So, it has been 5 MONTHS! (Well, over 5 months now, but who’s really counting…) I did the calculations and this is officially the longest I have ever gone without sex since I started having it. It’s a whole new world… I don’t like it! I have moved past the point of wanting it for the validation and into the world of wanting to have it for the physical stimulation. Progress! (Maybe?)
So the holiday season has happened and I’ve been relatively quiet since then. Here is the quick catch-up:
- told my therapist about Art and here is the non-verbatim version of how that went:
Me: …but I didn’t sleep with him.
Therapist: Why not?
Me (confused): Because I’m doing this whole year off thing!
Therapist: Wow! Good for you! I totally would have slept with him.
Me: ***head explodes***
It took all I had not to call him up at that instant and say “I’ve made a huge mistake”, but the truth of the matter is that I didn’t make a huge mistake. Yes, I had been attracted to him for years. Yes, I would have totally slept with him if it had been a year earlier. But, this year, I’m doing things that are best for me. I’ve made a commitment to this experiment and it is not worth sacrificing months of work (because it has been work!) on an infatuation without substance (come July 29, he is totally at the top of my list to celebrate the end of the year).
On that note, I have instituted a new loophole in the experiment (oh, how easily I start to crack). Loophole: if after 3 months of “hanging out” (I can’t say “dating” because I’m also not supposed to be doing that… I’m so weak!), I can sleep with the person, as long as there are no clothes removed during that 3 months. I figure at this point it puts me at 8 months into this experiment if I were to start “hanging out” with someone now – which I think is still quite the accomplishment (and unlikely to occur).
This did not come out of the recent events with Art, it came out of an encounter with a gentleman that I will call TTC Man. TTC Man started talking to me on my way to work one day. We had a lovely conversation (he was essentially the male version of me – loved board games, volleyball, reading, sci-fi & fantasy, scotch and cigars). As we parted he got my phone number and, to my surprise, ACTUALLY asked me on a date!!! This has never happened to me before (did I mention he was also tall and handsome). My entire life I have done the chasing, so I was completely flabbergasted! I figured that this dalliance wouldn’t progress past breakfast (our first date), but we went out a few times. Everything was going really well and I found myself accidentally dating someone (yes that is possible. I kept expecting things to go south). This required me to come up with a plan as to what would happen once the outings progressed towards increased physical contact; so I came up with the 3 month rule. Our dates were always very sexually innocent, never even getting as far as hand-holding, so I figured I had time to work this out.
Alas, contact with TTC Man has ceased. BUT… for the first time, Girl Brain didn’t go all crazy-pants trying to figure out why. I knew why. We just weren’t really suited for each other. It was him who stopped that contact, but I saw it coming. The only part of me that was really interested in him was the part that still clings to the fairy tale romance of the situation. A tall, handsome stranger feeling compelled to chat me up on the subway… come on! I can’t even write how romantic that would be if it had worked out, but it just wasn’t right. For the first time I wasn’t hung up about it or wondering “why doesn’t he like me?!” My thoughts were, “is he really right for you?” A good sign.
I’ve also been away from therapy for a couple weeks, which is starting to wear on me. The holidays and New Year were a kind of a time void where I didn’t really feel I was existing in the real world. I guess it was just so out of my regular routine that I had a hard time keeping up with my regular life activities. It wasn’t until this week that I feel back on track. This could also be because I had to work over most of the holidays and that sent all my natural rhythms out of whack. Anyhoo, I missed a scheduled therapy appointment last week and was heartbroken. I never miss therapy and since I was still in time limbo, I needed some structure and my therapist to pull me back to reality. Oh well! This week will be good. The distance has given me time to reflect on the challenges I still need to address in my life. As well, I have been questioning why I so easily slip off track of achieving my goals with the slightest disruption to routine.
During the past few weeks, I have been asking “why?”. This is where “FEAR” creeps in. That word has taken over my blackboard of things I need to address. It started to consume me when a girlfriend, who is having troubles with her husband, asked me the question I never want to answer: are you afraid you are going to be alone forever? With a brave face, I came up with something I hoped was consoling and confident, but the truth is – yes! I do fear that I will be alone forever. In fact, it is one of my greatest fears (that and T-Rexs – but I think one of them is more likely than the other). I have been alone my entire life. I even choose relationships with men who are emotionally unavailable, perpetuating the aloneness when I have a partner. This is a cycle stemming from growing up with my mother.
In my last session, my therapist did a review of all the issues I’ve tackled this year and praised me on my progress. In the list, she mentioned dealing with feelings towards The Ex, my father & my mother. We didn’t have much time left, but as I thought about it, I wanted to scream “I haven’t dealt with anything concerning my mother!!!” I don’t talk to her anymore (except one phone call on Christmas and if I see her at family events), but I haven’t dealt with anything. All that fear and anger is still bubbling inside somewhere and I am still a prisoner to it – to fear. The fear the years of abuse have rooted in me – the fear that is so woven into the core of my being, I can’t even see it… until now.
I have often wondered why I stop striving when I begin to succeed. I have long thought it is due to “The Cinderella Complex” (I’ll get into this soon, I promise. Just reading the book right now). But, after spending a while reading about it, I am discovering that though the results are similar, nothing in the book strikes me as the cause of my lack of comfort with success. This made me look to other sources and what I came back to was a book that I was using as research for one of my writing projects last year – Surviving a Borderline Parent by Kimberlee Roth & Freda B. Friedman. When I first picked up this book, I was astounded by how much I related to it. It was like they had written it about my life. I only got a couple chapters in but then stopped reading. I thought “it is just for research and I have taken all I can from it. Wrong! The real reason was that I was too scared to face the information it had. I didn’t want to confront the demons of growing up with a Borderline parent.
My mother has never been formally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and for most of my life I had no explanation for her behaviour or the treatment of her children. In public, she was sociable, kind and generous – at home, she was a monster. It wasn’t until I had a part-time job at Indigo Book Store in my late 20s when I was shelving a book called Stop Walking On Eggshells that I even heard about BPD. The title intrigued me because this was always how I felt when dealing with my mom – I was constantly walking on eggshells, hoping that I didn’t do something to set her off (those children of the 80s & 90s will remember a game called Don’t Wake the Dragon – same idea!). I read the back of the book that described BPD and the behaviours of those who suffer from it and was dumbfounded. There was no question in my mind that this was what afflicted my mother. I had never seen anything that so accurately described her actions. For quite some time, that was all I was ready to take on – but it was enough, there was a name for it and when I was ready, I knew where to look for answers. I had a name!
I have never yet been able to face the impact my mother has had on my life. I am still that fearful child cowering at the thought of retribution if I venture out of the proscribed behaviour. Now, I have reached the point where this fear is the only thing continually holding me back from achieving the things I want in life and I’m done with it. I cannot become a full adult until I break free. So, I’ve picked up that book again (scary as it may be) and this year, I am kicking the shit out of fear! I’m done with being afraid. I can’t seem to move forward any further until I do and I’ve come too far and worked too hard to stand still now! So, I’m sure you will be hearing much more about this once I get back to therapy.
(SIDE NOTE: As I was having all of these thoughts about confronting my issues with my mother, I saw a girl on the subway reading Surviving the Borderline Parent – quite random – and decided not to ignore the signs the universe was giving me.)