Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Sounds of Silence

Tuesday, 1 July 2008
9:28 pm Eastern Dailylight Savings Time

from the philosopher's account in his own name

It was difficult hearing you read your latest post, and difficult reading it today. I didn't realize how craven I have been acting. And i reread older posts of yours, and found myself not liking the man you are describing. You are never nasty or insulting, but the picture that forms is not flattering. I didn't realize how secretive and petulant I have been. You constantly defend me. . . I just wish there wasn't so much to defend. I have not been treating you well.

You say that you have perhaps picked up on something, and I think you're right. You need more attention than I am willing or able to give you. The amount of contact we have had over the past year is about the level I have the energy for. I have been reluctant to put it this bluntly, but my cowardice is causing more harm than I realized.

After we spoke last night, I had the idea that your mood could be cured with one of our rituals. So i thought and thought about what would work. . .and nothing. I had no ideas. I didn't have the energy to come up with anything.

I'm not sure I can take another weepy phone call, but I can't blame you for being lonely. There's just nothing I can do about it. You need to find someone who can.

We knew there were risks with a long distance relationship, and it is hard on both of us. And this is not the first of my relationships that the dissertation has consumed.

The best we may be able to hope for is a friendly split where we don't wind up hating each other.

I will call you tonight.

- - - - - - -

i read it about 15 minutes later.
sitting on the toilet.
laptops have their advantages.

and i wrote:

i don't hate you.

i love you.

that's what it comes down to.

it would be a waste of posibilities to split up.

you don't have to let the dissertation destroy EVERY relationship you
try to have.

yes, i miss you. but because of the other relationships i've been
through, i value what we might have more perhaps than someone younger would.

don't devalue yourself. you're not a lost cause. i did know what i was
getting into and i'm sorry if i've been asking for more than you

you give me so much. there is nothing that needs to be cured. you make
me feel whole, even as i miss you. mostly i've just wanted you to be

and then the phone rang.
his nighttime phone calls often caught me on the toilet.

we talked.
i didn't cry.
we struggled.
maybe tonight i'll write out more of what we said.
for myself if nothing else.
we do like to document things.

i'm not ready to pull the plug.
maybe i'm postponing the inevitable.

much of the discussion wasn't new, though we went deeper than we ever have before. he went deeper. i'm Jewish. i'm all into psychology. he's Irish Catholic. he claims that's why he can't go into therapy, though his God and mine know that he needs it at least as much as i do.

actually, i've had plenty of therapy. what i need is the right medication. one of the most honest things that finally came out of him is that my mood swings have become too much for him. not that i haven't noticed. a while back my psychopharmacologist, who treats my SAD along with the ongoing emotional volatility caused by my permanent perimenopause, decided we should give me a diagnosis of bipolar disorder with depression. my response was - what difference does it make? the response: it's a question of how you treat it. so we tried a number of medications, the ones that wouldn't make me fatter or do even worse things to my blood pressure than all the other things i take. and they helped. for a few days. and then allergic reactions would kick in. so we gave up.

but lately i've been noticing they've been getting worse. pms every 2 weeks. and the philosopehr was right - every good time would be followed by a down. so i've been meaning to have a serious talk with her about it. in a week. a week from friday. a week from Independence Day.

yesterday was not Independence Day. it was Hiatus Day.

we talked. he talked. i talked. a lot. i do always talk too much. i think i got through to him on some things. he certainly got through to me. i was glad he told me the mood swings were too much. that my weepy spells were finally making him angry. he's supposed to be writing his dissertation and then i'd get all emotional on the phone and he'd end up losing hours or a day or so dealing with how he felt afterwards.

it's good he said that.
people in a relationship need to communicate.

i think he could see that he was projecting a lot of emotions on me that weren't mine.

but still.

i'm his best friend.
he is my best friend.
he doesn't really have friends
and doesn't want to lose this.
he thinks we can remain friends
but without "the romantic part."

i don't want to give up.
i'm stubborn
and probably stupid
and probably kidding myself.

but when it is good...

he said when we are together
i don't have mood swings.
i said when we are together
he doesn't have insomnia.

i suppose if i keep writing the whole 2-hour conversation will dribble out but i'm not sure i want to. not right now. though one thing keeps crawling out. we talked about the dissertation. i said that his getting it done was always the focus, i knew that, i knew what i was getting into, our goal was for him to get it done.

and he said that was another problem.
i was someone else for him to disappoint.

i'm way ahead of him on this. at least consciously. i've long wondered whether one of the things that has kept him from finishing (along with the fact that yet another thing we have in common is ADD) is that part of hin doesn't want to finish. because when he finishes he goes on the job market. it's like a slave market. being in academia is like being in the military. you don't have much choice where you'll be sent. he would keep talking about the problems of a long-distance relationship. and how it would just get worse when he would likely have to move clear across the country. though we currently see (saw) each other so infrequently that i don't know how it could get much worse.

besides, i knew what was really bothering him wasn't being so far from me.

it was being so far from his family.

he's one of 8 kids.
his parents are still both alive.
they all live in and around the same city.
his siblings are his friends.
leaving the family - that would be the hard part.

so i'd already been thinking about this.
maybe he doesn't really want to finish.
because he doesn't really want to leave.
and perhaps he doesn't want a life of scholarly demands.
publish or perish.
the dissertation isn't the last paper he'll be saddled with.
there are jobs he could get without the PhD.
colleges that would be delighted with such a good teacher.
jobs closer to home.
closer to his family
not to mention to me.
if i still count.

he said he hadn't thought about it consciously
this option.
but underneath?

so i need to tame my mood swings
before they destroy me.
and he has to finish his dissertation
so he can get on with his life.
i do miss him.
but the hardest thing is the lack of clarity.
i need limits.
i need to see the fence
and know exactly where the gate is
and when it will be unlocked.

we came to an agreement.
my idea.
no contact for the next 2 months.
we will talk again on September 1st.

i suggested maybe we talk the week before,
with the option of seeing each other on September 1st.

but he vetoed that.
we'll talk on September 1st.
he'll send me a message to let me know when.

and then we'll see.
we'll see if i'm stable.
we'll see if he's done
or at least

we'll see.
we'll see what's left.

i tried so hard.
i tried so hard to explain
to explain how i carry him inside me
i carry this glow which is what we have
which makes me strong
which makes me happy
which was the best thing i've ever had.
i've been so good
about not crying...

i can only be good so long

i'm crying now
just now
when i think of that glow inside me

he made me happier at
a distance
than anyone else
made me at my side.

when we were together
there were no mood swings.
when we were together
he slept in peace.

so maybe we'll end up friends
and go back to talk of politics and theology.
and beyond that?
i'm not holding my breath

he needs to finish the dissertation
or else decide not to.
he needs to be at peace with himself
at least about that
if not about whatever other demons he has.

i need to vanquish my mood swings
before they vanquish me.

more than that?
who the hell knows.

there were last requests.
i asked that he not read my blog.
OUR blog.
but now surely my blog.
i need the outlet, i said.
he promised.
i asked for the password to my stats.
he agreed.
that would be his last e-mail.
mine would be the website
for a light box
for his SAD.
he had promised he would get one.
he has to start using it in August
or he'll be back in the Pit of Despair come winter.
he agreed.

we said we'd miss each other.
i do think he meant it.
and then we said goodbye
and then we hung up
and then i looked at my stats.

and my submission?

i realized i didn't ask about that. we weren't thinking in those terms, though he did say something about being a Dom and imposing decisions as a way to avoid... i'm not quite sure what.

but afterwards i thought... what about my rituals?
being naked to brush my teeth.
sleeping naked or in my slave shirt.
being naked to post to my blog
i'll probably give up that one.
and the chain?
the chain of paper clips
worn around my ankle
to remind me
remind me
remind me that i'm his?

i didn't think to ask.
he didn't think to say.

we didn't break up.
we talked in real world words
and real world voices
we didn't use names
but our identities were our own.

he didn't say it
he didn't tell me
he didn't tell me to take it off.
so for now
for now
for now i haven't.

we'll see.

[i can't bear to go back and proofread this.
if i missed something along the way
it will have to stand.
at least for now.
and then
we'll see.]


mamacrow said...

I havn't been reading you blog very long, I came here from your comments on Gray Lily's.
Weeping a bit as I read this (it's grey and sad here as it is).

You have always sounded so secure, so joyful, so selfassured in the love you and he share.

I'm glad there's hope, but no contact till september? ouch.

Anonymous said...

i'm so sorry, sweetie, that you are going through so much pain. you're great at showing us how strong you are, but this would be difficult with or without strength.

so many things can happen when an agreement for space is brought into a relationship. so much can change, and i hope that change brings you all the right things.

thinking of you. write to me if you need anything.

nash said...

My regrets and sympathies, O.G.
The pain of loss and missing someone is a hollow and hungry one indeed, devouring the better emotions as they interlope in the darkness.

I hope- I trust- that you can find a place in your own head where a Taoist-like balance can be struck. In time.

Paul said...

Oatmeal Girl, such a sad post.
62 days is a long while, long distance relationships can be so painful.
I hope things work out well for you both
You are in my prayers and thoughts.
Warm hugs,

Beth said...

OG, I am so, so sorry. I am hoping the time of silence brings the clarity and peace you need.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing I can really say here. Sending you a big *HUG*. I hope things work out for the best. I too was with someone in my past who was finishing up his education. It consumed his time. He claimed things would get better once he graduated. They never did.. mean really how could things get better? He was self employed and so then began the battle of getting his career up and running. He never made me #1 and I got tired of waiting... and so I left after almost 2 years of giving it a try.

xoxoox mina

oatmeal girl said...

the hungry, needy kitten in me says finally! i found a way to get lots of comments. so what if it means having my heart broken...


thank you, all of you, new friends and old. the comments started coming in and i felt arms being drawn around me.

mamacrow, welcome. thanks for letting me know you're there.

meg, you knew i needed you. because i'm tired of being strong. i'm tired of trying to hold this together. he made me feel strong, ever since the beginning, but i was the one who kept gluing it all back together. again and again and again. just as he needed to believe me about how happy he was making me, i needed to believe him. he just may not have it in him.

nash - what would a Taoist-like balance be? right now i'm afraid i'm in danger of falling off.

paul - thank you for the prayers. but right now, i'm not sure what "working out" means in this case.

beth - maybe. that's what i'm hoping for. thank you.

oatmeal girl said...

mina, your ex sounds like ex-hubby #2. he would finish one thing and then take up some new project. plus he was a musician. so i had to fight both academia and the fiddle for a little bit of attention. and lost every time.

the philosopher gets no great joy out trying to write his dissertation. but i do think there are other issues that prevent him from having properly involved relationship. i think he's afraid of something; i just don't know what exactly.

anyway, thanks for weighing in. when i would read about all of your own ups and downs, i would think about ours - and about yhow we were managing to keep things together obviously, my comeuppance was lurking around the next corner...

Anonymous said...

Honey, I'm so sorry I didn't read this before now. I'm so far behind in my reading and commenting, and now I'm reading you in order of what I've missed... so hugs for this, and I know you'll be okay. You're stronger than you think.

Now... to read your next post after this one...