Posted in boyfriend

Thinking and Knowing and Growing

Tonight I went to a wedding for two people I went to high school with. It’s terrifying to think that I’m old enough to know two people who are old enough be adults who are married–or that I’m old enough to be an adult who’s married.

The wedding was small and simple. The way everything back home feels, now.

I played softball with the bride when I was a freshman in high school. I remember the day we found out she was pregnant, weeks before she graduated. She’s four years older than me. I remember thinking that she was going to turn out so different than anything I’d ever expected from her.

That part is still true, that she turned out different than anything I expected from her. But I think her future turned out better than anything I could’ve imagined.

“Do you not want to have a wedding, then?” My Boyfriend asked the other night, after I went on a ten minute rant about how weddings are for other people and not that actual bride and groom.

I thought about it for a moment. “I think every girl dreams, at least once, about being the princess walking down the aisle.”

Tonight I watched someone be that princess. She bounced with excitement. I wondered what it was like to be her. To be so sure of what you had and who you were and what you wanted and where you were going. To be so sure of who you wanted that person to be and who you wanted do those things with and go those places with.

I looked at the girl sitting beside me, one of my best friends of over seven years.

“I’m going to say something to you,” and she turned to me, already preparing for the worst. “And maybe I’m going to sound crazy. And maybe it won’t happen But I’m going to say it anyway.”

She waited.

“I think I’m going to marry him.”

Her smile was small and sweet and soft. “Yeah?”

And when I nodded, she shrugged. “When you know, you know.”

And as he sleeps next to me, breathing getting heavier, fingers twitching, limbs sinking–I think it a little more. I think I know a little more.

What I have.

Who I am.

What I want.

Where I’m going.

Who I want to go to those places with and do this things with and be with.

Yeah, I think I know a little more.

-HH

Advertisements
Posted in boyfriend

A Lot of Food, A Lot of Thoughts

My Boyfriend is Catholic.

I don’t mean that in the way that I say I’m “technically Catholic” when people ask if I’m religious, or in the way that I explain my religious identity as “Catholic, if you squint.” Which is to say I was baptized Catholic as a baby, and only step in churches for funerals–and am very, very areligious. In fact, I’m borderline anti-religion. That’s a discussion for a different post, however.

When I say my Boyfriend is Catholic, I mean he’s Catholic. Went to private Catholic school, prays before he goes to bed every night, says grace, knows all kinds of Bible related shit that I don’t. He comes from a big family (he’s one of eight), and wants a big one of his own. He’s pretty politically apathetic. He loves Chemistry.

We’re very different, he and I.

In terms of people I ever thought I would date, he’s actually the polar opposite of everything I thought I wanted in a significant other.

But still, in the words of my Brother-In-Law, I’m Sprung.

For all of my adventurous drive, stubborn personality, inclination to argue–I’m a Settle Down kind of girl. I don’t want a chase, or a game, or to Find Myself First.

I have always Known Myself.  I don’t like games, and I hate running. I like stability. I like having someone to come home to, someone who looks after me. Not because I am incapable of looking after myself, but because that’s how I build trust with someone–by letting them be the person who cares for me, by letting them see all my Broken.

I thought having so many differences would cause problems. And even though we’re only a month into the relationship, I sat him down for a serious conversation (on a park swing, because I can never be too serious) a few nights ago.

“I don’t want to get invested in this relationship just for us to break up three years down the road because you love Jesus and I don’t.” I expected him to laugh, or at least look uncomfortable (he usually does when I bring up religion), but I felt listened to. As I always do with him.

So we sat, and swung, for an hour, and talked. About our hypothetical children, and how we wanted them raised. About why I’m not religious. About why he chooses to believe which things within his religion.

I could tell he hadn’t thought about this–religion as a whole–nearly as much as I had.

“People use religion as a crutch, or for hope, or for a light when they feel lost. I never felt like I needed that–not from religion, at least. I always got it from my faith in people. I don’t think it’s wrong to believe in a God,” I told him. “I think it’s wrong to not want to be Good just for the sake of Being Good–and instead being such just because God said so.

“Just some food for thought.” I finished.

“That’s a lot of food,” he responded.

“Well I have a lot of thoughts.”

I thought the conversation would’ve made things worse for us–more tense, or awkward. But I felt closer to him. I think it was good for us. And maybe it was weird to have such a conversation so early in the relationship, but I felt it was necessary.

Later that night we were at a restaurant.

“Do you believe in fate?” And he nodded. “Meant to be’s?” And again. “Forever?” And still.

Of course he does, I thought. God Bless the Broken Road, and all that jazz.

“I do too,” I admitted. “I don’t like to admit it, because I’ve got a pretty cynical reputation to protect.” And he laughed, which was the goal, but I continued. “But also I’m secretly a romantic. I love the idea that there was someone on this Earth made to be your other half.”

I realized that maybe being with someone who runs parallel to you (i.e. what I used to think I wanted in a significant other) is a lot less fun than someone who runs perpendicular. That maybe Balance is also about Exposure, and Compromise, and Forgiveness.

That maybe Forever isn’t a cliche if you take your time and use your words and Love until you can’t anymore.

-HH

Posted in anxiety, boyfriend, college

Phase 10: 4 Sets of Finals and 1 Week-Long Panic

I knew I was going to write today–and, around 6 o’clock this evening, I thought I knew what I was going to write about.

I wanted to talk about dating someone who’s your polar opposite. About finding balance, if you can, or if you’re doomed. About when is too early to start talking about things if you know they’re going to be problematic later?

And then the rest of my night happened. And now I want to talk about dating while having anxiety. Actually–I kind of just want to talk about existing with anxiety.

The thing about anxiety is that once one thing sends you into a tizzy–once those cyclic, obsessive, negative thoughts start–it’s really hard to get out of it. Which is to say everything triggers those thoughts.

Last time I was in a relationship while having anxiety, I wasn’t fully immersed in it yet. I didn’t know what was going on, just that sometimes I needed to cry and hyperventilate and pick at my skin because I felt like I was going to crawl out of it anyway. I’ve spent the past year being single and discovering all of my anxiety on my own.

“My own” being operative words here. See, this semester I have people. I have more people than I know what to do with. People who snapchat me, who ask me to lunch, who invite me over, or to hangout, who call me, who walk me back to my dorm, who ask me (before they ask anyone else) to study with them. I didn’t have people before. I had me, my anxiety, Cameron, and my Roommate. And the only person who actually dealt with my anxiety was my anxiety.

I thought that having people would make me feel amazing, wanted, assured. And it does, to an extent.

But I’m discovering recently that there is such a thing as having Too Many People. Especially when you’re just getting into a relationship.

I’ll be honest, I don’t understand why ‘normal’ people date people like me. Why they find joy in being with someone who second guesses everything about the relationship, who misreads (and over analyzes) every conversation or glance, who goes down one road assuming they’re being followed–when, really, it turns out you’re not even in the same neighborhood. It’s exhausting, I’d imagine. I’m exhausting.

So I’m overwhelmed a lot, recently, because I’m trying to figure out what’s worth bringing up, what’s not crazy to analyze or question. It doesn’t help that my Boyfriend and I got together two weeks before Finals.

I will (probably) receive my first ever F in a class this semester. I’ve been secretly harboring a lot of feelings over it: shame, embarrassment, guilt, anger, disappointment, and anxiety.

On top of all that, because it was Finals Week, all my People wanted to study with me, or take lunch breaks to eat with me. And I love my People. I do. But even Not-Exhausting People get Exhausting when you stress the way I stress while having anxiety the way I have anxiety.

My Boyfriend doesn’t get my anxiety in that he doesn’t personally understand it. He listens, and does what I ask him to in order to help me calm down. He’s perspicacious, and attentive–he knows I’m tired before I know I’m tired, knows I’m hungry before I voice it, knows when I’m asleep or just pretending, knows why I’m giggling at nothing. He’s known since I arrived at his apartment that my anxiety levels were high.

“If you don’t want to go, tell me now,” he said as he pulled on a hoodie. We were going to play a card game at a friend’s. I knew everyone that would be there, but I was already dreading walking into the house. He’s the type that can go all night, though. He loves people. And we’ve both been so stressed with Finals. I wanted him to have fun.

So we went. And I did have fun! We played Phase 10, and I lost (terribly) but it was okay.

My Big texted (and Snapchatted) me while I was there. She kept asking if I was okay (because of my F) and how I was feeling (because I was socializing) and what was I going to do about the fraternity camping trip this weekend and she loved me and was I sure I was okay? And I felt bombarded. Too cared for. I thought I wanted to be coddled, but I really wanted to be left alone.

Then we arrived back at his apartment, and as I started doing a coconut oil treatment in my hair, my Boyfriend offered Taco Bell. We bickered as we discussed what I wanted.

“You’re really complicated,” he grumbled as he sat down. “Has anyone ever told you that?”

And, no, they hadn’t. But I have. Plenty of times.

I worry that my complicated will be too much. That he thinks the anxiety is endearing now, but will get sick of it soon. That he can leave the anxiety and me without thought–which, he can. It’s just frustrating because I can’t.

I don’t like being anxious like this. I wish I could stop apologizing every time I think I’ve done something wrong. I wish I stopped thinking everything I did was bothersome. I wish I didn’t feel like the world is ending because of an F. I wish I wasn’t thinking about skipping out on something I have been buzzing for because the thought of three days of socializing with no breaks is absolutely terrifying.

I wish I wasn’t like this.

I wish I knew what I wanted. From my Big I wanted Space. From my Mom I wanted Space. From my Friends I wanted Space. From my Boyfriend I wanted to be reassured. There is no consistency.

No method to the madness.

But Finals Week is over. I just took a hot shower. I don’t have to decide to go camping until noon tomorrow, and I had nachos for dinner.

I’m hiding in the back room while he watches a movie with friends. The bed is warm, and the outside is cold. It’s almost Christmas.

There is still good. I still have good left.

-HH

Posted in boyfriend, feelings, rambling

Don’t You Know that I’m Toxic?

Since I’ve started dating my Boyfriend–which, admittedly, has not been for very long–I’ve had (not had, but rather felt the need) to explain myself quite a few times.

The Night which started all of this, I slept in his bed. We were fully clothed, he was drunk, and I was wide awake at 4AM.

I distinctly remember the silence, and the light coming in from his bedroom window.

“I am very broken,” I told him. “Like, I have a lot of problems. I feel like you don’t know what you’re getting into.”

He turned, threw an arm around my stomach, and mumbled, “I may not understand, but I’ll always listen to you.” I may or may not have fallen a little bit in love.

I explained myself when we were baking cookies.

“Do you not roast me the way you roast other people because you don’t think I can handle it?” I asked.

“Well you reacted pretty badly when I told you I was going to punch you in the face–which is something I say to everyone.” It’s something say to everyone. But I had to explain.

“My ex-boyfriend had–never towards me–but, he would have violent reactions when we would get into fights. So I don’t like having violence directed towards me.”

I didn’t have to expand anymore. I can’t decide if it’s relieving or terrifying when he just…believes me. Not that I’m lying. But, rather, I’m not sure if he wants to hear it or not. Not sure if I should talk about it or not.

My ex-boyfriend did have violent reactions when we got into fights. He would put holes through his walls. He would punch things until his knuckles bled. He would inflict pain on himself.

I hate when you do that, I would tell him. It scares me.

But I would never hurt you, he would say. Not that I ever believed him. He bruised me, once, when we had been in a tickling match. He grabbed both of my wrists, and didn’t let go even when I asked him to. And even after I bruised, he never apologized. Just stared at them. Told me I shouldn’t have tickled him.

I explained myself today, when we were the only two left at our Frat table.

“My ex-boyfriend used to tell me that he couldn’t see us being together long-term. And I would just take it, and beg him, and try my best to convince him that we would be. Because I thought that was the best I was going to get.”

And I couldn’t look at him as I said it. I’m so embarrassed that I let myself get there, that I let someone break me so much.

“So I never think of things long term. Because I’ve been taught to assume that the other person isn’t thinking of it long term, either.”

He took that. He understood it.

I didn’t talk about the endless and countless nights we spent parked in front of his house.

I think I just want to be alone forever. I don’t want to spend my life with someone I met when I was seventeen. But I don’t want to break up.

And I would cry. And beg. And he would stay.

I explained myself in his bed, the night we got together.

“I have only ever known unhealthy, manipulative, obsessive relationships.”

I explained myself when I told him I was convinced he didn’t like me anymore.

“If you go longer than four hours without talking to me I usually assume you don’t like me anymore. And logically I understand that’s not what it means, but I have never had a healthy amount of communication.”

We haven’t had this discussion yet, but when my Ex dumped me the first time, he told me he’d been miserable for months. He told me that he took my virginity because he thought it would make him feel better about the relationship, and that it didn’t.

I don’t talk about my feelings from my sex life with my Ex. I don’t think I’ll ever recover from him saying that. That I, terrified and hopeful and unsure and “in love,” was stupid enough to give my body to someone who threw it aside and used it without a thought absolutely disgusts me. I’m so terrified of doing that again.

My Ex told me I was toxic. That I was crazy. That I was hard to love. Maybe I was.

See, I am not the victim from that relationship. I was just as awful to him as he was to me, and I know that.

I would talk about guys I found attractive because I knew it irked him. I would monopolize his time because I wanted him to myself.

Towards the end, I wanted him to hurt just as much as he hurt me. It got ugly. I got ugly.

I am not proud of how weak I let myself become while I was with him. I am not proud of who I became while I was with him. I am not proud of who I loved for the first time.

I don’t know how to say that to my Boyfriend. Don’t know how to explain how terrified and fragile I feel about the relationship. How scared I am to be hopeful. How unwilling I am to believe that it’s real. I have been so reluctant to address my feelings on that relationship. I talk about it the way I do my Dead Father–as facts, not feelings.

But I think it’s time I change that.

This felt like a pretty good start. I cried while writing it. Which can only mean progress, right?

-HH