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.