“This Is Us” (and why my feels impede my ability to love)

img_4990

(Spoiler Alert? Except honestly not really. If you have seen any of the previews for this show, then you know these things. So whatever.)

So here’s the bullshit thing about last night’s episode of This Is Us. The plot is intrinsically and specifically designed so that viewers will find themselves caught up in *A* character. But guess what, bitches?! I feel them all. I am somehow Randall, Kate, Mandy Moore, AND what ever the fuck his name.

… Let me start this over …

Last night’s TIU was brokered for weeks as the most devastating thing that could ever happen to you as your life will intersect with any fictional character ever. And frankly, they delivered.  The premise of this particular episode was that we would 1) learn how the hottest dad of all time died and 2) observe how each relative mourns his death on its anniversary. So I watched it at 2:45 am, sobbed violently, then immediately took a xanax as I realized that I see my grief process and my apprehension to love again in all of them.

This Is Us - Season 2

Randall: celebrates and tries to pass extravagant love onto his family. He has flashbacks of sadness, but mostly he remembers that his dad was a super cool dude who deserved to be celebrated more than mourned.

Leah: During his lifetime, my dad was a musician, psychiatric nurse, chef, and alcoholic. I honor this by constantly hosting people with a wide array of food and drinks, getting super fucked up at music festivals and kissing strangers, and being sure that anyone who is truly in my heart knows that I care for them deeply.

NUP_179605_0168

Kate: Basically Kate emotionally cuts every year by watching the final memory she has of her father over and over. More broadly, she pushes away love, but oh-how-lovely, she finds it again dancing in her living room with her

Leah: Honestly just same. Except I am still waiting for my dance partner (sad tuba)

This is Us - Season 2For the record, I typed my first draft of this after imbibing a bit. (Cause Super Bowl) For the life of me, I could not remember Kevin’s name. So because I find that to be hilarious enough to continue, I shall do exactly that. 

What’s his name: Every year for approximately 19 years, this dude just runs from his feelings via sex and alcohol. In the situation that he gets close to people, he usually screws it up pretty royally. Oh yeah, and then after 2 decades he is finally  ready to admit that he has no fucking idea what he is doing/ that he may just be doing it all wrong.

Leah: Not like same-same, but not suuuper different

img_4991

Mandy Moore: Well she warned us. But also her character cooks away her pain then waits for the universe to bring her a message from her dead husband that makes her laugh.

Leah: See Kate

So why am I even dedicating this space to this particular corner of the television world. What does this have to do with me being temporarily celibate? Well… because…

— When I think about loving again, I am completely petrified. — Like actively working on overcoming the paralytic fear because it has turned me into someone who I don’t even recognize sometimes. It has turned me into a girl who would maybe rather have non-feels sex / never love again than to ever risk baring these aspects of me to someone new.

Because in order to have those moments when someone can look into your eyes and know the worst but love you all the same… they have to understand all of those parts of me. And that’s a lot to impose on someone. It’s also a lot to offer up time and time again to then only be brushed aside. The last man I slept with who also knew some of the depths of my personal grief (and who’s pseudonym I am still toying with, though I’m leaning towards Fabio mainly because I think he would really really hate it) said he would always choose me and love me. He sat with me for hours ASKING me to share the dark parts of me. Then he started banging one of my friends, and we don’t really talk anymore so…


“This is intimacy: the trading of stories in the dark.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage

In addition to all of this, I unfortunately have experienced the loss of a parent. A father, specifically.

And do you wanna know what fucked me up for the longest time? My dad passed away in 2007. Believe it or not, this was before the age of mass photographing every single life moment. So every once in awhile, I would throw some photographs in the cards I sent him so he could see what was happening in my college life that brought him immense pride. And in the last set of photos I ever sent him was a picture of the guy I ended up marrying from a “law prom” event we attended in college.

img_5003

I couldn’t reconcile it. How could I not make things work with the last guy who my dad saw me with? I had to. It was the last tie I ever had to his tangible approval…

… But we broke it …

img_2073

So let’s be clear here. The idea of intimacy — The idea that someone could know me deeply again. — The idea that an investment doesn’t necessarily mean a lifetime. — That sounds completely terrifying .

 

My therapist seems to think I am fixable in this arena, but I think he has to say that so I don’t become a suicide risk or some shit. Either way, this is why I am journeying back through the hard stuff .

img_4013

So you could say I’m a little apprehensive to mix the love and the sex ever again… Thus … This Is *Us.

*celibate bloggers just trying to function in the face of love

(more to come soon – including how a guy from tinder recently practically proposed but then told me he “didn’t think we had the same things in mind” when I  refused to send him a picture of my bum hole. True story.)… xx-Leah

Fail: Take 1

… and then I broke my celibacy… well – kind of. Whatever. I titled this “Take 1,” because I am hyper aware of my uniquely strong propensity towards fuck ups. So….

Honestly you know that feeling when you can’t quite get a GOOD breath? And you keep inhaling and inhaling… and somehow it just doesn’t feel like it gets the job done… until! You *finally* get that one inhalation that makes you feel like you can really. just. breathe? That’s how I feel when I’m not having sex. And the breath just doesn’t fully… {should I do it? Of course I am going to} …doesn’t fully cum until I do… And it’s been 43 days. FORTY THREE DAYS. Le sigh.

Photo Mar 23, 6 44 45 PMI know that I haven’t fully unpacked the why and how of my path to this particular journey of celibacy. And I do plan to do so much more for you soon. But if I were to boil down the nuclear source of how my fucked-up-ness led me to a therapist’s office on a random Tuesday when I had to answer the question “So what brings you in today?” with “I need to learn how to love again…,” it would be my 3 year relationship with that tall drink of water next to me here. ^^^^^ And here is why:

  • While men who came before AND after him did pleeennntttyyy of damage, Dionysus* (D for short) unleashed my Khaleesi. 
  • D taught me to use sex as a coping mechanism / stress outlet.
  • D was 6’4, impossibly handsome, and a total fucking textbook narcissist at best and sociopath at worse.

The reason for this context is that D… {the 4th man I had ever slept with – FOURTH}… was available as a stress fuck for almost 3 years. So after breaking up, I had to learn how to COPE. And in one of those iterations of coping skills practice, I realized that I could still use sex as a stress reliever/ emotion suppressant if I just asked men to be such. (Spoiler alert: I am celibate now, so this method currently has a 0% proven long term effectiveness rate.)

So here I am. And it’s getting harder and harder to breathe.  So I caved. I caved for no reason other than I felt like it. But in defense of me, my mind is not right as a general rule, and I was deep in it. “It” being the barren waist-lands of celibacy mixed with a series of extremely hard days in a row. It was so bad that I recently dreamed about the only girl I ever dated. But as proof that therapy is working, I didn’t text her after waking up from said dream. I just kept that repressed along with the repression of any thing that feels like sustained failure personally, professionally, and/or psychologically. Then I texted one of my old faithfuls.

I should have known. He wanted to have conversation tonight. He told me he was waiting for his Tylenol to kick in, but he didn’t tell me that until we were already in bed. So then there we are. Laying in bed — talking. Watching random funny videos. All of these things are off limits with the old faithfuls. He knows this. The rules for OFs are 1) do not fall in love, 2) no cuddling, no pillow talk, 3) I am not your emergency contact under any circumstance, 4) no cunnilingus, 5) no spending the night.

…..

We start hooking up. I will spare you the details for this particular OF, but he is doing just fine. Then —

something just —

shifts.

“I have to pee!” I blurted out as I found my shorts and did that awkward scoot to the bathroom where you cup your boobs as if he wasn’t just literally laying on them. So I do. I pee. I take some deep breaths. I swish and spit some water. Then I exhale and open the bathroom door to walk back into his room. I don’t even fully round the corner before he says it.

….

Him: What if…

Me (internally): no no no no please don’t please don’t. please please please. no no no

Him: … what if I told you that I loved you?

Me (internally): NOOOOOOO Embed from Getty Images

So I did what any obviously rational, well-medicated, half-naked, totally fine woman does when a man whose few instructions  included a very clear request to not fall in love says that he loves you.

….

I put my panties back on, started the humiliating search for my bra while still cupping my boobs even as I bent over, and I said something along the lines of, “Thinking that you love me is just illogical. You know nothing about me. I arrive as a drunken sexual phoenix every couple of days then disappear. You don’t know my middle name. You have no idea what my quirks are if they are not connected to my naked body. You love the half girl. You love the part of girl that every man loves. Not me.” Or I may have stuttered through an apology and sprinted out his garage in the dark. Methinks it was most likely something about half way between the two…

Ok. So reset the clock. I guess? Just breathe… xx-Leah

 

*Reminder. These are pseudonyms. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Or yeah- maybe you know him or ARE him, and this is the blog you’ve always feared? Whatever.