Hospital Food

Every hour my mother has to blow into this thing that looks like what I used to measure liquids in biology. With a tube to blow in attached, of course.
She's been awake a few hours. We all took a nap shortly after she was moved.

We spent a couple of hours watching SVU, and my sister is very gentle about taking care of my mother's needs. Ordering her food, checking her catheter, she is the perfect doting daughter. My sister excels at a lot of things, but she has a method for caring for others that verges on artistry. She's been taking care of others her whole life. First me, then her ex-husband, then my nephew, and now it's come back full circle to her caring for our parents.

I drove away the next morning with the sun at my back and she stayed. She's cleaning her wound. She picked her up from the hospital and talked to the doctors. She was planning how to help her eat because we predicted my mom wouldn't be capable of cooking for a little while. My mom's always been tough, but not completely-back-to-normal-days-after-a-mastectomy tough.

My sister came through, like she always does. And I am distant and vicious, like I always am.

That Would Be Enough

It's been the kind of day, for several days, where your favorite character dies. Where you lose interest in your favorite show because things just aren't the same anymore.

I found out almost three weeks ago that Myex was sleeping with Stassney the whole time. For 8 years. Tuesdays were their days for 8 years. My trips to Houston brought her into our bed for 8 years. Our bed, because we each paid for half as a gift to each other when his old bed was too small and too old. Our bed because it was where we slept next to each other for most of 8 years. For more of 8 years than they got to, but maybe not by much. I know a lot of people who have cheated or been cheated on. I know people who cheated for a long time, too. So by no means do I think either is a monster.

But my favorite character died. My favorite story has ended. In it's place I'm not sure what to do. In his absence I'm not sure what to believe or trust.

At first I was fine. I was strong, brave, and I forgave. I didn't scream or cry because he had to deal with a crisis with his daughter the same day I found out. I still haven't screamed or cried in front of him. I just sit with it. And over two weeks I talked to Stassney and I heard and read all the ups and downs of their life together and my strength waned. My resolve melted away. I still know what he said, I still know who he was, but do I really know anything at all? I can reason through everything. I know if he wanted to leave he could have left, I gave him plenty of chances. I tried to shout him out of the house when I thought it was only a flirtation. I tried to push him away when I was only doing it for myself. Did he have her over on the days that I had enough and went to stay with a friend? Did he think about moving her in? I know that he loved me. I know we loved each other. I know I cheated on him 3 times. I know that we were both angry love starved kids who could only love selfishly. But now I also know something I always suspected-

I wasn't enough.

I haven't been enough.

My whole life.

For weeks of the month, for months of the year, he was enough. I loved him outside of my madness. I loved him despite the problems and my unmanaged bipolar symptoms. He was enough. Stassney and I were not. 

I talked to my therapist about it and she called him a flirt. This was an understatement. She called him a sex addict. This was an over-statement. We both needed a lot of attention. He sought it. I internalized it into a rage. I just want to be enough.

I feel stupid for loving, for wanting to trust, for forgiving. I can reason through everything, but my therapist says that reasoning through things is a way to keep from feeling. I can reason through everything. I know I didn't make things easy. I know I cut myself and threw my wrists against the walls because I was so unhappy in my own right. I know I dug into every interaction. I know I interrupted the flow of a narrative between him and his daughter's mother that was far from resolved. I know I cheated. I know I cheated. I know I cheated, too. But I'm sad. I stopped. I tried to be more trusting. I tried to stop being an asshole and I stopped. 

If I hadn't left would we have been in this threesome I wasn't aware of forever? I suspected. Stassney said I was in denial. She said our roommates knew. And everyone he worked with. So I am devastated in a way outside of the traditional inability to trust after a betrayal like this, because it was not just confined to my love. It was a conspiracy. It was people seeing me, seeing us, and lying by omission when they saw them. She knew I existed. They knew I did not know she existed. Not as far as she existed.

He could have left. He stayed. I wasn't enough. But we were enough to renew leases. We were enough to celebrate holidays he hated celebrating. We were enough to get pets and buy a car. I was enough to not pretend we'd end up together, but to lie to protect us splitting up. We were enough for a vacations. I was loved. But I wasn't really enough. Now I'm grappling with the duplicity of their relationship. With trying to transfer their dysfunction into our dysfunction. With trying to make a narrative that makes more sense than "everyone involved was young, selfish and careless."

I'm lost. I'm trying not to feel hurt. I'm trying not to feel diminished. I'm trying not to be sad, angry or disappointed because I feel like any of those feelings would not be kosher along with forgiveness. I think if I want to trust I have to let it all go, including all the bad feelings that have just been growing. I've been telling myself if I feel negative feelings it's because doubt is seeping in. If I feel bad feelings then I shouldn't be able to keep loving him for the good things. If I feel bad feelings it's stupid to want to be friends. It's stupid to hope he'll change. That I could trust him in the future. That we could trust each other in the future and be better people for each other. It's stupid to be happy around him. If I feel bad feelings.

So I try not to attribute my tears during Hamilton when Eliza finds out about his cheating to him. I try to pretend that my heart doesn't ache when she sings "that would be enough" because of him. I try to act like my breathing is fine when Angelica sings "he'll never be satisfied" because of him. I feel so much more of my favorite musical because of him. I sing "when you were mine" because of him. I want to not think that anything is because of him, because I want to feel like I've regained some control over things. I didn't have control then, and I didn't have control over finding out, so I want some control over myself now.

So I'm forgiving. I'm refusing to shout. I'm refusing to cry. I'm refusing to continue thinking about why. I'm forgiving and telling myself I'll trust and be happy. I'll see where that goes. It's the most I can control.


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