Friday, November 8, 2013

A tickle in my throat

"A lie to say, 'O my mine gave a diamond big as a fist'
But with every gem in his pocket, the jewels he has missed.

I've been fighting a cold since Monday. I'm rarely sick, but when I am, it always starts the day after I fly home from a trip. Monday and Tuesday, my symptoms were mostly a very sore throat. I was able to carry on with my usual activities. Enamel class Monday morning, bead making Tuesday morning, walking on the treadmill both afternoons.

Wednesday was the worst day. I had one of those constant coughs caused by a tickle in my throat. I took a Zyrtec in the morning, because I really wanted to go to the shelter for my Wednesday morning volunteer commitment. I wanted to know which cats were still there after the adoption event on Saturday.

Fourteen cats had been adopted. When I walked into the cattery, it seemed empty to me. Every cage but one still was full, but the two large multi-cat cages were missing. Almost all the older cats still were there, which wasn't much of a surprise.

Bella was still there, so she has spent the entire year since the event last November living in that small cage. She's a nice cat, she has mellowed and doesn't fuss at the other cats any more. I wouldn't call her pretty. She's a short-haired tabby who is a bit overweight, making her head look small compared to her body, and she has a short, skinny tail. Still I know there is someone out there who could love her, an older person maybe, because she is very calm and laid back.

Cranky Lola was still there, and one- eyed Jack, and shy Nick, lazy Ally, affectionate Kelsey, playful Ariel, timid Orion, enigmatic Lily, tentative Huckleberry, rollicking Jules, and of course, rambunctious, purring, alpha-cat Julio. And about a dozen new cats and kittens.

Ariel, Orion and Lola. (Still looking for homes.)

I muscled through my two hours there, just not feeling it. Then I drove to the airport to pick up Neil, fighting Zyrtec-induced sleepiness. At home again, I crashed on the sofa, then got up to go to my standing monthly hair appointment. I hate to cancel at the last minute because if I do my hairdresser Teanna winds up with a gap in her schedule and loses money.

I got home, Neil left to play softball, I ate a bagel and tried to watch TV. When Neil got home, I was dead asleep on the sofa again. I went to bed and slept until 7 a.m. I wonder what quiets a cough reflex while you sleep.

Sleep can be so restorative. I woke up Thursday feeling better. My throat was less sore and I wasn't coughing as much. I still took it easy until mid-morning, when I made a few beads, finally using all the mandrels I dipped a couple of weeks ago. I decided to skip the treadmill for a couple of days, until I'm fully well. Compulsive as I am about my routines, I honestly believe in resting when I'm sick.

Instead I took a leisurely walk around the lake. I can always use some extra vitamin D.

Remember these guys? Egret and Heron.

Friday will be a repeat of Thursday. Why mess with a good thing?

And then, this weekend, I'll be taking my first bead-making master class in more than a year, with Kate Fowle Meleney. I'm eager to learn something new. And I look forward to the camaraderie of being in a class with a group of like-minded lampworkers. I get recharged by that almost as much as any new ideas and techniques the teacher brings to the table.

It is time for me to resume my telling of the events in my life some dozen years ago, 2001-2002.

In mid-January, 2002, I had declared Independence Day and freedom from the albatross that was Marty.

By the end of January I was making progress. I felt OK. Not great, but not clinically depressed.

I posted this.
I still have days when I grieve. Less and less though. Less days and less grief. More grief for the dream and less grief for the person.

This helped:

Marty updated his personal ad again. Here's what Mr. Sensitive added to the description of how he describes his ideal match:

AND WHILE WE'RE TALKING... She could explain to me where the hell all the women who SAY they like skinny dipping in here actually GO skinny dipping!! :-)

This is the man who recently wrote me these words about Mary:

”We are in touch, we still love each other, and the distance is the issue. I wish and hope to move home again some day, sooner rather than later, and maybe we'll have a chance to become a real couple again. Meanwhile, we do our best to hang on.”

I feel sorry for Mary. I feel sorry for all the women he may meet and date and romance and then turn around and curb-stomp. I feel sorry for him - he is obviously one sick prick.

I am getting to forgiveness. It is less difficult to forgive someone who is spiritually ill.

Of course, when I stop looking at his personal ad I will know I have made some real progress.

Still, I am healthier now, and while I lost a half year of my life, life is long enough to spare it.
I continued to grapple with the gravitas of my relationship with Mark. I knew I didn't love him, but at the same time I knew that, for the present time anyway, I needed him. I pretended that as long as I was honest with him about my feelings, it was OK to let him hang around. Call it selfishness, call it rationalization, call it imprudence. All of that would be the truth.
It helps to have someone else in my life now who cares for me and is very sweet to me. I'm not in love, but it is having a positive effect on my serotonin levels to feel loved and nurtured. I am being very honest with him and just appreciating what the days and moments bring and not trying to figure out what it means in the bigger picture.
January melted into February. I continued to see Mark. I continued to feel conflicted about it.
OK. Mark. He's so good to me but I'm not in love with him. My therapist says to be careful, because nurturing is the flip side of controlling. She says that sometimes men who can't control by assertiveness may try to do so by nurturing.

I can sense that. Of course, I'm not an easy person to control. But he is very possessive about my time and it sometimes feels like he is smothering me. So I can see where it could get very uncomfortable.

On the other hand, I am afraid that if I send him away, my depression will return with a vengeance. It is very seductive to be told that you are the most beautiful woman in the world. And to have someone want you so much. And to have a cake on your birthday and a present and a footrub and someone to go to the hardware store with you to get the parts to fix the vent-a-hood.

So why can't I love him? Can I only choose men who will hurt me? Is it because his hairline is disappearing, or he doesn't have a college degree, or am I still too hung up on someone else, or do I have some romantic, fantastic notion that I want to be with someone who makes my heart thud, at least a little?

Is that wrong?

I tell Mark, when he wants to talk about next year or forever, that I can't make plans any further ahead than a week or two right now. Maybe he will get tired of me and make the decision for me.
One of my friends asked me how I could date someone without feeling attracted to him.
There is some attraction with Mark. That is part of the conflict. I like him and there is some attraction.
Maybe that was at the root of my ambivalence. I didn't want to feel attracted to Mark, or really anyone who wasn't Marty, not yet. What had Marty called it? Anesthesia at a time I was hurting.

I honestly couldn't reconcile my impaired heart and my irrepressible libido.
Maybe it's just simple animal magnetism, maybe it's just starvation for some physical contact. I will say that he does have a very gentle touch and being a few years younger than me doesn't hurt either.

And since he is in love with me, or says he is, and he asks me to marry him just about every time we are together, maybe I am rationalizing that it is OK to be in a relationship with him, even if I'm not sure he is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.

I don't want to hurt him, and I have been very honest with him. I would never pull a Marty and look deeply into his eyes and say, I love you so much, pinch me, stay with me please, I want you.

But maybe just my presence in his life and my willingness to go out with him and be with him is misleading, despite not speaking the words.
In the movie "As Good As It Gets" there's a line where Jack Nicholson's bipolar character says to Helen Hunt's compassionate character, "You make me want to be a better man." And she says, "That's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me." And he says, "Darn, and I was just aiming for enough to keep you from walking out." (Of course at that point she walks out.)

That's how it was with Mark. I would smile and say nothing and he would ask how I felt and I'd tell him, I don't know. I'd say, right now I just want to go out and have fun and not make any commitments or plan the future. Then I'd say something nice, like, "you look good in that shirt" and it would make him so happy. And I'd be thinking, "darn, and I was just aiming for enough to keep you from walking out."
But I have a feeling that if he stopped calling me I'd feel worse. And sometimes I get scared that if I don't see him more often or make more of a commitment that he will get impatient with waiting and move on.

So I guess my heart is already vulnerable, even if I insist that I'm not in love with him. On days like today, when I feel the depression nibbling at my edges, it's worse. I feel like maybe I should grab him, so that I'll have someone to take care of me if I crash and burn again.

But it was so different with Marty. There was that wild joy at his existence, the willingness, no the desire to put everything else in my life on hold to make time for him. I would have followed him anywhere, done anything for him.

I know, looking at how it turned out, so what? But it could have been different, if he hadn't had so much baggage and so little self-knowledge and so much narcissism combined with so much self-loathing.

Oh, well. This is now and this is reality. And I don't know if it's better to hold out for something that may never happen again or accept the unconditional love that the universe has sent me (maybe). Because I think Mark would do anything for me and how many times is that going to happen?

Or is it just my old low self-esteem telling me I'm unlovable and I better grab whatever love I can get? And is that fair to Mark, or does he deserve to have someone who loves him madly too?
That was my frame of mind when, on Valentine's Day, a virtual stranger gave me some pivotal advice.

"A lie to say, "O my mine gave a diamond big as a fist"
But with every gem in his pocket, the jewels he has missed
A lie to say, "O my garden is growing taller by the day"
He only eats the best and tosses the rest away

Oh no never will he believe that
His greed has a blinding ray
No devil or redeemer can cheat him
He'll take his gold to where he's lying cold
Six deep in the grave

(Something is out of reach)
His oldest pain and fear in life
(Something he wanted)
There'll not be time
(Something is out of reach)
His oldest pain and fear in life
(He's being taunted)
There'll not be time, oh no
(Something is out of reach)
Hey, hey
(That he can't beg or steal)
Nor can he buy

A lie to say "O my forest has trees that block the sun
And when I cut them down I don't answer to anyone"

No, no, no, never will he believe that
His greed has a blinding ray
No devil or redeemer can cheat him
Take his gold to where he's lying cold

Oh, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely man."

Natalie Merchant (A Campfire Song)

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