MY SECRET LIFE
I am a bit of a paradox. A bit of a...chameleon. One of closest friends is also my cousin - younger by 18 months. We grew up together sharing our lovely Bibi. Our grandmother's strength, stubbornness, and selflessness has helped shape us to be feminists. I don't know if Bibi ever knew that through her openness we could be the kind of women that chose our own path. My cousin has grown into this amazing person that has become a lot like our grandmother...whether she knows it or not. This amazing person in my life didn't know all my secrets until recently. If she doesn't know...a lot of other people know just a droplet of who I am.
I am a crier. I remember both my mom and Bibi saying that if I continue to feel for everything and everyone as much as I do I will always have a broken heart. I cried when my cousins' were punished by their own parents. I cried when I saw something unfair. I cried at commercials where people were starving. I'd lay awake at night wondering how could I send my dinner to people that needed it. At a young age I wanted to be a mother to an orphanage. I would drag my dolls and stuffies around with me like they were each my child. And when I adopted my Cabbage Patch, Victoria, I took that role seriously. The first moments of my life I have dreamed of having my own house, husband and baby. At seven, I knew maybe that wasn't possible for everyone.
My paternal grandma, my step-grandfather, and half aunt and uncle left my life abruptly when I was seven. My paternal cousins were older than me and not always interested in my "look what I can do" jumping around so I would sit with my nose in a book and also listening to the adults. I learned a lot that way. My dad also having lost his mother just quickly turned to his own source of coping. And in turn my mom turned to her own way. My younger cousins weren't really in my life in an every day way as we were all going to school now. I realized in school being different wasn't good so I blended well in the background. I also stop showing I care and put up a sarcastic front. I became good at humour and being a bit of a jerk. You don't have to lie to your friends if you don't become to close. I don't have to be sad about not having a boy like me if I don't want to get married anyway. I can never be disappointed if I can't have kids if I say I don't care for them and would rather adopt. I would have a flippant attitude but always be polite.
I became really good with humour when it came to things that were painful. I get my storytelling and acting skills from making things seem okay. I wouldn't lie but just make everything seem positive. Or if I couldn't do that, I would just deflect to something that was positive. I don't really share or communicate well. Being a Psych major I know what I should say versus what I feel. That went on well for 28 years. The death of a former co-worker, who was like a mom-figure at work. We worked every Sunday together for many years. Every Mother's Day we would do a little something as she couldn't be with her daughter for the whole day, and I couldn't be with my mom. She was one of the first people I told that I wanted to be a writer...and she believed I could do it. When she died, I was in another job that I liked but also was stressing me out a bit as it was completely customer service based. I was sitting at the reception desk wait for a call when I looked at my personal email and saw the news. Several weeks later I became very ill. I had vertigo, nausea, stomach pain, etc. I was off work a week...and I had never taken a sick day so my co-workers were worried. I went to a walk-in, the ER and finally my own family doctor. I took every test to man and had every diagnosis. Then my doctor told me, that it was not anything physical, it was mental. I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder with minor Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Fuck, I'm crazy.
Once I had a diagnosis and plan set I got better. I found that friends will stay in your life if you let them. I had a dream job mostly because my manager understood what I was going through, my team lead thought I could do things I didn't think I could do and my work partner complimented me perfectly. Even with dating failures and a break up, I was doing good. Then Bibi was diagnosed with dementia and she couldn't remember me. My team lead and manager moved on to other jobs (jobs they deserved) and my partner was getting close to retirement. I met Derek at this time, and while he was a calming effect on me, our schedules were off so we could barely see one another (though he would later become an apprentice for his uncle's electrician company - which is why I didn't force the money as I wanted him to be able to go to school eventually). I took a chance on a job closer to Bibi. I thought if I my dream job was now just okay, why not leave for another place. I found out about the new job while I was writing an elegy for Bibi. Derek saw me at my lowest and it made us stronger. I had a new job and boyfriend Life was good. Then bullying at work (by managers - my team was amazing) plus a layoff broke me a bit...as now I had lots of time to think about Bibi not being here. All she ever wanted was to see me marry. She would tell me she would buy my wedding gown and jewelry and a nice gold thing for this imagined hubby. It didn't happen.
Feeling like a failure without a job...and no calls for interviews...I slipped into "make Derek my life." I went running over there as soon as he got home and would do what he wished. He was good at making me feel like this was temporary and a job would be coming soon. I knew my parents and Derek were unhappy with me taking medicine for my anxiety and that I was anxious in the first place. I stopped taking them...everything seemed bigger and worse. I confessed to my doctor I stopped taking them...went back on...and evened out. I am super lucky my dosage is the lowest level and has minimal side effects because going off cold turkey without medical supervision can be deadly. At my new job, where I worked auxiliary hours, I made friends with great people who push and support me every day to do what I want. This is how I started blogging more. I started to change. I became more comfortable with me inside. I started to believe I was worth the effort. And, best of all I stopped taking shit from everyone. Yes, I am not full-time employed but I am getting there in my own way.
This changed things for Derek and I because I refused to be the one who made compromises to make this relationship work. I started to demand my loan to be payed back and separate of our relationship. I stood up and said I want to be in a relationship with him alone, in a space that is not shared by our parents. I want some changes now, as it has been 4 years of the same way that is not working for either of us. I became the feminist that scares him. I'm not anti-men...I am for everyone being treated with the same rights. I want my voice to be heard and count. He thinks I should just go along when people make comments that are not right...including when someone makes a comment about us being an interracial couple. I own my anxiety...and will not hide anymore because it makes me stronger. (I know many of you wondered about the ring he mentioned in his post. He had not started to pay me back and asked to continue not paying me back so he could save up for a ring. I told him he wasn't paying me so I assumed that he was saving up in general. No ring or big repayment or moving out. FYI: I picked out several rings for under a grand.) In fact, the thing that is pissing him off right now is that I am talking at all - about him, us and even myself. I'm not writing this to make him feel bad or make him seem like a bad person. I am writing this because I am tired of being made to feel like what I have to say or feel is wrong. I know other than my friends, no one cares about my relationship. I am not sharing to make anyone uncomfortable. I am sharing it to hopefully let people know that if they are going through anything of what I did...you are not alone. Even as I share this, I probably won't talk about it and will continue to deflect to funnier or more positive things.
I know how my friends feel - that I am not cherished and should look out for me...and I will get there. This is my story...my feelings...my perception...my heart. I have always needed validation and a pat on the back to know I matter...this is my own journey to that. I had hoped that Derek could accept and love me for me but I realize I have to demand that rather than just hope. And, I am going to lean on and impose on my friends to get to where I am supposed to go.
Now you know some of it...there is a lot more I won't share...just because I won't. A lot of of what I am releasing from my heart is the broken bits and parts I want to fix. I have not shared all the great things in the relationship with you all. And I do think he is wonderful guy who is every bit as lost, broken and stuck in his ways like me - but he is incredibly brilliant at creating things, understanding complicated electrical things, making you feel like you are special, a good cook and can be funny and silly when his guard is down. He gets down and plays with his brother's dog and is a good uncle to his niece when she comes over to his and his mom's place. When he not angry about my reading and writing he is supportive. He buys me loose tea and already made tea to make me happy. He encourages me to buy a treat for myself so I can be happy. I was willing to overlook his smoking, some bad habits I won't reveal, and his mom to have a future with him. The first one I will still overlook but the "price of admission" for love has only gotten higher on my end. I think I am going to take a break from free flow essays for a bit...but I promise book reviews and my OWN FICTION!
k (My Novelesque Life)