in limbo

This is my last night in Home State and that’s probably a good thing.

My laptop crashed today – so, no, I will not be submitting that conference proposal – not that I get much done while I’m here anyway. Even at the best of times, my mind can’t focus on academic matters while I’m here. Without a laptop, though, I can’t even attempt to get anything done, my phone not being my weapon of choice when it comes to data analysis or paper revision.

I’ve spent time with the folks. I’ve spent time with the two friends I always see here. I’ve spent time with my favorite aunt. I’ve spent time with my nieces and nephew. Now I need to spend some time getting my life together.

And being here is not conducive to that. I wish coming “home” felt like an actual return to a place I belonged. I so do not fit in here – I would say “anymore” but I think it’s fair to say I never did. I could have, perhaps, if I had gone to the local university that half my graduating class did and married my high school boyfriend (that’s probably a big perhaps). Neither of those things happened, though, and my choices from that point on only led me farther and further away.

So, I come home, I stay for a week or so and I dash back to my life elsewhere, such as it is. And I carry the guilt of my inability to connect with my family with me wherever I go.

let’s work on that support thing

My family – god love ‘em – are not equipped for heartbreak.  I know they love me, regardless of what’s happening in my life, but they are simply useless when it comes to my life and relationships.  (Actually, now that I write that, I realize I could have finished that sentence with “my life” but that’s another topic.)

I spent Tuesday in the car, driving to Home State for my summer visit.  It just works out that way: I go to London, I get back London, I catch my breath, I visit the family.  This summer is a bit trickier, since I have an overseas conference the first week of August and a professional meeting relatively close to Home State (where I am at the moment).  So, I crammed a family visit in between all the other requirements, commitments and general things to do.  Otherwise, I think I would have waited for a bit longer.

I was home for about 24 hours before I had to come to my meeting.  In that time, I spent time with my sister, my mom, my dad, my older nieces and my brother.  Not one of them mentioned SG.  Not one of them asked me how I was doing.  I got a welcome hug and then life moved on as usual.

I get that my parents are a little lost in all this – for one, my mom doesn’t remember I was with anyone, so she’s forgiven, and my dad is very out of his depth on matters of the heart.  He told me he was sorry on the phone and that “things work out in the end” (to which I replied, “yes, they do but rarely how we want them to”).  And I my brother and I don’t really share personal stuff so I wouldn’t expect anything from him.  My sister?  My nieces?  A little consciousness that I’m not doing so well right now would be greatly appreciated.

Interestingly, one of my colleagues offered more support than my family could muster.  My trip to the meeting was awful – delays, mixed up addresses – so I arrived late and flustered.  As we walked back to the hotel afterward, we were catching up on life and – probably because I was tired and overwhelmed – I told her about SG.  

And she gave me a hug and said, “I am so sorry.  That is such a life shift for you.”  And then she asked me if I was okay, and I honestly told her, “No.”  And she gave me another hug. We’re collegial friends, not exactly prone to deep confidences, but yet she’s the first person on this trip “home” to ask me how I am and offer some comfort upon my response.

And that, gentle readers, is why my friends play such an important role in my life – and why losing my best friend is such a loss to me.

don’t expect me to be good company

Someone told me to smile the other day – in a pleasant way – and I thought, “The emotion that drives that action isn’t here just yet.”  I can put a smile on my face but that’s as far as it goes; I don’t even want to look in the mirror and see my blank eyes.

How do you fill the hole when someone leaves you?  For the last four and a half years, I’ve had SG beside me, physically and electronically.  We talked every day; we texted funny happenings; we emailed interesting links.  He was the person who held my hand, who listened to my craziness, who laughed at my silliness.  I felt…safe…when I was with him; his arms seemed to block out everything that was wrong with my life.

I know I’m selectively remembering our relationship.  There were plenty of things that weren’t so idyllic: his hatred of my snoring, my irritation at his singular focus on swing dancing, our increasing distance.  We didn’t always have something to say to each other at the end of the day; we weren’t always in sync with what we wanted or what we needed.

But he was there.  And I did love him, however illogical that may be when you total up our differences.  And now, he’s not here and it doesn’t matter how I feel about him.

So, yes, I am grieving, for what we had and what we lost along the way.  And I know that doesn’t make me very good company.  I’m lost in my own thoughts most of the time; it takes effort to focus on anything.  I come here to make sense of what I’m thinking and feeling, which means anyone kind enough to read this blog is subjected to my emotional turmoil.  

At some point, I’ll stop trying to make sense of this because other things will intrude on my melancholy.  Today, I finally managed to focus on real work: writing a chapter prospectus and revising a manuscript.  That will be the norm soon, with the semester starting in just over a month: me, focusing on work.  And I’ll be much more pleasant when I get to that point.

treading water

It’s amazing, really, that the end of a relationship – no matter how logically that end should occur – is so utterly paralyzing, mentally and physically.  I’ve been good for nothing these last few days, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

Except reading.  I’ve been reading a lot this week, averaging about a book a day.  Books have always been my go-to coping mechanism.  If I’m reading, I’m not thinking about anything else as I get through the long hours in the day.  Watching television is more helpful at night, because it’s more mindless; I can usually lull myself into sleepiness if I’m watching a show instead of staying up all night reading. During the day, though, I need words on a page to keep my mind focused on something relatively productive.

I realize I’m wallowing here, and I know that I’ll have to snap out of it soon.  There’s too much to be done for me to keep turning to the library.  My mind is just too full to concentrate, with half wanting to pick through every detail of my years with SG and the other half telling me to stop it and figure out how to move forward.  The mental battle is rather exhausting, really, and not particularly productive.

“when are they going to kiss?”

I just got back from my grad student’s wedding (because that’s definitely the Friday night activity for someone who’s just ended a long relationship).  But it isn’t about me, and so I went to add my good wishes.  

There were almost as many kids as adults at this wedding – and I’m serious.  I’ve never seen so many kids in a church service in my life.  The little girl behind me – maybe five or six – kept asking her mom when the bride and groom were going to kiss.  This is opposed to a boy in front of me, roughly the same age, who could not have been less interested if he’d been watching paint dry.

It was a small, quiet wedding, not really to my personal tastes (as if that mattered) but definitely full of love and happiness.  The couple could not stop smiling, even when the bride was crying, and that’s how it should be on your wedding day.  

As for me: One of my girlfriends went with me.  She didn’t have to; I’m past my crying phase now but she announced I needed moral support, regardless.  I appreciated it more than I can say – not because I couldn’t have handled a wedding on my own but because it proves that the right people are in my life as the wrong person leaves.  So we drove 90 minutes for a 30 minute ceremony, hugged the happy couple and got back in the car for the 90 minute drive home, with a dinner stop along the way.  Actually, not a bad Friday night, all things considered.

okay, enough with the crying

I thought I had a much stiffer upper lip than I am currently evincing at the moment.  Today was evidently “cry at the least provocation” day because I’ve been weeping ever since I got up (thankfully, I’ve dried up a bit now).

I started with the infamous “if only” monologue running through my head – knowing full well that it’s a stupid thing to do because what’s done is done but that didn’t divert me from heading down the self-pity road.

Then I went for a much-needed haircut and, in telling my wonderful guy that I needed something to make me feel better right now because I was single again, the waterworks started up again.  Then he got all teary and we had a little cryfest.

Once I got home, I started working on various emails in my personal inbox and – of course – I found several from SG from our early days.  I know I should have just deleted them but – of course – I didn’t, so there was another puddle.

The capstone of the day was realizing, as I looked at my grad student’s wedding invitation, that the reception would include seating arrangements.  The wedding is this Friday and, only because I adore my grad student, I am planning to go.  However, I’m only going to the ceremony because there is no way I can make it through a reception.  However pitiful and selfish that may sound, I honestly can’t do it right now; I get weepy just thinking about it.  So, I let him know, with apologies, that I wouldn’t be coming to the reception and hoped the seating wouldn’t be too difficult.  

I would like to think I’m about cried out by now.  Maybe if I just accept this week as my pity party, I can get it out of my system.  

scattered thoughts

There’s a particularly irony in someone telling you he wants you to be happy when he’s the one creating the unhappiness.

Why is love so much more precious to us after it’s gone?

One of the hardest parts of losing a relationship is losing your best friend.

With age comes the knowledge that you can’t die from a broken heart, and somehow that is sad in and of itself.