Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Is Waiting a form of Loving?

You're either writing or fucking.

So says one of my best mates when I told her how long its been since I last was able to write a post here. She gives me permission to let it I suppose I will too. Because, to be honest, and a not just a bit crude, I have been doing an awful lot of fucking. And it's been just beautiful!

But now the fucking is not happening. Because my Lover and I are apart again, because it's family holiday time...first his, then mine. So, besides a very brief connection between the two family holidays, there are almost 6 long weeks of being apart that need enduring. And it has tested both of our endurance already...much more strongly than we would have imagined, whilst thinking about it in the middle of our connected physical cocoon.

So to finish off my slightly shocking opening writing device, I need to say that I am suddenly moved to write again. Because there can't be any fucking. Naturally.

We are beginning to see a pattern around our finding time to be together. Our togetherness consists of a couple of nights at a time together if we are able to co- ordinate our business trips away. And then a possible once a week overnighter when my Lover commutes into my city. We make the most of these moments. One of us usually draws the other in, gently, and quickly, as we come down from the adrenaline-fueled deadline-packed lives we both lead. There's a quiet sense of urgency between us - get to the calm and connected beautiful cocoon as soon as possible so as not to waste a moment. A massage. A hot tub. A connected couch conversation. A fierce and urgent fuck. Something that makes the world fade away and become only the deep and connected space between us. And that space, however long it lasts, feels really like another world. We do both escape there. Love. Laugh. Talk. Fuck. Sleep. Hold. Paradise for the two introverts that we are.

But the harder pattern to bear is, of course, the separation. The inevitable ending that is brought on by The Next Thing, whatever that is. And we are suddenly packing, showering, leaving, saying goodbye, with never quite enough time to process the separation before The Next Thing begins and real life resumes. There is an ache in parting, but it can't be seen and felt too much because there is life to make happen and the cocoon is supposed to be the restorer of the life force that enables the rest of it to some extent. It's all right in those times when we know it will be a few sleeps until we are together again. But it gets worse when that can't happen. When we know it will be long and distant weeks before we can find each other again.

And so at those times the process of separation takes days. And it is this separating time that I feel my old pain coming to me. I know that I was so very interested in the process of self-revelation I was having with each man I've met. And this actual real connected and happy relationship is no exception. I can see that it will stretch and challenge and grow me more than any relationship ever has... if I manage to stay the painful part of the distance.

For some reason. Co-incidence? My Lover's issues? Universe intervention to teach me things? Every time we separate in anticipation of a longer time apart, his day seems to consume him. He disappears from me, able to be only briefly be in touch. I find myself reaching for him. Longing. Aching. And he is unable to reciprocate. So the separation always seems to begin for me in a suddenly back-footed way. I need too much of him. He can't reciprocate. I feel the deep loss in disconnection and I begin to grieve. And cling. And feel a rejection (unintended) and the pain that comes with that. I begin to spiral into sorrow. And that sorrow feels so intense and painful, not helped, I'm sure, by the cocktail of drugs I'm currently taking to try to quell my most recent Rheumatoid flare. Chemo. Cortisone. Biologics. All messing with my emotional and physical disposition in a way that I can't quite get a handle on. So. On shifting sands. And lost in an ocean of sadness and despair at times. Not an easy way to miss a Lover.

But of course, things aren't a straight line here anyway, are they? That sorrow. Loss. Sense of rejection and abandonment. They are not simply created by my Lover's distance. This isn't something he's 'Doing To Me'. I know now, after years of therapy, that these are ancient feelings, being churned up in response to this place, but not formed by them. Just even being able to see that has to be a black belt in my own journey of self awareness. I can't blame him for them. And it's really good to know that unequivocally inside myself. But that's grownup me. 5-year-old me has a different perspective. She is always sitting in her familiar place, cheek and ear up against the door outside daddy's studio, not allowed in, waiting for that moment when the door may open and he will emerge, and be mine again. Waiting for love. Waiting for love.

In my case, the metaphorical door is my cell phone. My WhatsApp account. Lover messages come in through a special alert that is reserved for him. I carry that phone around obsessively. And drop almost anything I'm busy with when his message comes in. In true Pavlov's dog style, every time that bell rings I get a little surge of adrenaline-fed frission and excitement. It's him. Talking to me. Brilliant! Sometimes it's a very arbitrary something, and I feel a twinge of disappointment. Sometimes it's him telling me he can't talk right now...disappointment deeper. Sometimes he asks me a question...I answer...but by the time I finishing typing my response, I see he has already left the conversation and it may be hours again before he picks up the phone to read my response. Even deeper disappointment. I find myself living my life between messages, and tuning into him deeply the moment he is available to me. His experience of me is, I think, of almost total availability. Access. I know I cannot even tolerate the idea of letting him down by not being available. Unexplained absences. Distance. Never want him to feel that Pain of Absence. Unavailability. Things that I suffer on a daily basis. I love him by being almost obsessively available to him. Because that's what I crave. How I think love is. Protecting the one you love from the pain of separation.

I thought everybody loves like this. At some naive level I think I see loving as doing everything you can to protect your loved ones from the pain that life can bring, and most especially from the pain that you might bring to them, in this case, by 'neglecting' them by your absence. But, I'm starting to be regularly reminded, not everyone has this particular flavour of pain that I carry around inside me. They don't need to be protected from it because THEY DON'T EVEN FEEL IT. Whaaaat?

Last session I spent with shrink she gave me such an important story to work with. Her first boss had the weirdest habit. He was wealthy. Very very wealthy. But every time there was some sort of office function he would send her to the food table to pile him a plate of food. Pile being the operating word. He would stand at a distance and monitor her piling, secretly encouraging her to put more and more onto the plate. Then she would have to go and hide the plate in his office fridge. And then pile a second one. That was the ritual. And then he would snack on those plates of food, well into the following week...where the food was stale and limp. Even though he had money enough to order in fresh gourmet food daily if he so desired. She found it a nauseating and disgusting habit. Until one day he told her the story about the poverty and real starvation he had grown up with as a child. How he would go for days without food and knew real hunger. She joined the dots. Never knew whether he did.

She says that I have the equivalent poverty of emotional connection and care. Brought up with very few of my emotional and connection needs met in an abusive (mom) and neglectful (dad) world. My inner child well knows that pain of waiting and waiting for love. And there is a very strong part of me that suspects that love can be withdrawn at any time. I'm prone to hoarding it in just the same way that boss needed piled plates. Drop everything. Every time. Be present and available for that connection moment. Feel the transitory emotional rush of joy that happens with each connection. Cherish it. Never. Ever. Miss an opportunity to allow it to happen. Anticipate it. Make space for it. Plan for it. Embrace it. This could be the last scrap ever.

The fear in me is about the sense of loss and abandonment in the terrifying potential withdrawal of love that is so normal for me that I don't even notice myself expecting it. And so all-consuming is it, that I can't believe that every human being around me isn't feeling that same fear. So I project it onto everyone I love. Assume they feel it. Work like crazy to reassure, surround and protect them from feeling it. Because it is my deepest pain. And how would I be able to even say to myself that I love someone if I don't work tirelessly to ensure they never experience it because of something I've done. My need. Your need. Satisfied in very present, deeply bonded connection. And the completely incorrect assumption that we both feel the pain. And both crave the connection.

So to my lover. We have both felt the unravelling of us as the days go by into this long separation time. I'm feeling more and more of that ancient pain coming up while he lives his home life, and work life away from me. I get more and more needy and clingy. More and more wounded by what feels like his lack of presence. He feels more and more blamed and at a loss as to how to reasonably and lovingly respond to what must feel to him like an abyss of need in me. He is struggling with his own drug-induced imbalance and shifting sands as he also wrestles a flare. Both of us despairing at some level - this thing is supposed to be enriching and life-giving, and instead we find ourselves drowning in our own and each other's demons, not really sure about how to keep this place safe. My ever-presence is starting to irk him.

Trudy: "Lover, I'm hearing that you're too busy for me. That my need for time with you is a burden. That my disappointment when we can't have time is unacceptable. That my expectations are unreasonable. That this pain we're experiencing is because I'm doing it all wrong."
Rainman: "Trudy, I'm saying that we're not getting it right. That our need vs expectation/hope ratio is out of alignment with what is practical.
"And that our remote connection is not good and it spirals downward 
"And that I find it a huge challenge constantly being or feeling like I'm on the back foot with respect to your needs. And that I seem unable to change that.
" And it is difficult knowing that you are always looking....Hoping...Waiting...Disappointed" 
My guarding my phone. Obsessively carrying it with me. Cheek leaning up against daddy's door. Answering his every text. Being present whenever he has time for me. Organising my life around being with him when he can make the time. It's too much for him. And he will never love me back that way. It's how I love. But it's not a normal way to love. And I need to find a new way. I need to hold the anxiety in my little child and soothe her. And find a more grownup, functional way to love and be loved.

I tried a new practice last night. I left my phone alone in my room and focused completely on feeding my huge family. Chilled with my boys, let them figure out the finer arts of chicken carving and serving dinner hot to hoards. Had to keep soothing my growing anxiety of my phone alone in my room. Telling myself over and over that my lover would survive the distance. That he wasn't craving connection like I was. That he would comfortably take it in his stride. That this separating time wasn't about love, or the lack thereof at all. I couldn't shake the feeling that I was subjecting him to feelings of abandonment because of my lack of presence. Coaching myself through it all was exhausting. By the time dinner was finally done and the dishes washed, I fell into bed, with a deep turmoil inside me. Didn't know how to even tell him what was in my mind. And then did another 'abandoning' thing. I told him I thought I needed to sleep to recover. Which I did.

We said goodnight. He wasn't able to intuit that I needed loving words from him that would calm and reassure me. Maybe he wasn't capable of them either. I know I wasn't.

So Waiting seems to be how I love. One of the ways I love. I think it's time for me to gently let go of that practice. It comes from a dysfunctional place in me. and if I am to heal then here is a good place to work at that. I end this piece, not with a hopeful sense of 'Eureka'. My heart feels heavy and sad, and my body wants to sleep, even though its only 9.30 am. I hope my lover will want to see this through with me. It feels like it won't be an easy path that I can facilitate lightly and make it feel simple. It feels dark and fraught. And I feel tired when I look at it. Growing healthier sometimes takes a very painful path. I'm walking it now.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Finding Each Other in Conversation 1


Riverman and I are a thing. The L-word has been exchanged. Lovemaking has happened. I'm feeling so very very happy with him...and so have neglected my blogging programme.

What I haven't done, luckily, because it often happens when one falls in love, is abandon my therapy work. Somehow I am succeeding in holding this loving space, and work the sore Trudy stuff at the same time.

So much of our time is spent talking on WhatsApp. So I decided to create a few WhatsApp narrative posts to help me remember the important conversations Riverman and I have as we learn each other.

This one happened while he was away with his kids on holiday, and I was down in Cape Town with my mates. Before the last blog, More than just a Kiss on a Park Bench

30/09/2015, 10:39 PM - Riverman: So what scares you?

30/09/2015, 10:42 PM - Trudy: It changes. I'm scared of falling for you. And you running for the hills when that happens. Leaving me abandoned and in pieces. That would be an action replay on my past 3 relationships. Devastating.

30/09/2015, 10:47 PM - Riverman: I tried to type an answer. But Trudy this conversation we must have face to face. It is important.
30/09/2015, 10:48 PM - Riverman: I am not prone to running for the hills. But this is new to me.
30/09/2015, 10:48 PM - Riverman: It feels so very right and fills so much of that empty space.

30/09/2015, 10:51 PM - Trudy: Well we're probably getting a bit ahead of ourselves. ...
30/09/2015, 10:51 PM - Trudy: I do this. ... Sorry. ... Bit intense. ..

30/09/2015, 10:51 PM - Riverman: Yes.   Over planning?
30/09/2015, 10:52 PM - Riverman: Don't be sorry tho.

30/09/2015, 10:52 PM - Trudy: ok. You have to promise me something please. ..

30/09/2015, 10:52 PM - Riverman: Yes?

30/09/2015, 10:53 PM - Trudy: And I'll promise it back
30/09/2015, 10:55 PM - Trudy: However this plays out, if it has to end for any reason,  you end it well. With a conversation. An explanation. A truth. No ghosting. Disappearing. Withdrawing.

30/09/2015, 10:56 PM - Riverman: Promise. At the very beginning we discussed honesty. I promise you that.
30/09/2015, 10:57 PM - Riverman: You already know things about me that no one else does.

30/09/2015, 10:57 PM - Trudy: God. I'm so intense. Sorry.  Sorry. Too much

30/09/2015, 10:58 PM - Riverman: Trudy?
30/09/2015, 10:58 PM - Riverman: This is good. Don't apologize.
30/09/2015, 10:59 PM - Riverman: I don't see you as probably most people do... I'm lucky that way.

30/09/2015, 10:59 PM - Trudy: Meaning?

30/09/2015, 11:02 PM - Riverman: You seemed surprised that I 'saw' some of those aspects of your personality. But I am not coming into your life through work, or your existing family, or your existing friends.
30/09/2015, 11:02 PM - Riverman: I can, if you let me, embrace more of you. If you let me...

30/09/2015, 11:03 PM - Trudy: I scare people D.

30/09/2015, 11:03 PM - Riverman: πŸ™€
30/09/2015, 11:03 PM - Riverman: Which people?

30/09/2015, 11:04 PM - Trudy: Men
30/09/2015, 11:04 PM - Trudy: Not women
30/09/2015, 11:04 PM - Trudy: My girlfriends adore me
30/09/2015, 11:04 PM - Trudy: Are you a girl?
30/09/2015, 11:04 PM - Trudy: 😁

30/09/2015, 11:05 PM - Riverman: All men are bad and to be mistrusted..
30/09/2015, 11:05 PM - Riverman: πŸ‘½
30/09/2015, 11:05 PM - Riverman: πŸ‘Ή

30/09/2015, 11:05 PM - Trudy: But they're so delicious
30/09/2015, 11:05 PM - Trudy: When we met
30/09/2015, 11:06 PM - Trudy: And hugged Hello
30/09/2015, 11:06 PM - Trudy: Was I imagining you were nervous?

30/09/2015, 11:06 PM - Riverman: Very.

30/09/2015, 11:06 PM - Trudy: I felt you trembling

30/09/2015, 11:06 PM - Riverman: Hehe!

30/09/2015, 11:07 PM - Trudy: And then thought I'd got it wrong
30/09/2015, 11:07 PM - Trudy: Why nervous?

30/09/2015, 11:08 PM - Riverman: Expectation. Unknown I guess.
30/09/2015, 11:10 PM - Riverman: It surprised me too.

30/09/2015, 11:10 PM - Trudy: And what are you most afraid of?

30/09/2015, 11:11 PM - Riverman: Being chewed up and spat out by warrior dontfuckwithmewoman.

30/09/2015, 11:12 PM - Trudy: Copout. But funny.
30/09/2015, 11:12 PM - Trudy: She doesn't do that. She protects the innocent.

30/09/2015, 11:12 PM - Riverman: Seriously, not finding what I want. And finding what I want.
30/09/2015, 11:14 PM - Riverman: Your 'sadness' piece talks to existence, not living. I want to find the living.

(I had sent him a copy of my Sadness blog)

30/09/2015, 11:16 PM - Riverman: I have been in a holding pattern, and the expectation of getting beyond this is...can't find word

30/09/2015, 11:17 PM - Trudy: (I think living involves the full spectrum of emotions though.)... *Still listening. ..

30/09/2015, 11:18 PM - Riverman: Yes, it does. But it has lacked depth of feeling.
30/09/2015, 11:18 PM - Riverman: Clarify. I have lacked...
30/09/2015, 11:19 PM - Riverman: Control, getting it done.  Family. Stress. Sadness. Been there.
30/09/2015, 11:20 PM - Riverman: Important, but not everything...

30/09/2015, 11:21 PM - Trudy: How do you feel today?

30/09/2015, 11:21 PM - Riverman: The last few days have been really good.
30/09/2015, 11:22 PM - Riverman: Fun. Connected.

30/09/2015, 11:23 PM - Trudy: Good. I'm having fun too.
30/09/2015, 11:24 PM - Trudy: I think we're braver in text. It's harder when we talk to move into the braver conversations

30/09/2015, 11:26 PM - Riverman: Yes. But We'll get better. Bet if you were right next to me here the conversation would have space for braveness.

30/09/2015, 11:26 PM - Trudy: Believe me,  if I was next to you we wouldn't be talking at all! !!

30/09/2015, 11:27 PM - Riverman: Hehe!!

30/09/2015, 11:28 PM - Trudy: Hey

30/09/2015, 11:28 PM - Riverman: Yes?

30/09/2015, 11:28 PM - Trudy: You're keeping me up!

30/09/2015, 11:28 PM - Riverman: Good!
30/09/2015, 11:28 PM - Riverman: Tough.

30/09/2015, 11:29 PM - Trudy: Rheumatoid woman here! !!!πŸ’…πŸ»

30/09/2015, 11:29 PM - Riverman: Ok, you're dismissed.

30/09/2015, 11:29 PM - Trudy: Don't really wanna be

30/09/2015, 11:30 PM - Riverman: Understand. Sleep well. Thanks.

30/09/2015, 11:31 PM - Trudy: Like really don't wanna be

30/09/2015, 11:32 PM - Riverman: We've got days ahead. Waiting...

30/09/2015, 11:32 PM - Trudy: Don't remind me😳
30/09/2015, 11:33 PM - Trudy: Thanks for holding me gently tonight.
30/09/2015, 11:33 PM - Trudy: Bye sexy man!
30/09/2015, 11:33 PM - Trudy: Still want you

30/09/2015, 11:33 PM - Riverman: My pleasure. Wish it was for real.

30/09/2015, 11:33 PM - Trudy: More

30/09/2015, 11:34 PM - Riverman: Want you too! 😘

Next morning....

01/10/2015, 6:37 AM - Trudy: Shoooo
01/10/2015, 6:38 AM - Trudy: Seriously intense last night
01/10/2015, 6:38 AM - Trudy: That's a blush!

01/10/2015, 6:58 AM - Riverman: Morning!
01/10/2015, 7:04 AM - Riverman: How're you?

01/10/2015, 7:11 AM - Trudy: 😊
01/10/2015, 7:11 AM - Trudy: Good

01/10/2015, 7:30 AM - Riverman: So I learned some stuff about you last night

01/10/2015, 7:31 AM - Trudy: Oh dear
01/10/2015, 7:31 AM - Trudy: What did you learn

01/10/2015, 7:31 AM - Riverman: πŸ˜„

01/10/2015, 7:31 AM - Trudy: Cringing. ..
01/10/2015, 7:34 AM - Riverman: ...<suspense>.....

01/10/2015, 7:34 AM - Trudy: πŸ˜–
01/10/2015, 7:35 AM - Riverman: ....cue dramatic music.....

01/10/2015, 7:35 AM - Trudy: You killing me!

01/10/2015, 7:36 AM - Riverman: You're human!

01/10/2015, 7:37 AM - Trudy: 😝

01/10/2015, 7:37 AM - Riverman: I like that.

01/10/2015, 7:37 AM - Trudy: Nooooooooo

01/10/2015, 7:37 AM - Riverman: Ok, with complexity.  Better?

01/10/2015, 7:38 AM - Trudy: Ok
01/10/2015, 7:38 AM - Trudy: Sigh

01/10/2015, 7:39 AM - Riverman: I like that too.

01/10/2015, 7:39 AM - Trudy: Thank god

01/10/2015, 7:40 AM - Riverman: I think now, more than I thought before, that we could more to each other than I thought.

01/10/2015, 7:41 AM - Trudy: Shew

01/10/2015, 7:41 AM - Riverman: That is scary tho.

01/10/2015, 7:41 AM - Trudy: Yup

01/10/2015, 8:07 AM - Trudy: Riverman

01/10/2015, 8:08 AM - Riverman: Yes?

01/10/2015, 8:08 AM - Trudy: I do like you

01/10/2015, 8:08 AM - Riverman: That's good!

01/10/2015, 8:09 AM - Trudy: I think I was probably trying to scare you off last night

01/10/2015, 8:09 AM - Riverman: Should I go?
01/10/2015, 8:09 AM - Riverman: it too fast, Trudy?
01/10/2015, 8:10 AM - Trudy: Probably.
01/10/2015, 8:10 AM - Trudy: But that's me
01/10/2015, 8:10 AM - Trudy: Driving emotional intensity
01/10/2015, 8:10 AM - Trudy: I try to hold myself back. .. but struggle to

01/10/2015, 8:11 AM - Riverman: Well then it is you, not so?

01/10/2015, 8:11 AM - Trudy: Yup
01/10/2015, 8:11 AM - Trudy: So if you're scared you better exit sooner rather than later. ...
01/10/2015, 8:12 AM - Trudy: PG warning. .. Things could get real

01/10/2015, 8:12 AM - Riverman: I am scared but not OF you. But BECAUSE of you. Big difference.

01/10/2015, 8:12 AM - Trudy: Tell me
01/10/2015, 8:13 AM - Trudy: What you mean by that?

01/10/2015, 8:19 AM - Riverman: Trudy, for me this decision has been years in the mix. Intellectually it is there. But to be in the mix of these - really good- things: the feelings, fun, potential... It is <can't find word> overwhelming? Consuming? In a good but scary way.
01/10/2015, 8:20 AM - Riverman: So these feelings, this potential, is what I thought and hoped about for so long. Now there you are....
01/10/2015, 8:22 AM - Riverman: I real see how difficult it is to Programme this. So the scariness is 'riding the wave' I think.

01/10/2015, 8:25 AM - Trudy: Riverman I am emerging from a very tough space. It's been a year of emerging. And I am tough and sassy on the outside and needy and fragile on the inside. I'm by no means 'sorted' yet. Some days I'm great. Some days I wobble like mad. That could be more than you bargained for

01/10/2015, 8:28 AM - Riverman: Let me make that choice. Unless you're pushing...

01/10/2015, 8:29 AM - Trudy: I need to say that because I don't want to reel you in under false pretenses. The sexy siren song that brings you into a space where you feel you've been caught up in a crazy space
01/10/2015, 8:29 AM - Trudy: I'm not pushing

01/10/2015, 8:29 AM - Riverman: Ok.
01/10/2015, 8:29 AM - Trudy: Just aware that I can be too much for people
01/10/2015, 8:30 AM - Trudy: And. Honesty moment. Terrified of being rejected for that
01/10/2015, 8:30 AM - Trudy: Again

01/10/2015, 8:31 AM - Riverman: I hear you.
01/10/2015, 8:33 AM - Riverman: My experience is less, but longer. The terror still big.
01/10/2015, 8:33 AM - Riverman: Trudy?
01/10/2015, 8:35 AM - Riverman: I am looking for more than a fuck buddy. Reread my profile.

01/10/2015, 8:35 AM - Trudy: I know

01/10/2015, 8:35 AM - Riverman: That means this is not a sex transaction. It will be more complicated.
01/10/2015, 8:35 AM - Riverman: But more rewarding.
01/10/2015, 8:35 AM - Riverman: I hope.

01/10/2015, 8:36 AM - Trudy: Me too
01/10/2015, 8:36 AM - Trudy: Shew

01/10/2015, 8:36 AM - Riverman: What I don't yet know is whether I can meet your expectations/ needs fully.
01/10/2015, 8:37 AM - Riverman: We both have other lives. Yours possibly more sorted than mine.
01/10/2015, 8:37 AM - Riverman: How these fit together is an experiment.
01/10/2015, 8:37 AM - Riverman: It has to be.
01/10/2015, 8:37 AM - Riverman: No manual for this stuff!

01/10/2015, 8:37 AM - Trudy: Yup. We must walk gently
01/10/2015, 8:38 AM - Trudy: And decide if and how we can craft it into something that fits nicely into our lives
01/10/2015, 8:38 AM - Trudy: and it does also depend on the first kiss you know. ..

01/10/2015, 8:39 AM - Riverman: Yes.
01/10/2015, 8:40 AM - Riverman: Yes. We're not there yet.  In physical terms anyway
01/10/2015, 8:42 AM - Riverman: God. Lionel Ritchie..."I've been alone with you inside my mind....
01/10/2015, 8:42 AM - Trudy: 😊☺

01/10/2015, 8:48 AM - Riverman: "And decide if and how we can craft it into something that fits nicely into our lives"... I like that.

01/10/2015, 8:49 AM - Trudy: Yes.

01/10/2015, 8:49 AM - Riverman: I think we can.

01/10/2015, 8:50 AM - Trudy: I'm a time touch AND words person.
01/10/2015, 8:51 AM - Trudy: I would need us to be able to create real connected time together. Doesn't need to be extremely frequent. ..I know that's impossible
01/10/2015, 8:51 AM - Trudy: But needs to be

01/10/2015, 8:52 AM - Riverman: Good. Agree. As you know the connection is what is big for me.

I like this conversation because I can see myself being brave enough to be vulnerable. Telling him my truths as we go. Slowly opening myself to him. And him responding gently. Kindly. And reassuringly. As we tentatively move towards each other. Loving!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

More than just a Kiss on a Park Bench

I'm having an idyllic afternoon. I'm in Kalk Bay, a really pretty seaside town. It's the most beautiful Saturday afternoon and I'm sitting at an outdoor table at a little restaurant overlooking the sea, which is an impossibly beautiful bluegreen, and gazing out at the mountains in the far distance.

I bought a book at little bookstore on the corner (Essays in Love by Alain de Botton) and have had a beautiful couple of hours here by myself. Having a delicious meal, some flourless chocolate cake and a magnificent coffee.

I'm happy. So so happy.

Because in about 21 hours time, Riverman lands in this same town as me, and we are going to have the most beautiful night together. I know it.

How can I be so very sure., having not yet sampled the 'delights of the human flesh' with him before? Well, mostly, I just know. And also, because when he kissed me on the park bench on our first, 'kissing date', I could feel that our's is going to be that beautiful, sensual, soulful lovemaking that I know is possible, but had to begun to despair at finding.

When we kissed, we really kissed. Kissing in all it's flavours: I'm happy to meet you again kissing; I want to taste you more kissing; you bring out the tenderness in me kissing, the barely restrained edge of I want to ravish you kissing, I will kiss you again now because I can't get enough of you kissing, and, my personal favourite, the I want to climb onto your lap, wrap myself completely around you, and lose myself in you kissing...that kissing when even fully clothed, you feel like you're defenceless, vulnerable, sexy and naked. Just two souls, breathing each other in and experiencing the nearness of each other for the very first time. The warmth of the morning sun. The wind that blew too much. The coffee that tasted just magical because it was drunk in that space of heightened awareness and strong sexual desire..where everything is just more vivid. And the smiling. Couldn't stop smiling. And the looking. Into his blue blue eyes. Losing myself.

This man and I have spent hours and hours talking and texting. Sharing our stories. Hearing each others thoughts. Defining ourselves to one another with words that are not actually enough to hold what's happening to us.

I think I already love him. I think he may already love me too. We have not said so, because we're adults. In the middle of our lives. And know that saying those things would make us seem naive. Presumptuous. I don't know...that something like that is too premature. That this is not the time to say. Even though both of us are absolutely awestruck that we have found each other.

But life is real. And complicated. His wife lands today. And he will be confronted with the reality of a situation that he needs to hold and honour. Even though his intimate life with her is many years in the past, she will not deal the idea of an open marriage easily. He needs to feel who she is when she returns now, and then decide how he will manage the way forward with her. He may tell her about me, he may not. He may bring her to the point where she can contemplate a relationship where he has his emotional and intimacy needs met outside his home, or he may decide that it is kinder to protect her from the truth. Not my marriage. Not mine to control in any way. Somehow, this feels ok to me. He will do his best by her, and he will love me. In fact he will love us both - just in very different ways.

And no - even though I can feel these very delicous feelings of new love, and lust, and deep, soulful attraction to this man - I'm not changing my position on the fact that I want this precious time with him to exist outside of my current life. Even though my husband and children already know he exists, I still want to be able to find him in escape places. Coffee on a park bench. Hotel rooms on business trips, stolen magical moments rather than mundane domesticity. I think it will keep this space alive and magical for us for a long time. So we can both experience this side of ourselves that is sexy, playful, adventurous and capable of incredible soulful connection and sensual exploration.

I now know, for sure, how very rarely in ones' life one comes across a connection as wonderful as this. I have no idea what life will throw at us, or whether this is a short season or a love that will last away the decades. And yet, I have decided, I will hold nothing back with this person. I will see him. And let myself be seen. And love him wholeheartedly with my body and my heart and my mind. And when it ends...because, I already I know that these things do that eventually, I will take the pain of it ending with the joy that it is creating in my life.

It's already worth it.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Oh there you are!

Just like that.

He's here. This elusive 'Man' that I've been seeking. The one I thought I'd found with each of the misses that I've had over the past 18 months or so as I've waded through the layers and layers of work that I needed to do  before I would even recognise him.

He's been on Ashley Madison for a few years. I've glossed over his picture lots of times, never clicking on it because it broke my rules - was a picture of a guy's torso. No head. In a T-shirt. Nice build. But My Rules said that he wasn't bringing himself to this space properly so I would not invest. Eliminate from my process because, like the dick shots and the international sex chatters, I assumed all sorts of things about him that weren't true.

But then, for whatever reason, I did click on him. And his challenge to me was: 'Don't be that girl who sits and waits for invitations to pour into your inbox...if you like my profile, contact me, and let's see if it's worth investing'..or something.

So he is Riverman from my previous blog. We slowly and tentatively picked up our conversation over the weekend and have spent the most glorious week getting to know each other, albeit via cyberspace. He headed out to take his kids on holiday and has been in a Utopianesque space of being able to focus on just his kids. And me. And a little work here and there. And post my 'Tender' days, I've been giving myself the slack to just catch my breath a bit before I hit the road running with serious hard work again.  

And so we've both had the headspace to just be with each other. And it has been just so very lovely! The metaphor of the Ashley Madison picture being off my radar would have been true to this man in real life if I'd met him there first. I have not been ready to see a man like this until now.

He's strong. Emotionally solid. Not swaggering or roguish like the men I am usually drawn to. He is passionate. Honest. Takes emotional risks and puts himself out there like I do. Before I do. He embraces my emotional oversharing, and is interested in what I have to tell. My stories. My challenges. My struggle. It's not boring or overwhelming for him...just intriguing. I feel seen. And I feel allowed to be me. I am not holding back on my emotional overshares that I'm famous for. I'm letting him just see me. It's safe enough. He's not judging me. Or trying to close me down. Or running like crazy from my disclosures. I've met someone who actually really gives a shit about this stuff of mine. And tolerates my darkness. Because he is already conversant with his own.

We have spent hours talking and texting...telling each other our stories...confessing our secrets...sharing our passions...having the most connecting, sexy, inspiring cybersex I could ever imagine.

Each day has brought new levels of exposure, vulnerability, trust, connection...and my heart feels so very full of joy at this connection. New Relationship Energy abounds and it feels heady and rich and beautiful.

And in his presence I am feeling beautiful. I'm taking selfies when he asks (and sometimes when he doesn't). And framing myself in a way in those pictures that even I am seeing a beauty in myself that I haven't seen before. There's one. We both call it 'Boudoir Babe'. I took it in my bed one morning - naked, but with  the sheets just beautifuly draped around me. I'm looking wistfully up at the camera. It captures a mood and a space that I would have loved to be in...and I am. Because she is me. He's deleted all the other, much more revealing and sexy shots I've sent him, for safety's sake. But, he said today, he can't bring himself to delete Boudoir Babe.

I've shared with him some of my earlier blogs on my challenges with feeling beautiful. How it was sad and lost with Hubby, How John the Narc helped me find the goddess, but then his whole premise turned out to be a lie. How I've struggled to keep her in me through all these months of brutal trial and error with all the other men I've spent time with. And he has simply responded with enthusiastic passion, heartfelt affirmation, and raw desire to my photos, sexiness, and playful teasing.

So I'm happy. In fact. I'm going to say this. Today I am the happiest I have felt since I started writing this blog! How interesting that I am able to be here, after being in deep sadness just a short 2 weeks ago!

I'm not ignoring reality on this. God knows, I am a veteran of rugs being pulled out under me, abandonment, ghosting, and bitter disappointment. There's a huge risk that Riverman walks away from me. He has to go back home and figure out how to work this with his family. His situation isn't explicit. His wife may be too depressed and emotionally unable to tolerate the truth. He may need to hide this situation from her forever. Will he be able to? Will his guilt outweigh his joy?  Unknowns. Uncontrollables. If that happens, I think I will be more heartbroken than I have been at any time in the past 18months.

But I'm going to take the chance. Because I've used up my Sadness allocation for a bit. It's time for some joyful connection. Passionate sex. Soulful being.

For however long this season lasts.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Cortisone and some Emotional Asprin hits the spot

By Saturday morning I was done. Finished. Sadder than I could bear. My hands were swollen and sore. And my feet. And my heart was in the same place. I was halfway through my Tender with a weekend of work looming ahead of me. And Red had ignored my messages for a full week. Even my husband headed off cycling with his girlfriend without even saying goodbye. Or making me some fruit salad for breakfast...even when he knows I can't cut fruit for myself in the morning because of my rheumatiod flare.

I suddenly hit 'intervention mode'. Showered.  Took my pills. Got my fingers moving again. Cut that darn fruit and had my breakfast and coffee. Then walked up to the pharmacy to collect my new cortisone meds. I thought I might walk from there to my favourite coffee shop 2km away.. but by the time I got to the pharmacy I realised that I was being too ambitious for a post chemo Saturday morning and just stopped right there at the coffee shop next door to write some more of my Tender proposal.

And then I just decided. I'm tired of being this sad, sore girl. Took my new cortisone. And opened up my Ashley Madison profile on my phone. Time for some emotional Asprin too!

'Nooo' all my friends want to yell at this point. 'Step away from the Ashley Madison!!' But I didn't. I walked in there quietly, touched up my profile, and went live.

And this time I decided to do something different. I just usually put up my profile and wait for the deluge of male offers. But post the hack, I was wondering whether, in fact, there were any men still out there. So I started browsing the profiles, looking to see if anyone actually caught my fancy.

Found one. Shot him a quick message...and then realised I had a message in my inbox. From him. He had been typing to me at the same time as I was..interesting timing, I thought.

Almost at the same time I saw another profile I normally would have ignored. Looked like another nice guy. Messaged him too. And after a couple of back and forthing, and a pile of pecker shots that started arriving from other men across the world, I decided to call it a day and exited. I think I had spent a total of about 20 minutes online.

So now suddenly, there are two men. They kept me company through the hard weekend and into this week.  They're both very different men, and I find myself liking them for very different reasons.

I met 'Riverman' for coffee on Monday morning. We're both going to be in different towns for the next two weeks and I needed to be sure we had some sort of connection in real life to justify two weeks of online chatting. I've done this too many times before and suddenly I'm jaded. Don't want to get caught up in some whirlwind online imagination connection only to find that in real life nothing is there at all!

He arrived nervous. Not that he said so, but I felt his body trembling when we hugged hello. And his mouth was dry. It was quite endearing really. Not suave and in control, but rather a little vulnerable and real. This feels important to him.

We had a lovely hour. Interesting conversation. Silences didn't feel awkward. Just nice. A bit of lingering eye contact which felt promising. There is scope for sexy. He can stay.

Then there's The Foreigner. He's in South Africa for a few years' appointment. Has a family in his country, older, and is looking for a connected lover in South Africa. Haven't met him face to face yet - that will happen on Saturday I think. But we met on the phone this morning. I'd have to get used to his accent I think. Not always easy to hear and understand everything he says. He's older, bolder than Riverman. I like him too. But I do have a little bit of a warning feeling about him. Is he for real? Narcish? I felt a bit spooked by yesterday's astrology prediction warning Capricorns to beware of people with hidden agendas. He scares me a little.

So both men are staying in touch enthusiastically. Like Red did. I don't want to play them against each other, or even chat with them both simultaneously. It feels out of integrity, and I wouldn't really want them to be doing that to me. But I suppose it's early days for choosing a path. Maybe neither of them end up being the 'Lover Material' I need. I have no idea really.

I don't want another 'Red' scenario. Someone pursuing me relentlessly and then backing off me once my heart is hooked in. I just can't take another premature heartbreak. I can feel myself backing off when both Riverman and The Foreigner try to get into closer into emotional risky talk. I know I'm afraid to go there now.

I was saying to shrink that I don't know whether I've learned enough to be able to walk carefully through this unscathed. But it does take the fun out of this part a bit. I'm becoming guarded, jaded, cautious in my interactions. That protects me I suppose. But it's not very romantic. She said she was reminded of a saying that says in order to write great Poetry, you have to stay well away from Philosophy and Psychology!

So can I stay in the play with this a bit? Just 'be' in it with these men and enjoy the seduction process? I'm so aware that I don't want to hurt either of them, but, as my shrink was reminding me, they're grown men and are responsible for their own hearts. My job is to protect myself.

OK then. I'll try that. Play. Be in it. Have some fun with these boys. And see where it takes us!

Oh....and the cortisone? Worked like a charm! Monday morning, after 2 days on it, I woke up with almost perfect hands. No paws. Very little pain. It was so exciting!!  I whatsapped ALL my mates the good news.

Unfortunately my good fortune only lasted a day. This morning the paws were back! But I have been SUPER stressed with work over the past few days, so hopefully over the next couple of days, while I chill with my best friend in Cape Town, my body will calm down enough for the meds to kick in properly and I can find a better space.

Can't wait!

Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Risk Exchange

Really interesting article I read in last night. I've been thinking about it all day. For people like me who actually couldn't spot a functional human being if he was the only person standing in the Namib desert, I thought this may help me notice some Red Flags in the early stages of a relationship. It's about how people deal 'risk' with each other. Check it out at

So I realise that I am owning too much of the risk early in a potential relationship. I put myself out there, and when my men don't reciprocate with equal disclosure I feel terrible. Vulnerable. Exposed. Heartsore. And then blame myself. And then tell myself to dial it back a bit. Or a lot. And if he gives me something vulnerable, I hold it. Cherish it. Reciprocate carefully so he doesn't ever feel that horrible exposed and vulnerable feeling I have a lot. I protect him from that. Because I know how dreadful it feels. Maybe I risk too much too early? Yes, I'm sure I risk too much too early. I need to be more careful about that.

And I suppose that people who risk too much scare those who risk too little. But there I go again, owning all of the responsibility. And actually I think I should be asking the question - 'What ASSHOLE would let me hang out to dry like that?!' And the answer is, of course, the Assholes that I keep choosing, keep being drawn to.

And if hanging me out to dry by leaving me to carry all the emotional risk is a criterion for Asshole, then I guess I've chosen a whole pile of them in the past year. Stellenbosch Banker? Yes. Mark? Yes. Berlin? Yes. Bush man? Not really - he was pretty clear. Tasmanian? Yes and no. Charlie Harper? FUCK YES. The CEO? Another FUCK YES.

And Red? Yes. Finally yes. Yes I am prepared to say that Red has to go under the Asshole column. I don't want him under that column. I want the Red that I met at first: the full on, enthusiastic, open, passionate man who swept me off my feet even in my reluctance, and won my heart! But that's not the Red I have now. The Red I have now is Asshole Red. The Red who will, like the others, let me carry the emotional risk and leave me vulnerable, heartbroken, grieving and sad. And will ask me to keep in touch, and when I do, just let me blow out there in the wind.

I sent him this. My open-hearted truth in all its glory. Vulnerable. Raw. Honest.

22/09/2015, 6:54 PM - Trudy: So how does it work?  How does one be 'half' in something?
No answer.

Next morning:
23/09/2015, 7:52 AM - Trudy: I'm trying to imagine how that might feel. And all I can come up with is 'mediocre'. Because when you're holding yourself back to protect your heart in a situation like that surely your life experience is muted. Greyed out.
23/09/2015, 7:53 AM - Trudy: Bland.
23/09/2015, 7:54 AM - Trudy: Like looking at a table of magnificent food and choosing just the leek soup because there may be an unpleasant taste in one of the dishes hitherto unexplored.
23/09/2015, 7:57 AM - Trudy: There are so many things I've held back on in my life. Mostly physical risk things that my hubby and kids do and I'm too afraid. They relish those moments. I hold their cokes and jerseys. Muted and grey. Because I'm afraid.
23/09/2015, 7:59 AM - Trudy: Weird.  I'm terrified of physical risk. And I hold myself back from that. But emotional risk. ... Not so much. There I want to be wholehearted. Open and free. Rich and beautiful.
23/09/2015, 8:01 AM - Trudy: The risk is huge. Heartbreak. Sadness.  Loss. Grief. I've felt them all deeply before. I'll feel them again I'm sure.
23/09/2015, 8:03 AM - Trudy: But I want that magnificence that comes from loving wholeheartedly. Being safe enough to let go and relish the sheer joy,  however fleeting,  that comes with that.

He read it.

Didn't respond.

Still hasn't.


We met. But what is Closure Anyway?

Finally. After 66 days. We sat opposite each other in a coffee shop to have the conversation I really wanted. The conversation Red should have initiated in the first place as part of the 'right thing to do' if you're stepping away from an intimate relationship, and instead of a 120 character WhatsApp message.

It was nice to see him again. We were very quickly able to relax into the conversations we're good at having - light, comfortable...the catchup on what's been going down for the past few months. He's moved out. Divorce lawyer conflicts escalating. Nasty relations between him and ex-wife. Settling into bachelor life. Spending real time with kids. Reconnecting with old pals who weren't compatible with his ex-wife. Sometimes he's peaceful. Sometimes he's lonely. He's not regretting leaving. He's stressed about the future.

And me? I'm working hard. I'm lonely. I spent some time chasing new AMboys but they weren't Red. So stopped. The Tasmanian and Bush Man popped up for a play but I turned them both down because it's not time for me to do that. Because my heart is too heavy.

We talked business strategy. Work challenges. Child challenges.

And then, my conversation: I wanted him to know what I was really wanting. Because I thought he may have backed off because he imagined me wanting more of him than he is prepared to give. So I told him - I want a Lover Relationship. An escape from my real life. Fleeting, stolen moments. Sexual monogamy (for emotional safety and STD protection). Not meeting each other's families. Not demanding more time than we can both spare. Connection. Sex. Stolen time. Weekends away sometimes. Overnights sometimes. But no lifetime commitments. A time where 'now' is what counts. Until it doesn't work for one of us. And then we exit. In truth.

I think is what I wish I had communicated. I did manage to convey some of it. But this is real raw hard truth for me. So execution is messy and clumsy. I guess the gist of it came across. I did manage to tell him that I know I am inclined to prezel myself into whatever shape my man would want of me. And that I need to practice not doing that, starting with him.

He responded the same. He doesn't know what he wants. Doesn't want to make a commitment now. Thought he wanted an affair and then decided to leave his wife anyway. So what does he want? Fuck buddy? Friend with Benefits? Long term relationship? He doesn't know. Doesn't want to be unfair to me by stringing me along until he makes up his mind. Is afraid that if he finally makes up his mind in two months' time that he actually wants a Lover Relationship with me that I'll be long gone by then. Knows it's not fair to ask me to wait.

Then he asked me to stick around. Stay in touch. At that moment I had to hold back my tears. I said I didn't know how to be half-in something. He said he did know that.

And then he was gone. Rushing off to fetch his child from a school function. And I sat for a while. And then left too..

I have sent him WhatsApp messages since then, staying in touch. Like he asked. Vulnerable messages. Just saying my truth. He read them and didn't respond. At all.

What. The FUCK.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Rheumatoid Flare:1, Trudy:0

11 Weeks and counting. My flare was a little better the past few days while I was in Amsterdam. I wonder if the sea level air pressure or moist climate has anything to do with it? Or maybe my meds were finally kicking in? Or maybe the stress was less?

I've only known about this disease inside me for about 18 months. And I have to confess, I don't think I've really got a handle on it yet.

I read a lot about it, and I see that people who manage to live with it with most vitality are the ones who follow a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, exercise well, and manage stress well.  Eating well means, for me I think, being sugar free and dairy free mostly. I notice that if I take in a lot of dairy and sugar together, I wake up the following day with swollen hands and feet - something in this autoimmune body of mine there is a sad resistance to all things delicious!

But now I'm flagging. I have huge projects to deliver, and high level Tenders to produce. I sit in front of my laptop and try to produce the output I need. But nothing happens. My brain doesn't engage. I end up troubleshooting all the other little tasks around me that need doing, and allow myself to avoid the big painful one.

I have always had a bit of a tendency to procrastinate, but this is bigger than that. Rheumatoid Arthritis has Brain Fog as a symptom. Hashimotos has Brain Fog as a symptom. The chemo I take has chemo brain as a side effect. I suppose I have to expect that I'll have at least one of those afflictions sending me it's symptom. I have no idea which one. But here I sit anyway. Stuck. Afraid. Nervous. Stressing. Not sleeping. Feeling the building tension that seems to be making my Rheumatoid worse again now I'm back in South Africa.

Every morning now I'm waking up with hands frozen. They feel more like paws...fingers stuck on 'curl' until I have a warm shower and take my Anti Inflammatories! It is making me feel depressed and despondent. When I go to the toilet first thing in the morning, I am unable to hold the toilet paper to wipe myself clean. It seems like a simple thing, but it feels quite devastating actually. That's a basic thing I take completely for granted and suddenly I can't do that in the morning. I'm working hard to keep this desease at bay, and yet it seems to continue marching at me, ignoring my attempts at mitigation.

Once I've delivered my Tender at the end of the month, I think I'll have to take a few days off to try and destress myself. I'm thinking that the building tension is impacting the flare I'm having and making things worse. I think that actually writing my tender may also help me feel better - I must apply myself more to that.

I feel like even writing this peice is coming to me heavily. The ideas aren't flowing the way they usually do. The thoughts and words feel stilted and stuck, like me.

And still I pine for Red. We have intermittent spurts of trying to meet up. And then the efforts die down again and nothing happens. I'm pretending to myself that I'm not waiting for him. And yet I wait and wait and wait. It's agony, this waiting. I don't want to be here, doing that. I want to have someone who would hold me at this time, offer to sit next to me on the weekend, and give me moral support while I write my way through this mountain of a tender. I want Red to be that person.

But he won't. I do know this at some deep level.

It's still just me. Fucking lonely me.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Finding my Sadness

First rains of the Southern Hemisphere spring arrived yesterday. It's cold and miserable outside and I've spent the morning in my pj's reading articles online. I eventually drifted onto my blog and started taking myself through some of my pieces from a year ago.

Wow. I was a very sore girl then. Struggling with the cognitive dissonace of emerging from that horrible ground zero moment of just losing everything, including myself. I'm still sore, but the pain has shifted. I guess I understand the loss more now. I have learned that the loss was not John-the-narc. Or the life I had before him. The loss is actually the illusion I had of my life.

I have lost the picture I created for myself about the perfect world. The life I painted for myself in my own head that denied so much of my reality. I know that I spent many years running ahead of my deep sadness and loneliness. And masked it for myself in all sorts of ways. I believed loneliness was for losers. And they have only themselves to blame. So I created noise noise noise to eliminate the voices in my soul that wanted to draw my attention to that pain. Running. Doing. Marrying. Building. Mothering. Performing. Worrying. Learning. Growing. Shagging new men. Loving. Being unloved in return. Getting sick. Healing. Years and years of busyiness. More and more work and loads to carry.

All masking this deep sad lonely girl sitting at the core of me. Mute. Alone. Lost.

And so now the sadness I feel is her's. The sad, lonely girl at my core. I have put down enough things to be able to let her grief come through. There is less noise at my centre. And I feel her pain. Of course, I want to keep on running from it. It's horrible, this lonely sadness. And my lifetime-honed skill at escaping this pain keeps begging me to run again. And I do, often. In little fits and starts. Until I remember again that running won't really help me. That this pain at the core of me needs feeling. Moving through. Holding, until it's felt it's fill.

I still have not cried. I know there are a lifetime of tears sitting inside me still. Unshed. Waiting. I don't know what for.  I think of that Disney movie again when I think of those tears. Inside Outside. Where Joy draws a circle on the floor and instructs Sadness to stay in that circle. I think I have done that to my sadness. She can stay, so long as she stays in the circle. Joy is terrified of what may transpire if Sadness oversteps her circle. The chaos! The devastation. Joy can't abide that. She would prefer to keep things light and 'together' forever. Of course that doesn't happen, because life isn't like that, is it? Sadness must out.

And life gets richer when Sadness is part of the range of healthy emotions we allow ourselves to experience. If we allow it. I think I know this intellectually, but I'm having a really hard time letting Sadness be. Still, I try to contain and hold her, and not allow her to spill out and contaminate my world. And I have also become wise enough over time to know that I can't force this thing. That this barrel of unshed tears that is still travelling between my heart and my throat will unleash itself in it's own time. And I need to just be patient with myself and trust that I will find my way there when it's time.

A dear friend of mine had her sadness overcome her last week. She booked herself into a psychaitric hospital. I'm standing close to her and loving her well as best I can. She's on anti depressants and giving herself the time and the space she needs to recover and heal this space. I can't help feeling a bit envious of her: she seems to be able to access this stuff inside her a lot more readily than me. She has such great instincts about it all. She is getting well, slowly. I take so much longer to learn these lessons. And I have no anti depressants.

Feels like going through major surgery. Without an anaesthetic.

Monday, 24 August 2015

The Hidden Online Profile

I'm in Amsterdam. Came in yesterday afternoon and saw my client in Arnheim today. Landed a deal! That was worth the trip!!

But I was afraid of coming here. Afraid of once again wandering through the streets of a beautiful old city and feeling lonely again. Like Barcelona. Barcelona was beautiful and lonely. I ached there by myself and promised myself I wouldn't travel alone again. And then I did. Now, for example.

And for the past two weeks, while I have been planning this business trip, I've felt the fear sitting on my chest. And in my stomach. Fear of what? I don't really know. But the loneliness is the most likely answer.

And so here I am. Not lonely. Go figure! Just actually finding a good mix between work engagements, chatting to mates on Facebook and WhatsApp, and wandering the streets and waterways of Amsterdam. And sampling copius amounts of food. Delicious new things. And watching the people.

I've also been watching the people online. Seeing the debate rage about the Ashley Madison Hack. Reading through the sanctimonious judging assholes as they take pleasure in the pain and fear that the exposed are experiencing. And the cheating assholes responding to their jeering. And other cheating assholes denying ever having done anything on Ashley Madison except talk to fake profiles and netbots. Finding someone who actually admits to meeting people: actual real live relationships that may or not involve sex...none of those things happend. It's almost as hard to find anyone in South Africa who once voted for the Apartheid government in the bad old days!

I am clearly one of the very rare people out of 33 million who met up with live actual men, if the stories are to be believed. Not one of the men that I met and actually had sex with had wives, although the Tasmanian was in a committed long term relationship. And Red was on the way out of his. And Berlin was in a similarish open 'don't ask don't tell' situation, (not that Berlin and  I had 'The actual sex' mind you...). Some that I met and decided to not have sex with were married. It felt weird. I'm glad I didn't go there. And glad I pulled out of the Tasmanian situation as fast as I did - I couldn't really abide the lack of integrity that comes from consciously lying to one's spouse.  So my AM men are watching the 'exposure' with interest, rather than panic. We all would prefer this not spilling into our professional public domain, but aren't concerned our relationships will be affected. There's that part where I really don't want my kids to be exposed to this, and I hope that won't happen. I used a fake name and email address.

So shrink set me some homework, which I'm about to start: I need to write out my 'hidden' online dating profile. I'm sitting in a pub in Amsterdam having dinner by myself, and so now is as good a time as any, I suppose.

I haven't deleted my AM profile yet. I suspect that AM is a bit of a Ghost Town at the moment. But I haven't been back there since Red. I'm not completely sure it's over with Red, and I'm also trying now to not fling myself into yet another tough relationship. If he's not to be, I want to try to give myself some time out to recover more before I re-engage.

So my online profile reads like this:

I'm in a consenting open marriage. I want a relationship with a man who will enjoy exploring this life phase with me. My dream mate is clever. Successful. Soulful. Sexy. Healthy. Strong. Kind. Funny. Solid.I have lived life and learned stuff. I value wisdom and lifelong learning. I'm a curious thinker about the human condition. I write. I read. I work out (within reason). And I work.I want soulful connection and hot sex! Sometimes at the same time! An intimate life companion without the domestic ordinary that comes with marriage and kids. A place to escape sometimes and be this other part of me. Love Scammers that trawl this site: stay the fk away from me. I know your game and I'm not interested in playing. You'll be wasting your time with me.

It's all true. Not one lie or fake word here. But there is a lot of stuff missing of course - the stuff I wouldn't put in the shop window.

Would it read more like this?

I'm 48 and fucked up. Piles of baggage. Tough childhood stuff shaped me and tough adult stuff drove the message home. I will seduce and entice you with my sexy siren song, and flip on you the minute you show me any interest. I'm not hard to get. I'm far too fucking easy, and give my heart away to undeserving assholes who don't know what a gift it is. I love wholeheartedly, intensely, overwhelmingly. If left unchecked I can smother you with whatever I think you need. I'll think for you, love for you, anticipate your every need, and overcompensate for your shortcomings. I'll let you get away with anything because I'm afraid you'll leave. I'll be dileriously happy with whatever crumbs of love and affection you'll leave me. If you don't match my connection enthusiasm with texts and calls and meetups, if you take hours to read my texts, and even longer to respond, I'll panic and imagine you gone, and turn into a clingy wretch, and pursue you relentlessly, seeking approval and reassurance from you. But I'll forgive you anything you do - I'll protect you from the pain you cause me, and carry it all inside my fragmented and fragile heart. And if you need to leave me, I'll wait for you: days, weeks, months. Take all the space you need. Take everything you need: I'll put my needs on hold for you for as long as you need me to. Love me. I beg you. Love me.

Also all true.

I don't want it to be true for me any more.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Is it just my Placeholder?

No sooner had I posted my previous blog when I found a message from Red on my phone. After 2 weeks of no contact, he sent me an article with advice on things to drink for my Rheumatoid Arthritis. Which I think was probably his way of telling me he's not completely gone yet. I was so very pleased to hear from calmed my very sore soul for a couple of days. And since then we've had a light chat going, about him moving out. About anything. With days between comments. And nothing about meeting and talking.

And I have carried this very very deep pain in me through all these weeks. The abandonment pain. The yearning. The waiting. My Rheumatoid has been flaring for weeks. Inflammation all over my body. I've upped my chemo meds, and my anti inflammatories. But still I'm waking up every morning now with swollen hands and feet. I know that at some deep level this is my body responding to my pain. That this very very deep and sore old pain is rearing up into my hands and feet and reminding me, all the time, how very very sore I am. Sore in my heart. Sore in my body.

He's moved out. And is coming to terms with what this new life is to be. He hasn't told me very much about it at all. I so want to see deeper into his life, and walk this time with him.

But I don't think it's going to be. I think actually I have no idea whether I am pining for Red, or if he's just yet another placeholder for my nameless yearning.  I'm tired. So very deeply tired of this cycle that I'm on. Hunt a boy. Meet him. See possibility and hope. Find a connection. Or not. Deepen the connection. Open my heart. Begin to hope and celebrate the beginning of joy in my heart. And then he leaves. And I'm left yearning. Aching. Waiting. Sad sad sad. Its just a cycle of one placeholder after another.

I no longer have the naive belief that there is 'the one' out there waiting for me. I don't believe in happily ever after. I think all relationships eventually fail or fade. I can't see a future that is a very long term one. All I want to do is be with someone who will hold me. Love me. Even if that doesn't last forever. And how long is forever anyway? I nearly died twice this past year. That could really happen. Any day. I want to be loved and held now.

Because I'm tired tired tired of being so very fucking lonely every fucking day.

So I came out of my therapy session with my shrink today and messaged Red:

We were going to meet up. So I wouldn't have to be the girl who got dumped on WhatsApp.  You said your demon was about escaping into yourself. Mine is about abandonment. I guess both of our demons are ΓΊp' right now.  I'm sad. Fucking sad. Thought you should know. Because I have not done anything until now to let you know that. 

It may well be our last piece of communication. I have no idea.

But I do know I just can't fucking do this any more.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

It's a Heartache

I'm in the Madikwe again. My mate with a Game Lodge had a free bed for the weekend so I just got in my car! It's a beautiful Eco Lodge with no game fences, so the big five are free to wander through the camp at any time. This morning we're holed up in the lounge because we've just seen a huge male lion in the camp looking for water. I'm pinching myself that I can actually just do that - get in my car and watch this magnificent creature in the African Bush!  Magical!

I'm still carrying my bruised heart around with me, trying hard to hold it gently and work through the sadness of Red's exit. I'm having conversations in my head wth him, cross with him for leaving. Cross he let me open to him, and then closed himself so very finally to me. By WhatsApp. Really! I keep imagining how I would respond if he came back to me at some stage. Do I rebuke him because, fuck! Who does that to someone?? Or do I give him a chance to win me back because I do understand actually why he closed down and disappeared to focus on ending his marriage, moving out and dealing his kids.

As I got to Madikwe yesterday, my car radio was playing that old Bonnie Tyler song, ' It's a Heartache'. Shew. I can't imagine how many times I've sung along to that song and not really taken in their lesson:

'It aint wise to need someone, as much as I've depended on.....You'

I think I keep on making the mistake of assuming that everyone feels the intense stuff I do. And not really understanding how they can easily walk away after feeling what I feel. But I think what I feel does have a lot to do with my own wounding. The co-dependant, needy, clingy stuff that is awakened in me at the slightest hint of connection is not what everybody goes through. The addiction stuff that rears up at the first taste of 'Sugar' is something that people like me suffer. For us, walking away like that would be almost impossible. Instead, we hang around, craving any crumb that may fall from the table, hoping that soon there will be more.

And the opposite of this clingy needy addiction is 'cutoff'. A complete closedown of all communication because it is a final desperate attempt at self protection. We assume that because you leave, you don't want us at all, because we're somehow undesireable. And that hurts like hell. Even if it's completely untrue!

So I keep fantasising about the message I'll send Red on 1 September, 1 month after our last WhatsApp conversation. It says something like "1 month no contact? I guess that means you really are the guy who dumped me by WhatsApp! Wow."

And because I'm so very fked up about how these things usually go, I have no idea whether this is a really good idea or a really bad one. I think I'm hoping it shames him into contacting me again and setting up a coffee for that deeper conversation; lets him know that I'm still up for something, even though it's rather negative. Or maybe a more positive contact is better: 'Hey you! How's the whole Bachelor Life treating you?' And that feels less needy and more tough. But doesn't it hide all this really sore process I'm going through, waiting for him to make good on his promise? Aren't I just hiding this emo part of me so he'll like me more and come back?

You see? Lots and lots of co-dependent stuff still oozing through me...I can't shake the thoughts that I am the reason he left, even though he was so very explicit that he needed to do this thing alone! I keep believing that I just wasn't good enough for him, and haven't done enough to 'Earn' his love.  This is the core stuff that I still need to heal more in myself, before I can truly engage with someone in relationship again.

If I don't, I'm going to be Narc Bait. And we all know how that ends...

Monday, 3 August 2015

My Heart is a Ghost Town

So I stopped waiting. Red missed his deadline. I got on the plane and flew to Cape Town.  And I've heard nothing from him at all.

So here I am, trying to do this sore heart recovery thing again and move on. Already I am able to get through hours of not even thinking about him, and his face is slowly but surely slipping from my mind.  Yesterday I landed and already had an Ashley Madison date set up for myself. A companiable walk on the beach and then a happy coffee on the beachfront was a lovely way to begin my Cape Town working few days. The AM boy is a lovely man, and we enjoyed each others' company a lot. But no chemistry at all for me. He was very complimentary about me - was so very pleasantly surprised that I was who I said I was. Told me how beautiful I am, and what a classy lady he perceives me to be. Was good salve for my soul - just to be reminded that I could be considered a good catch by some. He's not really my 'type' I don't think, but I really enjoyed my time with him.

Spent the evening contentedly alone, on my couch, watching TV. And then started today with yet another Cape Town based Ashley Madison coffee date. Ugh. What a contrast. A younger guy. Who bored me from about the 3rd word that came out of his mouth. I was so wishing I could politely get him to leave so I could rather use the time to get some emails done...

And that's when the sadness came at me again. I know I'm about to start another period, so I'm thinking that the hormones are probably to blame for my sad state of mind, but wow - suddenly I'm just sad sad sad.

I'm working with Mark today, and even that isn't enough to clear these cloudy heavy feelings I have. That song, 'My Heart is a Ghost Town' keeps playing through my head. It means something different to me than the original songwriter intended, though. I feel like the ghosts of all the men I've loved keep appearing in front of me. And when they do, I don't feel recovered from my pain at their loss. It's like it's fresh again. Each one, as he appears, makes me feel that wounding again. The sadness of their abandonment. The searing pain of rejection. I rehave my conversations with them in my head - telling them my side of the conversation, explaining to them that they were wrong to go - that I'm perfect for them...they just didn't stay around long enough to realise it.

Red's ghost is freshest: I tell that ghost that I'm not looking for heavy immersion and commitment. That I just want him to be my lover. In a light and connected way. That both of us have families, companies to run, and that I don't expect to be able to see him too much. That he doesn't need to be afraid of my neediness. That I won't be too heavy for him. That I would be a good companion for him while he goes through all of this tough breakup stuff with his wife. That he and I can find some joy together. But the ghost doesn't respond. Doesn't hear me. Doesn't turn to me with his arms open and welcome me into his space. I tell him I'm out here dating again because I want to scare him into coming back to me, not taking me for granted. I want him to be afraid that he is losing me so he will fight for me. I tell him that I'm sad because these two men are not him. That I found what I was wanting in him, and I don't want to start looking afresh. But the ghost looks right through me. Doesn't see me. Has forgotten me already.

I read an astrology chart for myself yesterday. It said I need to remember that all my emotional sadness is about my emotional addiction, not about actual realtionships that are past. I think that is the most spot on assessment I've ever heard. I think it is that. Each of these ghosts are simply embodying this addiction of mine. The pain of being alone always. The sadness and yearning I had for a narcissistic mother and absent father that permeated every waking day of my childhood, now recreated in these ghosts of men past. The danger for me is when I try to deal with that addiction with the actual men themselves rather than their ghosts.

And today, with my heart heavy and sad, and my hormones creating a weight in me, I am more at risk for sending that heartfelt plea and emotional overshare that seems to be what sends them all running for the hills. Today is the day that I must practice just not doing that. Holding myself in all my sadness and not trying to hand over this pain for somebody else to hold. Berlin has told me it's too scary and too much. Mark has told me it's too much. The normal men in the world, the non-narcs, are giving me the feedback that it's just too much.

So the conversations with the ghosts will have to do. Because the live men are gone. The addiction is howling. My heart is sad. And I wander this ghost town alone.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Expert Waiter

No. Not the kind of waiter you would expect to find in a restaurant.

But rather a person who waits. My shrink was pointing out to me yesterday that this seems to be one of my own personal brand of expert skills. Learned and shaped through a lifetime of waiting. Waiting for my mom. Waiting for my dad. Waiting for my alcoholic ex-husband to come home after long nights of drinking and debauchery. Waiting for my current husband to finish off all of his other priorities and find some time for me. Waiting for my ex-lover Narc to come back to me after every blow up fight where he would disappear to 'regroup', (now to be understood as going off to fuck other women).

Waiting is probably most about waiting for my dad to emerge from his cave. His artist's studio where he would paint for hours at a time, cleverly escaping my mom's bullying in there. It was a no-go area for us kids. He wanted to paint alone. And we were never allowed to see his magnificent oil paintings until they were finished. That often took months.  I used to sneak into that studio when he wasn't around. And dip one of his paintbrushes into the paint, and dot a few colours onto each and every painting. Don't know why I did that. He never said anything if he actually noticed. But I would look at those paintings in their prohibited unfinished state and long for my dad.

This longing, waiting feeling is such an old familiar one. I didn't realise that not everyone feels it. It seems to be a creation of my own particular circumstance. To love seems to be 'to long' for me. I am unable to remove the object of my longing from my mind and heart so I can wholeheartedly focus on my other commitments. Instead I carry it like a heavy stone that sits between my heart and my throat all the time. And it feels like a barrel of unshed tears just travelling inside me.

So here I am, waiting again. For Red. Shrink says she doesn't want to see me waiting again for anyone. That the danger in my waiting is the red flag that I'm going there again - once again attracted into a dynamic that is so destructive for me. Where my needs and desires need to be put on hold while the man I desire gets the time and space to do whatever he thinks he needs to make his life work.

I know that a lot of this waiting phase is of my own making. I could have just taken Red's first assertion that he needs to be alone to deal his separation and letting me go on WhatsApp as the final word. I didn't. I fought for the connection. I asked for a conversation, even if it's just going to be a conversation of closure. So I have managed myself into this painful and old, familiar place while I wait it out. Familiar, sore, dangerous place for me.

Shrink says I have always fought for the connection. Always had to sit patiently while the person I need love from does their own thing, oblivious to the internal pain I experience while I wait.. She wants me to stop fighting. To be able to find it in myself to walk away if the other person does not see fit to fight.

So I'm going to practice that with Red. While I wait I'm playing with my other AM boys, connecting with girlfriends, setting up things that will soothe and nurture me. Berlin has asked me out for drinks on Friday night. And instead of me making it tentative in case Red wants to see me then, I've just said Ýes'. And another AM guy is coming to Joburg today and I may meet him for drinks. And yet another wants to see me when I get to Cape Town on Sunday. I'm just going to say 'Yes' to them all. See them. Enjoy connecting with them. Not cheat on Red in any way with them, and be clear with them that I'm not ready to go 'further' with them. But leave my options open. Red has until Sunday to do something properly to fight for us. He needs to call like he promised. He needs to try and see me.

If he doesn't, I'm walking away.

Because I need to get bad at waiting.