Well, there ya have it. I could just leave it at this… and only this, because the title sums it up. Consider it your TL/DR (Too Long/Didn’t Read) summary because this one. If what’s in my brain ends up fleshed out on this post, it’s going to be a long one. Depression is a relentless motherfucker, that I have denied I’m suffering over and over. I lie to myself. Tell myself that “I’m fine… just feeling a bit down, that’s all” again and again. I can keep telling myself that until I’m blue in the face, and nothing would change the fact that I’m dealing with a metric shit ton of issues. I hate it. I thought that I could handle it. I thought that life was easy for me to tackle; that depression is not something I, of all people, would need to deal with, but isn’t that really part of it? Denial to a degree? I’ve been dealing with the need and want to get better, but something seems to always get in the way of it. Whether it’s something from my past that creeps up, or the reminder of something heinous that I’ve done… it makes me feel remarkably terrible.
Jane here. Hi! Nice to meet you to start with. Joe asked me to co-author this post with him. So, here I am! He is done writing this article by now, and asked me to go through and add in what I felt needed added 🙂 Ready? Good! Me too!
Ok, I have to say that you, Joe, have never done a heinous thing in your life! Seriously. Annoying? Sure. Bad? Maybe. Ridiculous? Definitely. Heinous? Never.
Oh I know this seems like it’s a self loathing post, and perhaps in a way it is. But there’s some shit I just need to say otherwise I may not be able to face it. We don’t have the time nor the funds for a therapist so, this is my outlet. So forgive me if this gets a bit… raw. I just need to say it. Thanks for listening in advance.
I’m going to work my way backwards… starting with the most recent reason for self deprecation right off the bat.
I cheated on my wife
No I didn’t physically cheat. I didn’t put my dick in another person… but I might as well have done it with how I approached the cheating. Back in June/July of 2013, I had begun chatting with an old female friend of mine. Well, let me back up, I had been chatting with her before June/July, but that’s when things turned sexual in nature. Did I mention that this woman is actually Rose (yes, THAT Rose)(might I add, that this just makes the whole thing sound SO twisted *facepalm*)? I learned a lot about her, she learned a lot about me… things we had never known about each other. Not giving myself an excuse, but at this time Jane was dealing with a lot of shit, depression included, and things in the bedroom were… slow. I was lonely and downtrodden mixed with feeling stale and stagnant in the town we were living in. Did that give me an excuse to nearly destroy the most perfect thing that has ever happened to me? No. Not even fucking close. And with that in mind… I know I have a LOT to atone for with what I did… and I’m working on fixing that every day…
This was a blow to our marriage that I wasn’t prepared for. To me our marriage was “perfect”. It wasn’t perfect in that we were infallible. It was perfect to me, because I NEVER in a million years would have thought that this would have happened to us. We were soul mates. We were MEANT to be together. Sure we fought, sure we had our rough days, but we were it. Our marriage was wonderful! I was definitely dealing with some dark stuff at that time in my life. I was slowly dying as a person, and I could not physically give to Joe, at all. So, he turned to who would give to him. Though not physically, he got the affirmation, attention, and sexual interaction, that he so desperately needed. Ouch. That hurts just to type out. The hurt I felt the day I found all the chat logs was immense. I thought that someone had ripped my heart out. My world literally crumbled.
Wait, let me pause there. I was helping him find something in his Facebook chat logs, and came across all of them in my searching. It was with his permission. I am NOT a go behind your back type of person.
Needless to say, my world sort of fell apart that day. I’m not sure it’s been the same since then. There has been a huge crack put in the foundation of our marriage, and that needs repaired before anything can be built on top of it. It needs repaired. Badly.
All of that “loneliness and lack of physical touch” shit was just buttercream icing on top of my depression cake. I’ve been dealing with things ranging from low self esteem to poor self image… loneliness, heartache, rejection, guilt, anger and pain. All of this is comes from a range of people and circumstances like family, “friends”, work issues, my upbringing… you name it. It all hit me right in the feels. Thing is, I never really took the time to deal with my issues. In hindsight, I should have taken the steps to, at the very least, talk to Jane about what I was dealing with. She is, and has always been, my confidant. What made this so different? Why wouldn’t I tell her what I was dealing with? Well… I only recently realized (as in, just a night or two ago) what could be the reason I didn’t reach out for her.
I perceive myself as a burden on anyone and everyone I come in contact with.
While that’s a heavy statement, there is so much fucking truth to how I feel in this regard. My parents? Well I already told you what happened when I was born. So, there’s that. I was a burden on my own mother from jump street. Growing up, I was treated that way by my parents and siblings. Granted it wasn’t Harry Potter-esque, live under the staircase, levels of bad, but there was a fair amount of rejection, favoritism, bullying and other “isms” that were directed my way growing up. I will say that I’m at the very least, lucky enough to not have had to deal with physical abuse (save for the few time I had a shoe thrown at me… or forced to strip naked and be spanked repeatedly with a thick leather belt for a softcore porn movie being found in my room… or… okay, maybe there was physical abuse. Ooookay moving on), but it was still emotionally damaging.
Don’t even get me started on your family, or your upbringing for that matter. As for the physical abuse… yeah. I remember Joe telling me the story of his beating. Yes. That is what it was. A beating. It wasn’t a spanking. You were hit, over and over and over again with a leather belt out of rage. It wasn’t even anger. It was rage. Screaming at you, telling you what a horrible child you are. That is abuse on so many levels. I remember Joe telling me, and I ended up sobbing by the time he was done telling me. My heart broke for that little boy. For how he was made to feel. The shame. The hurt. the guilt. I want to gather him up into my arms and hold him close. Tell him how wonderful he is.
Well guess what? I get to so that the rest of my life Mr. Joe.
Moving on to my “church family”. I, like a lot of kids who grew up in the south, was part of a very “tight nit” youth group. We would do skits, pray together, play together, and as kids do… form cliques. We were supposed to be super close. The types that would always have your back. Well, you see, all of these ‘God fearing’ friends of mine were apparently all talking about me behind my back. I was the “freeloader” (My family was one of, if not the poorest family, in the bunch). While everyone was always going on the trips to the music festivals, or buying the latest CD, etc etc… I was the one borrowing the new CD’s and bootlegging them. Apparently though, over the years it wasn’t so much that I was a “friend” but more so simply tolerated. I found this out late in life… long after we all pretty much drifted apart, but it really shattered my perception of friendship. Being lied to about what was supposed to be real… a close bond… it hurt.
I think I’ve always simply wanted to just “fit in”. I wanted to be the guy that people actually want to invite to hang out, go to a party, hit up a movie. And yet, I realize that save for 3 friends in particular, I’ve never had that. I was never “that guy”. Hell, there was a time where, while everyone in our youth group(referred to above), would always throw surprise birthday parties for each other. That when mine approached, I actually had to essentially organize and invite everyone myself… later to find out that there was a guy who shared my birthday in our group, that they had already planned the party for him. Thanks guys…
So let’s fast forward to now… essentially, I’m dealing with all of these jumbled emotions. I’m actually going to name them right now so that I can face them. Bare with me for a moment. The things I’m facing, almost on a daily basis (who am I kidding… definitely on a daily basis) are:
- How I betrayed the trust of my wife and how I NEVER wanted to be “that guy” but still managed to become him.
- The sadness I see on her face when I know she’s missing Rose, and how I simply… can’t help and/or make it better.
- Am I good enough? Am I simply “enough”… for anyone? (We’ll touch on that next).
- My appearance. (I’ve struggled with my self image, weight loss/gain, feeling attractive and body shape for a long time… though I’m starting to see that my family skewed that self image.)
- Loneliness (We’ll touch on that as well)
Ummm… you need a mental vacation I think Joe. I know there is so much racket in your head. Let me say that while Joe can’t “fix” how I feel when I am struggling with missing Rose, the support he does give me has helped me more then he will ever know. Ever.
These are just a few things that I can think of off the top of my head. I live in a state of feeling aimless at the moment. Lost in a sea of thoughts that aren’t connecting at all. It’s like the Crystal Cave Lake, loaded with a shit ton of Inferi and I’m goddamn Harry Potter without a wand (If you get that reference, I love you). One of the biggest things, at least currently, that I’m dealing with and needing to reconcile is feeling, and KNOWING, that I’m enough for Jane. With her discovering, and exploring in the future, her Poly side, one can’t help but wonder if and why you’re not “enough”. It’s something I struggle with… a lot I think. Knowing that she was at one point, and very well may be searching for someone to love in the future. I almost don’t want to attempt to increase my love or affection, because I don’t know if it’s something that I could fill for her.
My brain likes stringing shit together that it has no business stringing together. This is how my brain works:
Jane says she’s Poly. She needs to fill that empty space of having a second partner. (Now wait juuuust a second! I didn’t have an empty space I needed to fill! I simply realized, during the course of what was developing with Rose, that I had fallen in love with her. I might also add that it freaked me the hell out. Being able to, while loving my husband with my whole heart, love her too. Some freaky shit right there. Well it was. Hehe… I get it now.)
Joe-Brain: Well, that must mean that you really never HAVE been enough… sooo.. it makes sense, sucks, but makes sense. (I have never once, in all the years we have been married, said you weren’t enough. You and Rose seemingly got together one day, BEFORE I found the chat logs and all that “wonderful” stuff, and said “Here, have some fun! Explore! Enjoy!” followed with an *eyebrow wiggle*. I was never LOOKING for anything else. Ever. I never have. It wasn’t until I was informed that Rose was highly interested in me, and we had started talking, with your ok I might add, that I realized I was extremely attracted to her too. There was definite chemistry there.)
Jane and Rose’s relationship ends. Jane is sad. (Fuck life. And logic. And everything. Yep, it did. I have been sad. Doing my best to cope. Not very successfully some moments, but I’m surviving.)
Joe-Brain: Okay, she’s sad. You hear her listening to songs that remind her of Rose. You watch her try to make sense of it all, buuuut there’s not really anything that you can, nor should you try to understand. All that WE know is… you can’t fill that space. Never will be able too. You’re simply not… enough… You’ve never been enough for anyone. The best you can do is be 100% for yourself, even if that means you’re only 50% for the person you’re trying to be 100% for. (ok, so Joe had to explain this to me. I was LOST when I read this. Apparently he meant that even if he’s giving 100% to me, that he feels like he’s only able to “fill” 50% of me. This, which even he has said he doesn’t understand, isn’t the case. Rose wasn’t about filling spaces. Joe was, and is, my everything. He always has been. Even with exploring this new part of me, I can’t imagine my life without him. No he can’t “fill” the space that Rose left. I have to figure out how to patch that up on my own. He can however “fill” me with his love, support, arms, everything. That, will help me be able to patch the hole that was left. I’m not looking to “fill some space” in me. It never was about that with Rose. She was this glorious addition to my already wonderful life with Joe. She was never meant to replace anyone. I had no intentions of her replacing Joe. Ever. Ever ever. Yes, I fell in love with her. That, in no way, detracted from my love for Joe. My love for her was….. different. It had to be. It’s not like I wanted to marry her, or run off with her, or anything of the sort. At the very least, I would have loved to see her every once in awhile.)
Me: What the ever loving fuck does all that even MEAN? (Psssst… I explained it for you!)
Joe-Brain: Just realize and come to terms with the fact that you’re not one of those people that gets to have someone to yourself. Everyone leaves and/or progresses to something better. They always have. Even your kids will eventually leave to be with the ones they love. Not that it’s a slight against you, but for them, that’s the natural progression of things. Sorry but… you’ll eventually get used to it. (Wait wait wait…. I’m not progressing to something better!! What is better then you? Really. I’m not going anywhere. I’m here, with you, for the long haul. Always have been. Always will be.)
I fucking HATE my brain.
So I have a lot of uphill work to do with myself, because while my brain torments me with shit like that all the time, I know it’s not true. Deep down Jane loves me. She’s stayed with me, tells me everything, never holds anything back. She doesn’t hide things from me. She’s always up front. Do I occasionally get worried that she’s going to figure out that she’s a lesbian (que: Seinfeld “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” line) and will not want me… ever? Only once in a blue moon, but Jane takes care of me. We’ve been through SOOOOO fucking much it’s not even funny. The first person I’d want next to me in a Zombie Apocalypse, is her. Some of the things in this post probably will sting when she reads it… and Love, for that, I’m truly sorry.
Sting or not, you need to say what you must. The end. I’m ok with that! You need to deal with your shit, just as much as I do. That’s what I’m here for. I’m here to help you work it out. If that means you need to talk about me, and it sting a little. So be it! I love you more then you will ever know, Joe. You know, about the whole lesbian thing. I remember the day you asked, “If you hadn’t have met me, and figured out that you liked women, do you think you would have been a lesbian?” That question sort of caught me off guard. While I thought I could answer quickly, and easily, the more I thought about it the more I wasn’t so certain of my answer. I think I am a bisexual woman who leans more to the women side of things then the men side of things. I have always, now that I am acknowledging this side of me, been more attracted to women in life, books, tv, porn, etc then men. That was a huge realization for me. With that being said, as I said before, I could NEVER imagine my life without Joe and our wonderful brood of children. Ever. Ever ever.
A friend of mine suggested I find a hobby. Something that I do that’s just for me. Something that makes me happy. I’ve realized that… Jane… makes me happy. And when I told my friend that, she said… and I quote “OH FOR FUCKS SAKE! SOMETHING that doesn’t involve HER! Your love for her is amazing, but fucking hell find a way to be your own person sometimes”. And you know what, she’s right. I need to get to the root of who I really am… to find out what I actually like. I need to peel all of these onion layers of hate, anger, guilt, sadness, and spite away. (This makes me laugh every time I read it! hehe.. the first part that is.)
Yesterday, I was feeling low. Lower than low actually, and I just.. I didn’t want to burden Jane with my issues. She asked what was wrong and I told her I just needed a moment, though I needed to be held. (Didn’t believe you. At all. That is why I was so glad when you finally said you just needed held.)
She came. She came and was by my side, and reminded me just how much I meant to her. Honestly, it wasn’t even about what she was saying (though I would be lying if I didn’t say that her words filled me with so much love…), but the fact that she stopped what she was doing and was THERE. Right there, next to me. Embracing me. And I was calmed. I felt… safe. That’s something that I don’t think I’ve felt in a good, long while. Safe. I need to feel safe and secure… and Jane… brought me there. I know I should hold the keys to my own safe place… and I know Jane’s dealing with her own shit… but as she said yesterday, that’s just how we operate. We take care of each other, even when we need taking care of ourselves.
Listen, I’m not perfect. I have never once thought that. In fact, I used to think I was pretty damn awful. Yep, I struggled with my own self… well, everything… along with depression, suicidal thoughts(and almost actions), feeling beautiful, etc. I had to fight through how I was raised, in regards to the church, etc, before I could get past everything else. So, given my history, I knew what he needed. Even though he wasn’t asking, I knew he needed me. I knew he needed me with him, to lift him up. It was necessary that I go to him and be there. I have always been his “safe place”, and I never want that to change. Yes, I am struggling with my own shit. I know that. I am also struggling with health issues, but I will do whatever I can to be there for Joe. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I love you, Jane. While I’m dealing with my stuff, I want you to know that no matter what you go through, no matter how long it takes for your hurt to subside, I will be here with my arms open. I will be ready to take care of you, in whatever capacity you need, because as I’ve told you countless times, you always come first for me. I will always be here…
I love you too, Joe. The help, support and love you have given to me over the last 3ish weeks, I can never thank you enough for. I can never put into words what it has meant to me. The pain I feel isn’t going to go away overnight. It’s going to take time. It’s going to need to heal. In the meantime, the strength and love you’ve given me have helped me stay strong. It has lifted me up when I couldn’t stand anymore. You have wrapped your arms around me when I was a crumpled, crying heap, dried my tears and held me until the storm passed. Neither of us is perfect, but that doesn’t matter. We’re there for each other. We lift each other up. When we became a “thing” long before we got married, we were going against the odds. Look what we did. We won.
And on that note, I know some may say that I need to change my perception of everything I’ve experienced and WILL experience in my life. However, for me… for now, I feel that I need to send a double middle finger to my family, “friends”, church and more for aiding in utterly fucking my brain sideways. I hate it. I struggle not to hate THEM, and I know… at the root of it, I need to come to terms with… and stop hating myself.
Can I join you in a one finger salute? Well, double finger salute. I would so happily do it! Trust me I would! I know you struggle with not hating them, but I am here to help you. I am here to love you. I am here to show you that you’re not alone, Joe. Ever. I am here to tell you every day what a fucking amazing man you are. Always. We are everyday people, living out lives, doing our best. We can do it. We just need to do it together. We don’t know what is going to happen next, or what our next chapter holds, but we can do it together.