Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Upon Reaching 40...
As I continue to age day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, I realize that when I was a little girl, 40 years old was OLD. Ancient! I have been alive for 40 years already and reaching that milestone scares the hell outta me. What have I accomplished over that time? What haven't I accomplished? All of this introspective can make someone dizzy if not depressed. Maybe that's why I have been down lately?
The past year has been quite a change of the old routine I was used to living day in and day out. After 6 years, I ended my relationship with my then partner. I ended this partnership mainly because I was turning 39 years old and it was going nowhere. To me it was like having another pet during the worst times and having a teddy bear during the better times. There was little passion, just boring routine. No real future visible ahead. Dreams were made of the future we could live but as the time passed, that dream turned out just to be a dream. The thought of leaving my city to live in a quaint little town, raise kids and try the same
Perhaps I'm selfish, spoiled, self-centered. Maybe I have a lifestyle I enjoy and have no desire to have that altered by a baby or a change of scenery. Or, more likely, maybe I am scared of change, being uncomfortable in new surroundings and experiences. Like mother like daughter. My mom was whom I learnt that from. Whether it is learned or taught, I am just like her. She was a woman of daily routine...Coffee, shopping, bingo, shopping, dinner, etc. She rarely travelled and if she did it was discussed in great detail, exactly what was on the itinerary. I'm amazed how hard it is to break the habit of a learned characteristic, that you watched daily and chastised every time viewing it.
On my birthday, I decided that this was my first day of freedom and cut the cord. The oblivious shocked reaction of my mate showed me how out if it we were as a couple. Considered the "happiest couple" at the bar, we were far from the title. I guess Academy Award nominations are pointless for best actor and actress, as we would sweep the trophies. On the break up, I was instantly filled with energy, happiness, desire to do anything and everything. I made sure to continue to frequent "our" bar, not to mess up my comfortable "couch" although as I rested my behind in the cushions they seemed a bit out of place. I avoided him at all costs and hung out with our mutual friends. Thus, the introduction of the person whom has caused my most recent bout of introspection.
During my newly found single life, there were many suitors. Getting laid was not a problem, as many came to fill that void. Although I had various guys banging down my cell phone, only 2 got in. At least 2 so far...I did witness the strangest change in atmosphere in the bar weeks after I chose single hood. The testosterone level rose a few notches and the spotlight was burning a hole through me! For a local pub where there isn't a chance in hell any guy would be considered more than a pub-mate, suitors seemed to come out of the woodwork! And this is where I made my first wrong turn on the road to 40.
When you frequent a pub regularly, there are others you meet, that are also regulars, and you may like them or not. My main friend basis is from the pub. One person in particular was quite a pest and every time he rolled in, my eyes would roll into the back of my head. I quietly hoped he wouldn't sit near us or I made sure I would avoid him when popping out to the smoking deck so as to avoid any unnecessary conflict. On occasional nights, when I felt feisty, I would purposely look for him, just to release some pent up "men are idiots" stress. He was an arrogant, pushy, Americanized Canadian, who served in the US Army. His stories either entertained the masses or riled them up, all putting a Cheshire cat grin on his Alfred E. Newman-Esque face.
Funny how I somehow decided that he was the one to hang out with after the break-up. Did I need a bad guy? Did I need to shock the bar patrons? Did I need to hurt my ex even more by purposely hanging out with an obvious enemy? Was there something there in this arrogant jackass that attracted me? I believe the answer is yes to all of the above. So we began hangin' out. Talking and listening to music. I was still seeing others when I wasn't with him. We talked about everything, listened to music--amazingly a common ground for both of us, having the same tastes in music--and introduced new music to our repertoire, walked for hours about the city, touring the places I would never feel comfortable alone. The bad guy in him was something I thought I could take on, especially since I felt like I was this new woman able to conquer anything. I even convinced everyone of his good side and people began to tolerate him.
Usage is a word that I learnt outright, years ago with a guy who had a cocaine problem. I was duped by him and it ended very badly. Thank God I didn't marry him and move to Winnipeg....YIKES! But, as I tend to live my life in circles, probably due to the comfort level I enjoy in repeated, recognizable situations, I made a big mistake for the sake of routine. My new found friend, formerly a man who made me cringe in his presence, had some major problems with addiction. Smoking, alcohol, cocaine, pretty much anything presented to him, he would do. Did I walk away, seeing the open road ahead, filled with downed trees, crashed cars, injured friends, etc? No, I can save this guy! He's now part of my routine and comfort zone, at my apartment every other day, on the phone, calling or texting me day in and day out. I can't just throw out this ferile cat, even if he may only be crawling through my window because I fed him a couple of times.
Needless to say, this relationship was doomed from the beginning. To avoid anymore details, I followed a rule with him---3 strikes your out! I've seen people fall off the wagon but never dive headfirst into the gutter. It seemed like he purposely sabotaged anything we had built as friends. Sure it drifted over into really crappy sex, but the focus of our friendship was simply that. Friendship. He may see it differently and think I was getting emotionally involved. I was, AS A FRIEND. I saw no real future in the other route down lovers lane with him.
Unfortunately, as the 3rd strike was called, I began to realize the self-destructiveness of his personality. I also came to see how his addicted manipulation had changed me in 2 simple months. I changed from a confident newly single woman to a self-conscious girl with low self esteem. His continuous projection of his faults on to me got through the fine lines in my face, those lines I refuse to hide as they tell the world of a life lived. When I realized what I had turned into, I wanted to throw myself off of a building. I would never be an abused woman! I always was confident that no man would manipulate me into feeling insecure and weak. Guess what? I fell into the trap and although I lifted the snap bar of the mouse trap off of my neck, the pain of the mistake I made is still there.
Where is he now? Does it matter? Well, not residing in the city, although rehab has not stationed him away constantly. He has new prey and I have spotted them a few times. Rehab has apparently been good to him, although I don't know as I have cut the ties with him. I sure wish I used a freshly honed chef knife as opposed to the crappy steak knife found in most homes. The ties are frayed and there are loose ends everywhere. I even see that one frayed piece still attached and I've tried to cut it but it's like getting that damn hair that is floating in front of your eye! You can never quite get a hold of it as it bothers the shit out of you for hours! His last message to me sent me into a spin downward. His denial of our relationship, even as friends, made my stomach churn. His apparent angel-like newly rejuvenated happiness for himself made me look like the devil. He made me the reason for all his troubles, I was the crazy one and I need to seek help. Once again projecting his negativity on me. That's when I got that fucking hair in my eye and ripped out of my view so it would stop bothering me. I simply deleted him from my life...no contact anymore...no discussion at the bar...no waiting for a response on Facebook..."DELETE FRIEND". I realized how addicted I had become to him.
Quitting cold turkey is hard and yes I've slipped up here and there. But that is expected...I have friends around to help me. Those very friends that I saw in that road downed with trees and smashed up cars with the street sign with his name and the danger sign below it. Those friends are great. Each and every one of them had the chance to say "I told you so", but not one of them has. I guess watching a friend make a mistake and being there to help them pickup the pieces is part of the friendship curve. I should know that being Mom for almost everyone I know. I have the hugest dustpan! Now, if any of you friends out there reading this, is the time to get your dustpan out. I am the Van Gogh of painting a happy mask on this woman's face. Well, I wore makeup 2 days in a row, and I now have this insane dry rash by my eye from removing the war paint. It looks like I have been crying for days.
Yes this blog is embellished with over dramatic cliches and such. But dammit it made me feel better to get it all off my chest. I will come out of this okay and the road to 40 is looking like Stanley Park. The storm that blew through it is slowly being cleaned up. Soon all the downed trees will be removed, roads repaired, supporting walls rebuilt and new roads created to different views of the always beautiful greenery of this beloved jewel of a city. My road will be just the same and 40 years old won't look so bad. I guess I just needed the same kinda weeding out and repairs, too.