Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 5, 2011

When we talked yesterday, Leonard told me to take a few days and think it over.  Am I sure this is how I feel?  Am I sure this is what I want, or was I just afraid because of a silly dream...when the dream faded, would I still feel the same?

But even now, the dream seems like a distant memory, and I've never been more sure of anything in my life.

I can understand, though, his wanting to do things this way.  And I promised him that I would think about it before I told Andy.

Leonard, on the other hand, didn't waste any time breaking up with that girl.  It wasn't even an hour after leaving the mountain yesterday that he gave her the boot.  I'd feel bad about it if she wasn't such a witch.  The only thing she seemed to care about was the fact that he always had money to spend on her.  They'd been together for a few months, and she wouldn't even meet any of his friends.  I only met her by accident one day when I was grocery shopping.  I tried to be friendly and she was impatient to leave and not making any attempt to hide it.  She basically said outright that she had better things to do than stand there and talk to me.  Leonard had pulled out his wallet, handed her some cash and told her to go checkout and then stood there and talked to me for at least twenty minutes....just to piss her off.  I'd like to say I don't understand why he stayed with her these past few months, but then again, I've been married to someone I'm not happy with for more than seven years, so it'd be more than just a little hypocritical if I did.

Honestly, Andy's not a bad guy.  We make pretty good roommates.  And I'd be lying if I said that I didn't care about him in some way.  After living together for so many years, I know that I do have feelings for him...just not the kind of feelings a wife should have for her husband.  We were so young when we met, both of us from somewhat sheltered lives...we only knew each other for three months before we got married.  We didn't know each other, and really, we didn't even know ourselves...we were barely adults.  I think neither one of us knew what we actually wanted...we were just in the same place at the same time...I doubt either one of us put much thought into the future.  The future seems so far away when you're young.

A year into our marriage, Andy told me that the only reason he asked me to marry him was because it was the only way his parents would let us stay in their house.  The crazy thing about it is that it didn't upset me when he told me that...sure it was kind of a blow to my ego...but did it break my heart, no.

Andy doesn't know it, but after he told me that, I started visiting a therapist, in part because of my reaction...or lack of one...to what he said.  It took a while, but eventually, I was diagnosed me with Emotional Deprivation Disorder.

I remember telling the doctor that all my life I've understood the concept of love, I understood that people loved me, but I didn't feel it...from them or for them.  I didn't really have emotions, and what little bit I did have were ignored, denied, repressed...whatever you call it...I understood that I should feel a certain way, but never actually felt it...

The cure for EDD is affirmation.  It felt so ridiculous to have a mental illness where the cure is having someone telling you motivational slogans all the time...you are loved, you are lovable, you are worthwhile...there's more to it than that, but at the time, that's how I saw it.  In reality, the cure is someone taking a genuine interest in you...showing you, instead of telling you, that you are loved...that you matter.  The hard part about that for me, and maybe for all people with EDD, is that in all my situations, I felt...interchangeable...

In my family, I was loved because I was a daughter or a sister...Andy loved me because I was a way for him to not have to live with his parents...he loved me because I was an extra paycheck...the therapist offered affirmation because it was his job, if I quit paying him, he'd quit seeing me...in all those situations, any girl could have taken my place.  It wasn't about me as an individual...I was easily replaceable by anyone else.  So none of the affirmation that should have worked actually did.

Shortly after I was diagnosed, I stopped going to therapy.  It wasn't changing anything...it wasn't helping me.  I just accepted that I was the way I was and I'd always be that way.  It wasn't so bad to be emotionless...it was the only thing I had ever known.  Accepting it was the only logical thing to do, and being logical is an easy thing to do for someone without emotions...

All that changed when I met Leonard.  Well, not right away, but eventually...

Sometimes I wish I could say that I knew there was something special about him the first time I saw him, but that's not how it was at all.

The only thing I remember about meeting him for the first time was his hair.  He's got that red hair, and when we met, it was shoulder length and he had this stupid scraggly beard/mustache combo...put him in some tie dye and bell bottoms and he'd have looked like he was straight off the magic bus from the 60s.  I think I had him pegged as another one of Andy's drugged out friends...and I suppose I was right...but when I got to know him, he turned out to be so much more than that.

Leonard had just moved back to this side of Tennessee after getting out of rehab and breaking up with a fiance who didn't want to give up the drugs.  He might have been a drugged out weirdo at one point, but he'd been through a lot to make a change.

Andy had told him that day that he should come by the house and it wasn't long before he did.  The next time I saw him, he had gotten his hair cut and had trimmed his shaggy beard into a goatee...it was a drastic change for the better.  You could see his face now...it wasn't hard to notice how handsome he was anymore.

I've always been good with faking friendliness with people, but I didn't have to do that with him.  He was nice...and funny...I laughed so hard I remember my sides were hurting the next day.

Because he was away for so long and because he was trying to stay clean and most of his old friends were still living the life, he ended up coming over to our house more and more.  It didn't take long until he was there every Friday night like clockwork, staying til Sunday evening.  At first, it irritated me...it seemed like too much...but in time, it just wasn't the weekend without him at the house.

The more I got to know him, the less he got to be "some druggie friend of Andy's" and the more he became my friend too.  I began to see different aspects of his personality.  He was funny, yes, but when you needed him to be, he was serious.  I could talk to him about things without feeling judged...without being pressured into agreeing with him just to appease him.  If I asked him for advice, he'd lay out my options in front of me without inserting his own opinion.  He'd say "Here are your choices...now what do you want to do?"  I don't think anyone else had ever been very interested in what I wanted.  Overtime, he came to be my closest friend.

And then, out of the blue one Sunday morning, he kissed me...and I kissed him back.  To say I was blindsided by it would be an understatement.  Leonard is the kind of guy that much prettier girls than me would give their right arm to be with.  I never saw it coming...I thought I was just one of the guys.  But that's not how Leonard saw it.

Somehow, Leonard managed to give me the affirmation that I had given up on.  He didn't just tell me he cared about me...that I was lovable...that he loved me...he showed me.  Over and over.  He listened to me.  He did things for me without me even asking...he just did it because he wanted to.  He was always there when I needed him to be.  No one else had ever been that for me.

The thing is, for him, I wasn't interchangeable.  He had no reason to care about me.  I wasn't family.  He didn't need me for money.  I'm not the prettiest, thinnest, sexiest girl around...and he could have had that girl...  I wasn't easy.  There was no reason for him to like me other than the fact that I was me.  And he gave me so much concrete proof that he truly cared for me, my logical brain and I had no choice but to believe it.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, he loved me...he loves me...only for being me.  No one else has ever taken the time or put forth the effort to make me feel that way.

No comments:

Post a Comment