I had a CD when I was in High School of Mandy Patinkin singing show tunes. There was one song that was a mashup of "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" and "Children Will Listen." (You can hear it here https://youtu.be/owxRpV7l8Dc)
This jumped into my head today after my therapy session. Of course we as a nation are dealing with the tragedy that is the Las Vegas shooting, but my personal tragedies are front and center in my mind as I attempt to find healing from a habitually broken heart.
I listened as a child. I was taught. I was taught through abuse and neglect that I was to take care of the family and adapt to the abuse and violence that I experienced and witnessed. I was taught that it was my job to put my body between the abuser and my younger more fragile siblings. That I was the one to call the police when my mother was being beaten. That I should keep the house clean so there was no evidence of the hell in which we were living. These lessons added to the anxiety and depression with which I was born and turned into a syllabus of worthlessness. If I wasn't caring and fixing and adapting, I had no purpose.
I continued that role in my marriage. I defended and supported and cared for a husband who didn't do the same for me. He tore me down, isolated me, raped me, stole from me, lied to me, gaslighted me. And for over a decade, I adapted to each increase of the abuse. I drew my lines further and further from my self preservation and lost more and more of myself. Until I couldn't anymore because it isn't only about me. I have the Wildflower Child and she deserves to see what real, healthy, relationships look like, so she can have them herself.
And then I did it again. And again. To lesser degrees, but no less damaging to my sense of self and my hope of finding true partnership in this life. Today in therapy it was pointed out to me all I've just laid out above. I hadn't seen it until now. I knew my choices have been not good in people I trust and give my heart to. But I hadn't seen the scars of my abuse in that light before.
This helps. It hurts right now because it is freshly exposed and raw. But if I can see something, I can address it. And hopefully avoid it in the future.
It's been what, about ten months since I posted? I'm still on Cymbalta. Still in therapy, though I only go every other week. And that will end soon, because in October I'm moving to Florida. I'm moving from the mid-Atlantic, to fucking Florida. With my parents and my now 8-year-old child. I'm 42-years-old.
In the last almost year, I've had my heart broken repeatedly by the same person. Someone I love without reason and to my detriment. Someone who doesn't abuse me intentionally, and isn't inherently abusive in any way. He's just, broken, and selfish, and doesn't love me the way I need to be loved. Though I've never been loved the way I need to be loved so what the fuck do I know?
My therapist wants to spend our last few sessions before I move working on my relationship issues. I obviously want to work on my relationship issues. I want to not be in love with someone who can't love me back. I want to be able to take all I've learned from this last relationship, and find one with the good qualities and without the bad. Find someone who wants to spend their life with me, and my kid, and my dog. Someone who loves animals and food and movies and art and tattoos and, me. But I keep having this dream that somehow, this man I've loved for over a year will get his shit together and realize that I am the one that he wants and somehow decide to work to bring our lives together. And the logical part of my brain knows that is a fantasy and will never happen and my heart is breaking over and over, like an MC Escher print of heartache.
I want to cut my skin.
When I was younger, starting in elementary school and going through my marriage, I would self-harm when the internal pain got this bad. I haven't started again. But I've driven my nails into my palms hard enough to bruise. I've scratched the skin between my thumb and forefinger until it's raw. I've clenched my jaw hard enough to cause days' worth of ache. But I haven't cut. But holy shit I want to.
I have virtually no money left in my account or on my credit card. I just did back-to-school shopping for the kidlet. And my dog had an emergency vet visit last week because my parents' dog attacked her. So that's awesome. This has nothing to do with anything other than the anxiety dump that is my brain.
He told me that I am loved. I am loved by my family, but it isn't the same. He said he loved me. That he broke up with me last year because he was so in love with me and didn't know what to do about it. He said he didn't want to be the man that screwed over my child's mother. He said he still loves me. But he breaks my heart. Completely. And he has my heart. Completely. I have said I'm not in love with him anymore. That I still love him. That we will always be friends. But are we friends?
I don't know anything. All I am is feelings. Pain wrapped in hope and desire.
Maybe Florida will be a positive change. Maybe the pain will ease. Maybe.
As mentioned in a previous post, I'm divorced. I've been divorced since 2014. Previous to that, I had been married since 1998.
So here I am, single, a mother, I have a six-year-old and I live with my parents. I'm also 41-years-old as of this month. I am living the dream I tell ya. The thing is, as much as my daughter is the love of my life and I would do anything for her, I don't want to be a nun. I'm not Catholic and I don't think celibacy is really my thing. I mean I went to a Pure Romance party this past Friday and I was the only one there without a partner of some type. So I spent way too much money on a vibrator I don't really need. It was pretty, don't judge me.
Dating since I left my husband has been a challenging, infuriating, roller coaster of suck. So far my best relationships were with a woman I'd known for about four years before we got together, but it ended badly nine-months later, and a man who I only met for "coffee" in a grocery parking lot once or twice a month. I did date a man for about 10 months who turned out to be a narcissistic sex addict who introduced me to the swinging scene and got progressively less interested in consent as he got bored with me. Wow I have great taste in people.
I've tried websites. I had Tinder and tried Plenty of Fish. Tinder was an abject failure. One person had lied to me about being single and his girlfriend, his live-in girlfriend, called me at 3 o'clock in the morning. I deleted the app almost immediately after that. I hadn't even met the lying jerkbag in person. POF has resulted in some dates and I was sort of seeing someone for about three and a half months and he decided I was a negative person (actually he was the one spouting doom and gloom all the time, but his meds were off) and dumped me via text. Then I reconnected with someone after about a year and half and had a good reunion, but he hasn't responded to me in over a week, so okay...
I know I'm not exactly the shiniest of gold rings out there, but it is disconcerting to have people meet me or check me out online and spout things like "I can't believe people aren't throwing themselves at your feet daily" and then I actually try to put myself out there and get rejected in such a spectacular fashion.
Dating at any age is hard. But dating as a 41-year-old single mother it is downright terrifying. Not only do I have all the insecurities that come from trying to find someone I get along with, but I have the challenge of protecting my child and myself from predators, navigating the socially awkward situation of having had to move back in with my parents, and explaining that while I'm generally a pretty positive and optimistic person, I have a fuck-ton of baggage and am still wading through a fair amount of it.
How to put that on a dating profile?
As an added bonus, I don't really look my age, but then I have to work extra hard to maintain the illusion of youth (I don't lie about my age), because my child is so young. People assume that I would have an older and more independent child, but she's six, and therefore I don't have the freedom I would if she was older.
The whole thing is farked and I'm exhausted. I am also lonely. AT 2am in the morning when I'm absolutely convinced I'm going to die alone and only whatever pet(s) I have at the time will be there to eat my corpse, there's not many people I can turn to and ask to convince me that everything will be alright. At least I have a dog I can cuddle. But honestly, it isn't the same.
Judging from my limited experience I have to wonder if this is different for the men who are also dating at "a certain age." Though I think they have more freedom to pick and choose and walk away, hence the dearth of stand-up men willing to take chance on a woman starting over in her 40s.
I'm not looking for a knight in shining armor to rescue me from my situation. I just want someone to treat me with dignity and kindness and see what happens. I want someone to put the same amount of effort into knowing me, that I put into knowing them. I just want to feel appreciated.
In the mean time, soon enough I'll have another pretty, waterproof, rechargeable vibrator to add to the collection. At least that won't ignore me when I reach out to it.
I'm Kirsten. Some things you could label me with; tattooed, geek, mama, animal lover, weirdo, nerd, writer, movie and TV addict, lazy, ambitious, insomniac, feminist, LGBTQ+.