; dreamed of divorcing him.
- (Can you all see it coming a mile away?) The inevitable: an affair. A man I adored. To make it worse, it was like fate was sealed almost from the word "go". I'm not kidding! When we were together, it was like being in the eye of a hurricane. He said I was "cocaine". Would try to resist being in touch with me and not manage 24 hours. Would send me text after text, describing every facet of my eye color from the pupil on out. Does this sound like fun? NO! I'm married! He's in a relationship with a long-time girlfriend with some serious mental health issues. She drives him up the wall and exhausts him; but he kind of gets off on being the noble care-giver. Wow. Not only is he sexy, cute, a perfect intellectual and emotional match (and an inventor, a mechanical engineer, a river runner, paragliding guide, climber, free-heeler...) he's needy! Si never needs anything from me. This guy calls me his "bastion of sanity". He loves my blog and brags about it to other people. He admires the work I do. He thinks I'm pretty. He would insist on holding my hand. If I let go for some reason, he would remind me that he wanted it back.
- Did I mention that I ADORED him? Would have robbed a bank for him? I occasionally even took a day off work to hang out with him. For me, that's MAJOR. He and his partner lived in the canyon, as well. In a barn that he hauled out here from Iowa and made into a beautiful home that he built by hand.
- The more I hung around with my calm, placid, affectionate boyfriend, the more I resented Si for not being like him. I start REALLY wanting to leave him. This was partly fueled by some hope that I could end up with my boyfriend, but not entirely. Mostly what I wanted was a chance to start again. Find a man who is nicer. Who made me feel loved.
- And of course, the story ends with the man I adored dumping me. SLOWLY. And PAINFULLY. Not maliciously, but because he was self-centered and weak. I'll tell about it another time. You will be amazed. It's a great story. The boyfriend gets his own blog entry as soon as I get a backhoe and clear out all these used Kleenexes.
Which gets me back to Mario's tear-soaked sweater vest. And the realization that somehow, I have gone a little bit psycho. It was an accident! So I finished sobbing (for that time - there' s been plenty more sobbing since then). I may be crazy, but I'm not yet so crazy that I don't know when to pause the downward spiral. So we're going to have a 60-day Detox. Or more appropriately, a "he"-tox. No more decisions stemming from heartbreak. I'm going to get over the affair before I do any more dumb stuff. Sixty days, during which I will stop divorce proceedings; during which I will get counseling; during which I will try to find something besides contempt for Simon; during which I will deal with my shit.
And then? If we still feel like we should split up, we can continue this discussion. But not right now when I'm a sniveling dung ball.
I meet with a counselor in the morning. She has probably heard it all before...