Saturday, 31 July 2010

Madness explained

Originally uploaded by stacy michelle
I once had a patient whose teenage son had a habit of cutting her arms and bleeding down the stairs.

The patient had a habit of loudly saying in front of said son and sibling how much she enjoyed them being away at their dad's house so she could get some peace (oddly, said dad no longer wanted to live with her).

The Child Protection Services had assessed this woman and found her a perfectly capable mother.

Which I'm sure she was in the strictly physical sense of the word, the kids were most of the time decently dressed and kept out of danger, apart from a couple of times when she sent them out to play on a nearby motorway junction.

But psychologically, not so much, I'm guessing from the cutting.

I myself should have called CPS, but I didn't. I was temping and my colleague, whom had visited this woman weekly for years, clearly didn't think it necessary. I guess part of me didn't want to stir the waters. This was years ago, I still remember the sight of the kids lurking round the corners during my home visits, and I still feel guilty about not doing anything about it.

Funny how, as soon as an adult goes a bit nuts, we forget all about the kids.

So GM opened the closet, finally.

Turns out that his perfectly friendly and welcoming, yet weirdly aloof and somewhat hypomaniac mother, in fact had some kind of psychotic episode when he was a teenager.

His siblings were sent away as they were deemed "too young" to know the truth, and my lover was left alone with her, and a few buckets full of antipsychotics prescribed by the local doctor, whom also explained what was going on to him in full latin, to make sure he had no clue what was being said.

Mother was clearly not deemed a danger to herself or others, and so was left home. Father was called back from overseas, but clearly back in the day, this took a while to arrange.

So the teenager was treated like an adult, which in a way he was. But still a child.

He has, over the years that have passed since, confronted his mother over this to get answers, closure, and perhaps an admittance that this was way too large a burden to lay on narrow teenage shoulders alone.

Of course, he has achieved nothing by this except her getting majorly pissed off, including throwing him out during visits, refusing to visit him for about 20 years (true story..), missing every special occasion and graduation in his life and attempting to blame it all on his father's drinking habits. Which I'm sure do have something to do with it all in that loosely connected way that everything within a family has to do with everything else, but it's a bit feeble really.

Naturally, this is all old hat by now.

But he has never told anyone about this, not even his siblings.

It is a heavy burden to carry for one person, for so long, when wounds are never allowed air to heal, and you are just forced to cover up the scars and get on with it.

So next time, I will call CPS.

As should you.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Morning sickness and morning sex

So, maybe GM will get the girl he wishes for anyway.

At any rate, morning sickness has kicked in. Though, as most pregnancy books / websites / mums will tell you, "morning sickness" is a total misnomer probably invented by some man who thought it would be comforting to pregnant women to believe that they would feel better as the day went on.

For me, I feel OK in the morning as long as I have a crispbread and some water (thank god for that ice cube machine in the fridge). In fact, I feel OK generally as long as I don't eat too much. And by too much I mean like, more than a slice of toast with spread, or a really small cereal bowl of spaghetti.

It is torture! OK so I've put on like 5 kg already and I'm only 6 weeks gone and probably don't want to end up like Catherine Zeta Jons (whom allegedely put on more than 20 kgs; that would equal more than 33% of my original body weight and would presumably not be good) but at the same time, I love eating. Love it love it love it. And I like eating lots in one go and am not very fond of chewing my food properly either.

Trying my usual style of wolfing down a whole takeaway or eating six cheeese sandwhiches has lead to lying on my right hand side in bed going "I can't eeeaaaaaattttt anymore... Poooor meeeeeee.." for about an hour and a half, by which point I'm suddenly ravenously hungry again.

I've now stuck to tinee weenee portions of food for a few days and my stomach has never been flatter.. I still feel a bit weird after and before I've eaten but not as bad.

Anyhoo. One of GMs pregnancy books, of the genre "mildly mocking and potentially misogynistic literature describing foetus in easily understandable language for men such as snack units or military jargon", mentioned that sex is a good cure for nausea.

And you know what? It works. In a way, I would say my sex drive has never been higher, but since GM and I essentially made this baby by being at it like rabbits all day long in a way I did not think possible for a man his age and a woman as intelligent as myself, that would be a bit of a lie. But it has not dipped in the way you would expect since most of my thoughts ruminate on themes like "don't chuck up, you have emetophobia" and "OMG OMG OMG I'm pregnant and we have no money", neither of which are particularily aphrodisiac.

In fact, we have over the previous days had sex 14 times. Four-teen. FOURTEEN! Geezes. And it works. It really works. He turns me on like no man has ever done before, and as soon as I get going, the nausea magically disappears.

And if I have an orgasm.. or two.. or three... I actually feel fine for like an hour afterwards. And we can do all the stuff we like, I can lie on my stomach and give oral sex, and my breasts have actually never been more sensitive than now, and I mean that in a good way.

I haven't exactly told him this yet as I don't want him to feel like some cheap remedy against morning sickness. But girls and boys out there, if you do feel queasy, do not let this go untested... And also, it can't be bad for the relationship. GM actually got access to the Cataclysm Beta, and he's barely looked at it. I'm not saying I want the nausea to last, but seriously, it's not all bad in pregnancy land...

Thursday, 22 July 2010


I think I just overstepped the mark with GM. We decided to tell two of our close mutual friends our news.. The girl in the couple has wanted a baby for ages, and we thought it would be good to get it out of the way while we had an exit strategy, as these kinds of situations tend to cause a lot of arguing in that household.

The exit strategy being that if a fight appeared to be ensuing, I would claim to have to give GM a ride to work and therefore we could both slip away unnoticed together.

Basically the girl started chatting about another friend of hers who is also pregnant, and GM and I both started giggling uncontrollably. When GM said I was pregnant, our male friend's jaw dropped to the ground almost audibly (he has a pretty square and solid jaw). The girl managed to be courteous and say congrats etc. Male friend said nothing, the poor thing.

Male friend and I plus another guy went for a guys' beer in town after GM dropped us off to go to work. The guy plus male friend were both full of great advice to me, though neither were particularly reassuring. They seemed both bemused and, as male friend said as he reluctantly let me go for the 10 min walk to GM's flat on my own instead of getting a cab (Him: "I would never let my girlfriend walk there alone." Me: "Neither would GM let me. However he is not here, and you're not my boyfriend, so I'm walking."): "It's been a happy and befuddling occasion this evening."

But that is really all besides the point.

The point I wanted to make is that I could actually see GM getting uncomfortable with having to share this really rather personal news with our friends, albeid close ones. I am not a very private person, and to me, there's no discomfort in it whatsoever. I could see him crossing his arms protectively.

I don't know what he's worried about, but I feel with hindsight that we shouldn't have told them. OK, so I'm the one who is actually pregnant, but really, holding back news for me is clearly more comfortable than letting news out is to him. I will hug him and hold him in the morning and tell him this.

It is weird, we are still learning to know each other, and all these great big issues are arising and we have to handle them in the best way we can. He says he is fine, and I think he is, but right now I think that being with me, just the two of us, is all he really wants. He has no urge to involve the whole world, like I do. It is my basic instinct to unfold in front of my friends to include them and reassure myself of their support.

GM doesn't need them, not like I do. He only needs me.

It feels like a large responsibilty, but at the same time it really is an honor.

Monday, 19 July 2010

A hatchling!

OK so in this late trend of whirlwind romances and engagements.. I am now pregnant.

I guess I should have figured as much two weeks ago when my breasts became sore and my tummy ached in a weird, dull way without actually producing a period, but since I've considered myself more or less infertile since about the age of 19, I didn't really think much of it.

But a few days ago, I could wake GM with a massive hug, and the message "we are going to be parents." He took it cooly, or at least as calmly as one can expect from a man whom until about two months ago thought he would probably never have a family.

In fact, he has been amazing. For better or worse, I know I have chosen the right man.

Because I have been in two minds.

There are so many cons. We each own a flat, in different cities. We are still students. There is a massive leak in his roof and my student loan allowance won't last forever.


And we've been seeing each other for like, six weeks.

This morning GM came home from his night shift to wake me, smelling in his comforting way faintly of cigarettes, coffee and sitting in an uncomfortable chair from dusk till dawn.

He held me. We talked. And I realised that the main reason I am reluctant to have this baby is that I want him to myself. All to myself. I don't want to share him with anyone, not even our child.

I am not sure this will change. OK, so I am crazy in love still, and one is meant to love one's children more than anything as soon as they are born, or maybe even before that.

But I know there are people who grow up knowing that their parents always loved each other more than they loved their kids. I wonder what that is like? Versus growing up, like GM did, with parents not even sharing a bed, or mine, who live together in some weird symbiosis but decidedly not in any sort of romantic love.

He came with me to the doctors to have the pregnancy confirmed. The doctor acted like abortion would not at all be an option and said I was extremely lucky to have fallen pregnant just like that. And I guess I am.

And as my friend, who struggled for ages to conceive and also miscarried once, pointed out that not only am I lucky, I am also over 30 and should be responsible enough to take the consequences of my actions. Which is true. But in itself I don't think it's a reason to have a baby.

We came home from the doctors after going to the supermarket to buy ridiculous amounts of food (may I please emphasise that this extreme nesting behaviour was at the initiative of GM) and made love a 2nd time for the day, then I put GM to bed and had lunch with a friend.

I have thought.

He will always be mine, and always mine alone.

Even if we have a baby, even if things will be chaotic and harder than I can ever imagine (which is what everyone says about having children), he will stand by me no matter what.

So I bought him some flowers and Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I will wake him now, and tell him that I brought him this not because we are having a baby, but because he is the most amazing man there is, and somehow this has made all my doubts melt away.

Monday, 5 July 2010

"I'm relieved this secret passage still works"*

When you open the door to happiness, you also have to open the other door, to all the stuff there was no space to feel previously.

I spent so much energy taking up as little space as possible in my previous relationship. Now I find that expanding into someone's arms, even though I trust them, is difficult. I have to unlearn so many coping skills that have become second nature, I have to unlock so many bolted passageways in there.

Yesterday improved, for a while. We went for a lovely long walk along the beach, took sickeningly cute photos of ourselves at the shore in front of a bunch of most likely jealous toddler parents who were out to dip their offspring in the not-too-cold-even-for-up-here sea.

Being outside just does wonders for me when I feel a bit down and restless. The weather was soothing, windy, warm but not too hot. GM bought me ice cream on the way back. We kissed and wondered how one makes an instance entrance for a wedding reception. GM thinks he knows someone who can.

We went for an open viewing in the neighbourhood, because it just so happened to go on when we passed by. Neither of us liked the flat.

Later, in the evening, we went on our second date. Yes, second. We only had one date before we started practically living in each other. I plucked my armpits and dressed up, GM cut his hair and trimmed his beard and also dressed up.

We walked along the seaside promenade in town, looked at the bench where we first sat a little over a month ago. GM said his heart skipped a beat when we first met properly a year ago. That even he, who will refuse at any opportunity to recognise that he feels something, admitted to himself that this probably meant something. All I remember is that he hugged me so softly, I wondered how a man his size could manage.

We made it to the restaurant on time. The reservation was made so early the place was almost empty, as the city sleeps off its latest "food and drink to excess"-festival (the festivals here have different names, but essentially they all do the same). The food was great. Coming home after was even better.

I had to do some work when we got back, and suddenly I felt so depressed. I had no anxious thoughts, no weird ideas of guilt or sorrow rushing through my mind, just a claw in my chest trying to squeeze tears out of me, though I've never been much of a crier, so of course nothing came.

GM stayed awake with me, holding me, soothing me. And I think I feel angry, somewhere deep down, but I also feel bad about feeling angry, so I can't seem to let it out. Maybe this something I feel but cannot name is not sorrow, but rage. Of all the wasted time, of all the tongues bitten, of all my needs and personality aspects locked away so deeply that not even I can seem to reach them anymore.

Yet, I will expand, like one of those Disney washcloth cubes you put in water that magically become a piece of terry fabric. I will drive down Highway 1, and I will hold the hand of the man I love, playing the Cure on the radio.

PS! I bring good luck. GM came with me once (!!) to do the seasonal boss, and now.. Well, the photo below looks a lot like him. Naked man pleased with his new Frostscythe of The Lord Ahune, yes, I'll have one of those.. Especially considering the snow flurry effect.

* "To the ends of the earth!"

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Dreams, dreams

GM drives me around to desecrate some midsummer fires.
In fact we got up at 0600 in the morning to do it, so my
brother now officially thinks we're both nuts.
I woke this morning at 0430 because I had a dream about my ex boyfriend, who was strangely as tall as GM, and who was crying his eyes out because he was sad. Previously to the crying we were watching Kazakh TV together, along with some former colleagues. I felt guilty.

I rolled over, cuddled up to GM, went back to sleep.

At 0645 I woke again, having had a dream where my parents had promised to refurbish some large part of the house, and were telling me in detail just why this could not go ahead as planned. For some reason this made me furious.

I feel weird this morning. Why, I don't know. Last night we had dinner with my brother, it was lovely as always (considering he is a chef I try to invite myself over as often as I possibly can) and I beat him at a Wii Sports Resort game, which is very unusual. Spain won the last quarter final, with David Villa, whom is in the top 5 prettiest players in the World Cup, scoring. It was good.

When we came home, I sat in the windowstill with white curtains billowing around me in the late evening breeze and undressed GM before he carried me off to bed.

So I don't know where all these negative feelings came from. My breasts are feeling tender and my back aches, it could be that my period is coming up. I feel weepy and angry and, well, weepy and angry. I don't know why.

GM is downstairs now, cooking me breakfast, and he is taking me out for a meal later on to commemorate our one month anniversary, which technically speaking was two days ago, but for some reason at the time we agreed it should be today. I guess old shift worker habits die hard, and we like to count full weeks ending on Sundays.

He is the loveliest man. I wake him at 0430, complain of my dream, refuse to tell him what it was about and he holds me and says he is there, now, and that he wants me. Today that just makes me want to cry.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Happiness is...

So I got engaged.

Wait, I'm going to write that one more time.. SO I GOT ENGAGED. In. Real. Life.

Omg, it looks all the more absurd in writing. It is 0617 in the morning and I can't go back to sleep to save my life.

If you want to read about the actual proposal, please skip by clicking here, because a lengthy rant of "how the fuck did you get engaged after less than a month" is to follow first.

I had a strange evening on Wednesday. Our Best Mutual Friend rang up and wanted to have a few beers in the evening. I invited him over. It just so happens he is also best friends with my First Proper Boyfriend, whom I was with when I was 15. Or at least they used to be, they are not as close anymore. FPB has actually finally managed to leave town at the age of thirtysomething, and I guess he has found that he in fact misses BMF, because he also wanted to come along. So did my brother.

Before the guests arrive, as I'm showering, I notice that my breasts are slightly swollen and sore. This is weird, as I have about two periods per year, and the last one was about three weeks ago. I say to GM that I could be pregnant. We google "early signs of pregnancy". We are happy. However, I find this thought too unreal to keep me from drinking. Poor lump of cells that might be down there.

So I am sitting in the beautifully refurbished kitchen of GM (though I guess now I should say "our" kitchen) with these four men: My brother, my lover, my first boyfriend and the man who introduced me to both the latter.

There were beers. There was cheap white wine from FPB, which was so sweet and nasty I had to help him drink it in exhange for a few G&Ts.

Whenever I drink with BMF, I get totally pissed. The last time we did this, in this house in fact, I had a whole bottle of wine to myself plus an unknown number of drinks. I was still trying to be with someone else. But it was here, surrounded by these people, that I had one of the best evenings I'd had in months.

BMF is barely allowed by his wife to go out with me, because one drink tends to turn into several, and we once went out for "one beer" and stayed there until 0400 in the morning when the bar closed.

The weird thing is, when we are together, I never feel drunk. I have known him since we were 10, and he knows everything there is to know about me, which is why I think I never notice that slippery slope from talking about work to talking about your sex life in disturbingly candid detail.

So we sit, we drink, and strangely life seems to have come full circle. BMF approves of me and GM, though he thinks it's weird, but he says, in fact, why should we not be together? He has a lengthy rant about how he thinks GM is smarter than me (in a conventional sense this is clearly bullshit, but no doubt GM would make a far better shrink than I'll ever be once I finish my studies).

FPB and I have a Spotify Battle all evening where FPB interrupts about 4 out of 5 songs I try to play and puts on old music that reminds me of being 15, holding hands, snogging in his basement and spending hours playing video games. Not much different than what I do these days, in fact.

I love FPB. He was an excellent first boyfriend, and since taught me the number one important rule of getting over boys: If they don't want you, they are either stupid or gay. So you probably shouldn't go for them anyway. This was, of course, long before I was with my gay ex and eliminated one of those options. These days I think whomever doesn't want me must simply be stupid. He looks into my heart, straight into it, still. I sort of wish I could have asked him what he thinks of this new relationship, but maybe I will never know. Maybe it's time to make my own decisions.

The evening rolled on. Much important stuff was talked about across the table, most of which doesn't actually matter anymore. But it was important at the time. I sat next to GM, we kissed, we held hands. We behaved. There was no public groping.

I belong with him now. I guess it was a coming out of the closet sort of event. We are now a unit. My closest friends have seen it. I spent the last half hour fashioning rings from beercan ringpulls with a Leatherman, which was no easy task, though I am somewhat unsure of whether this was due to the levels of alcohol in my blood or to the task being impossible to begin with.

Brother had to go home to his wife and kid, FPB and BMF decided to get a cab into town (which is like a 5 minute walk but as I said, there was quite a lot of drinking). I emphasised to GM that if he wanted to go with them, which under normal circumstances I'm sure he would have, I didn't mind, but I personally was fully ready to hit the sack. He insisted on staying home with me, though I think he appreciated the sentiment.

After they had left, about 130 in the morning, I sat on GMs lap in the kitchen, and though part of me wishes I remembered more about what we talked about, I know the central points were such:
  • We love each other.
  • We want to get married.
  • The proposal GM had secretly planned in his head involved whisking me away for a weekend in about six months time, proposing in front of some embassy where he had also secretly booked a slot for us to get married.
  • GM has been waiting because it is so soon, and the rest of the world cares about those things.
  • GM is slightly drunk (though he insists now that the moment was so sobering he felt sober, he clearly wasn't) and decides he doesn't give a shit what the rest of the world thinks.
  • We have never been better than with each other.
  • It becomes clear that my passport is not in town, so there will be now impulse-travelling to a romantic location this weekend.
  • GM says that this is just as well, as instead, my father will be incredibly proud to walk me down the aisle, my best friend will cry because she's my maid of honor, and my mother will shed tears of joy in the church of my choice.
  • Did I mention we love each other?

There was other talk too, kissing, hugging, which escapes me now. He, who never cries, is tearing up, I can see it. We feel emotional. We hug more. Then, GM lifts me up from the chair, and I assume he wants to carry me off to bed, which he does like five times a day (yes, five.. It's nuts, like being 21 again, or possibly even younger, when men had stamina and you thought maybe sex would run out once it was legal).

But he puts me down on the kitchen floor in front of the IKEA fridge with the ice cube dispenser, kneels down closely in front of me, takes my hand and says something I also can't quite remember, but which went along the lines of "I love you. Being with you is so good, I've never had it better. You are the most amazing girlfriend. I want to share the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"

I completely lose my faculty of speech, which, if you knew me, is pretty rare. Had I been completely sober, I would probably have cried. GM reports later that I looked clearly emotional. I hug him, I kiss his forehead. I manage to say yes, yes, yes, of course I will marry you.

There is more talking, though the only thing I can really remember is that he says we should go look at rings in the morning, and I can have what ever I want. And GM says he also thought that if I really am pregnant, he wanted me to know that he really wants us to be together forever, for me, for us, not just because we are having a baby. This brings me close to tears. He has a last cigarette and we have a pint of water (with ice from the ice dispenser) each. We brush our teeth, I am too dazed to notice that we don't clear the table, which I usually always do after a long evening, somehow we make it to the bedroom. We have sex, we fall asleep.

When I wake, early in the morning, I have no hangover, just a dull sensation that quite a lot of alcohol must have been consumed the evening before. I turn around in bed, and the man I love is there. He will be there, in person or in spirit, every time I wake for the rest of my life. It is an incredibly peaceful feeling to have.

I feel a little anxious that he will regret having popped the question after quite a few drinks, considering he had such grand plans. I feel a little disappointed that I can only remember bits of our pre- and post-proposal conversiation, because it felt important there and then. Though I suspect he remembers his proposal, it was rehearsed in his head over and over before he carried through with it, so even if he was drunk, which of course now he claims he wasn't, he will remember. Maybe one day I will ask.

Then GM wakes too, calls me his fiancee and says he loves me. We want to go into town for rings, but have to make love three times and have breakfast inbetween before we manage to get going. I have no regrets. Maybe he will carry my regrets for the rest of my life, as he does already. I feel lighter.

So we are now engaged. And I have never had it better, either.