Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Just Want To Be “Normal”

“[…] Or should I give up
Or should I just keep chasin’ pavements
Even if it leads nowhere
Or would it be a waste
Even if I knew my place
Should I leave it there […]”

- “Chasing Pavements,” Adele

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what is worse: being chronically ill or being dumped. And I’ve come to the conclusion that being dumped is worse. With chronic illness, it’s forever, but there’s always the possibility of remission, or better meds, or possibly, a cure. But with being dumped, you think it’s forever, but it turns out to be never.

I wish I never would have gotten dumped.

And I wish I never would have gotten sick.

In my heart, I know that my illnesses were not the reason that my relationship ended, but trying to be upset with something or someone other than my ex-boyfriend, illness is the logical first choice. Although come to think of it, in a roundabout way, they did.

I wonder: Is illness always in bed, a third party waiting to get in on the action?

It feels like someone has my heart in a vice grip, and they are simultaneously strumming rubber bands against my heart. That’s the only way I can describe the pain I’m in right now. The pesky few pounds that I gained during my relationship came off in no time once the relationship was over. The break-up diet. I don’t really recommend it. Living basically off of tea and toast because my stomach hurts all the time. I sleep in fits, waking up expecting to be in his bed and not mine.

At my yearly gyno exam, which came less than a week after my break-up, my blood pressure was 136/100, practically in a hypertensive crisis with that bottom number. I can’t say I’m proud that this break-up has sent me into a tailspin, but it’s hard not to. I keep trying to tell myself to hold it together, but then something will happen, or someone will say something, and it will send me into a crying jag. I feel like I haven’t done much more lately than stare at the wall. There are two critical differences between this relationship and my last two: 1) This was about love and the others weren’t, and 2) I was totally blind-sided by the ending. There was no warning. No matter how much the other two hurt, they were over before they really began.

I was convinced he was the one, that I had gone on my last first date ever. I was also convinced that he was truly willing and able to deal with the illness stuff, not because he had to, but because it was a labor of love. When you love someone, you make sacrifices. There were certain things I was willing to change and give up for him, because when you truly love someone, the other person comes first.

Not only did he stay with me in the hospital, but he was a health advocate. He made sure I was seen by the best people, and fought for me when I ran into red tape. And he was there for me the few times that I really didn’t feel good. I’ve honestly dated a couple of guys who said that if I were sick, they would throw a blanket over me and go to work, pretend that I wasn’t even there.

He stayed up all night reading my blog. And he cried. And he told me that I was the strongest person he knew.

I didn’t know it was possible to hurt worse than I did when I found out that my ex-ex had cheated on me. But the truth is, there was no love in that relationship. He was only happy when I was miserable. And I was attracted to him because being with him was a teenage fantasy of mine. But there was love in this relationship. I guess “was” is the operative word.

When I started dating my ex-boyfriend, I wasn’t really expecting to fall in love. I had been dealing with two major hurts, one in which the guy was crazy and bordered on stalking, and the other who was a teenage fantasy come to life and nothing more. I was also dating someone else. Yes, I was dating two guys at the same time and it was really stressful for me. Having to break up with the other guy was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, but it wasn’t fair to hang on to both of them. I wasn’t used to being on the other end of the break-up train. And now I am left to wonder what might have been with this other person.

I realize now that there was a huge gulf between us. While he was worried about a bunch of petty shit, I was concerned about the big picture. And apparently, we never met in the middle. He didn’t understand, that for me, being happy meant more than anything. I didn’t care about the little decisions because my life in the last few years has been so encompassed with major, life-altering decisions. I didn’t care what we watched on TV. I was with him and happy. That’s what mattered. Not what TV show we had on. In the end, I was too indecisive and agreeable. And for that, the relationship was doomed to fail.

But I finally understood the words to cheesy love songs. They spoke to me. They spoke about my life.

And I guess you’re only as alone as you feel. But why is it that it’s always the one person who isn’t there that makes the difference?

Do I have “wounded heart” written on my forehead? Everyone’s being so nice to me and it’s a little bit hard for me to handle. While illness was something that caused people to not know what to say, when it comes to matters of the heart, people know exactly what you’re going through; after all, who hasn’t loved and lost?

For example, my parents and I were out to dinner. I order pancakes, but only ate one of them. We know the manager of the restaurant and he came over to talk to us. He asked me if there was something wrong with the pancakes, if I wanted something different to eat. With tears in my eyes and a heaviness in the heart, I said, “It’s not the pancakes. The pancakes are fine.” Because the thing is, the pancakes were fine. It’s everything else that wasn’t.

Like the bloody nose I got while crying hysterically while my boyfriend was breaking up with me. Or the mouth sores that keep cropping up. Or the tremors in my hands.

When I had a boyfriend, I was so jealous of everyone having babies. Now, I still am, but I stare at myself in the mirror, and I wonder if this body has the ability to be life sustaining. Right now, it’s not doing a very good job of sustaining me.

I thought my luck was changing. I thought that despite illness, I was lucky.

I thought I had found my happy ending. But happily ever after didn’t last nearly as long as I had hoped.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is…

I just want to be healthy. And happy. And NORMAL.


  1. I'm sorry you are going through this. :( Wishing you the best, from a fellow lupie. *hugs*


  2. Oh, Leslie! I wish there was a magic cure for heartbreak that I could share with you. I'm so sorry for your pain!

  3. When you lose someone (your ex), a dream (the life together you had imagined), or something (like your health, or a "normal" life, it is perfectly natural to grieve.
    I'm sure the person who will love you for you will come into your life.
    I'm wishing you the "normal" happy life you deserve. I can't take away your physical and emotional pain, but I can send you (((((gentle hugs))))).

  4. Leslie, I am so sorry this happened. I feel like all the things I want to say, and believe are true--that illness is secondary in the eyes of someone who loves you, that you will find someone who will stick around and give you what you deserve, etc--are trite and not helpful right now when you're in shock and have so much (very understandable) grief.

    So, one day, one hour, at a time. Each day that passes you are one day stronger than the one before, even if it doesn't always feel that way.

    Keep surrounding yourself with people who love and support you, and who want to help you through this.

    Thinking of you...

  5. {{{{{Leslie}}}}}}

    I am so sad that you have to endure this along with all else life throws at us. I hope you are able to pick up when the healing begins and get back into living with a whole heart. It's okay to grieve a break up so don't hurry through it. Just let it happen in it's own time.

    Gentle hugs.

  6. I'm so sorry honey. Everythin will work out, and you'll be stronger for the experience. In the meantime, curl up with Netflix and some Ben and Jerrys :)

  7. So sorry you are going through this. I hope things will get better for you very soon! Hang in there.

  8. Hi Leslie,

    I only found your blog a few days ago and started reading from your first Blog post. Not sure if you will receive this notification as you wrote it so long ago but well thought I would try anyway.

    Reading this post has broken my heart. You have produced a blog that is so honest and straight down the line (just like me) and I want to complimment you on your maturity throughout this and all other posts you have blogged.

    I havnt read into you future posts but I am sure I am going to find that you come through this and end up putting down to a further life experience. Keep up the great blogging. You rock girl!.

    Liz xxx