At about this time last year, I wrote that, after writing almost exclusively depressing things, it was incredibly difficult for me to talk about happy stuff, about pure unadulterated joy. Now, I face the opposite problem. You see, the last month has been one of the most difficult I’ve faced in a very, very long time. I also believe that it was also one of the most important in terms of my personal growth as well as the development of my relationship with Finn. However, in order to get to the happy place, there was a whole bucket load of heartache to get there. But as I experienced it, I found it nearly impossible to write despite having numerous blog title ideas. Now, however, as Finn and I approach our one year anniversary on the 21st, I feel ready to share the details of what ended up being our first fight...
Kicking The Puppy In The Pit
Even before everything went down, I knew something was wrong. It was a Tuesday, our regular date day and Finn had a doctor’s appointment. When it finished, he called me up and said that he wasn’t hungry, so he was going to pick me up a little later and we’d go out for tea. Usually, he’d pick me up anyway and we’d waste time at his or my place. But not that Tuesday. I knew something was wrong, but I buried it.
An hour or two later, he picked me up and we got pizza, before heading to a local park. By coincidence (or, as I later discovered, by his planning), this park was also the one where I’d had my best day with him (as described in last year’s Children Of The Eurovision post). Still, as we ate our pizza there was no real signs of what was to come. I talked about Dolly Parton and how I wanted to go to Dollyworld and whether or not he’d come with me. He said he wouldn’t, but I reasoned that it had a zoo, considering he loves animals. It didn’t really work. After we finished tea, he said he needed to talk to me and that we should move into the backseat. I jokingly said, “you’re not going to break up with me are you?” Sometimes, I really need to shut my mouth.
So, we move to the backseat and the first thing he says is “the way things are, I don’t think our relationship is going to last very long.” Now, my brain has a tendency to blow things out of proportion, to vastly misread situations and to panic needlessly. For example, if Finn hasn’t texted me in a couple of hours then my brain panics. I reassure my insane brain that it’s nothing and eventually he texts me back. The problem with this situation was that my brain wasn’t over-reacting. It wasn’t being crazy, it was processing everything exactly as he said it. And my brain melted. It went absolutely totally blank. I stopped thinking. It was a surreal feeling that terrified me as I believed that I was going to lose myself here. So, I started scratching my thumb in order to have some connection with reality. Thankfully, I don’t have particularly sharp nails, so I didn’t permanently damage myself. Did hurt though.
While I was dealing with this, Finn pointed out the (incredibly reasonable) problems he was having. He stated that he believed a relationship was built on three main foundations. These are honesty which I was doing fairly well at, except for telling my friends far too much about our sex life. I have a tendency to tell my friends everything and then tell him “oh, I told my friends this about you the other day.” I told you I was dumb.
Next was respect. This is something that I’d seen coming for a bit. Because I’m a terrible, terrible person who liked to pick on my boyfriend for absolutely no reason. This wasn’t just a sly jab between lovers, no this was mean comments about stuff he couldn’t change. And looking back on it, I feel incredibly bad about it. It was something that my friend Sabrina had told me to stop doing, but I didn’t listen. Cause you know, the whole really dumb thing.
The final aspect was also arguably the most important. This was trust. It’s also something that I’m really bad at. A lot of this has to do with the fact that I dislike myself at the best of times, so my brain can’t accept the fact that Finn is with me and loves me, so it naturally assumes that whenever he goes out clubbing or anywhere on his own, that he’s going to leave me and find someone better. This is baseless which had been proven the week before. As I was attending a friend’s birthday party, I was unable to go with Finn to a gay club. My brain went a little crazy, but I managed to calm down until he informed me that he was staying out until 3 in the morning and getting very, very drunk and I lost it completely. Tears, thoughts that we were over, the works. The next day, I called him and told him how I had reacted, while he reassured me that he hadn’t done anything. In fact, he’d even turned down the opportunity to cheat when it was offered to him. He is not the cheating kind and this is more about my brain’s stuff than it is about him. However, this naturally made it almost impossible for him to believe that I trusted him.
So, after this speech, I learnt that he thought I was too honest, didn’t respect him and didn’t trust him. The problem with this is that it was all correct. If I had been him in this situation, I would have gone to this conclusion. However, this information broke me. This was partially because I’d seen this coming.
After that gay club night, I’d been talking to my counsellor about working on my trust issues and personal insecurities. I’d seen the bomb that was about to go off and had attempted to defuse it, yet it went off anyway.
However, the main reason this upset me so deeply was that it seemed like an ending. Assume you’re Finn for a second. If you have this boyfriend who treats you terribly, who doesn’t respect you or trust you, then why would you stay? So, this is where my brain went. This is it. This is my relationship over. We are over. And it’s all my fault. And it was absolutely devastating.
As he finished talking, he asked me to say something. Listening to the tone of his voice, I think he wanted my reassurance, that I had understood. And I wanted to say something so desperately. Any word would’ve been nice. But, of course, my brain was in shutdown. I didn’t know what to say. I scratched my thumb trying to pull myself back to the real world. He continued trying to get me to talk, and I finally managed to look at him. He looked so sad, and evidently I must have too as he said, “Don’t look like that. I feel like a kicked a puppy.”
Puppies mean a lot to me, to us as a couple. Ever since I wrote my first (and favourite) blog post about us entitled ‘A Puppy In A Pit Of Tennis Balls’, baby dogs have become a surrogate symbol for my relationship with my beautiful boyfriend. So, naturally, this comment sparked a new blog post shaped connection in my brain. It went, Kicking The Puppy In The Pit. This was such a sudden, violent and evocative image that I immediately fell in love with it and much of the rest of that evening was spent working out how to write a blog post on this as opposed to actually being connected to the reality of the situation.
I eventually had to get out of the car. While trying to comfort me in my silence, Finn put his hand over the thumb I was scratching. Whenever I have huge emotional turmoil, going for a walk helps for some reason. So, I decided that I was going for a walk. I managed to calm my brain down enough to tell Finn where I was going. However, as I grabbed the door, he asked whether I wanted him to come with me. This was one of those moments that felt huge and metaphorical, like denying him the chance to come with me would destroy us. So I sat in silence. He eventually took it upon himself to come with me.
We walked in total silence, me thinking about all the good memories we’d had here, and wondering how things had got this bad. It was freezing, but I hardly felt it. After a while, Finn said he was going to wait, while I walked on ahead. I nodded slowly and pulled my phone out of my pocket, calling Sabrina. She didn’t answer and as I looked back, I saw Finn with his head in his hands. He was crying.
I had never seen him cry before. Well, not from something emotional. Last year, when he was in hospital, he’d cried from the pain but that was different. What made this so horrible was knowing that I had caused this. And I couldn’t deal with it.
I sunk to the ground behind a feature wall and sobbed uncontrollably. I thought it would never stop. I had caused him so much pain and it was all my fault. It seemed unbearable. Realising that I was being stupid, I stood up and walked back over to him. As I dusted myself down, I realised that my butt was soaking wet.
Finn was still crying when I got back to him. I tried to lighten the mood. The problem with me when I’m emotionally devastated and trying to cheer people up is that I get sarcastic, cutting and talkative. It ain’t pleasant. So, naturally, I made a joke of my blog post title idea. This was probably the worst thing I could’ve said and he started crying again. I pointed out that I am terrible when people start crying. Basically, when I get upset, the filter in my brain melts away. Weirdly, the same thing happens when I’m drunk...
Eventually, he managed to calm down and we hugged. We didn’t talk it over yet, were just taking comfort in one another’s arms. Sabrina called me back and Finn told me to take it. I told her the facts of the story and managed to calm myself down enough to go back to him. I suggested we go back to my place and cuddle on my bed. So, we drove back to mine and cuddled while looking at pictures of people with weird eyes.
This may seem odd. We didn’t discuss what was brought up. To me, it was still raw. I didn’t have answers for his questions, my brain was still recovering from its collapse and I didn’t want to ruin what had become a pleasant, if somewhat tainted, evening. However, this denial could only last for so long and we both knew it. We knew that the second we left one another that night, that the demons that we’d been carefully pushing down were going to come storming out with a vengeance. As he left, we wished one another good luck and promised to see one another tomorrow when things had settled down a bit. As I got into bed alone, I was shocked because my brain didn’t do the bad stuff. It was calm and I fell asleep fairly easily.
The next day, I was down but in terms of what had happened the previous night I was calm. It occupied my mind to the extent that I decided to base the creative non-fiction piece I had to write for class on the incident. I didn’t really consider the points he had raised but decided that seeing him that night would help lift my spirits (as had happened every time I saw him). So, after Uni, I went to the local library and waited for him to pick me up. I was comparing the prices for the Maude boxset when he turned up and I instantly knew that I had made a terrible mistake. Because instead of his face filling me with the usual, kissable instant joy, I wanted to cry. The pain became almost overwhelming.
We went back to his car and he suggested we get tea. I nodded, saying this would give me time to talk to him about the issues. There was a lot of problems with this plan. The first was that most of the places we usually go to for tea we didn’t want to go to as the joy of that place would instantly die for any future occasions. We eventually decided on Schnitz as it was a place that I already have fairly awful memories of (linked to another time where Finn had caused me pain, which is a story to complicated to tell her). We barely talked during the meal, both dreading what was to come. After tea, we decided to walk around the park behind the shopping centre. We also have memories of this place, so it became yet another emotional and difficult to deal with situation. We were more honest with one another, which led Finn to point out that we don’t actually have very much in common and want different things out of life. That there is a serious, huge point which I plan to address in a different blog post, but let’s just say, there was more than a little bit of truth to those words. It was truth that upset me.
Eventually, we decided to go back to his car. It was still only about 8, so I suggested we go back to my place and cuddle again. He said he didn’t feel like cuddling. Now, for the whole night, I’d been in control. I hadn’t cried. But this? This broke me. I cried. I knew it was wrong, it was going to hurt him, that it wasn’t fair, but I couldn’t control it. After recovering myself, I said, through my tears, “You can just take me home, if you want...” This set him off, so we sat there quietly crying, while trying to decide what to do. Eventually, he decided to drop me off home, figuring that the car ride over might help. I agreed and as he started the car, I began to hate the Universe. Because, at that exact moment, what started playing on the radio? Cher’s ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’. Seriously? Damn you, Universe, damn you.
We got back to my place and I grabbed my bag and went to open the door. Turning back, I said softly “I’ll text you.” This was all it took. We both completely lost it. Total, uncontrollable, unending sobbing. It was the most painful, difficult moment in my life so far. And this includes the times where I cried in a gutter because my dad hugged me and when I was sobbing while stuffing my face with McDonald’s fries because mum had abandoned me in the city. I knew what had to be done, but at that moment, I was so far from being able to leave that car, so I decided to do the only thing I could think of doing; I called Sabrina. She acted as a mediator, forcing us to talk and come to the realisation that, at that moment, we had to get out of the car. I told him I loved him as I grabbed my bag and left him crying.
As I got inside, I threw my bag down and went into the kitchen to make a coffee, barely holding myself together. And then, my brother came in, asking if I’d got the Pixar dominoes from Finn’s mum and I started crying. He rushed into the lounge and got Mum who asked me what was wrong. She pulled me into a hug and I returned to being a child. Every polite thing I’d learned vanished, and I gave into a world of pain and ugly, ugly crying. I’m talking tears, snot and drool all mixed into one big ball of sad. I remained like this for half-an-hour while she tried to coax the truth out of me. When I managed to calm down, I watched some episodes of a sitcom before dissolving into pain again when I realised that it was 11 and Finn hadn’t texted me goodnight. This was the one thing I can always count on, ever since that very first serious text after our drunken man kiss. Every night, without fail, at around 11, he texts me goodnight. And this broke me. I texted Sabrina, begging her to make the pain go away as I wished her goodnight. As soon as the message went through, I got a text from Finn wishing me goodnight. And I cried again.
Seriously, I swear I lost like three kilos in sad, salty tears over those two days. It felt like there was nothing I could do, that we were doomed to separate within moments. Basically, it felt like the end.
Emotional Mini-Golf Sounds Weird
It wasn’t the end, however. But it wasn’t an easy fight either. When I woke up the next morning, I read that Zayne Malik left One Direction, Jeremy Clarkson had been fired from Top Gear, Looking (a show Finn and I had loved) was cancelled and the Lushlaws (the Youtubers who had a small part to play in Finn and I getting together in the first place) were separating. Seriously, it’s like the Universe was giving me signs. And I hate the Universe telling me what to do. So I basically went fuck the Universe (excuse my French) and was more determined than ever to stay with Finn. On the bus ride over to Uni, I wrote down all the things he had brought up and figured out how to address them. For the first time since that emotional conversation, I saw hope. I saw a way forward and it filled me with joy.
This joy was softened somewhat when I texted Finn about seeing a way forward. That was one thing that never stopped despite the pain. We kept texting one another, just talking about what was going on in our daily lives. Not exactly confronting the issues head on, but retaining a sense of normality despite the elephant sitting in the corner. So, I texted him, all hopeful and happy. He said it was good, but that we should take things slowly. This was a good thing in some way in that it allowed me to calm down enough to continue with Uni. That Thursday was defined by uplifting highs and devastating lows, which left me exhausted.
Friday saw me attending an emergency counsellor’s appointment where we discussed all that had happened and what my plan going forward was. After this meeting, I felt ready to talk through these issues, but she rightly suggested that it might be better if we were to do something fun together first. As luck turns out, Finn and I were unable to meet that night as he had an early working morning, so we decided to meet on Saturday and do something fun before a d&m, although not necessarily in that order.
I panicked Saturday morning. To me, this felt like d-day, the most important day I had so far faced in my relationship. Talking to mum didn’t help matters. She’d become so stressed about my potential break-up that she’d given herself a headache the night before. Realising that freaking out probably wasn’t going to be at all helpful, I listened to Sara Bareille’s ‘Brave’ on repeat, willing myself to be brave. The thing I was most concerned about was crying the instant I saw him. It terrified me, but I assured myself that that wouldn’t help anything.
I heard his knock at the door and my heart entered my throat, while I pushed it down. I opened the door and he was standing there. We stood there awkwardly staring at one another for what seemed like an eternity, before finally I asked him to hug me. He said he was dirty (he works at a kennels). I said I don’t care and held him close. It was incredible. My fears disappeared and I was able to calm down and be comfortable around him.
He got changed in the bathroom before sitting down beside me on my bed. I asked him what he thought we should do first. He suggested lunch. I thought this was a good idea, but pointed out that I had meant whether we do the D&M first or if we do something fun. He said that if we talked stuff through, we might be emotional and emotional mini-golf sounds weird. I laughed and nodded before we headed out to Subway to lunch.
We played mini-golf and didn’t mention the pain. We were able to forget about it and just enjoy one another’s company. It was just perfect and helped lighten the mood. Oh, and he won, of course. I was doing so well at the start too.
After the game finished, we knew what had to be done and walked over to the park next to the mini-golf. I’d never been to this one before so if we ruined this place with terrible memories, it really didn’t matter. We sat down on a park table before he pointed out that there was a swinging tire free at the playground. It was a bit squishy but this was probably a good thing as we were forced to sit closer together. I sat up as I told him my plan.
Honesty. While talking to my counsellor, I realised that honesty was probably my biggest problem in that I am too honest. Whenever something goes wrong and my brain goes insane, I tell Finn, making it seem like a huge problem while it’s not. She argued that I had to work on containing my problems. This is why I like this counsellor, because she’s the first one to admit that I am probably always going to feel like this. My brain is probably always going to jump to the worst possible conclusion and I am probably always going to get very depressed as a result. For me, it’s more about managing it, predicting when the chaos is coming and trying to cut it off at the pass before it becomes a flood. This also involves not telling Finn whenever my brain collapses while it’s happening. My brain doing stupid things when he goes out till 3 in the morning is not the problem. The problem is calling Finn up the day after and telling him about it. Most people probably have crazy brain. What they don’t have is the desire to tell their partner about it. It’s just a dumb idea. So, I said that I would try to be a little less honest, letting him know that my brain did something a little stupid but not dwelling on it.
There is, however, another thing to consider when talking about honesty, because it’s something Finn has a bit of trouble with. He can’t stand confrontation and so it builds up until it comes out in a torrent of pain. The problem with this is that my brain doesn’t cope with this sort of explosion and so shuts down, meaning that he doesn’t get what he needs (in this case, some changes to the way we treat one another) and the problem is exacerbated. This isn’t his fault, but it is an issue. In order to combat this, I suggested the re-introduction of the Honesty Policy. This was something Sabrina had suggested when Finn and I had just started going out. It involves telling your partner instantly if they do anything that hurts or upsets you. Dealing with these smaller issues when they happen is something that I can cope with, it’s just when they get unleashed in a torrential downpour that we have a problem. He nodded, and I moved on to the next issue.
Respect. I made a promise to stop picking on him, but as I wrote up the plan I realised that it was more than that. Support for his dreams and ventures is also a big part of respect, which was something I have always been terrible at. It’s not that I was resistant to his career as a game creator or his dream of becoming a drag queen, but it wasn’t something that I was openly supportive of either. So, I said to him that I would be more open to exploring the world of gaming and the gay community, which I’ve had a needlessly judgemental attitude of in the past. He again nodded.
And the big one, trust. This was more about honesty I think as well as letting him know that it was something I was working on changing and that it was more about whatever the hell was going on in my brain than anything he was doing. He nodded again. While talking, he added a couple more things to the pile of pain, but the overall feeling I got towards the end of the conversation was hopeful, particularly because he kissed me. Now, this wasn’t any kiss. It was long and passionate and deep. It was beautiful, and as the tire started turning around became dizzingly romantic. Literally.But still something felt off. After the D&M, we went back to his place and he didn’t hold me. He didn’t kiss me. Even though we were romantically rekindled, it didn’t feel that way. It still felt like something was broken. And it wasn’t going to be easy to get it back.
TO BE CONTINUED...
This piece was far too long for one post, so I've had to split it into two parts. The second half will be uploaded tomorrow.