Flying away to happiness.

Life has thrown a lot at me recently. I know that it’s me healing, and I am beginning to realise that there’s a lot of healing I hadn’t done. I’d thrown it aside, left it somewhere, buried it deep inside and pretended I didn’t need any of the feelings that went with it.

 

Being with the Dutchman is a rollercoaster ride. It’s just incredible. I am still having a lot of fun, still enjoying every second, but it’s also teaching me a lot about myself.

The other parts of me, 14, 15 and 19, are as much in love as I am. He gives us all strength to try out new things, to discover what we have been missing for so long.

None of us believed it was possible to fall in love this deeply and still retain your autonomy, but here we all are. We feel free, able to do things we never thought possible. For instance, we flew out to see him at the end of November, and had four wonderful days with him. We learned that we have all been lied to more times than we realised, and now it’s quite clear that we will not be lied to again.

 

Fourteen was taught that saying no doesn’t work, so we learned not to say it. Fifteen was taught that sex and nakedness lead to hurt and pain, so she learned to pretend that everything was ok and lock all the hurt away. Nineteen learned that showing pain lead to more hurt, so she acted like she was enjoying herself when she was really so dissociated that she wasn’t really there.

 

As for me? I’m over these hurts, past a lot of these pains, but they aren’t. They want to be, however. The Dutchman is helping us all get there- we each tell him something that we want, or that we can’t handle right now, and he helps us. For example, fifteen is intensely nervous about talking her clothes off. She wants to, but gets very scared. The Dutchman has helped already with that- he said she should only do whatever she feels comfortable with.

Consent is the biggest rule here for us all, and he shares that. He wants us to grow and not stay stuck, which is scary- we want to as well, but of course, that involves us stepping outside of our comfort zones. That’s the scary part. I feel their emotions, so I’m often thrown into turmoil as they are. They work themselves into knots wishing to be more normal, more like me. I’ve told them I had a lot of practice with J, but they’re impatient to get past the awkwardness and learn how to feel without feeling guilty.

We are all excited today. Today, we fly to see him again, and all of us are bursting with happiness- not only do we see him, but tomorrow, we all get on a plane to head to Las Vegas!

The reason behind this is because the Dutchman had booked to go a while back, after having had an amazing trip there the year before. We were just going to let him go alone there again, whilst feeling anxious… But, he saw our anxiety and offered for us to go with him.

Well, I had saved a lot of money for a relationship that had sadly become a friendship, and now there was a lovely man with me asking me please, could I go with him on the trip of a lifetime? The same lovely man that flew out for Christmas and New Year, who gets on well with my family and the insiders, who sees us for what we really are and loves us all.

I had to say yes!

 

I suspect that a lot of healing will continue to happen as the week goes on. I know that dates will happen, that incredible experiences will be had and good people will be met. This has happened every time we have got together. I personally remember this same scaredness from when I started seeing J: I was worried I would tar him with the same brush as my ex, I was frightened of how much I felt. I keep reassuring the younger ones that it’s part of healing. We have read it in so many blogs, that same feeling. Nineteen’s- she does it to look out for us.

The thing is, this trip will definitely prove it to at least one of the younger ones that we are in a moving relationship, something that travels as fast as we all do. It’s going to help us. I feel like all of us finally have someone who understands us completely, someone who’s not afraid to embrace all of us. Someone who will stop any sex if one of us but says a word and just cuddle instead. Someone who has stopped panic attacks, someone who has held us when we cried, stayed on the phone for countless hours talking and having fun.

This is right. This is what we have all wanted.

We all just need to believe, and trust me, we’re getting there at light speed.

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Break-ins and realisations.

Dad was standing at the door. I had a phone call from him, which was unusual, but now here he was…

I had a bad feeling as Mum and I got out of the car.

“We’ve had a break-in,” he said.

My first reaction was that it wasn’t true, it was some sort of misunderstanding. We accidentally left the patio doors open again? Oops, my bad. We left a window open and took something unusual with us to work? Sorry we panicked you, Mum and I are busy a lot.

This was different. He went on to say the patio door was smashed, the French window shattered into pieces. His and my mother’s room rummaged through. My room? Utterly turned over.

I didn’t want to see, but I had to check if something was missing, stolen. I heard Dad mentioning that the police thought it was for jewellery, and I realised I’d left a lot of mine out so I would wear it more…

I took the stairs two at a time, and then passed my room to see my parents’. Clothes lay all over the floor, my mother’s dressing table full of earrings, jewellery scattered and boxes overturned. I took a deep breath and headed back to my room.

The door was open. The light was on.

My citadel, my fortress, my safe place was sacked.

Papers lay all over the floor, boxes that housed my memories open and naked. Drawers were yanked open, clothes strewn everywhere, makeup on the floor but luckily not opened. Worst, my underwear drawer was wide open and every pair of knickers I own was flung across the bed.

I drew a sharp, jagged breath in and cried.

Adrenaline flooded my system. OhgodohgodohgodLOOK. Look at your room. Look how much has been moved, displaced by pawing hands. Look at the muddy footprint on the bed, look at the crumpled memories on the floor.

Mum was somehow there to cuddle me and let me know it was all right. She led me away from the room that was mine, downstairs, to where a terrified Juno puppy greeted me cautiously. Running my hands over her, checking for broken bones and bruises or cuts, I thanked the gods that she was safe and unhurt.

The evening was dire. I was still panicking, thinking of those perverted hands going through my underwear drawer. I felt sick. I felt violated all over again.

19 wanted to hunt the bastard down, cut off his fingers, pull out his eyes and drag him to the police. 14 was petrified, and fifteen was hidden so deep that I couldn’t even reach to ask her if she was ok. I could feel waves of terror from her, but nothing would get through.

I wasn’t doing great either.

I messaged the Dutchman immediately as I sat down with the sad little dog. She snuggled as close as she could withing a few minutes, reconnecting with me. She let me hug her close- she stayed perfectly still, and let me just tell her through touch how glad I was she was safe.

My phone buzzed.

“Oh my god, are you ok? Would you like me to call you?”

I did want him to call me. I set up my laptop and got Skype running, and he was there, all concern and love.

I started to cry again.

 

Over the next six hours, my PTSD worked itself out, I slowly calmed down, and ration and logic came back to assuage my fears. Dad told me it really wasn’t someone breaking in to scare us (I thought maybe my ex, or another creep I once knew), we found they really had been after jewellery (which is sad), the Dutchman helped me think of a safe space to imagine myself in when I needed to retreat from the world and then it was time for dinner. I had been talking to him for a while by this point, and that’s when it hit me- he was perfectly comfortable sitting there, helping me through my emotional turbulence, chilling out with me and also waiting for me to eat my tea whilst talking to both parents and my sister.

Whilst I know that J would have supported me, this is on a whole other level. Six hours later, as I signed out of Skype, I knew I had done something life-altering when we decided we had to be with the Dutchman- we’d chosen someone capable of handling our pain, or terror, or happiness- someone who matched us for the speed we love at, and the intensity of our emotions, but also who could help us control them.

 

Life is tough. I still flinch at noises in the house… but I know this will fade. I know that I have done something incredibly important by re-directing my life down this path- conversation is already going in important, even more life-changing places.

 

Coming to terms with us.

Us. It’s an innocuous little word, isn’t it? Meaning two, together, joined somehow, whether by friendship or work or family…

In my case, I never realised that there was an us. I thought it was me. Me and my voices that hurt, belittled, derided and abused.

I feel sorry that I didn’t understand earlier that I was in a collective, four wrapped into one. I wish I had learned that I was not alone, in the strangest of senses, far earlier.

I am, of course, referring to me, the younger ones (14 and 15) and nineteen.

It’s become very much apparent that in going to therapy, I have deprogrammed these so-called hostile voices into real, distinct personalities. I have learned that to shout at them provokes a hurt, terrified reaction- much like shouting at me does the same.

I don’t fight them now. We talk to each other, and we do sometimes still argue, but it’s the sort of arguing that takes place between families. I have asked them about things we want to do, choices we have made, and where to go next.

This is what changed when we made our joint decision about what to do, three weeks ago or a little more, when the Dutchman walked back into our lives and turned 14’s head. She was the first to fall, the first to point out to us how we really felt about things. Listening to her would have been wise then, but to start with I reacted as I would before realising that I was multiple, and tried to tell myself that I knew best.

Eventually, we had the conversation about J and the Dutchman. Endurance, distance, waiting… but such fun whilst there? Or the vlinders, the fire, the rush and openness of someone I was good friends with?

Sadly I had lost that spark with J this year. It had been present all last year, the year where I ran continually to him and he let me stay near. I wrote about him with such tenderness, because it was there. This year, I have had to run off memories and scrambled Skype calls and a week-long silence. The younger ones are so triggered by silence. 15 in particular can’t stand it, and she does go down really hard when these things happen.

Asking the younger ones what they really thought that evening on the couch was like fighting a war in my head. 19 was trying not to get involved, although secretly wanting me to just make up my mind already, as she didn’t want to be with J as much as she wanted to be with the Dutchman. 14 was, like I said, head over heels, and fifteen knew that she was confused. She’d sneaked her head out and talked to J a couple of times, and enjoyed herself, but she really enjoyed all the fun she’d had with the Dutchman. She didn’t like the time when J had got angry at the traffic when we were in the car with him that time, and she knew that I loved J too.

With all that in mind, I had to choose for myself. I really really didn’t want to hurt anyone. I wanted this to be a choice made with time and patience. However, the more time I spent with the Dutchman, the more I knew that the choice would have to be made soon. The spark was being kindled, and it was certainly a fire.

Choosing was all of us involved at once. I knew personally that I wanted something that had been in plain sight for two years, but never really realised what it truly meant.

All of us wanted this. All of us were united when we bridged that gap, and cast our lot in favour of a fire that was beginning to blaze.

 

We have never been so united before over anything else.

A torch in the dark.

Same airport, same system… Different person.

I wait here for things to start, for my flight to leave. I have done this excited waiting before… Only there was always a sense of mild insecurity. Don’t hold your breath. You only have three weeks then there’s another four months or so of holding on and wishing and hoping time would move a bit faster.

This is totally different.

My heart is pounding but instead of a nine hour flight, I have a brief hour in the air to contend with. Instead of endless security and unfounded suspicion, I was in and out of security so fast I had no time to panic. I’m sitting with a drink of hot green tea, having just eaten a panini, and I’m calm and relaxed but at the same time my blood is on fire. I am keen to wrap myself in am embrace that I know will be back my way faster than I can miss it, an embrace I had no idea that I had been missing until I tumbled into it.

I will never forget anything J did for me. He is a good person. He will always be so… But I think he needs an American girl, a nearby lover who can be relaxed as he is. As I have healed, what I’ve needed has reared its head again and demanded to know why I’m not acknowledging it.

I know that I kept wondering what the future held for me, and worrying that I would be left almost alone in a huge continent with a greatly reduced social circle. I wanted to believe that I would do the same as my cousin, who has done it and forged friendships and relationships out there which are flourishing. In time, I might have… But I would never have really known.

Love has had other, more dramatic plans. A kiss in the dark, sealed by the words, “Are you sure?” A long-held spark kindled into a roaring blaze, a fire tornado razing everything to the ground and bringing creation instead of destruction when it had passed. Shoots of life curled into being, tangled into my unresisting, lonely, cold heart. Lonely after a week of heartbreak and a year of separation.

Shadows are security now, and I’ve never thought life so full of promise. The weather may be horrendous, storms blowing, but my heart and soul are blazing warm still.

I’m a burning torch in the dark.

Loneliness revealed.

I’ve had the best couple of weekends since leaving J in Florida. It’s made me acutely aware that I’m lonely.

I crave company now, whereas I didn’t before. I wish J were here. I wish my friends lived a little closer to me. Most of all, I wish those closest to me lived closer to me, or I to them.

I have been trapped in my head, lonely and frightened for so long, that human contact is so alien to me. When someone gets close to me now, I don’t want to let them go. I know that the more time I spend away from J, the stronger my feelings run for him. I miss affection from friends, too. I love R’s hugs, H’s hand holding, and Mr Robot’s quiet understanding. I spent a lot of time over the past two weeks with three horror-loving friends of mine who I care about a lot- the Metalheads, my friends who got married on Halloween, and our mutual friend the Dutchman. I have a new group of friends there, which is growing steadily. There’s so much I’ve been restricting myself from, believing that I wasn’t worthy of friendship or love or affection. One of my friends is currently staying in Italy on a teaching course, and she has said I can visit her there.

The time has come to re-learn travelling. I used to be a traveller, she of 1000 auditions. I’d deal in foreign currency and languages, I’d laugh with new people and get smart about new ways of doing things. I had fun. I was really independent, I could do almost anything, and above all… The people I met and embraced used to get rid of the crippling loneliness I was feeling (as you all know, down to my ex).

I am having a hard time without my friends, and that’s partly because I’ve got into a bad habit of isolating behaviour. I have spent the past three years hiding, terrified of the world and men and my own head. I think I need to step out of the box I’ve put myself in and learn to be free to visit friends again.

My current little ray of hope is that J may well have enough money to come and see me in either February or March next year. I am so thrilled about that, I am trying not to wish the months away- always a dangerous thing.

I’m determined not to continue being this cripplingly lonely.

Update on life- not bad, just J-less.

So it turns out that I’m doing ok. Ok despite J being in America, so far from me, despite me having to leave him earlier than both of us had wanted in the main hall- international and domestic flights don’t depart from the same place. I struggled through my first day or two with tears blotting every word I read, and an ache so strong in my throat and heart it physically hurt to breathe.

Then the difficulty of a doctor’s appointment to talk about scan results. I have cysts- benign, but they may come and go with my cycle. Said cycle which has been completely screwed with because every pill I’ve been on so far has made me bleed nearly constantly… The doctor was so lovely to me. He helped me understand that I was safe and not in danger of dying, that the cysts were probably causing me pain, but hopefully a new pill would stop it. He’s also sent my blood off for hormonal screening (I might have issues with them, sigh), and has recommended that I get a smear test done. I’ve been expecting that, to be honest. I think I’ll be able to do it, as long as it’s either my usual, female doctor, or the lovely nurse I had last time I had a pill check.

I’m trying to find a gym to join and I’m working an hour a day on my massage course stuff. I feel pretty pleased that I’m managing so well. My best friend had her second hen do this weekend- it was so so good to catch up with her!!!

All in all, life isn’t bad. But as long as J is not in my bed each night, as long as I don’t feel him breathe beside me, as long as I can’t kiss him, grab his hand or share a joke with him… It’s not amazing.

Still, I can fix that.

Fastest car

Three weeks zoomed by far too quickly.

He was even calmer, happier, more present with me than before. He’s enjoying getting fit at the gym, he has been helping me build muscle too. Three weeks had me believing that one day, I could shove away my own monster and throw him down into the pit where he belongs.

The younger versions of me in my head have been quite curious. Shy at first, then bold. We all unite into a common goal- get close to him. Show him what you feel.

As always, I’m never rushed. I tease him by standing there naked, but he’s always the gentleman. I think he can tell when fourteen or fifteen year old me peeks through, and he can tell when I need comfort. I feel more whole and less fragmented when I’m with him. He must have cut himself a couple of times, putting the mirror of me back together, but he’s never complained.

Never again am I doing another year apart from him. I reach for who I was when I’m lying next to him. He helps me reach.