Sunday, February 26, 2017

2-26-2017 Entry: The Month of Love and Disappointment

Oh my darlings, it has been an interesting and trying month since I last wrote an entry. I wish that I could be writing to you now with excitement that as of this week I am finally at two years on estrogen. I wish that I could be posting the in-depth photo shoot that I had planned for this entry but sadly I caught the flu this past week and was practically on my deathbed for about four days, so the photo shoot will just have to wait another week or two. Definitely keep an eye out for it, I’m hoping it will turn out really well because the photographer I have enlisted to help me is quite talented.

No, my loves, this is not THAT entry. This is the more realistic portrait of my recent life. I didn’t talk much about it before because I kind of wanted to keep things on a generalized level without going into specifics, but during the last month I had a new pseudo roommate move in with me. I say pseudo because she was possibly only a temporary roommate for a few weeks and should she become an official roommate we would have come to a written agreement as to the terms of her living with me.

She was staying with me while she bided her time on the waiting list at my former job to go through treatment for chemical dependence, and in total she lived with me for about three weeks. Now, this living arrangement was an interesting one because both of us had expressed in times past and even again during her stay here, a mutual romantic attraction. That attraction notwithstanding, did not steer my offer to allow her to stay at the house for this duration (she had her own room that she slept in for the entirety of her stay). I won’t  lie and say that this attraction had no bearing on our interactions because I know that it did. As the weeks went on, the two of us grew closer and closer, but with the expressed and discussed understanding that there would be no romantic involvement of any kind prior to her going through treatment. Whether any happened afterwards, was not quite decided but we knew at the very least that we were going to keep things platonic. I think that we did a fairly decent job, all things considered.

With that being said it was never lost on me the vulnerability of this person staying with me. She was dependent upon my good graces for a warm and safe place to stay. She also relied on me in part for transportation purposes including, but not limited to, her being able to pick up her son from his father to visit with him. Given my failures a few months earlier to recognize the vulnerability of the client I made such a gross error with, I was hyper vigilant as to any pressure I place on this person for something that served my needs, instead of hers. I knew that I could not, in good conscience, encourage this person into any sort of romantic entanglement with me without considering whether she actually had any ability to consent to it. I told her this, more than once. I refused to ever exploit someone in a vulnerable position to satisfy my own needs again (not unless we had an S&M agreement of some sort, that is).

I knew that with her housing being dependent upon me, she really couldn’t consent to something more than platonic without there being the very reasonable chance that she wasn’t actually consenting, but feeling pressured into it. I did my best, despite the mutually expressed attraction (She even went so far as to say, “the only person I have any romantic interest in is you.”) to keep things platonic. It was a daily struggle sometimes as I found myself falling for her more and more with each new interaction. The hours of conversation, laughter, shared meals, shared AA/NA meetings, shared activities, shared physical affection, and countless texts throughout the day made my struggle all the more difficult.

I kept having to remind myself that I had to be good. I had to be patient. I had to recognize that she was not only incapable of giving me what I would want or deserve out of a romantic relationship (she was far too in need of self-care and treatment for that) but that to ask her to do so would be detrimental to her recovery and wellbeing. I knew that my unconditional love for her, while an incubating energy preserving her in a safe place until she embarked on the hard work of treatment, was also a double edged sword. Should that love become too much of a source of dependence for her, her recovery would be malformed and convoluted by its presence; thereby almost certain to fail.

Even still, the effect that this person’s presence in my life was having on me was quite significant. Like a wilted and dying plant, deprived of the life-giving water and sunlight, her presence was like a hand that picked me up, placed me next to a window, and sprinkled my withered and cracked leaves with water. At first the effect was minimal, but with each new day and each new attempt to revive my death-like appearance I was restored little by little. In the span of just a week or two it was as if all the months of neglect and despair were completely wiped away. But more than this, there was something new happening which had not happened in many, many months. Flowers began to grow and bloom where there had only been withered nubs.

Hope. My beloved readers, I felt and remembered hope. Six months of PTSD, isolation, suicidal depression, relapse, enormous mistakes, and a foreboding sense that my life would always be this miserable lonely wasteland I saw around me had nearly robbed me of my ability to hope. I hadn’t felt hope in as long as I could remember, not any sort of real hope that was. Sure, there were brief glimpses of it and momentary spots where my manic symptoms made me think I was hopeful, but this new hope was utterly unlike those that had come before. For the first time since I was held down and raped by someone I never should have trusted, I actually believed that it might be possible for me to find happiness again. The strange thing about it, was that I knew it didn’t have to come to me through this temporary roommate. Sure, I loved her more and more with each passing day, but the hope her presence fostered in me was a deep recognition that my life was getting better and the darkness of the year before was finally coming to an end.

That, of course, didn’t stop me from envisioning like a schoolgirl with a crush all the ways she and I could be happy together. We seemed so right for one another and our interactions were almost always filled with laughter and affection. Those that weren’t were never unkind or cold, but often deep and serious. She is one of the only people who has ever held me as I cried uncontrollably.

She made me want to be a better person, not for her as much as for myself. I wanted to stop living in sorrow and start putting my life back together. The first thing that needed to change was I needed to return to sobriety, and this time I took it a step further. Not only would I give up alcohol, which had become a force of destruction in my life, but I would also give up the use of any non-prescription drug. I won’t go into details but I finally gave up something I have been doing ever since I was about thirteen or fourteen years old. I recognized it for what it was, a drug I was addicted to, and I took the necessary steps to never partake again.

And then the call came. She had a bed at the treatment center. While my hope did not fade, nor my love for this woman, my sense of ease definitely did. With her presence came something I’d been sorely missing for some time, companionship. Even if we only spent a sort while together and then went to our separate bedrooms for the night, I wasn’t alone in my house. With the news that she had a bed and would be leaving in a couple days, I was reminded that I was about to experience the dreadful emptiness of the house again. My other roommate, while still around in spirit, was almost never home, so I was almost always alone. I dreaded returning to that solitude again. In the solitude my mind turns in on itself. In the solitude I am left with nothing but time to think my way straight into the bottle, or the sleeping pill aisle at the pharmacy.

I’d been so suicidal the week before I got the call from her that she was in the same psyche unit I’d been in a few months earlier. Her call to me might have saved me as much as it was an effort to save herself, because it gave me a reason to keep going. There was someone I adored (even before she moved in) at a hospital I’d been at who wanted company, and having known the dreadful loneliness of that place firsthand I wanted to be there for her the way so few of my friends were for me. I visited her nearly every single day, sometimes twice. I wanted her to know she wasn’t alone, because I knew what alone was like. Alone was my kingdom, my domain. Isolation was my self-imposed sentence after the rape, and isolation kills. This woman was far too beautiful of a soul for me to allow isolation to get its icy fingers around.

I got to remember that I wasn’t just a fuck up or a failure. I got to remember that I did have something to offer that was worthwhile and that there were people who wanted me around. But all of that was to end once she left for treatment. It would be back to the silence and given the way things ended with my old job I wasn’t sure they’d let me come see her. I’m very sorry to say that that’s the case.

She went into treatment almost three weeks ago and in that time so much awful has happened. As I feared, the silence of the house was crushing. I broke down into tears when I got home the day she went in because I was so sad to be alone again. I missed her and she’d only been gone a few hours. Thankfully she called me a couple times that week which lessened the blow of her absence. It was so nice to hear from her (they can only call out, you can’t call in except to leave a message). That Friday night one of her friends and I went to the open AA meeting they have there every week. Seeing her, all dressed up in anticipation of seeing the two of us, made my heart leap and reminded me how much I missed her. I felt sick to my stomach being on the grounds of my old job, but I overcame that because I knew she needed support. She needed to know that she had people rooting for her and her recovery, and that we’d be there with her as she went.

The meeting was good and we had lovely conversations filled with laughter and hugs… until the HR lady came out and saw me there with her. From there, everything went downhill. She didn’t say anything then and there, but the next day she called me to try to convince me not to come visit my friend for visitation hours. I told her I was going to come despite her encouragement not to because I needed to bring things to my friend that she had requested I bring the night before. I did as I said. I brought the items and went to the visitation hours. The HR lady then loomed over me like a hawk watching my every move. My friend came out to greet me and hugged me warmly, very happy to see me again. She could tell something was wrong and I told her I’d explain in a minute (once the HR lady wasn’t within earshot).

They searched the stuff I brought, she took it to her room, came back out, and we went out to where the smoking area was. There I explained to her what had happened, sparing her many of the very upsetting details so as to not agitate her too much. These were the consequences to my mistakes and she didn’t need to be punished for them and certainly didn’t need to fight my battles for me. She was still quite upset and said she wasn’t going to stand for their treatment of me. I urged her to take care of herself and to not get into trouble on my account. We talked for a while and I left. That was the last time I saw her and the last time I really had much of conversation with her. We had a short phone conversation the next day when she asked if they’d harassed me any further. They hadn’t.

I thought that things had blown over, and that the HR lady, despite her extremely rude treatment of me, had realized there was no reason to be alarmed. I’d been perfectly well behaved (I wasn’t going to give them a fucking thing to use against me) and the sky hadn’t fallen. Well… I was wrong. Wednesday, four days later, rolled around and I got a phone call and email telling me that I wasn’t allowed to come there anymore. They didn’t care if my roommate/friend was there, they didn’t want me around.

Now, with isolation, comes humiliation. I was devastated. I was furious. I was heartbroken. I was so many things at once. I told them they had better tell my friend because she needed to know it was their choice and not mine. I didn’t want her to think I’d abandoned her because of my discomfort of being there again. They wanted this, not me. She and I spoke the next day for a few moments where she told me her counselor had told her I wasn’t allowed to come visit anymore. I don’t know what all was said and I had to rush to get off the phone for an interview at a practicum site.

The next night I left a message with her asking her about an AA meeting I go to on Saturdays that the treatment center also brings clients to. I wanted to know if she was going and if I should or shouldn’t go. I didn’t want to cause trouble. She more or less told me she’d rather I not be there before rushing off the phone. That was the last time I spoke with her, over a week ago.

It’s getting late and while there is so much more to tell, I want to cut this off so I can go to bed. Now I’m just sitting here wondering what the fuck happened. I can’t get any answers out of anyone as to what’s going on with this person and I. I’m trying to keep my distance because I don’t want to cause more damage than I have but I’m also going crazy not knowing. Remember how I said isolation gives me the space to think myself into the ground? Well that’s what I’ve been doing. Add to it the fact that I’ve been as sick as a dog with nothing to do but lie around trying to rest and feel better.

I fear that my past mistakes, despite all the care and effort I took to not repeat them, have somehow poisoned the relationship I had with this person. Just as the figurative plant was thriving again and blossoming with hope of the future, it’s like the same hand that restored its vitality has now cast it to the floor. The pot has shattered, dirt is everywhere, and the plant is struggling to cling to life once again. And what can I do? Nothing. Wait. See. Hope it’s not as bad as it seems.

Regardless, I will still love her. Even if she decides to cut me out of her life, I will still hope only the best for her and her son. She gave me a reason to keep going, and maybe that has to be enough. Maybe any more than that, is asking too much.

That's it for this entry. I have other stuff to write about though, and much of it is quite good, like the practicum I am going to be starting in the fall.

So, stay fabulous my loves,