A hiccup and then I'm writing again. What starts it is the decision to consent to Virgil seeing Sarah again. It means our break is coming to an end. My writing has stagnated during the break. Part of me is aghast and asking HOW? and I'M NOT READY and IT'S GOING TO HURT! I'll never be ready. It was always going to hurt to begin with at least.
Just like the first law of thermodynamics which states energy can never be lost, only transformed, I think that pain cannot be avoided, only transmuted. In the past I have been expert at turning pain into anger. Now I try something different: I allow it in. I let it wash over me in waves. I try not to be angry and distant from Virgil. It's not his fault. It's not his pain. I think: if I sit with it long enough, understand it and accept it, I should be able to move on.
I don't hold back. I cry while I write. I cry riding my bike. I sit in a restaurant with Virgil at lunchtime crying while I eat a chicken burger and courgette fries. Let those noisy sobs, snot and tears roll down my face. Let the heart open and the sadness all pour out. When I was younger I would do anything to avoid weeping in public; now I don't. I remember trying to extract my mum from the queue in the Post Office soon after my dad died because she was crying and her saying, I don't care. I couldn't care less if people know I'm crying. Like my mum, my face goes red and puffy when I cry. I can get away with a light weep but after that it's not pretty.
This is called processing, says my super new therapist. She's great. I'll call her Deirdre. She's just right for me. Deirdre says that right now I'm processing pain. In every way this is true. I'm just recovering from ten days of dental hell. I've never taken so many painkillers - everything that wouldn't interact with each other up to the maximum dose, every three hours. I spent a week with a scarf wrapped around my face, cancelled work because I couldn't think straight, threw a sex party I couldn't enjoy.
Now the dust is settling and the old question is back: what am I doing with my life? More importantly: what do I want to do with my life. I don't know. This is why I am crying. I'm only partly crying because Virgil wants to date Sarah and there's a lot about my relationship with my Dad in that. The truth is I'm bawling my eyes out over the keyboard because I feel bereft, and empty, and left out and lonely and a total victim of my own fuckedupness. This is what I need to fix.
Recently I had this feeling that I was just pouring myself into this relationship, all my energy, all my time. I am not putting that time and energy into myself and things that I want to have for myself like work, friends, my own projects (things that make Virgil shudder and reach for the duvet). I am working so hard to help Virgil with his work, with our joint projects, with trying to find a lover so that I can be like him, with fixing our relationship. In doing so I have been ignoring my own life.
I have realised - and honestly I am glad of this - that I don't need to find a lover to make me feel better about Virgil having one. It's just the way it is: unfortunate but I need to focus on what I need. I'm not going to even put energy that way because there are more important things to get right before anything else. I don't even need an open relationship right now although he does. It doesn't mean that his needs and mine are incompatible - they're just different - and both need to be met.
My head pounds, my throat aches, my jaw hurts and my stomach is tight from crying. I am crying for myself and for my own sadness, failures, disappointments and shortcomings. I am writing again because when I feel like this it's almost the only thing I can do. I don't know where it's going but at least there's movement again and a life being lived.