BOUNDARIES

I called him at work. Several times. To talk about how uncomfortable and upset I was about the weekend. I am not okay with jockeying for the front seat with his teenage son. I am also not okay with him sitting between us like a toddler. NOT OKAY. I set some boundaries.

It was NOT OKAY for me to call him at work with this stuff. He set a boundary with me.

That was not the result I was going for.

Boundaries, for someone like me, are sucky to set and sucky to get set upon.

I am not sure right now which one I prefer. Maybe having a boundary set with me feels easier to uphold than one I set for myself. No. Not Maybe. Definitely is easier. I am an obliger. External accountability turns me on. Internal accountability? Not so much.

Then his son was amazing with with my daughter  when they babysat her for me on Tuesday and I felt like a petty little asshole.

I feel more in-love with Sean now than ever. And I still feel like I want him more than he wants me. I don’t know if that will ever change.

The only time someone has matched my ardor, they were abusive and mentally ill.

God help me.

“Just get with God, honey.”

Take it easy. Or Easy Does it. I have never done anything “easy” like in my life. How am I going to start now?

I want to write about the mental obsessions. The compulsive mental obsessions. And the flight response I experienced the other day. My body reacted as if a tiger was barreling down on me and all that happened was that I misunderstood a text of Sean’s.

I truly don’t want to live like this anymore.

I can’t.

I suggested we go to therapy. I think it is an awesome idea. He was not repulsed.

I hope this happens. Then I will have hope. Even though Pema Chodron thoroughly warns against having any.

Just be in doubt and discomfort, she would say. Just be in it.It ain’t going anywhere. And there is not enough therapy in the world to make it disappear.

The Future Project. My future. Hangs in the balance.

God be with me.

As if it ever wasn’t.

MOTHER’S DAY 2017

I spent the night at Sean’s even though I wanted to be with my daughter. I don’t know why I made that decision. In hindsight, it was not a good one. The night kind of sucked.

We were supposed to have a date night. And we rarely get those, so that is most likely why I was not with my kid. But last minute Sean’s teenage son decided he wanted to stay home and not go to his Mom’s. So he was with us. On our date night. Going to the movies.

I felt strange to say the least. But I said nothing.

Every time we got into Sean’s car, his son would jockey me for it, calling “shotgun” and whatnot. So we ended up taking turns. Which felt totally weird but I did not have any context for this situation so just went along with it.

Then at the movie theater his son sat between us. And again, I felt blindsided and baffled. I sat back and tried to enjoy. But did not.

Finally we ended up back at his house where I lay beside him and tried to sleep but instead cried. To myself. While Sean slept next to me. I didn’t know what to say because I didn’t even know or fully understand what I was feeling.

The next morning I woke up at dawn and left the house to pick up my little P.

I vowed NEVER to do that again.

 

THE POWER OF FALLING IN LOVE

We went away for the weekend. The first time! A surprise! He didn’t tell me where we were going, simply what to pack. But I figured it out pretty early in the car as we drove his son to his sleepover. We were heading East in LA on a Friday and we would only head East in LA on a Friday if we were going to go farther East; Palm Springs. I was right. Traffic was intense. As to be expected in a Friday in LA- trying to get out of LA. We were not the only ones. But I brought the “37 Relationship Questions” from the book, “How to Be An Adult in Love” and those kept us busy for most of the time. Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours, I would say. We learned a lot about each other and I believe, grew closer. Which is always my goal.

The Ace Hotel. That was our destination. I had never been, neither had he. It was recommended by a dear friend. Cute midcentury design. We checked out the first room, on the quiet side, but facing the parking lot, which I didn’t mind. But he wanted a different room so they switched us to the inner courtyard, right across from the smaller pool and the wedding hall. They warned us that this was a much noisier side and I, in my desire to be liked and not a problem, said nothing. That was my mistake.

The Ace Hotel- unbeknownst to either of us, is known as a “Party Hotel” and on the weekends, it becomes a twenty-something rager. That first night there was a wedding that went until about midnight. I was super grateful for bringing my industrial sound machine and it came in super handy. I made it through the first night. Dinner that night was a little awkward. I offered to pay and he let me. I felt guilty and a little anxious about him spending money on this place and me. I don’t know why I pick up on that. I feel like it makes him feel weird. But I could be wrong.

Surviving the night aside, the room WAS lovely and being together in a new place was also lovely. We spent the morning checking out the Desert X art installations which were super fun then we lounged by the pool. They have a bigger pool on the other side which we could hear and were grateful we had this smaller quiet pool to ourselves. That did not last long. Before we knew it the excess partiers had migrated slowly over to our peaceful world and taken over with their cigarettes and straws in beer cans. Drunk. People got DRUNK. And we watched them do it. Two forty-somethings sober trying to have a romantic getaway. Deep breaths. But I kept it together. Because I did not him to see me cry.

I struggle in these situations. I am super sensitive to sound and smell. So the raucousness and the cigarettes were pushing me WAY out of my comfort level, but that is the thing when getting to know someone, I didn’t want him to not like me because of that. So I repressed and controlled it. Barely. But he didn’t seem as non-plussed about it as me and that I found rather interesting.

When it became too much to endure we went inside and had a lovely nap. We were intimate and it all felt super good and wonderful. I was happy and satiated. Then the most obnoxious group of girls that had plagued us by the pool ended up being in the room right next to us. And once they entered their space, their music and voices took over ours.

Torture. Hell. For me.

 

We walked to dinner, a mediocre Mexican restaurant referred to us by the front desk person. I offered to pay for dinner and he was very excited about that. So I did. Our dinner conversation was fascinating to me- his knowledge of history around the world I find enthralling. And we talked about South Africa and apartheid. He also, earlier, at dinner the night before, asked me about my higher power and I could not tell him. I realized then that I needed something I could make personal or this faith thing was not going to work- and that it just needed to be something. After dinner, while walking back, he described in detail to me, his bottom almost thirteen years ago and what finally brought him into the rooms. I could relate as I had a similar bottom in 2004 myself that was predicated on having an affair – or affairs- as the case may be. I shared mine after. It was uncomfortable to admit stuff like that- for both of us- but I think it was helpful and bonding. I understand him- a lot of his arrogance he speaks about earlier in his life. I too was incredibly arrogant and self-righteous. Especially while in the entertainment business. He did Special Effects for years while I was acting. I Had a dream the first night that his ex-Suzanne- was the lead in a giant musical and was dancing in this dress leading a group of people down the main street in some town. After dinner, we were both too full to do much so we went to see a performance art piece that was very mediocre and then had mint tea and a child’s sundae. I continued to pay for food for us. I could feel his money thing and it was all I could do. Afterward, we went back to the room and listened to the drunk loud people next door. I was beginning to panic- so suggested we turn on the TV. He was ready to go to bed right then but my adrenaline was running way too high. We snuggled and watched stupid stuff until around 11pm when I could not delay the inevitable. I turned on the sound machine as high as it could go and placed it right next to my head on the nightstand. I also put in earplugs which he bought for me. And for the love of God, did not hear them anymore. I was so fucking deeply profoundly grateful. I laid down and went to sleep. In the morning, we woke up gently and went to breakfast and then packed and stopped by the final art piece on the way out of town. It was a house with mirrors all outside and inside of it. We also snuck into a model home afterward that was beautiful. I know he enjoyed that a lot. Then we drove home in more traffic.

On the way home, he told me about a few of his ex-girlfriends and I felt some jealousy start to well up in me. I cyber stalked them when I got home- I did- and realized, without a doubt, that I was a serious fucking catch and had NOTHING to worry about when it came to his ex-girlfriends, who, by the sound of it, were just not right anyway. One of them was kind of overweight even if she was an actress and about a decade younger than us. And the other one looked old and desperate. I am truly one-of-a-kind! I am beautiful, inside and out. I make strangers feel welcome and comfortable. I am warm and gracious. I am gentle, sexy and kind. I am clever and witty. I am funny. I laugh and smile a lot.  I am sober. Again. I am spiritual. Self-effacing and aware. I have great style and a sexy body. It feels super strange to write good things about myself. But why not???

Anyway- looking back over the weekend, I am slightly bummed we didn’t stay somewhere more intimate and romantic, but maybe this was the best he could do at this time. I knew he was stressed out about going. He made that very clear the week beforehand. He did not seem excited about it until the day of, to be honest, and he admitted as such. He resents spending money on this sort of thing and very frugal and almost anorexic with himself while also somewhat of a hoarder.

Overall, my takeaway from the weekend- which is not that dissimilar to our Santa Barbara trip is that under heavy stressful situations- we seem to navigate together in a beautiful calming way- at least he is for me- so far- a calming agent. I feel relaxed around him in tough environments for me. We have weathered some storms already and I am hopeful based on how we reacted. I also know it is only four months- but still- I am impressed with us and the effect he has on me.

With anyone else- at that hotel- I would have LOST. MY. SHIT.

It truly was my worst nightmare come true and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

And I was okay.

And I walked away with a deeper understanding of Sean – knowledge that we should plan things together in the future- I can live through something like that with grace and his help- that together we both brought things to the situation that helped me be okay- and that an elephant is my higher power.

So all in all- I am still sober, somewhat sane, and am pretty sure the stress of the enduring that experience will rear its ugly head at some point, but for now, I am amazed at the wonders of falling in love.

POPPIES

It’s been a rough day.

IRS. 4000 owed. Ouch.

Talk with co-facilitator about give and take turned into her telling me I was threatened by her. She is a woman of color. I am not.

I spoke to her again. Said that hurt me. She said it hurt her that I didn’t know the difference between Angela Davis and a woman whose name I can not pronounce.

I thought the workshop with the kids at the probation camp went great.
Afterward, she told me I was inappropriate with the boys.

I rescheduled with my brother because he wanted his “girlfriend” to come to dinner too. He has been in rehab for three months. I have not seen him. I wanted to not meet his girlfriend on the same day.

I had dinner at Sean’s.

His son, E,  was showing me their History chest in the living room and there was a note from “Rebecca” with lipstick kiss saying that Sean was one “sexy devil” or something like that.
I am spinning out in PTSD from my Ex and all his Exes.

I feel like I am going to throw up.

I CAN NOT go through that again.

I can not.

I will not.

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LOVE

Poppies

LOVE

ANXIETY

FEAR

Can’t sleep

FEAR

ANXIETY

MEETING

TALKING

KISSING

MISSING

We drove two hours to see the wild poppies blooming in California after the heavy rain. It was E, P, Sean, and Me. Our first outing as a “family.” Besides Santa Barbara. The drive out was unremarkable. The Poppies were stunning. We stayed for 20 minutes and then I was done. P had allergies. I had anxiety. We could not find the place I wanted us to go to so we ended up simply pulling over to the side of the road and running amock there. Then others joined us. Then I got weird.

I felt weird.

We drove home. Sean was annoyed. I felt bad.

OUR BIRTHDAY

I share the same exact birthday as his deceased mother. She passed away from pancreatic cancer seven days before I met him, in December. Today is March 12th, 2017 and we are in Santa Barbara for her memorial. On her birthday. On my birthday.

This is fucking weird.

A bunch of his family from Ireland have flown out for this. I am meeting everyone for the first time. We drove up to Santa Barbara, where he is from and where he was born and where his Aunt still lives in the home his mother left him. We, being Sean, myself, his son Eamonn, and Pony. He rented us a sweet little hotel room in downtown SB. This is the first time we have all taken a trip together. A year later writing this, it is still the only trip we have ever all taken together.

But back to SB.

Every year on her birthday his Mom would do this 3-mile walk on the beach. From one point to another. So for her memorial, a bunch of her friends and family were going to take the same walk.

We woke up, the day of my birthday, in the hotel, and had breakfast. Sean gave me a small box, as a gift, and inside was a key to his house. With leopard print on it and a card that said: “Be fierce little kitten.” I liked it. But the day already felt strange. Not sure how to celebrate me and honor her passing at the same time. This woman I have never met.

After breakfast at the hotel, we drove to the beach where they were setting up a picnic at the endpoint. The main beach downtown. His son was feeling antisocial with all his aunts and Irish family so I spent the majority of the time with the kids, wrangling them while Sean caught up.

After a bit, we all packed into several cars and carpooled to the beginning point a few miles down the road. I heard Sean tell Eamonn to wear tennis shoes but wondered why he didn’t tell Pony and me. I thought, why would anyone want to wear tennis shoes for walking on the beach? I found out.

It was a medium-sized group. About fifteen of us, traipsing along the sand. Pony was playing and finding pretty things and I was chatting a bit with people like his 80-year-old uncle Jed and his sponsor, Turk.

I honestly had no idea what we were in for.

About a mile in, the sand started to get pretty rocky and I realized why he wanted Eamonn to wear tennis shoes. And wondered why I was not wearing them. I had on flip flops and although they helped a little, they were not conducive. Pony’s feet were starting to hurt her and I began to hope we weren’t far off of our destination. We were really far off.

That was when Jed started falling. He struggled with navigating the rocky terrain and needed assistance. Sean went back to help him and I noticed a large group gathering around Jed, but I was up ahead with Pony and Eamonn. The kids wanted to keep going and I did not know what to do. I knew Pony was getting hungry and the idea of dealing with a hungry five-year-old gave me anxiety so while they all convened and came up with a game plan for Jed- as there were cliffs that lined the beach and very few ways to get off, at this point, I decided to forge ahead and get the kids some food. I erroneously thought the picnic area we had left behind and were walking back towards could not be THAT far off. Right?? I mean, how far could it be?? It already felt like we were a long ways in. So that is what we did. I forged ahead with the children and left Sean to walk with his family. I thought this was the best choice. Divide and conquer.

I didn’t know that Sean had left his phone in his car.

Not long after we rounded the next bend, Pony needed to be carried. I grabbed her in my arms, and flip-flops and on craggy rocks, we picked our way along the scraggly shoreline, with massive cliffs to our left and the roiling ocean to our right. The tide was beginning to come in. I was a little nervous but plowed ahead.

Eamonn also had no shoes on and was delicately picking his way. We got very silent as we focused on our goal of getting back to the picnic beach. I felt isolated and alone with the children. It was a strange sort of feeling. And kind of a sad one.

The beach seemed to go on forever.

My feet hurt. My back hurt. Eamonn’s feet hurt too. He had not listened to his Dad. He regretted that choice. He tried carrying Pony at one point, but that didn’t work. So I muscled on with her in my arms. He and I even tried sharing flip flops. I felt so bad for him.

Every time we rounded a bend we almost cried in disbelief that there was no picnic beach in site. This fucking walk was going on FOREVER. I had no idea we had so many miles to go before we found safety. I had moments of panic but I kept them to myself and made jokes with Eamonn. We laughed. We cried. We flatulated.

It was a rather bonding experience, in some ways.

I kept texting Sean. But to no avail.

We were hungry and tired and running out of juice. Pony was a trooper. She knew to just hold onto me and hopefully, everything would be alright. There was no exit up the cliffs and no choice but to soldier on. I considered crawling at some points but the terrain was too rocky. It was bloody painful on my feet and everything hurt.

It felt like that stupid shoe, “Survivor.”

After what felt like hours battling the beach, we turned one last bend and THERE IT WAS!! The grassy knolls of the picnic beach. Eamonn and I almost started crying we were so unbelievably happy. No more rocks. Sandy beach ahead. I put Pony down, finally. She could walk on this sand. It felt like joy on my feet. I kissed the sand and we headed towards the food. No one was there yet. Somehow we were the first. We ripped into the food like savages until Sean rounded the bend behind us and walked up. He had been worried. He followed up but wasn’t able to catch up because I drove us relentlessly onwards. Hi uncle had taken a flight of stairs up to the street along with some other members of the family but he had kept on, worried, trying to find us. I felt so bad. I don’t know what had made me soldier on without telling him or checking in with him. It was stupid thing for me to do. I was in fear. And I don’t make good decisions in fear. It would have been so much more helpful to have him with us. To help carry Pony and to talk us through it. But I denied him that opportunity. Ugh.

He wasn’t mad at me, I could tell, but he was disappointed in how the walk had turned out. It wasn’t the way he imagined it. As peope trickled back in from the road, we all began to eat and mingle. The kids were tired and cold and ready to go. I know Sean wanted everyone to say something about his Mom in some fashion but he never asked for that to happen. So eventually it was decided we would all convene at this Aunt’s house (now his house) order some pizza and celebrate her life there. So that is what we did.

I felt strange. No one seemed to know it was my birthday too and I didn’t feel right mentioning it. Not on this day.

At his Aunt’s house the pizza arrived and the children were happy. Half-way through we were all standing around a dining room table when the group started to sing “Happy Birthday.” At first I blushed, I thought they were singing for me. But then I realized it was for his Mom and I felt a wave of shame and embarrasment. Ugh.

We left around 6pm and drove home.

He dropped us off and they went home.

I sat in my house later that evening ruminating about this birthday and what it meant and had no answers.

I just knew it felt really fucking strange.

 

 

SWEAT LODGE LIFE

 

 

I went to a Sweat Lodge in Altadena Saturday night and then slept at Sean’s for the first time with his son there.  They were playing Monopoly and speaking in Russian accents when I arrived. I knew the second I sat down that this was a mistake. I was raw and sweaty from the Lodge and honestly, had no business being around people, much less,  people that were in the raucous rowdy state they were in. I wanted to run. To go home and hide and integrate but instead, I grinned and bore it. His son decided not to be on his medication that night. To make matters even more complicated. In the morning we made it to the AA meeting and afterward had a very stressful time finding a place to have breakfast with the teenagers at. Everything was too crowded by the time we got there. It had taken a bit for us to get them dressed and out the door after the meeting. So we bought food at the grocery store and while we were cooking in the kitchen, the dogs were barking outside, the kids were playing violent video games, and the sounds were overwhelming. I felt it. His stress. He was stressed. It was the first time I have seen him stressed out like this. It was not a pleasant experience.

He wanted all the noise to stop. I told him, “This is what family sounds like. I think. We should probably be careful what we wish for.”

As I compulsively did the dishes to soothe my nerves he came up behind me, wrapped his arms around me, and told me I did not need to prove my worth.

And later, even though none of us wanted to go, in the rain, to Pasadena for a Tea Party with Pony, we all went. And it was good.

Love him. Love this. Life.

 

 

 

TO SLAA OR NOT TO SLAA

Just sit with this. Sit in this. Don’t react and don’t rationalize it away. This hurts. My stomach feels nauseous. My heart feels constricted and tight. I want to cry but I can’t. Not yet. I got out of the bath finding a text from Sean telling me his son wants to stay with him tomorrow night instead of us having our night alone together. I felt punched in the stomach; betrayed and embarrassed. I think mostly because I got really excited about this weekend. I made all these plans for us tomorrow. And they have slowly been chipped away. At first, I thought we had all day Saturday so I had us running in the mountains, him studying while I worked next to him, making love, then making dinner, watching a movie. I crave daytime with him. I feel like I only see him at night- for a few hours before bed. And he was gone last weekend and the weekend before, basically. He will have his son all next week and weekend. And I missed yoga this Monday to be with him and I missed the AA meeting to go see him. And last weekend he didn’t even miss his AA meeting to come to me. I guess the thoughts that are coming up are that I am way more into this than he is. That is my first thought and I feel shame. Hot burning searing shame. This feeling is so familiar to me; the yearning, aching, and longing. And then disappointment. Feeling let down. My bubble burst. The air gone out. Deflated. My first thought is I won’t go with him to the AA meeting Sunday anymore. I’ll go into the mountains by myself. That I want him to feel as bad as I do. That is my first instinct. To go and hide and be alone. To isolate. It is going to be hard to break that feeling. Then I think about having dinner with Frankie from New York. Who I don’t really want to have dinner with- but since Sean isn’t that interested in spending time with me, maybe I will hang out with someone who is. Not in a sexual way. Ugh. Both of those options feel like I am being vindictive. And maybe I am. Or am I taking care of myself? Is that a fine line? Sunday is all about his closest friend Kara taking a cake and then having fellowship after. And right now- I really don’t feel like spending my precious time doing that. I would also almost rather get Pony earlier in the day and have a longer Sunday with her.

All I could reply was “Ouch. Ok. Got it.”

I think I should pause before saying anything else. Hopefully I will get some sleep.

On another more sober note; I Saw Teresa, my sponsor,  last night. For the first time. Powerful first step experience. Then came home and wept in the bath reading “We Agnostics “because there are so many promises in there that I want. Had an insight into the abortion- that I forsake God after that because I didn’t like the direction I was given. I assumed God’s will would mean I felt good about everything. But that is certainly not the case. I was in pain, but I didn’t have to suffer the way I did.

I am also in a lot of pain around wanting more sex than my partner. I feel that old gnawing aching yearning rearing its ugly head. The shame of wanting it “too much.” Of feeling like the aggressor, taking on the traditionally male role, and then hyper-analyzing his response and tallying up how many times I have reached out to flirt and how many times he has not instigated such communication. How I am the only one voicing my frustrations at not having any adult time with him on over a week and how he does not seem to be as concerned about it. How he does not sext. I know this feeling. I know this. I am very familiar with the yearning. The fear. The fear of lack.

I think I am ready to break this down. To get real about what I want, how much, and why. What do appropriate healthy needs in a relationship look like FOR ME? Because the kind of intense “I MUST HAVE YOU” does not sustain a relationship- this I know. For a fact. It is also not a healthy basis. And I know, in my heart, that Sean offers a much more stable consistent secure experience, that he is supremely earthy- needs A LOT of alone time before he can come and be with me.

“Morning reflection – I am not your higher power, but I do love you unconditionally.”- from Sean this morning.

And I worry he doesn’t love me.

“I should be thanking you…and I am, thank you, special lady.”

Ugh

Lots of crying this morning. Looking at what could be termed “sex addiction”

Also making men my higher power- sex my higher power. An interesting thing to be curious about.

Maybe I should go back to SLAA.