I’m not too ashamed to say that today, I feel like I’m drowning. I tossed and turned last night, unable to sleep until 2:00 a.m. And when I did, I slept fitfully.
Every codependent fiber of my being ached today. Burned and seared.
I wish I could turn it off like a light switch. A quick flip of my finger and the emotions would dull, the pain cease.
I pulled out my arsenal of tricks. I went for a walk. I called a CoDA friend. I reached out to my sponsor. I tried to discern why I was feeling the way I was–was I hungry, angry, tired, lonely, or sick?
I had slept so little and so restlessly that I was tired. Very tired. And by 1:00 p.m., I hadn’t eaten anything. I felt dizzy and weak. And lonely. I tried to suppress the tears and it just made me sicker. Finally, I cried.
He rubbed my shoulders and asked me if I should reach out to my sponsor. He said he was worried about leaving me alone at the house when I was depressed. He was going to take his daughter and her friend somewhere, so I asked him if he’d drop me off at the bookstore.
Yes, he said.
At the bookstore, I poured myself into an armchair and listened to the audiobook I wanted to finish. I had gotten weary of the plot–it dragged on and on and I just wanted it to be done. With the book still playing through my earbuds, I wandered the store and picked up a few books. A recommendation from my boss. Another I saw nearby. Still another that caught my eye, and a cookbook I’d thumbed through on my last visit.
I hate feeling this way. I’d do anything to not.
As I handed my books to the cashier, he asked me how my day was going.
“Better now that I’m here,” I said.
He looked at me and said, “It’s okay to be honest you, know.”
I looked down. I’m not used to being called out by strangers. But if I’m honest, people might not like what I have to say. I might not be able to handle their reactions, their judgements, their turned opinion of me.
Then he said, “You look nice today.”
I blushed and looked down and told him, “Thank you. You’re kind.”
“Sometimes, we need to hear that,” he said.
When I got ready this morning–or was it this afternoon? I was so tired, after all–I thought I looked decent, perhaps even cute. I liked how my collar bones poked out beneath my skin. Maybe the weight I’d recently put on was finally coming off.
But when I looked in the mirror at the bookstore, I was embarrassed to have ever thought these nicer things. My hair was unflatteringly messy. My makeup-less face looked tired and blotchy.
Well, I am tired, I told myself.
And yet here was someone telling me I looked nice. I wonder if he was just being kind. I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve, and I wear my sadness there, too.
You need only look at my eyes to tell what kind of mood I’m in.
And I was sad today. So sad. Pathetically so, I might add.
As I texted my sponsor about the conversation that transpired between my ex-husband and I last night, she stressed: His actions have nothing to do with you.
Neither do your boyfriend’s. You see, he decided to back out of joining me on my visit to the kids. Again. At least it wasn’t last minute this time. And since this change of plans, he’s gone back and forth. As of this writing, he told me he’d go. I have not bought the tickets yet.
But as my sponsor said, if he chooses to not go with you, it doesn’t have anything to do with you.
This is his shit, she added. His choosing not to go is not because you’re not pretty, smart, sane, or skinny enough.
But the truth is, I don’t feel good enough. When I express how disappointed I am in his backing out, he tells me I’m trapping him. He blows me off by announcing that he’s a disappointment then. I find myself counseling him: just because your actions are disappointing, doesn’t mean you’re a disappointment.
Why am I counseling him?
I am care taking again.
The bookstore quelled the storm that was threatening to burst forth, but the evening saw my self-constraint weakened. Suddenly, I was bringing up how I feel like I’m always asking for sex. I have needs, too, I told him. I’m tired of asking. At some point, I leave the room and cry.
When I walk back in, he eyes me cautiously. He says he’s feeling judged. He’s intimidated. Eventually, he asks me if I can relax, and invites me to lay my head on his chest. Though I feel like a child doing it, I lay my head on him and silently cry some more. He rubs my back and my head.
I hate feeling this way. I hate feeling out of control. I hate feeling childish. I hate feeling like I’m not good enough. And I hate that the lines are blurred–how much of this is my doing versus his?
I keep telling myself that I’m overtired and that I’ll feel better in the morning.
Eventually I fall asleep on his chest just as he decides to initiate sex. I ask him, “Is this because you want to, or because of what I said earlier?”
He collapses against the bed and tells me that he’s tired of his motives being questioned–it’s a mood killer.
We’ll just have to start again, he said.
When he finally does get on top of me, I can tell he’s not into it. I try to entice him into dirty talk, bring up his fantasies. He’s not baited. He’s quiet and withdrawn, his motions without feeling.
Eventually, he stops. He’s just not into it, he admits. He’s done.
He rolls over and I ask him if he’s mad at me.
No, he says. Not at all.
And yet I cannot sleep again. After months of sleeping so well, something has changed. It’s nearly Midnight and I have to wake early for work tomorrow. I don’t function well when I’m tired. I don’t handle things well when I’m exhausted.
God, help me. Please.