Tuesday started out as a shitty day.
There was the failed Glee date thing, and the fact that I still needed pieces for my Halloween costume and was running out of time. I was agonizing over whether or not to quit choir, and feeling like I wanted to give up on the practical plan and go back to gambling with my uterus. You know, all the things I’ve been talking about here for the past week or so.
But on Tuesday morning, it all sort of hit me, as I was getting ready to leave for therapy (ironic?), and I sat down on the bed and cried. Doug gave me a hug, and told me he’d clean the rabbit cages while I was gone, and walked me to my car. He also gave me the can of Coke he’d taken from my parents’ house and had been planning on drinking that day. “That way, it’s like I’m there with you,” he said.
I cried a little more in the car on the way to therapy (it’s 35 miles away, so I have plenty of time to dwell), then cried twice more during my appointment. I was telling my therapist about how I want to give up, but that I also know giving up won’t get me the result I want, because what I want is to go back to the time before my pregnancy, when Doug and I had no money and no friends. It was also the only time in my life when I had no plan, and was truly just living in the moment. We would go to work, come home, make dinner, have sex. It wasn’t perfect – we fought, he lied, I threatened him with my assumed self-sufficiency – but our life was truly moment-to-moment, and it was amazing. Now we have obligations, and a five-year plan.
“The plan sucks,” I told my therapist. “But giving up on the plan is just another plan – because I have to make a conscious decision to take out my IUD, and I know what I know now, and I’ve been through what I’ve been through, and I’ve lived with this pain every day.”
Mentally, I told her, I feel like a pinball machine, with one worry bouncing to the next and then the next, so that I don’t even know where to start working to make things better. Physically, I told her, I feel pressurized – as in “contents under pressure” – and that the only way I know to relieve that pressure is to distract myself from it by getting out of my house, doing physical activity, or thinking about something mundane. (In this respect, my grocery store work is really, really good for me.)
“Why don’t you try this,” she suggested. “Stand up, stomp your foot if you want, and yell, ‘I can’t go back!'”
I was going to do it, but the sentence got stuck in my throat, and I immediately started to cry. She handed me a pillow and told me to squeeze it, “as much as [I was] sad.” I squeezed the pillow, and my eyes shut, until I felt my grip loosen a little, my breathing relax.
And, when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.
(It’s funny, by the way, that my therapist and I talk about my not being able to go back, because going back is exactly what she thinks I need to do: back to the time immediately after my miscarriage, before people’s advice and practical opinions swooped in to “rescue” me; back to the time of my divorce, before I latched onto Doug; so that I can tap into the grief and sadness and anger that I denied/ignored at the time.)
Okay, so I cried a little on the way home, too.
But when I got home, not only had Doug cleaned the rabbit cages, he had cleaned most of the apartment as well. And when I went over to my computer, having decided it was finally time to write a few emails about the choir situation (to the directors and my pregnant friend), there was a package of sour cream and onion dip mix, a bag of Wavy Lays, and a bouquet of flowers, all propped up around the screen. The card in the bouquet read (complete with totally endearing spelling/grammar errors):
Hope your appointment went well. everything will work out stop worrying so much. your amazing things will work out. I promis
P.S. Look feel good snack!
Later that afternoon, I was talking to Beth about the “conditions” I’ve put on Doug being allowed to propose to me. Those conditions are that he get his teeth fixed and that he be able to afford the ring. I explained to her, because she asked, that they’re not really all-or-nothing, deal-breaker conditions: I want him to get his teeth fixed for his own health, and figured that making it a condition of us getting married would be a way to get him to take it seriously, and the ring… Well, it bought me some time three years ago, knowing he had no money, when I wasn’t ready to even think about another wedding yet.
“Also, I wanted him to understand that he needs to save money for the things that he wants,” I told her. “Which is hard to explain to a guy that has no money, but who knows that with the little he does have, he can go buy chips and dip and flowers and make me happy right now.”
Beth laughed. “Just be careful about getting too… mother-sounding,” she said. “Because at the end of the day, chips and dip and flowers? So much better than a ring!”
She’s right, of course.