A metaphorical death.

One of the first posts on this blog was about the issues with the mothers of my girlfriends that I’ve had. I also expanded just a tad on my relationship with a man. I went into great detail about the manipulative ex I dated for almost 2 years. One thing that I have not written much about was the first girlfriend I ever had.

I’ve decided to write about it now because it recently occurred to me that she does not actually exist anymore. The name I have used to reference her is Maya. I will do my very best to condense this story because it spans over 5 years.

Maya and I met in 2011 during high school marching band practice. We were both freshmen, but we came from different middle schools; we actually came from opposite ends of the town. Upon first meeting, I decided that she was too loud and too “in-your-face” for my liking. I hung out with my friends, mostly, and interacted very little with her. She caught on to the fact that I wasn’t exactly her biggest fan.

While I had a more serious crush on a senior at our high school, I also developed a crush on Maya. I can’t tell you how it happened, but I just knew I liked it when she “bothered” me. I liked the attention and she liked my reactions. At the final band concert of our 9th grade year, I told her that I, in fact, did not hate her.

That moment began a friendship. 10th grade came around and we had 3 or 4 classes together. I was pretty happy about it. However, the more we talked in class, the more I started to see a very sad side of her. She had a lot going on in her mind and at home. The romance began slowly and we were both so confused by the feelings we were experiencing. I think she was the first to say something about it.

Marching band caused us to reserve every Friday night to go to football games. I remember always being happy about a long bus ride to an away game because Maya would sit next to me and lean against my chest while I leaned against the window. That was about as much physical contact as I had allowed her. I had my own issues at the time.

I remember us hanging out with mutual friends on Halloween of 2012. I remember her arm around my waist as we walked through the neighborhood, not really trick or treating, but just enjoying each other and our friends.

I remember Maya’s mother suggesting that our group of friends should have a sleepover at their house. So we did. It was me, Maya, a few of our other female friends. We watched The Ring while all sitting on a couch. I sat next to Maya, of course. That night would be the first night we held hands. I can recall both of our hands doing the very movie-like slow crawl towards each other like neither one was aware of what was happening. The next morning, her mother gathered that we were together and that’s when shit hit the fan.

Over the next 2 months, I was blocked from her Facebook, email, and cell phone. Her mother also transferred her to a different school.

Between 2013 and 2014 we had minimal regular contact, but we still were “together”. She would text me from friends’ phones, create a new email, a fake Facebook account, and various free texting apps.

While me and Maya dated, there were a few suicide attempts (from Maya’s end), issues with abuse at home, and a variety of other mental health problems. We eventually did break up in 2014 “for good” because “long distance” just wasn’t working.

While I was in in my first semester of college, in 2015, I received a voicemail from a voice I didn’t recognize, “Hey, it’s me. Your number was the only number I memorized, so that’s why I’m calling.” It was Maya calling from rehab after a very serious suicide attempt. That day was October 15, 2015. That’s the day that Maya [metaphorically] died.

I’ve had on and off contact with “Maya” since 2015, but in 2017 I met a new person. Her name was Maya, but she didn’t speak like Maya or act like Maya. The sense of humor was still there, but she wasn’t as sad. 2018 rolled around and she continued to grow. 2019 held an even bigger surprise (but not really).

Present day, I am good friends with the person who inhabits the body of my first girlfriend. Their name is Max.

In a recent conversation with them, I told them that while I was very happy for them, I also felt like I was mourning the loss of my first girlfriend and how did that statement make them feel? They informed me that Maya had, in fact, died 4 years ago. They didn’t know who they were between Maya and Max, but they’ve finally arrived at an identity that feels more like home than anything else.

For me, these are complicated feelings I’m feeling because I know that the girl I fell in love with at age 15 disappeared, but to know that that person no longer exists in her entirety is just a sad thought. Max insists that Maya was “ego-centric, impulsive, attention-seeking, unstable, self-serving, and unable to see anyone’s perspective but [their] own.” But a younger me looked at Maya with nothing but love. I didn’t see these things and Maya never treated me badly. I knew she had problems that were beyond me (and beyond herself), but our relationship was an innocent one.

We were never very physical, I’d say. Most of our time together was spent just existing together side by side because being in each other’s presence was a rare occurrence. I think I spent more time talking her off the edge than anything else. It was rough. I don’t want to downplay the severity of her mental health struggles, but that relationship heavily impacted the way I looked at people, family dynamics, mental health resources, and relationships.

I never blamed Maya for “putting me through” anything. I put up with a lot. I went through a lot. But I never blamed her. When I spoke to Max a few days ago, they apologized on her behalf. They said, “I did love you, I loved you very much and I hope I never made you question that or feel otherwise with my words, actions, or behaviors. Even though I can’t go back and change anything now, I still want to apologize for all of that, and how helpless and confused it must have made you feel.”

Those words were the closure I didn’t know I needed.

So, to sum all of this up: Things were rough, but everyone got through it. Well, I suppose Maya didn’t, but that seems like it was for the best. Max and I are friends. We’re not “BFFs”, but I appreciate their existence and I wish only love and joy for them. They have expressed their happiness for me with my current relationship as well.

Until next time 🙂

Subject Line: Hey

“Hey, it’s Mary

I’m not sure you will even get this but you crossed my mind today and I just wanted to say hello and that I hope things are going well.

Sent from my iPhone”

For those who have read the earliest posts on this blog, you might be familiar with the name at the top. And you will also know that that person is not someone I currently have contact with or desire to have contact with ever again.

The sentence above that is in quotation marks is an email I received at 4:23AM yesterday morning. I didn’t see it until last night and that’s only because I was told to check that particular email by my boss.

When I read her name in my email, I didn’t register what I was seeing at first. I thought maybe it was old. Maybe I was reading it incorrectly.

Well, I wasn’t. There it was, this email. I just stared at the screen for a minute. I was actually just at a loss for words and emotions. I decided that I would not be responding and that I should go about the rest of my evening.

I was overcome with this built up anger and frustration, though. It was a delayed reaction, but the more my brain thought about the email in my inbox the more I felt like I needed to run, to scream, to punch a wall. Anger is not something I feel often. I shook my hands and arms like I would during a panic attack, when I have too much adrenaline in my body.

I ate some toast, I turned on a movie, and I waited for my girlfriend to join me. I’m at such a beautiful time in my life. My life is so good right now. There is no way I’m letting a shadow from my past dull this light right now.

A Big Move. Literally.

I won’t make this dramatic: I am moving into an apartment with Chelsea. Our leases both end on November 1, 2019 and we spend almost every evening/night together anyway. We live 30-40 minutes apart from each other and driving has taken a lot of gas and time, so this would eliminate that issue. Saving on rent is also a plus.

“But you’ve only known of each other’s existence for 64 days!!!”

Yes, thank you, I am well aware of the situation.

I am one of the most logical people that I know. I am level-headed. I am a planner. I follow [most] rules. I follow the law. I live my life adventurously, but also very safely. I am NOT a spontaneous person and change makes me uncomfortable. I spent much of 2018-2019 moving every 2-4 weeks with 7 other people and putting all of my stuff in my car and relocating isn’t something that thrills me. But I want to do it. I want to do it with her.

Since meeting Chelsea, I’ve wrapped up my sit-down therapy, I started exercise therapy, and I have found a new inner peace and joy about myself and who I am and who I want to be with her.

I’ve also come to terms with a lot of things. Because of therapy, mainly, I have been able to accept and embrace the fact that I am a very loving person; I just love love and I have so much to share. I have also come to terms with the fact that my college graduation will take longer than 2015 me had planned. I have been more receptive to people around me telling me to slow down, decrease my workload, and take a day off. I’ve made a lot of mental changes since May and it doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon.

A good friend told me not too long ago that she believes I have a very strong intuition and that I should lean on it more. Throughout this entire adventure with Chelsea, I have leaned into it 100%. I’ve been going with my heart and my gut; I have not let my over-analytical thoughts and fears control my actions or words. I consider the logical side of myself, but I wanted to experiment with being more vulnerable and open and I regret nothing.

So, an apartment application has been filled out and fees have been paid. In 48 hours, I will know if I will be moving on October 15, 2019. Woohoo!

“It’ll Never Be Easy”

I rolled up to the rental bike stand that I work at on the weekends and started setting things up. After I opened the register and pulled out all the rental bikes, I turned on some music, sat down on a bench, and started working on my homework.

After about an hour I got bored, so I took a lap around the stand on one of our bikes. I chatted with a friend and reviewed my calendar for the next month or so. Finally, a couple took a pit stop at the pavilion where the stand is located.

We went through the normal formalities of small talk and I asked them where they were coming from. They said they came from a few towns over and were trying to hit twenty-five miles. I continued to work on my homework and they chatted about where to ride next. I decided to interrupt their conversation with a question: “How long have you two been married and when did you know that you wanted to settle down [with each other]?”

The woman smiled and said she would have to take a minute to think back that far. The husband chuckled and started talking about marriage in general and said, “Well, it’ll never be easy, I’ll tell you that.” His wife followed with, “It’s more of the commitment to each other and the vows you make to each other. The things that annoy you about him, are those things you can live with?”

Of course, both of these individuals presumed me to be straight, so reference to a possible man in my life that I was thinking about marrying was definitely happening. I didn’t bother to correct them.

Her last bit of advice was that sharing the same religious values might be helpful; she said she and her husband are both Christians and that foundation has helped them a lot.

I thanked them for the conversation and wished them a good ride. As they were leaving, the woman paused, looked back at me, and said, “Good luck with your decision.” I said thank you and laughed because I hadn’t mentioned anything about me struggling to make a decision.

I Don’t Know What a Soulmate is, However…

I don’t believe that there is one single person for every one single person. I believe that we are all compatible with many people, and they are all scattered across this world. Anyway, if I ever thought I met one of mine, I think I was wrong. I feel like Chelsea might be one of mine.

It’s not about our similarities or differences. It’s not about our hobbies. It’s not even about her personality or her [amazing!] sense of humor. It’s the way I feel around her- the way I immediately relax into her being, her energy, her essence.

Silences between conversations and kiss aren’t awkward. There is an equally comfortable silent understanding between us, I think, that I don’t know how to define after difficult stories or touchy topics. Things that feel hard to say become easy.

I think we’re compatible. I think we have a great time. I want to travel with her. I want to experience life with her. I want to protect her. I want to support her. I want to be protected and supported by her. These are HUGE things. Like REALLY HUGE.

I’ve known her for 6 weeks. That’s not a long time, I know. I’m just as baffled as you are, trust me. I’m just trying to go with the flow and follow my heart-something I have never been good at. 2019 might be my most productive year yet between AmeriCorps, new friends, moving out, new job, tackling anxiety with therapy (FINALLY!), starting the first of my last three semesters of university, and, of course, meeting this incredible human.

Woohoo!

So She’s Meeting My Mom

Trust me, we didn’t plan for her to meet my mother this soon; however, there is an event we are attending in the town my mother lives in, so it only makes sense to crash at her house and not drive the hour back home at 11pm.

I am not nervous. I can’t say the same for Chelsea, though. I understand her nerves; my mother and I are close and my mother’s opinion of my partners is very important to me and Chelsea has come to know that.

I think my mother is mostly excited and curious. I don’t think she has any expectations.

I don’t have any expectations. I think it will be fine, truly. I will, of course, keep you all updated.

Currently, I am at Chelsea’s house. I have work tomorrow, but it’s just as far away as my house is at 6am in the morning. As you can probably tell, I have fully given in to my feelings and emotions and I am not holding anything back with her.

She has also been very open with me, thankfully, and it seems that we are on the same page. We both recognize that things are moving quite quickly (emotionally) and it terrifies us, but we also don’t want to slow down. She makes me happy. It is what it is.

I’m really happy with her.

Tomorrow I will have known her for 1 month. I’ve learned a lot since our first meeting. I can honestly and genuinely say that I enjoy her company and conversation. I really appreciate her efforts and I can tell that she is also serious about getting to know each other.

I made a previous post about how I felt overwhelmed with the strong emotions I’m having despite only having known her for a short time. I am still adjusting, but I’ve come to a conclusion:

I don’t want to date anymore. I don’t want to search anymore. i don’t want to “prove myself” via texts and dating apps anymore. I don’t want to be another person’s coming out story. I don’t want to help anyone deal with middle school issues. I don’t want to play therapist. I want a partner in life that I can trust and rely on. I want equality. I want open communication. I want compromise. I want unconditional love. I want healthy pushes to think about things differently. I want to feel supported. I want someone who’s got my back.

I feel like that’s asking a lot.

It doesn’t really matter, though. I have been through some very questionable things and I’m just so tired and exhausted. I let many past relationships preside over my own physical and mental wellbeing. While trying to be everything for my partners I was doing some serious damage to myself. Well, I’m taking care of myself now and it’s going really great.

Since meeting this woman (I know I created a name for her, but it escapes me), I want this to be it so badly. I don’t care that I’m young- I’m not even pushing for marriage or an immediate future together. I just want to be done with the bullshit. And she feels like the complete opposite of bullshit.

Edit: I have discovered that the name I gave her is Chelsea. Woohoo!

Relationships Take Work

I hear many people talk about their ideal relationship and it always involves minimal conflict, disagreement, and never going to bed angry. While that would be lovely, I don’t think that’s actually possible and I believe that the strongest relationships actually do need disagreement in order to learn and grow and exercise compromise.

I had partners who always tried to avoid conflict by compromising their own interests instead of telling me they would rather do something else. I also had partners who would twist any sort of argument to be my fault and that lead me to believe that it was me that was the problematic partner in the relationship. Both of these scenarios are common and wrong.

My most successful relationship was my last one. It was short, about 6 months with less contact than I would have liked given the program we were in, but we made it work. We were very different, but I think we were very smitten with each other regardless of our differences.

I want to interject the fact that I hate conflict. I don’t like confrontation or arguments; HOWEVER, I won’t back down if I feel like a conversation needs to be had. I understand that while it makes me uncomfortable, the relationship will be more uncomfortable if I don’t speak up.

So, this 6 month relationship with this beautiful woman was a dream in terms of communication and respect. I never felt disrespected or taken advantage of. I always felt safe and open to voice any concerns or thoughts. This hasn’t always been the case.

When there were things that arose as potential problems, we were quick to talk about it and “clear the air”. That was hard work for me. It was easy in terms of it was easy for me to open my mouth and speak words; however, it was difficult for me to get over the fear of confrontation ending in the termination of the relationship.

Oftentimes, conflict seems like the end of something, but it’s just a bump. It’s an opportunity for growth, for learning, and for better understanding your partner and your relationship.

This previous girlfriend taught me that and I love her for that. I am now far more comfortable having conversations sparked by a possible issue in my relationships (both platonic and romantic). I understand that disagreements don’t have to be explosions, and they don’t have to cause the relationship to implode, so it’s okay to have them.

Getting to Know People is So Awkward

I think the commonality of getting to know other people is that we all put on these polished, filtered versions of ourselves as to not frighten the other person away. You might not voice your opinions and if you do, you mute the passion behind them. You might also tell them you’re super clean and organized because you happened to clean your apartment yesterday, but in reality you can destroy the zen of a room in 2 seconds after walking through the door by throwing shoes on the floor, a jacket on the couch, and your purse and keys on the table. It’s okay, you’re not alone, Karen.

You know, watching other people getting to know each other is even more awkward, though. You can tell when two people like each other and they’re just figuring out who the other person is. They’re smiling way too much and they’re finding reasons to laugh their nerves out of their bodies. They’re telling each other impressive things that sound so stupid to anyone listening, but if you’re on the receiving end, you’re talking to superman himself. It’s just so cringe-worthy. But we all act like that and we’ve all seen people act like that.

The first 3 months of a relationship is also a prime time to get to know how the other person truly is. You start to see their flaws they’ve been hiding, their quirks that are just too weird to share at the dinner table. You know their general sense of style. You might have a routine that starts to happen when you two see each other or when you go out on dates. It’s interesting.

Do you have any awkward “getting to know people” stories? Share them with me!

My second relationship with another woman.

I met Mary when I was in 2nd grade. We rode the same bus together and I remember us giggling on the ride home one day because all the girls had been given “menstrual kits”. We opened some pads and examined the tampons all while laughing like maniacs. I also remember attending a birthday party of hers and inviting her to one of mine.

Time went on and she moved elsewhere and started online school. The reasons aren’t really important and we lost touch.

Just a few months into my junior year of high school, I was at a football game (I was in the marching band) and it was 3rd quarter, so we got a break to eat and mingle. I ran into her at the food court. After quickly catching up on the past 5 years, for some weird reason, (I call it gaybie syndrome) I felt the need to immediately out myself and let her know that I was a flaming homo. Her physical appearance suggested to me that she, too, might be one. She did not disclose, but I wasn’t really fishing for an answer anyway.

We exchanged numbers without any intent on starting a romance. Nevertheless, about 3 months passed and by the winter of 2014, we were an item.

She made the first “move” via text by letting me know that during our last visit she really wanted to kiss me. I remember being shocked and a little turned on at her forwardness because previous conversations never suggested any attraction from her end. It was unexpected.

So, the next time I drove over to her house, as I was leaving, I asked her if I could kiss her. It was obvious to me that she wasn’t going to actually make the first move and I didn’t have an issue with that. I was the first female she ever kissed and I’m sure she was quite nervous. She was not my first kiss, and I remember thinking about how the kiss was so bad. It really was. It was an awful kiss and I was rejoicing in that fact because the same night that we bumped into each other, I had just split with my first girlfriend of 1-2 years.

I wasn’t over my first girlfriend. I was hoping that there would be no “spark” with Mary because I secretly hoped that my heart would forever belong to Maya. My story with Maya is something I’ll share in a future post because it’s a good one. It’s a little crazy and not all pretty, but I look back on what was happening between us fondly.

*I have changed the names of both of my previous girlfriends for at least some privacy; however, I purposely made them both “M” names because that was the case for me- 3 girlfriends in a row, actually. It must be a curse of some sort.*

Back to the story:

I kissed her. It was awful. I was happy about it.

Eventually, I did fall in love with Mary and she with me. She was a little more dominant in everyday life than I was; however, I was still very much independent, opinionated, stubborn, and strong-willed. I thought it was nice to be with someone who acted like they knew what they wanted. I liked giving up some control for once.

We did EVERYTHING together. We would text all morning and day while I was at school and then we would hang out when I got out, as long as I didn’t go to work. Even when I had work, I would get off at 10pm and drive to her house.

I, truly, for a time, thought she was the one. It’s a story everybody has gone through- especially lesbians, I think. It’s just so easy to feel so connected to another woman. I thought I was going to marry her.

6 months into our relationship, most of my family had met her and they liked her. She bought me a $500 promise ring. We went on date nights and she would insist on paying. After 8 months, she even went to Germany with me and my family. She also bought a new car in this time because she cashed in on her VanGuard account (or something like that). In the Fall of 2015, I was attending college. She became my roommate for about 4-5 months. She eventually dropped out and started pursuing a certification/degree in aviation maintenance at a different college.

The red flags were there before 6 months hit. They became even more prominent at the 8 month and 1 year marks. I don’t know why I stayed so long. The flags were small at first and they progressively got more intense and more abusive as the relationship continued.

When she told me she loved me for the first time (over text, UGH), she freaked out because I wouldn’t say it back.

She ignored my texts and calls for an entire day because she was mad about something I didn’t do or say. When I got to her house (I was worried SICK), she was sitting on a riding mower just playing on her phone and she made me guess why she was mad. I don’t even remember what it was about.

When she gave me my promise ring (something we had NEVER discussed before), she started pressuring me to buy her one.

When I wanted to go to bed after work, she would guilt me into staying at her house longer than I wanted to by asking me “Don’t you love me?”, “Do you do everything your mother tells you to?” (My mother had a 12am curfew for me, and I gladly abided by it because I’ve always enjoyed going to bed early.)

She was constantly telling me that my family clearly hated her. Not just disliked, but hated. She would also say negative things about my mother, who I fucking love and who has never done ANYTHING to hurt me, ever.

She started pressuring me to pay for more of our dates, even though I made it clear that I didn’t want to eat out or go on expensive dates. She would say “Let’s go here!” I would say okay, because as the person invited, I wasn’t expecting to get the bill, but when the bill came around, she would look at me. I should also note that her family is old money and she had cash to blow that no 18 year old should have. I had next to nothing.

She went to Florida with me and my family for my mother’s wedding. She would not conform to what the group did or ate and insisted that we drive around town until we found a Burger King. It was the most stupid and embarrassing situation and I wish to this day that she had not come on that trip.

There was just so much guilt and manipulation in everything she did, I can’t even pick out all of the scenarios.

One day, we were driving down from Atlanta from picking out her new bedroom furniture. I was trying to tell her something and she turned the music up. I turned it off and tried again, but she turned the music back up and refused to listen or talk to me the rest of the way home.

That same day ^^, we were almost at her house and I laughed at something I saw on my phone. She asked to see what was so funny. I said that we were almost home and I would show her when we arrived. She insisted on seeing it then and there and she leaned across the middle compartment to grab my phone, the car swerved and hit the curb, and she popped 2 tires. She blamed me for the popped tires and demanded that I pay for them both. I’m glad to say that this was about the time where I had had enough of the abuse and I did not pay for those tires.

There was a period of time when I didn’t want to have sex with her because I wasn’t finding it enjoyable anymore and I just wasn’t feeling well. She did not respect that at all and pressured me almost daily to have sex with her.

I felt isolated from my friends because she would get angry that I was spending time with them instead of with her. She would do the same thing even if it was family that I was spending time with.

There are more things and events, but they don’t matter. This relationship was abusive and I didn’t realize it until 1 year afterwards. I learned a lot about myself during this time. This relationship also affected how I function in current relationships, both romantic and platonic. It affected how I see people. It changed a lot for me.

We were together for about 1.5 years. I should’ve left after 6 months, but I didn’t have the courage, the words, or the support.