– He is spontaneous, it’s so sweet, we will get married soon.
I quietly shook my head. Saying anything at that moment would be pointless. My girlfriend was deaf and blind to common sense.
They met a month before, he immediately introduced her to his dick, friends, and family. Every time he would call her “My angel” she melted, closing her eyes and picturing a huge beachfront home with 3 children and a chocolate Labrador.
When I asked what he does for living, she just shrugged her shoulders. – It does not matter Vixen. He is so lovable, huggable, and kissable, he is ideal.
– Does it mean he has no job?
– Is money the only thing that you care about, Vixen? – suddenly, she got pissed, I must have hit a nerve.
– Just curious … how is he going to provide for the family?
– He does not have to work, he has a lot in savings; he worked all his life to have the life he is having now, he is wonderful, you will love him.
– What are your impressions of his friends?
– It does not really matter, I will live with him, not with them, plus he… he … just met them
– And he calls them FRIENDS?
– Are you a f*king detective here? – she hated me at that moment, her attempts to make logical conclusions from what sounded irrational were failing. Since my questions threatened the sweetness of her illusion, I became the object of her unconditional resentment and wrath.
– What do you think about his family?
– I do not know. He says they never really got along. But again, like I said, I will be living with him, it does not really matter.
– Did he tell you anything about his past relationships?
– He never had much luck with women, they were worldly, jealous, and violent. He says I am different, I am the one he has been looking for all this life. And he can’t live without me. Doesn’t it sound romantic? – She was clearly obsessed, nothing seemed to bring her down to earth.
– Honey, it sounds sick, – I sighed deeply, her stream of consciousness got me really tired.
– What is wrong with falling in love? – she looked pathetic in her anger, pathetic and somewhat comical
– How much does he drink?
– What are you talking about?
– A normal person is fine living by himself. He may struggle without tooth paste or toilet paper, but for him to say that he can’t live without you or someone else is weird. A normal person has a job, friends that do not come and go within days. A normal person does not quickly label people as demons or angles. And, of course, a normal person does not talk marriage after a month of dating. You are describing someone immature, inconsistent, with… , – I paused, trying to find a proper word – someone with dependency issues.
– He is just spontaneous …
– Such people oftentimes have problems with alcohol and drugs…
– You are nuts, Vixen, bye now, – she hurriedly left, insulted, intimidated, and furious
Two weeks after she gave me a call. I heard her sobbing on the phone as she was telling me about the breakup story. – Can you imagine…. after all his promises he disappeared, and… and then… texted me, he met someone else and is getting married. He said he found the real angel…
– I am sorry, – I did not have much to say
– I … I never actually loved him, it was just an obsession
– I know.
She kept falling for spontaneity detesting consistency, perseverance, and everything else related to common sense.
– I want to feel safe. Am I asking too much? – She was desperately crumpling the napkin, sickly dramatic and hysterically panicky. – What should I do to feel safe?
Her mind mercilessly threw at her ample reasons for being scared, “I will get fired, my boyfriend will stop paying my bills, I will end up broke and in debt, I can’t do much about it, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. ”
Her stable job, the house in a walled community, annual vacations in Spain, and weekends in spa salons did not silence her fears and painful insecurity. Sleeping pills were only a short-term turn-off button, a temporary night relief. Her mornings started with swollen eyelids in the bathroom mirror and the loud cry for help running through her mind and echoing from the walls, the floors, and the ceiling, “I am insecure, please, please, please, help”.
– Have you ever felt safe?
She slowly shook her head blinking excessively through the cigarette smoke. – It must be my childhood, it was crappy, I never felt loved, no one really cared, I was abused; physically, mentally, sexually ….
She loved rationalizing her fears, it made her sound smart and romantically miserable. Her helpless sex appeal attracted men and women, everyone wanted to help, she willingly accepted help; nevertheless, feeling insecure, immature, and lonely.
One day, I ran into her in a local grocery store. She looked so different, so glowing that I could hardly recognize her. We exchanged usual hugs, kisses, and compliments.
My polite “how have you been?” was answered with a brief and quiet smile, I got curious, I wanted to know that was going on.
– Well, – she took a deep breath and reached out to tofu cheese. She was religiously vegan and crazily passionate about animal rights. She thought animals give unconditional love; she cared for them, and hated humans. – Well, – she repeated, carefully studying the package ingredients, – Rick dumped me.
– What??? – I felt shocked. Rick was one of her dates, a wealthy guy who gave her descent monthly arrangements and took care of all her bills. – I am so sorry, who is providing for you now?
– No one. – she put the tofu back on the shelf and slowly turned around, – I am by myself, and I lost my job.
There was no regret in her voice, she sounded surprisingly calm.
– How are you feeling?
– Crappy, and freaking unsafe, – again, her voice was amazingly nonchalant. I sensed no panic, no sorrow, nothing.
– You do not seem to look that …. that stressed, please… do not think I am saying it to make you feel bad, I am just saying that I am observing…. I… I … -am so sorry…. – I knew my words sounded pretty awful, the more I spoke, the more stupid I felt.
– No, no, please do not apologize, – she giggled, briefly tucking her hair behind the ears; at that moment, she reminded me of a Disney chipmunk, huge eyes, cartoon smile, animal quickness, and nonchalance, damn nonchalance. – Rick told me he got tired of being treated like a wallet. He said he found a woman, and… and fell in love. And my job… I never actually liked it, I resigned the day before he left, so … I finally got what I was always afraid of: no money, no stability, nothing.
– What are you going to do?
– I do not know, – her voice changed, she got more serious, – After all these years of running away from poverty, hunger, and … and from everything that I call unsafety, I ran into it. And it feels different from what I expected. It feels bad, it feels ugly, but it still feels alive. I am still alive, not dead, does it make sense?
I nodded, she continued – Yes, more alive than when I was with Rick, I used him for money and… and for his cock. Craving for safety, I kept taking but never gave anything back. Now, I am unsafe, but I am not craving, I am no longer a safety addict.
– What are you going to do?
– I wanna get my hair braided, and then, then I do not know.
– How are you going to live?
She suddenly broke out in laughter, – like I lived before, my dear, panicky and unsafe. But here is the thing. – She stopped laughing and gave me a long and expressive look, – No one owes me nothing. No one will spend sleepless nights thinking how to make me feel safe and happy. It makes no sense to use anyone, and to expect anything. Now I get it, it is a relief. It is a f*cking RELIEF!
She proceeded to a check-out, looking nonchalant, skinny, insecure, and happy, crazily happy.
He was profitability driven. His whole world was suggestive of numbers. Everything about him, his gestures, looks, postures cried loudly: “I always maximize the profit!”
He set the goals and aggressively pursued them pushing the boundaries and stepping all over others. Hungry for money and extremely emotionally intelligent, he maximized his profits in any market conditions.
We met at a business analytics forum. He was presenting his new start-up strategies when I entered the conference room. Our eyes met, I breathed out my question into a microphone, his response sunk in the final applause, as people were getting impatient in anticipation for the lunch break.
He found me after, sitting on the floor in the hall, staring at the screen of my old laptop. He bent down and put a paper plate with grapes on the keyboard.
– I am highly educated and successful, sensual and dominant, looking for a nice company with no strings attached. I know how to treat a woman. Are you interested?
I shrugged my shoulders. His conference speech was impressive, he was clearly talented.
The next several months were a disaster. I was fickle and fearful; swamped in debts, bills, and desperate efforts to change my job. He was firm, resolute, and wealthy. He valued his time and money. He knew exactly what he wanted; the quality I loved but was never able to assume.
A year after my constant on and off games, he called asking for a massage. “My neck and back hurt. You will get paid, I know you are in dire straits, and I feel for you, may I stop by?”
– You surely can, but it won’t get any further than a massage.
– Than I won’t come over.
– Really? – Suddenly, I got extremely upset. After a year of considering whether to give him a chance or not, I finally made the decision to allow him into my household. But he did not seem to be happy at all. He still wanted an ongoing a twice-a-week fun and no compromises.
– I’ve been wasting my time with you for a while, if you want me to disappear, just say it.
– Bye, dear.
I found myself admiring his goal-driven personality, rock-solid focus, and merciless persistence. Every time I failed my new business project, lost in investments, or denied a job, I contacted him hoping for support, advice, and some cash.
His response was always practically cold, and never changing. – Be my woman hon, twice a week in your apartment; and you will get my mentorship, my love, and a decent arrangement. I am not investing my time or money until then.
It made sense, but it never worked out between us.
He is still around, looking for new investment opportunities, exploring new markets, starting, running, and selling. Our paths still cross at conferences, I still blush, blowing into a microphone my questions to him; and I still smile and shake my head when he offers his hotel room for a quickie after the gala dinner.
– What are your workout goals? – my fitness instructor was a lovely-looking kid, polite, defined, in his early twenties. – What would you like to achieve?
– I … I … want … – I slowly looked around trying to put my thoughts together. Guys were working bloody hard leaving sweat and hand sanitizer on steel beams. They came here searching for strength, since being strong felt good and smelt like power.
“His name is Jim. And he is strong” – this thought suddenly flashed through my mind. I shook my head trying to get him out of my head.
Jim did not go to a gym, his work out equipment was people. He bent them the way he liked, totally subjecting others to his will. He always got what he wanted being capable of buying and selling anyone as many times as he liked.
– I go after what I want hon, – he made decisions and worked aggressively crashing obstacles, caring very little about people’s feelings, – I grow and sell businesses, this is what I am really good at.
– Don’t you get that I am not your freaking business project?! – I grabbed a plate from the kitchen table and fiercely threw it on the floor. It broke into pieces.
– You gotta clean it up, Vixen. Do it, now, – he was firm, direct, and scarily calm.
– F*ck you.
He slowly put the laptop aside and reached out to his iPhone.
– If you do not clean the mess, I will call the police and report domestic violence. I do not need that crap in my home.
– Really? – our eyes met, I did not see any understanding or compassion.
– You are such a gentleman….
– Clean .. the mess … now, I am not repeating myself here, – his voice was low and assertive. I kneeled down and started picking up the broken pieces from the floor. Dealing with the police was not something I was looking forward to; I knew he would make a phone call, he never made empty threats, he was way too busy for it.
He watched me sobbing on the floor with a trash bag searching for the tiny sharp pieces. – Take this, – He gave me a pair of rubber gloves and a broom. I felt like a dog submitting to the owner’s command. He did not care.
I blocked his phone number, he started coming to my home. His “I am a take-charge person, I want you, and I will have you” drove me nuts, it was easier to give in than to explain why I do not want to see him any longer.
His strength was enormous, he rolled through the life like a tank ignoring anything that was not helpful to achieve his goals.
He never got why I discontinued our relationship, I was unable to explain, he never listened. When he asked me if I loved him, I shrugged my shoulders. Watching a TV show with tanks in action was fun, but the idea of having one in the household was not that enticing.
– So, do you know your workout goals? – the fitness instructor was getting impatient tapping the pen on the table.
I gave him a smile. Jim was still in my heart and on my mind.
– Yes, of course. I am here to be strong. And we gonna start right now.
Hey depression. Here you are again, take your time since you are back. I can’t be present for you now since I gotta run errands.
It took some time for me to get to this point, to the point where I realized that fighting with myself makes no sense, so I started taking the depressive mood with a grain of salt.
First, I felt desperate opening my eyes in the morning feeling stuck in the stinky mud of hopelessness, worthlessness, and the entire loss of energy. My days would start with the gloomy “No, no, no, I can’t live like this, this crap will never end”. Here I was, unable to get out of bed, wanting nothing but to hide all day in the bedroom behind the drawn curtains. Daylight with people’ voices and kids’ laughter outside got me irritable, triggering the pain that everyone is happy, while I am doomed to live in the inescapable pit of despair and view the reality through the filthy lens of my messed-up mind.
Then I became resistant. I started a long fight with my helplessness, believing that I can beat the gloom and doom and change. My family got happy seeing me getting out of bed, eating, exercising, putting my make up on, and going to a psychiatrist for a scheduled visit. The guy kept putting me on something that was supposed to fix me. “It will normalize your chemical balance and improve the daily functioning, honey.”
I would nod, I would smile, I was very polite and always paid the bills they sent me from that clinic – I liked him calling me “honey”, or “dear”, or “sweetheart”. I kept picking up the prescribed medications from a local pharmacy and flushing the pills down the toilet. Being drugged was never a way-out, but I would come back for his sweet-talks and brief hugs until this started draining my wallet.
The next step was therapy. A young lady was sincere in her efforts to help. She was fresh from her grad school and eager to make a difference in this world. I liked her, I tried to give tips after our sessions; she always refused referring to her code of ethics, boundaries, and other nonsense. I knew she was struggling financially as a single mom, overworked and underpaid. After two months of our therapy sessions, I cancelled all subsequent appointments and mailed to her home address a check with a thank you note and a request to spend the money on a newer vehicle. The check was never cashed, she was very descent and honest, I liked her even more after that.
Therapy got me into watching my thoughts, questioning my hopelessness, and disputing negativity. I did mood charts, took warm baths with sea-salt and lavender oil, and meditated with incense prior going to bed. The following morning would start with the same depressive crap, but I would know how to make it through the day.
Finally, I got bored, simply bored of following or resisting the mind farts, knowing that the mind will always be there, telling me whatever, and there is no possible way of turning it off. The realization got me shocked, then sad, then blah. Finally, I got entirely unconcerned, I had the life to live and things to do even with a broken tape-recorder in the head.
The alarm-clock rang to start the day, I opened my eyes and yawned, the gloom combined with exhaustion and nagging irritation was there. I got up and went into the bathroom. I wanted to get ready, I had things on my agenda: to drink water, to clean my fish tanks, to get roses for my girlfriend’s birthday party, to drive to the airport, to finally see the mountains. The depression was there, I shrugged my shoulders, letting the mind do whatever, I did not care, I really wanted to start my day with drinking some water.