a little hope

I woke up this morning to a message from a friend who asked if I was still blogging. And to my further stunned surprise, she said she missed it. It was another one of those many life moments for me where my perception of myself and what others may perceive do not match. I am infinitely stunned by moments where my presence in this universe is not something to avoid, like ticks on a hike.

After countless months I still feel the cold fear of writing. But I want to move through it.

Life has taken a turn for hope and slivers of sunshine. And the bizarre thing is that though I’ve always wanted these blessings, a job that won’t destroy my soul and a partner I adore, they feel fleeting. It’s as if they will slip out of my hands if I allow myself to be too happy, let my guard down in the laughter and serenity. I used to think if I could just have one of these things, a job that wasn’t toxic or a loving partner, my life would even out, the bumpy roads would be fewer, and my swaths of time spent in dire sadness and anxiety would largely cease. There are fewer bumpy roads, and life has shown me lovely peeks of sunshine; however, the sadness and anxiety have a trigger that’s a different side of the same coin -fear of loss.

I freeze and get stuck in moments that are genuinely happy, like the time my partner and I danced to Lady of the Harbor by Brother Sun. That is so not a dancing song, but it felt so right to dance and sing to the hope and love for humanity in that song with my favorite human being on the planet. And in that moment, all I can think is, “I do not deserve this beautiful, kind soul who can gently hear me out when I get upset, and will say to me, “You’re entitled to your feelings.” She will say this to me,  grouchy me with my too-hard-on-people ways. In that beautiful moment we shared that song, the prominent thought in my brain was, “Will I mess this up? Don’t mess this up. Don’t be a jerk, drop that stupid defense mechanism.

Before we admitted our feelings to each other my now partner asked me, “How did we get to our age and not find people we could be our true selves with?” I said to her, “The DID was a wall for me with people.” And then we both got teary after that.

And here’s the moment when I thought that maybe, just maybe, she also had feelings for me, she said this to me one night via text before we were together, “You’re a whole messy human who’s willing to let us in. I’ll take the bad with the good. It makes you you.” She won my heart in that moment.

And when I find myself losing hope I think back to our text conversation about me sleeping on the back of my family’s gold Montego when I was a kid, with my blanket in the desert night, the long back of the Montego was perfect for sleeping under the stars. The stars gave me hope for a better tomorrow. I said to her, “The stars are full of hope.” And she replied, “They are – they burn bright for millions of years. Beacons of hope.”

The Kitchen

I ate the entire box of pierogies.

That’s not how it was supposed to happen, but then isn’t that what we would say about us?

Since our parting on Saturday I’ve just flitted in and out of the kitchen. I can’t linger there too long because you’re everywhere in that space … the two kinds of cocoa, the velcro cake pan straps, the cast iron lodge pan, the cleaned out pantry …

Here I sit listening to the Dixie Chicks “Hello Mr. Heartache” while I polish off the pierogies with the damn cherry lemon seltzers you convinced me to buy. I did not want to buy them. I insisted that lime goes with cherry, not lemon. Besides, I didn’t want to carry a case of them all the way to my 3rd floor apartment. You were convinced that lemon did go with cherry, they were on sale¬†with¬†a coupon on top of that, and you offered to carry the case into my apartment. And now it’s my favorite drink. I never did tell you that you were right. Lemon does go with cherry. It was a good buy, and thank you for carrying the case into my apartment. There are only two cans of cherry lemon seltzer remaining. I keep telling myself to stop drinking them, make them last. But I drink them anyway. I like them, and I like remembering the first time I drank it. You gave me the first sip from your can, and I looked at you after I drank it and said, “Oh my god, that’s good! Wow. New favorite drink!” I raised the drink in the air, and you did that thing with your eyebrows when you’re right about something. You move them up and down. You’re all proud of yourself that you were right, and I’m going ape shit over a new favorite drink. Couple of weirdos if you ask me.

The pierogies were meant for two people. We would usually saute some onions and put sour cream on top. I dispensed with all that, and just ate them plain over an entire evening tonight. The pierogies have mashed potatoes in them, and I found myself recalling you there in my kitchen making mashed potato casserole for thanksgiving. I see you there making that crazy fatty dijon mustard, half and half concoction that went into the mashed potato casserole. It was strangely good. You were all mashed potato casserole, and you hit that one out of the park.

I’m eating out tomorrow night.

The Bus Terminal

I have to leave you behind at the bus terminal. It is time for us to board our separate buses. I want to be on your bus, but my ticket has a different number on it. I avoided it for a while by taking a longer layover, but in the end, I have a different destination from you. And the longer I delay my departure, the more time that passes before the inevitable will be clear to both of us: that I should have heeded my original bus ticket in the first place, when I realized we had different tickets.

You, who are kind beyond measure with my PTSD and dissociative disorder -I wish you were on my bus. But, alas, we are not even on the same busline. I will miss how you gently rub my head when I shake unexpectedly, and the fab way we baked that chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting from scratch in my kitchen. We learned the difference between unsweetened cocoa and Dutched cocoa. I still have that container of unsweetened cocoa we accidentally bought at first, not realizing our mistake. We planned on doing something with it sometime. But sometime never came, and now there it sits on my pantry shelf. It will likely remain there. I like looking at it, thinking of you in this kitchen, bringing it to life with your presence.

Aside from baking and a fondness for board games, we have little in common. Before I forget, please keep my copy of Power Grid, the board game. I had not played it in years. Let it live on with your friends. Games should be played instead of gathering dust in a study. I will miss playing games with all of you.

My heart does not yearn for you the way it should when two people are in love. We have little to talk about, unfortunately. I think that’s why we usually tried to “do” things together because we both knew, on some level, there wasn’t a connection, a passion, a love -none of that was there. What we had was a friendship, for which I hope some day can be revived if you forgive me for all of this.

I yearn for your companionship, but not your heart, and that’s why my bus ticket is different from yours. We’ve hung out in this bus terminal for a good while, and it’s been a lovely, but I should catch my bus and stop dillydallying. My bus ticket is nonreturnable, and so is yours. As hard as it is, I must wish you well. It was the best layover ever, but we can’t spend our lives in this bus terminal. It’s time to find out where our buses will take us. One last hug, but I can’t turn back when I walk away.