This is how I wake myself up:
“Hello giant,” a coworker greets me at ballet. I am wearing some sky scraper heels and trying unsuccessfully to hide the 10lbs I have gained since June.
“Please don’t remind me that I have giant genetics,” I implore him.
“Oh you have the “V” gene,” he says giving me a salacious look. “V for voluptuous”
My jaw drops in horror.
“Don’t say that to her,” another co-worker interrupts. “She thinks voluptuous means ‘fat’.”
Well we all know that’s what it means.
I have been back nearly two weeks. They have been a blur of emotions and days and I cannot quite recall them in minute detail.
I have existed: gone through the motions, done what’s expected of me at work or home.
I have not eaten. I have eaten too much. I am now full of emptiness; of leavings and longings and loss.
In the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep (too scared to close my eyes, too numb to keep them open), I wandered into the kitchen in my underwear and started foraging for food.
The sight of my mostly naked body was simply an annoyance. Instead of halting me, it spurred me on. I made pasta without thinking about it. I could have gone to sleep hungry, but instead I started looking for comfort in carbohydrates, for happiness in the bubbling tomato sauce and for love in the soft, melting cheese. I let it caress my insides with warmth. I let it soothe me. I ate sitting on the floor with my fat rolling out around my panties and bra, cushioning the agony, shielding me from the dying sensation that will not leave me alone.
I sobbed into some wine. I wailed in a bubble bath. Tears and snot and mascara mingling with the grimy water, dull as my soul.
I am a tomb of nothingness.
We “kissed and made up” as the saying goes. I don’t feel like we effectively resolved anything. We are back to our normal which means that nothing will change, but everything has changed and it can’t go back.
He carries on as he did before. I find myself questioning everything. Why give up a weekend to spend at his son’s lacrosse tournament when this man isn’t sure of how he will feel about me in a year? I looked at the house last night – a disaster as always – and I told him that they needed to clean it up because I wouldn’t. Why am I picking up after kids that aren’t mine when their dad won’t make a commitment to me?
I am loath to invest time or money or effort now that I know there is no timeline. I am withdrawing, pulling back, being selfish. I sleep in and let him get the kids dressed and ready for school by himself. I don’t do their laundry or pack their lunches. I want him to remember single parenting. I want him to realize what he has done and what he has lost in me when I stop doing all I did.
I am still hurt; wounded by words that cannot be retracted. The damage done is immense. It pervades every conversation. I have to keep reminding him that things are not what I thought they were. It’s as if he doesn’t even register the shift.
“Do you want to go look at a new car this weekend?” He asks.
“No. I think there is no point now. Perhaps when our situation is more stable. I will reassess in a few months and then think about it,” is my response. I have said quite frankly, that I made the decision to go look at a new car prior to our discussion when I believed that we were in a more secure position than what we are.
I went to see the ED counsellor and doctor for a check up as part of the program I am in. He asked about it at coffee.
“Am I supposed to be coming to some of these with you?” He seems stunned that I have been to several appointments that he does not know about because I didn’t bother telling him.
“Yes you are supposed to take part in a few things, but I told my case manager that I’ve had new information since the time I brought you with and that things have changed. I told her not to plan on you being part of this anymore,” I am as blunt as I can be. This is not a part of myself I am going to share with someone who is vague about our future. He looks hurt. He says “oh” and I leave it at that.
He brings up the long weekend. We were supposed to go away for our romantic holiday together which I canceled the morning after our fight. He hasn’t asked about it or referenced it since. It’s like he is immune to how disappointed I was after I had been looking forward to it so much. He hasn’t even acknowledged that I canceled it and how devastated I am about it. He is nonchalant.
“What do you want to do for the long weekend? Do you want to make any plans?” He asks, like nothing happened and he didn’t ruin a perfectly good weekend for nothing.
“What I wanted to do went down in flames,” I respond calmly. “I no longer care what happens this weekend.”
He doesn’t get it. Why would he?
We go to the wedding today. I wear 2 different outfits: one to the ceremony and one to the reception. I don’t eat all day so that I might look vaguely acceptable (to myself or perhaps some passers by). My boyfriend doesn’t look at me, or notice me, or comment on my apprearance. Given the horrible things he said a few days ago when I was trying on dresses for this event, maybe it is a blessing – you know the kind they say come in “disguise”.
I starve and I primp and I preen. I paint my face and curl my eyelashes and spritz and tease and my legs are tanned and my collar bones are glittered. I brush and comb and fuss and tuck and pin and change and inspect and criticize and adjust and ruefully accept the outcome. We arrive at the ceremony and he says a blanket “you guys looks snazzy” to all 3 of us. Snazzy…the epitomy of compliments. The truth is he only has eyes for his daughter. When she is around, his son and I cease to exist. I get compliments from his friends at the wedding. Complete strangers talk to me in the washroom telling me they like my dress or hair. One woman hugs me and uses the word “gorgeous”. My boyfriend barely acknowledges me. He is disconnected, preoccupied and I am just the maid who had fed and cleaned and dressed and delivered his children to him while he has been drinking with his friends.
He takes his daughter “for a walk” which is code for calling her mother. I sit at a table for ten fat, repulsive and alone, staring into my appetizer, looking for love. After the briefest pretense I walk away from the table and in my high heels and lace and pearls and curls, I toss back up the disappointment. There is not enough wine to soothe my discontented soul.
His daughter is sick and whiny. She takes up all our attention. There is no time for “us”. There is no hand holding. There is no smiling into each other’s eyes. There is no dancing at this wedding. I hold her and she fidgets, unhappy. He holds her. She cries for cupcakes. No matter what we do, she is fractious. We are home by 10:09pm on a Saturday night. I wanted to slow dance in his arms and dream of our wedding which we both know (but won’t acknowledge) will never happen. The kind of things you do when you are only 9 months into a relationship. I wanted the overflow of love and happiness from this union to flood out hearts. But there are children to take care of and his stomach is upset by the Indian food (which I hear about in graphic, unromantic detail), so we go home. I pour myself wine in the kitchen, take out the flower from my hair while my boyfriend puts his daughter to bed. His woefully neglected son comes to me in the kitchen and tells me that he feels like we don’t love him. I wrap my arms around him knowing exactly what that feels like and hating myself for not being able to stop him from feeling it too.
Here is a list of things I vowed to never do again in a relationship:
I never even thought to add that I would never date a man with kids because that was never part of any equation. In fact the day before our first date, I swore blind it wasn’t a date simply because he had children and I didn’t want to get involved in that kind of situation. Don’t ask me how my big list of DON’Ts is going…
Some days I look at my life choices and laugh at myself because they are just so laughable. Who does these things? Who makes these kind of dumb decisions? Who doesn’t learn the first time around and keeps repeating the same mistakes?
Well…I never said I was smart. After all, I am a fat bulimic. And, on that note, I have started purging again.
I had to. Life is boring. It is mundane and of course I swore blind that the only reason I would stay was for an extraordinary love. Yes, I am waiting for the kind that sweeps me off my feet. The kind that they write about or make movies about. I said I wouldn’t stay if it was just going to be ordinary. Well guess what? It is ordinary – EVERY DAMN DAY And I don’t think it is ever going to be enough for me, in the same way that I will never be enough. I am bored by the routine.
My heart is somewhere else. We all know that. I have never made a secret of it; never hidden it. I am a discontent. I am a dreamer. I am in all likelihood delusional. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that every day is the same: wake up (chronically sleep deprived) to a dirty, disorganized house. Try fruitlessly to clean or tidy or sweep or do dishes or put toys away or stare at the mess and die on the inside. So much for a never-ending love story: it is more like never ending laundry. Nothing I do makes a dent in the chaos. Go to gym or work or both. No matter. I am eternally fat anyway. Come home to cook and clean and clean and cook. Who cares. It never ends. Try to be the perfect step-mommy. Fail. Try again. Fail harder. Give up. Cry in the bath tub. Pull myself together. Have a melt down. Drink excessively. Try to instill some boundaries. Fail, of course. Bake some healthy cookies. Feed the kids candy. Give in. Hate myself some more. Read a self-help book. Realize I am a bitch. Make school lunches. Realize I am not their mother(s). Try again. Fail again.
This is our “dating”.
I have started starving again during the day from the anxiety. I have started coming home longing to binge my way to oblivion. I look forward to drinking the most. What else is there to look forward to? No date nights (no money). No weekends away (no money). No wining or dining or shopping or movies or drinks or vacations or diamonds or roses or who cares anymore. I am obviously not worth those things.
I have made his life infinitely easier and made mine infinitely harder. I thought somewhere along the line there would be some reward, a payoff…something to make it all worth it.
There is the perfunctory “I love you” in the darkness before sleep (no sex – again). It is sad and empty and it sucks the life out of me: not my mistakes, but the ones that I’ve agreed to pay for by being here. That I will pay for over and over again every day of my life that I chose to stay. I try to tell him that I am not meant for this life. That I am not the person for him or his children; that I have made the wrong decision. He doesn’t believe me. It is like he is fighting to hang on to me because he wants someone to love. I would want to be loved if it was me in the situation instead of him. I get it. I keep saying that he needs someone else. That I am freaking out. That I made the wrong choice. He cannot allay my fears or calm me. He is too tired to see that this will not work. It cannot. There is no time for us. There is no foundation to build a life upon together. There is no room in his life for me to squeeze into. I don’t want to be mummy number 3. Third place does not sit well with me. Failure is my biggest trigger.
And yet he loves me, despite my failing. He loves me and I don’t know why. In 32 years I have never managed to love myself. He told me this week, “you are much more loveable when you aren’t trying to run away”. I am always trying to leave…
I sit here alone in the dark on one of our only nights without kids. I am serenaded by the hum of the dishwasher in the kitchen and the washing machine in the basement. At least in the dark I cannot see the mess (I have made of my life).