Separate individuals with different paths

I’m still enjoying this newfound sense of freedom. He was never restrictive, and was always kind and supportive of things that I wanted to do. Some things he wasn’t so happy about – tattoos, new piercings. You can take that two ways – maybe once he loved me for how I was, maybe he’s not a fan of body modifications. On my more melodramatic days I’ll say he never loved me and just didn’t like tattoos. On my more realistic days, I can recognise he used to quite like me as I am.

So last week I was out with a friend who was visiting for the day. She has a tattoo, and agreed to accompany me to the tattoo shop so I could maybe get an impulsive one. (Spoiler alert: they couldn’t do anything on the day, so I just had a little chat with someone there about my anxieties.) This wouldn’t be 100% spontaneous – I have put some thought into it, I just haven’t jumped in just yet.

Before we get to the shop, and in loosely thinking of him, I came across his mother and sister. I’ve managed to avoid them for nearly three months, so it was of course very strange to happen upon them. We did the polite thing where our voices rose several octaves whilst talking about nothing in particular. How are you? Oh wow, that’s nice. Glad to hear that! Must get going, see you soon.

I’m incapable of not saying ‘see you soon’ or ‘see you later’, it’s like a ridiculous little compulsion even though it means nothing.

I did say something very awkward. In a way to try and say goodbye, I said ‘well, I’m seeing him on Tuesday, so I’ll ask about you then.’ That means nothing, and is also very silly if I did mean exactly what I said.

To the next point – I was meant to see him today (the aforementioned Tuesday). I haven’t, but only because I’m developing a cold and would much rather be in my house. But every time I tell people I’m seeing him for a casual dinner, I’m met with raised eyebrows and ‘why?’

I miss him less.  I miss lying my head on his chest, and I miss holding his hand. I miss kissing, and I miss intimacy. But if I’d thought on this a few weeks ago, I would have missed things more specific about him. The inside jokes. The way he’d play me the newest songs he’d written. My sadness (dwindling by the day) is less about him in particular, and more about the physicality of having a partner.

But we have history. We shared five years worth of experiences and conversations, and I care about how he is. I care is his mental health is (hopefully) getting better. I care about whether he’s going to finish his degree. I care about his new job and if it’s going well. When we meet up, I’m trying to focus on our futures as separate individuals with different paths, and less on what we had, or indeed could have had. I don’t think that’s weird, but I do struggle when other people suggest it is.

In other news, some (LGBT) work friends who say I should tap into the bisexuality might take me to the local gay bar, so we’ll see how that goes.



It’s hard to pretend

He dumped me on Tuesday, and it’s currently the early hours of the morning on Monday. With my night shifts, the days and weeks often blur together, but especially this week, it’s hard to know where I am or quite how I feel or think. I spoke about getting back to work and how it felt positive to be my professional self and not to wallow. But I’m starting to wonder if I need more time just to reflect.

At work, people ask quickly if I’m okay, but they don’t want to hear more. Friends check in, but I’m very conscious that friends will have their own dramas. How long is appropriate to spend on your own feelings? How long is normal to ask for people’s support and genuinely expect them to care? Probably about ten minutes.

My friend came to the house today. He’s getting married in 18 days, and today I helped him write his wedding speech. I’m so happy for him, but it feels bittersweet, as we met our boyfriends at about the same time. He’s getting married, I’ve been dumped.

I don’t want everything to be all about me, that’s never been my personality. I’m introverted and introspective and I don’t often want people’s attentions or questions. But I think maybe this week (this year, this never-ending eternity) I’d quite like some attention.

My friend came to my house expecting to have to pick me up off the floor, and was very relieved that he didn’t have to. There’s a tiny kernel of bitterness in me that feels that neither he or anybody else would actually want to.

I’m hiding behind jokes, and the expansive and positive affirmation that ‘it’s ultimately for the best’. Fuck but it’s easy to divert attention if I say that loudly enough.

We texted today. Me, and the ex. I asked our mutual friend if it might be a good idea. She gave a terse ‘yes’ and hasn’t spoken to me since. Another thing to ponder anxiously in bed at 2am.

I unblocked his number (hello petty self) and messaged to arrange a meet up. We’ll meet on Wednesday, 8 days after the fact. I get a little obsessed with keeping track of the number of days, and I’m looking forward to when that will feel less relevant.

Messaging was horrible. He called me by name. ‘Hi Laura, good to hear from you’! I don’t think I’ve heard him call me Laura for about a year before this last two weeks. It’s always been pet names: ‘sweetheart’ and ‘baby’. The one that always made me feel fuzziest was ‘my love’. But now I’m just Laura.

Parallels with death

My dad died ten years ago. I was 16, he was an alcoholic. To some degree it was expected, but in others it wasn’t. He was 54, and had only really become unwell in the last year of his life.

My dad was my mum’s first and only boyfriend. They met when she was 21, and they were together (sometimes happily, oftentimes not) until he died. My mum has made the decision not to date since my father’s death, and this is her decision to make.

In the year after his death, my mum struggled to listen to music. She loves music, and will spend hours trawling through YouTube to find her favorite motown hits.

(I’ve tried to teach her about Spotify, it doesn’t work)

Today, mum took me out for lunch and I struggled to listen to some of the ambient music in the shops. There are songs that remind me about the boyfriend, and songs that make me tearful because of their message. So today I’ve spent a lot of time listening to Michael Jackson, because that’s music that has always belonged to me and something that he never understood.

I don’t mean to belittle death. I don’t mean to belittle that ultimate loss and finality that death brings, and the knowledge that you’ll never see that person again. Sometimes that’s a palatable thing. Sometimes that’s acceptable, and it becomes part of your new reality.

Sometimes the death of a loved one never truly feels true, and it feels like they might return at any point. That maybe they were playing the worst practical joke. That they were a secret agent who’s been undercover and that they’ll come back soon.

I don’t quite know how the breakup is going to feel. I have a sense of finality, and as I wrote about previously, it feels like there will be positivity eventually. For the time being, I’m going to keep listening to Michael Jackson.