I have just spent most of May and half of June in a state of emotional cataclysm. Come to think of it, I’ve spent most of this year in that state.
How did I end up this way? I won’t blame myself for it – no, it’s much more fun if I was to lay the blame on other people than to admit that it was my own stupid fault.
The source of my angst is a male. Yes, this independent, street wise, book smart, worldly, relatively well read and well travelled upstanding citizen was felled by a male, who failed to perform in every way. For argument sake, let’s call him Simon. Simon and I spent last year dating. We almost moved in together. As it was, we were practically living with each other. By our one year anniversary, I was tired of playing Simon Says and walked out of the relationship.
We were poles apart to begin with – he is an IT nerd who speaks fluent geek and looks the part, he surfed (badly, although he thought he was good) and he was a country boy. I on the other hand can speak conversational geek when and if the occasion arose, I hated water sports (a traumatic experience as a child being dragged out to sea by a rip has scarred me for life) and I was born and bred a city girl. Yet, after a 36-hour wide-eyed journey from Stockholm, Sweden to Sydney and umpteen beers on a hot sunny day at the cricket, Simon looked pretty good, and we bravely embarked on a journey together.
During the first couple of months, Simon showed so much potential – he seemed genuinely happy to be with me, he treated me well and I found myself liking him more and more. He was considerate and caring, or something like it. I even forced an invitation out of my friends Daniel and Belinda for Simon to be part of their wedding – in Brisbane. Simon put on such a good show to my friends that Daniel begged me to not stuff things up with Simon – because it would be just like me to stuff things up.
Then something happened. We started playing Simon Says. You know, that game kids play where you do everything that a fictitious character called Simon said – Simon Says put your hands on your head, and you put your hands on your head. Simon Says he’s tired and doesn’t want to do anything on the weekend, so we don’t go anywhere. Simon Says he wants us to spend more time together, but only doing the things he wants to do, so we do as he says – he surfs and I sit on the beach and watch him surf.
Whenever I wanted to do something, there was always an excuse to not do the things that interested me – Simon was tired, or Simon was broke, or Simon couldn’t be bothered getting up off his arse. I even offered to pay for his share and drive us to the things that I wanted to do, but all he wanted to do from Friday afternoon to Sunday night was stay in and do nothing. Simon was famous for saying “I live in Manly, and the minute I arrive home on a Friday afternoon, I just want to stay here. The last thing I want to do is to leave Manly over the weekend.”
Oh, and add to the mix the fact that he hated hanging out with my friends, even when I forced them to come to Manly so Simon didn’t have to leave Manly.
Look, it’s not my fault he chose to live in Manly. But it was my fault for going out with him and letting him get away with the lame excuses for an entire year.
Fast forward to Christmas 2005. I had blindly agreed, around September 2005, to spend Christmas with him and his family in country Victoria. As Christmas drew near, I began to have second thoughts – I was, after all, ditching my own loving family to spend time with someone who I had started to realise was not worth my time. The week or so that we spent in Bairnsdale and thereabouts was more than enough to convince me that Simon was not the one for me. To be honest, the only reason I went was to pick up the bicycle Simon had bought me for my birthday.
I felt I at least deserved a bike as reward for my efforts in 2005 – a year that ended with a lot of tears from my end when I finally realised how I’d wasted 2005 on some worthless individual. Oh, go on, you think I’m having a go at him. You’d be damn right. And this is the only therapy I have that doesn’t cost a fortune.
Fast forward to 3 weeks ago. It’s now been nearly 5 months since I broke up with Simon (and yes, I need to empower myself occasionally and repeat that I broke up with Simon). I was sort of seeing someone new – a long time friend and I were on the cusp of the “next phase” of our relationship. I had just been given a chance (and much wanted) promotion at work. A very good friend was only days away from losing his freedom – he was getting married – to someone I did not approve (she has publicly declared I was not “her kind of people”).
I found myself in that state of emotional cataclysm. I had no real reason to feel that way though – I had my health, I had finally been given that promotion at work, and I had a budding romance. My almost married friend had just asked me to participate in his wedding ceremony by doing a reading. Still, I felt like I was in a hole.
One Saturday, I received some particularly disappointing news from an almost-married friend, news that will forever change the shape of our friendship that has spanned over 10 years. But more on that later, when I’ve recovered from my disappointment.
For some odd reason, after my disappointment, I decided to see how Simon was doing. When we first started dating, he showed me his webpage that he started when he travelled a few years ago – something small that he updated with stories and photos of his adventures. As I knew he was in Canada for work, I thought I’d check in to see how he was doing.
Simon was doing fine – missing his new girlfriend, but he was doing fine. Oh, and all over the website were stories and photos of him doing things with her that he didn’t want to do with me last year.
I got very upset – not because he was dating someone new, but because he effortlessly did all the things with her that he refused to do with me last year. He had been on a trip to the Hunter Valley with her – I had suggested a trip to the Hunter Valley, but it was too much of a hassle to Simon. He had been on weekend trips with her – trips I too had suggested but were too inconvenient to him last year.
I felt like I’d been slapped in the face. I wanted to do those things with Simon last year, but it was always too hard for him. There was always an excuse, and I stupidly lived with it. Yet, here he was, doing all the stuff I wanted to do, with someone he’d known for 2 minutes. How fair was that? And what was wrong with me that he didn’t want to do those things with me?
The questions played over and over in my head, until it got too much for my sober mind to handle. I got drunk. I fell into a hole and started wallowing.
Three things happened to me that night which made me snap out of it. I was reminded of how much I meant to my friends, instead of how little I meant to one person who does not deserve any more of my time.
1. My best friend delayed her plans for the evening and came over to watch me cry and feed me wine. After 2 hours of “woe is me”, I felt a little better.
2. Simon’s best mate Benno called me to ask me out for a drink. Now, before you get the wrong idea, Benno and I are just mates. Benno wanted to stay friends with me, independent of what happened with Simon. He told me when I left Simon that he considered me a friend of his, and to forget how and through whom we met in the first place. After crying to Benno – yes, there was still a little of “woe is me” left over, Benno reminded me that there are still plenty of people who loved me, and that Simon was on the other side of the world with no friends and thousands of kilometres away from his loved ones.
3. My lovely young man knew I was upset, but didn’t push for details, and he didn’t care that my eyes were almost swollen shut from crying. He just wrapped me up in his arms and let me cry.
I was told at the beginning of the year that I was likely to go through the stages of grief at the demise of my relationship with Simon. I went through the Denial stage (“This can’t be happening to me again!”), the Anger stage (“How dare he do this to me? How dare he give up on us?”), the Bargaining stage (“If I let his friends know how wonderful my life is right now, he might miss me so much that he will come back to me.”), and the Depression stage (“It really did happened. I’m single again. And I’m so lonely.”) I think I’ve finally hit the last stage – Acceptance. I can finally accept that it’s all over with Simon, and it wasn’t my fault that it didn’t work out. There is absolutely nothing wrong with me. And Simon did not deserve me.
I can happily report that the Monday after that weekend dawned bright and sunny for me. I felt like I had broken through that state of emotional cataclysm. I have my family, friends and loved ones within reach. I have a fantastic job and I got the promotion I deserved. And I am loved. I am lucky, and I know that now.