Cat's Story - long version - part one
So . . . I'm Cat. I'm 34, female, in a LTR with a 32 yo man, C, who we think may be hard wired mono - this is the current situation.
How I came to be here . . . hm, this may take several posts, and may be a bumpy ride.
I was born in California in a suburb of San Jose. I have memories starting when I was about 1. We lived in a duplex next to my grandparents, so life was pretty good. The single mom right up the road had a son, T, who was a few years older than me – I adored him, worshipped him, loved him. He was a brother, kindred soul, teacher, and first love all rolled into one. We saw each other every day. :)
Then one day my parents moved me to Colorado for my dad’s job - I was heartbroken. I cried for days. I begged to stay behind with my grandparents. I felt like I was losing a piece of myself. I felt like a piece was being ripped out of me. :( Mom told me I would make new friends. Somehow, I knew even at four years old that this was something more than just ‘friendship’.
So, Colorado came – I did make new friends – that were more than friends, much to the chagrin of my parents.
I had a stay at home mom – a blessing in some ways, and damaging to our relationship in others. She was able to forge friendships with the mothers of my friends, so I had play dates regularly. And the term dating took on its regular meaning for me when I was five or six and had no idea the connotations of this on a worldly level.
I had six regular BF’s – S, J, M, A, J1 and Z. I don’t know if any of us really understood the level of banter between us – there were arguments about who would get to sit next to me at kitchen tables, who would get to play my ‘husband’ when we played house, who would be my rescuer when we played war games. There was obviously some kind of competition going on between them, but I loved them all and spent time with them each whenever I could – whether together or separately.
Of course, this led to the obvious curiosity about the differences between boys and girls. I got caught, more than once, playing ‘doctor’ with some of my friends. :eek: We got lectured, got the talk about how little boys and little girls are different, and were basically told to keep our clothes on.
This is where I feel the societal brainwashing began – not only was exploring the human body “dirty” (not sex, mind you, we were not equipped for that at that age) but exploring it with more than one person was plainly “wrong” or at the very least deeply misguided in some way, shape or form.
Unbeknownst to me, or anyone, trying to fit into that "should be, must be, need to be because everyone else is and society says this is how it is" mold would cause much sorrow and heartache to many over the course of the rest of my life.
Part Two . . .
Let’s see, after I started 1st and 2nd grades, I kept some of the same BF’s, but also lost a few and added some different ones. I became a little more aware of differences in levels of love – I wasn’t sure of the terminology yet, of course, I was only 7 and 8, but I felt love and support and companionship for some, while I felt undying devotion or sweet twitterpation for others, so obviously there was some sort of delineation between the emotions. I also learned that I could be myself – completely, utterly myself – around these boys, and that they still accepted me just as I was. It was a delightful, joyous, innocent time. :)
BF’s – still saw J and M for regular play dates as well as daily at school and after, and I developed fast friendships (and crushes) with T1, R and B. (J is actually my very best friend still to this day – I love him like a brother I never had, and would do anything for him – though this is definitely not full on “romantic” love in my definition, I completely identify it as a committed, loving relationship). Then – from out of nowhere – came D. We fell hard and fast – for 7 year olds. But it was mutual and it was love as we knew it. We spent every moment together that we possibly could. We made plans for the future, we played on the playground, we played after school, and we practically lived together all summer long – he was even my first kiss, quietly sneaked one day at recess in a playground enclosure when the TA wasn’t paying attention. :D This went on blissfully through 3rd grade, until the bomb was dropped – his parents were moving to Seattle. It was a repeat of the situation with T – I was heartbroken. I felt like I was losing a piece of myself. I felt like a piece was being ripped out of me. This time around, I at least had a very supportive group around me, but it still felt like a limb was being ripped away – I was a puzzle and pieces were being removed by an uncaring hand, desperately needing to be replaced. J and I grew much closer during this time – this is probably the situation that cemented our friendship into the solid foundation that it has today – I will always love him for that.
I also developed friendships with some females that have been both long term and short term. I found the dichotomy with females much different for the first part of my life than later – maybe in part due to the impact of the societal brainwashing – there was a distinct air of competition between us. Not necessarily competition for boys, but competition to be leader; competition to be listened to and revered. I also think this may have been because I was the product of a second marriage (my dad had kids from before, and he was 20 years older than my mom, so I was the youngest and the only all rolled into one) – I liked to be in charge, the one setting the rules, the one looked up to, because I felt that I was this way naturally. So I tended to become friends with females who were not necessarily as strong willed as I am, those who were unsurprisingly more nurturing and comfortable in the follower roles. If I butt heads with someone, chances were pretty good that she and I would not remain friends for very long, but if I could be the “big sister” to her “little sister” then I had a lifelong friend. (I am still this way with my few female friends.) GF’s – beginning during this time SH, SA, SH1, KI, HO, HE, KA and KA1.
At this point – 3rd and 4th grades – the societal brainwashing began to take on a more earnest and brutal approach as others participated in cruel teasing and bullying. BF’s became potential liabilities rather than cherished friendships, so my time spent with them became that much more valuable, so . . . I began to become a little more picky and selective, and perhaps a little more mono by default, though this felt somehow forced and uncomfortable :( (and I still wasn’t aware of all of the connotations of all of this at this age). I started hearing the nasty childhood rhyme “C & J sitting in a tree . . . “, and to me it indicated such a great disrespect for the relationship. (Furthermore, I noticed that girls were much less accepting and understanding of me and my personality than boys – I couldn’t just be myself around them, so I was more inclined to spend time with my BF’s rather than my GF’s. It was more comfortable for me, and it is something that has remained more comfortable for me to this day – men are less catty, less back-stabbing, less out for themselves – they just are, and therefore I can just be as well.) I think I also started building emotional walls at this juncture, and distancing myself from others, increasing the difficulty later in life for success of any of my relationships. (BTW, I overanalyze EVERYTHING – majored in Psych for three years before I changed my major, and I am also in therapy, so I guess it is kind of a habit.)
Okay – more later.
Cat's Rules of Logic - or Lack Thereof (little bit off topic)
Well, I am a big believer in intuition, gut instinct, knowing whether someone (or something – job, school major, etc.) will be compatible – in a friendly/professional/romantic sense – within a very short time after meeting them and getting to know them. This has been proven to me through many painful judgment errors as well as many wonderful long term relationships that last through any horror that is thrown at them. Even when I was a very small child I could sense – almost immediately in some cases – whether someone was worth getting to know better or was someone I would rather keep at arm’s length or simply not know at all.
For example, I distinctly remember an incident when I was about 2 – my mom’s ex-husband had been stalking her, and decided to chase us down El Camino Real in San Jose as we were running errands. My mom is only 5 feet on her tallest days, and she pulled into a parking lot and got out of the car and confronted him – with the doors of the car closed. I couldn’t hear anything – I couldn’t even see his face – I just remember feeling intense hatred and rage radiating from him, and I thought to myself that this was a very bad man. It wasn’t until years later that I finally understood who he actually was, and how much danger we were in that day. But my senses were apparently fine tuned from a very young age.
Of course, as I grew older, it became less socially acceptable to make snap decisions based simply upon instinct. That saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, has been a thorn in my side for decades. If I was perfectly happy with a decision I had made, friends or family members would suddenly decide that they needed to become involved because I obviously hadn’t thought it through thoroughly, or weighed the evidence correctly, or given the person enough chances. So . . . I became less true to myself during my teen years – those lovely years of peace and joy that every girl remembers fondly with affectionate warmth and a far off gaze of pure ecstasy. Wait. No. Teen years – mine were definitely NOT the best years of my life, and I am 99% sure my parents would agree with you. I was labeled different because I didn’t follow the crowd, and even my “good” friends didn’t quite understand exactly how different I was. This led me to retreat into a sort of stasis where I would attempt to make my gut level decision, only to have it thrown back in my face by a friend as cruel or improper, and I would then uncomfortably go with the flow in order to keep the peace, never fully understanding how this was undermining my own self confidence and self awareness. :o
My intuition became somewhat stagnated; it morphed into an occasional stomach ache that I attributed to stress rather than realizing that deep down I was failing to listen to a part of myself which – had I been more attuned to it – would have prevented me from making many of the poor decisions in my life that followed me through my late teens and throughout my 20’s. I was deeply bitter about this for a very long time – especially after my divorce at 23 from my so-called high school sweetheart. In time, however, I came to realize that going against my nature had helped to shape me just as much as going with my gut instinct had always helped to shape me in the past. I learned to listen to myself again – to the nuances of my body, the little nervous twinges of butterflies in my stomach, the pangs of horrible discomfort – and to trust myself again.
It has not been an easy or pleasant journey, and has taken therapy and medication (some of which I will probably always need – but that is for another post), but I have come full circle and now understand my intuition in ways that I probably never could as a youngster. I base most of my life decisions on my gut feelings – after first rationalizing them out in my head, of course – and I find that this path that I am on is now the most fulfilling that I have found yet in my life. I have found a job and company that I enjoy tremendously, an area of the country that I can tolerate while I build up my career experience and designations, a boyfriend who has as much stubbornness and passion as I do (in order to both grow together and keep the relationship going when there are head butting arguments), and a few lifelong friends for whom I would drop everything at a phone call if necessary. I have found a renewed confidence in myself, confidence that I don't need the approval or acceptance of anyone in order to feel good about myself; I don't need to feel as if I am a part of a specific group or clique or social status - I can just be me, and I am pretty darn awesome. :cool:
I have found that neither my head nor my heart really rule me, though I am a hopeless romantic as well as one of the most logical people you will ever meet – a walking contradiction in many ways. Instead I have found that my gut must take all the credit. :)
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