Monday, April 25, 2005

Please Wipe Your Feet

So JS still wants to go to church with me, because K (the ex-turned-girlfriend-but-inevitably-soon-to-be-ex-yet-again) is apparently an atheist or agnostic or some other thing that is absolutely incompatible with a Christian. He said he feels like it's "our" church (mine and his) and that it didn't feel right to be there with her.

How very curious. Do you think that maybe she didn't want to be there in the first place? That it was nothing more than a ploy to make you believe she had changed on this very important and divisive issue? Didn't it seem at all strange that she never wanted to go to church, and had successfully convinced you not to go either, until you broke up and she found out that you were going without her -- and, in fact, that you were going with me? And so many other glaring examples of how she controls him and manipulates him into choosing a relationship with her over a relationship with God. But I digress.

So he wanted to continue going with me. Having begun this spiritual journey together, this part of our relationship was very special to me. And I didn't want his growth to stop just because she wouldn't go with him. So I foolishly agreed. I thought it was the right thing to do. I was sure that I could be strong enough to be his friend. We made plans to go to services together. We signed up for classes. We talked about getting baptized.

Then yesterday, after what by my count was the ninth time he had cancelled, I entered into the anger stage of the grieving process. Of course I miss him (the him I knew, not the him he's become now that they are back together, which I assure you is a completely different him, and one who I quite frankly don't like very much). Of course I wish things were different. But I realized that he is essentially carrying on one "perfect" relationship with two people. There are the things about her that he thinks he loves (although from what I've heard from his friends, this list can't possibly be very long), and then he has with me the things he knows he wants. And I'm enabling this destructive behavior. Because every time he is unhappy with her, I am there to make him happy again. And every time he is frustrated by their relationship, I am there with a relationship that is so much less work. And every time they break up, I am there for him. And this is a one-way ticket to nowhere. For all three of us. Because true fulfillment should be found in one person. Not two.

After realizing that I have become a doormat for his dirty feet, and after realizing that this, regrettably, was not the first time I had been so accomodating of someone else's needs that I found myself trampled by their boots, I decided it was time to start standing up for myself. To recognize that this is not a characteristic of a healthy or normal relationship. To declare that I deserve better -- more respect, more consideration.

My dear friends, you will all be relieved to know that I will no longer be in contact with JS. That he cannot cause me any more pain. That you won't have to hear about it anymore. I may still be sad at times, because I didn't want it to end like this. I may still cry on occasion, because, despite the flaws revealed out of my heartache over the last few weeks, there are some wonderful things about him that I will really miss. But I can't change his mind and I care too much about him to watch him hurt himself anymore.

So to my dear JS -- adieu. I pray the Lord your soul to keep -- lest your faith be sucked out by the godless witch*.

*I hereby reserve the right to hate her just a little bit until I'm completely done healing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


"I cannot go to work today,"
Said Nic, while in her bed she lay.

"I have a hole in my stomach wall,
It hurts just lying in a ball.

My tummy's empty, my mouth is dry,
I really fear that I may die.

I'm nauseous and I don't feel well,
I've counted sixteen heaving spells

And there's one more--that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?

My finger's cut--my eyes are blue--
It can't just be the stomach flu.

Each time I gag, I gasp and choke,
I'm sure my heart's irreparably broke--

My head hurts when I move too fast,
Oh, how much longer must this last?

My back is wrenched, my throat, it burns,
To just feel healthy, how I yearn.

My body's cold, my stomach aches.
I don't know how much I can take.

My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.

My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.

My belly's sore, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.

I'm dizzy and I cannot hear,
I fear the end is drawing near.

I have a hangnail, and I feel like--what?
What's that? What's that you said?
You think it's all just in my head?
I wish it was, now I'm going back to bed."

Adapted from Shel Silverstein's "Sick" in Where the Sidewalk Ends.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Grading on a Curve

Warning: This post is not worth reading. It is yet another futile attempt to explain my current heartache. To make it seem normal.

When I was in school, I was almost always that kid who scored 100% on an exam, throwing off the curve for everyone else. Luckily for me (so I wouldn't be hated all the time), the grading system was usually pretty straightforward. If you scored anywhere in the 90s, it was an A. In the 80s, a B. And so on. You had to score below 60 to fail.

Being the type-A that I am, this kind of rigid scale has always worked for me. Always made sense. There is logic. Constancy. Objectivity. Absolution. The possibility of actual perfection. Which is why I always preferred the true A to the inflated grades one receives when a curve is used. Why I didn't feel bad when I threw off said curve for the others who didn't study as fastidiously as I.

But in life, and most specifically in love, I find that the scale is nowhere near as predictable or precise. It is fickle. Complex. Multi-faceted. There is no formula for perfection. No single right answer. No proof of why things are as they are. There is a curve that is based on others' expectations of you, which are based on their opinion of and respect for you, which is often based on nothing solid at all. Or there is something of a reverse curve, where 99% is actually much worse than, say, 50%. Let me explain...

J and I dated for nearly four years. We were practically perfect for each other. Practically. There was just one thing that was missing. I have been assured that I will never know what that one thing was, so for the sake of making my point, I'll assign it a point value of 1. Which takes us from 100% to 99%.

D seemed at first to be wonderful. He treated me like a queen. But, as it turned out, he was a compulsive liar. Now, this is a major character flaw, so I'll take off extra points. Let's say 25. 75% - generally considered an average score, so I'm being generous here.

JT was fantastic. He was honest. He was fun. He was intelligent. But he, too, had a fatal flaw. He is in town for roughly 12 hours every month. Total. And sometimes those hours are not consecutive. A relationship is impossible when you only see each other once a month, so he lost 10 points. 90% - still an A by most standards.

M was honest, too. He worked nearby. Even lived close. But there was no chemistry. This is a big problem, so he lost 15 points. 85%.

JS was seemingly perfect. (And, yes, I know that this being the most recent of them all, I'm bound to feel this way. And I promise that at some point, hopefully soon, I'll shut up about him. But for today, just go with me on this one.) He was intelligent. Funny. Honest. Communicative. Affectionate. Spiritual. Lived and worked within 25 miles of my home. There was chemistry. But he was occasionally and temporarily emotionally disabled. Minus 5. 95%.

There are many others I could use to illustrate the point I'm about to make, but my dating stories aren't even interesting to me anymore, so I'll spare you the details.

The thing is, in all of these relationships, I was mostly happy. Mostly fulfilled. They were mostly good. Often great. Nearly perfect. But it's that one thing that isn't right, that one thing that you can't live with (or in some cases without), that one inadequacy that takes you from 100% to anything else, however small the variance, that makes it fail in the end.

And when something is so close to perfect and then it doesn't work out, it is sharply more painful than if it was much further off the mark. Because you were hopeful. Sure, even. That the long and laborious search might finally be over. That the right person and the right timing may have finally come together. Which is why I say that in love, 50% would be so much better than 99%. At least you'd know to expect failure. But who expects failure when something is 99% great? And is it even possible to find something worthy of an uninflated 100%? I, for one, have my doubts.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

How to Annoy Me

AKA Adventures in Online Dating

Send me an email that proves to me that you looked at the photos in my profile, but did not read a single word I wrote or look at a single item on the list of qualities I am looking for in someone. Demonstrate extreme superficiality to confirm for me, once and for all, that all of the good ones are either married or gay.

Feliz aniversario.

JS' birthday is in two days. But the gift I had planned for this occasion cannot be given. Our romantic weekend getaway will not come to pass. The private hot spring just outside our luxury suite will remain empty. The side-by-side massage tables will remain untouched. The special table by the window overlooking the gorgeous landscape will remain available. The bottle of wine will remain unopened.

All because he doesn't know what (or, rather, who) he wants. Because he keeps changing his mind. Because he can't break free from her and the disastrous cycle that they are in. Because he's not ready to find what he's been searching for. Because he's not strong enough to do the right thing. And still I want to be with him despite these flaws. Because the heart knows no reason.

Happy Birthday, JS. I hope you get everything you want and need this year. I wish for you to find the happiness you seek.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Dead Inside

That's how I feel today. The part of my life that I shared with JS is over. It was my favorite part. And now it's gone. And I feel empty.

Last night, after a heartbreaking conversation that seemed to go in circles, I was depressed and defeated, alone and afraid, and most of all, hurt. And he wasn't there to hold me and tell me it would be okay. So I cried myself to sleep. This morning I went to church alone. He wasn't there to share it with me. This journey that we started together, this bond that I thought we shared - it was just me now. Making matters worse, he was there with his ex. So I cried all the way there. And through much of the service. And all the way home. I was sure that the well of my tears had surely run dry after the last 24 hours, and yet I cry still as I write this.

It's killing me that it's over.
It's killing me that he chooses his ex. Again. Who is, by his own admission, not the right person for him. And he is not right for her. They are too different. They fight all the time. The issues that caused them to break up the last five times have surely not changed.
It's killing me that he chooses an unhealthy relationship. One in which he is manipulated, used, unappreciated, taken for granted. One in which he cannot fully be himself. One that will ultimately never make him happy.
It's killing me that he thinks this could possibly be love.
It's killing me that he lets her have such power over him.
It's killing me that he can't see through her. That she is only going to church for him. Not for herself. Otherwise, she would have gone on her own. That it is just a ploy to see him again. To try to connect in a way that they never could before. A way that he and I have connected.
It's killing me that, after telling me that I am the perfect girl for him, that I have everything he wants and needs and more, he is able to walk away.
It's killing me that his heart still hangs on to her. That he isn't able to move on. That because of this, and even though we are right for each other in so many ways, he can't love me the way I want and deserve to be loved.
It's killing me that he can't even explain what draws him back to her. Why he feels this way about her, even though he knows they will never work.
It's killing me that I couldn't make him feel that way. That I couldn't make him forget her.
It's killing me that this relationship had so much potential, and yet we don't get to develop it any further. That it wasn't even given the chance to grow.
It's killing me that he's making a bad decision. Whether he chooses me or not, she is not good for him.
It's killing me that I am powerless. That I can't do anything or say anything to make him change his mind.
It's killing me that I can't conceive of anyone better suited for me.
It's killing me that all I have now are memories.
It's killing me that there are no more plans to be made. No more fun to be had. No more interesting conversations over dinner. No more laughing until our stomachs hurt at the comedy club. No more church dates. No more ski weekends. No more making dinner together at home. No more sleeping in each other's arms. No more tender kisses.
It's killing me that he was happy with me, and yet those feelings weren't strong enough to overcome the leftover feelings for her.
It's killing me that my plans for his birthday must now be canceled.
It's killing me that I don't feel like it should be over. That I truly believe we were brought together for a reason that has not yet been fulfilled.
It's killing me that, against my better judgement and without fully realizing it, I fell for him. That I love him for so many reasons.
It's killing me that I miss his laugh. His smile. Our conversations about everything and nothing. The fact that they were always interesting and we never ran out of things to talk about. And so many other things about him that I love and miss.
It's killing me that he doesn't even know this.

It's killing me that I want to be with him. To wake up in his arms and discover that this was only a bad dream.
It's killing me that I can't stop crying.
It's killing me that I can't eat or sleep. That I feel absolutely sick over this.
And the hollowness I feel inside, the pain that consumes me over this whole thing - that's killing me the most.