So, Vix is still coping with the fall-out from Doc's recent revelation that he likes her . . . whatever that means. But, at the moment Doc is traveling and will be out of contact for about two weeks.
Vix is using the time to conduct an investigation, using an unexpected forensic tool. The thing about LDRs in the Information Age is that they tend to leave a record of themselves: nearly all of Vix's relationship with Doc is recorded as a series of emails that stretches back for more than a year.
She hasn't yet completed the investigation - she is, at this moment, reading through last October and into November - but Vix has learned a great deal from the process. She has seen several distinct turning points in their relationship, points at which the tone and terms of Doc's notes to her shifts, and shifts again. He passed from initial interest to full-on infatuation - with expressions of high emotion and promises for the future - to a retreat to practical arrangements . . . to "I like you."
Vix and I have had an interesting time kicking around hypotheses to explain the shift. Either there was nothing of love left on Doc's part when the first excitement was over, or there was love left but Doc was afraid of it and shut it down, or there was love left but Doc didn't recognize it as such, or . . .
Perhaps more urgent, though, is the effect all this is having on Vix. She is convinced it will have been a useful exercise, in the end. At the moment, though, it's tumultuous and painful. I told her I had been tempted to characterize it as a post mortem, but it's really more like a vivisection.
As she read through the record of last Spring, she came up to the point at which I was starting to become fairly surly and withdrawn about the whole thing. She remembered vividly what a struggle it was for her to remain committed to our relationship when I was in such a bad state and Doc was offering her so much . . . that had her in knots today.
It does bring up what has long been a difficult subject for us, though. For her health and for other reasons, Vix very much needs for us to leave this city far behind. We need to move north, preferably to New England, but really anywhere the air is clearer and winters are harsher and drier. She also needs to move to someplace where she would be willing to invest in building something for herself, a project or a set of projects that are meaningful to her and will give her life more meaning.
For many reasons, she pretty much hates the region in which we now live, and is unwilling to invest anything in a place that is - due to pollution, climate, and other factors - gradually and inexorably killing her.
One problem has been that, whenever this comes up, I start to get tangled up in my own emotional response, based on past choices and miscommunications that landed us here (for my career), and initially landed us in an unhealthy house (out of which we moved nearly three years ago), and so on: guilt and shame and impatience (oh, just get over it!) and anxiety and fear of my own inadequacy and . . .
So, I would clam up and withdraw, and not do what needs to be done to advance my career enough to be movable, and feed further into Vix's growing desperation to get out.
Not a good cycle.
Well, when this came up again today in a text conversation with Vix, I caught myself starting to react . . . and the stability engine kicked in. I grabbed the response and held it away from myself, so I could examine it.
I tried to assure Vix I was doing this, and that I just needed some time to complete my own investigation. I think she is so accustomed to my heretofore usual reaction, though, that it continued to upset her.
Late this afternoon, all of what she's feeling was pouring out as she talked to me. She was weeping and describing her frustration and dismay at the state I was in for so much of last year, and with our ongoing situation; she poured out her hopelessness and sense of emptiness.
And here's the amazing thing: I didn't take any of it personally. I didn't get my back up, or get defensive, or guilty, or grumpy. I let her pour it out; I held her as she wept, and I assured her I would work on my own reactions, and we could work on our plan for what to do next.
There are very real problems. There aren't a lot of academic job openings at my level in my field, even in a good year. There hasn't been a good year in quite some time.
Still, it's time to start investing more seriously in making myself movable, maybe even poachable, and in stripping down our household to make it lighter and more portable.
As for Vix and Doc, I hope Vix finds some resolution at the end of her investigation, but she may have a long road, even when Doc is back from his travels. She won't really be able to find out some of what she needs to know until she sees Doc face-to-face again this summer.
In the mean time, I had lunch with Metis earlier this week . . . and she's already suggested lunch again next week. (Part of me thinks: hmmmm . . . The rest of me is simply gratified that she seems willing to invest in friendship with me, which is very sweet, all around.)
I'm also scheduled to have lunch with Nyx on Friday. (Hi, Nyx! I can hardly wait!)
And I may have a chance to sneak off on my own to one day of a music festival in the mountains this Saturday. (Not the same festival I wrote about a few days ago; another one.)