Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 3~Bittersweet Love

3~ Last/Most Recent Love...what they meant/mean to you...

"I Love who I Love, and Gender is no limit."

This piece I wrote will serve as the shortest synopsis of what you are about to see:

Untitled (Her)
The very ones who should understand you the most
are often the ones who cause you the most pain
can turn your world inside out and upside down
cause the most heartbreak and drive you insane
and each time you think it'll be better this time around
your expectations are fated to come crashing down
and you're once again listening to sad love songs
armed with Haagen Daas and Kleenex,
wondering what went wrong.

© Queen of Spades

Year 2001. Was making plans on moving to Georgia. Decided to go into a different career route, still business oriented but more generalized so that I could go into other directions. In my spare time, I did a lot of writing. I was a member and later a moderator of different Internet poetry hangouts. A few I was an administrator on. At one time, I even ran one.

I will not go into all the details of how the poetry organizations fell apart. That would take about five separate blogs in itself. Let's just say it was a combination of egos, jealousy, and scandal. Those who take their crafts very seriously can fall into danger of taking their celebrity way too seriously. In the end, things that start off as fun, cathargenic, an outlet starts being more drama than actual life.

I do mention it because this is how I encountered the person who would end up being my mate for almost six years. She and I were in similar poetry circles.

I try not to stay on a set thing. She mainly wrote about bittersweetness--being on the edge of despair but clinging to a ray of hope. She wrote about sadness. She wrote about nature. I was a fan of her work; she was a fan of mine.

At first, we did not converse much.  I was preparing for my move.

I was in a long distance relationship; I would be lying if my move to Georgia was just for career advancement; he and I had talked about closing the distance between us (he was in NC and at the time, I was in MS). He mentioned the company he worked for had operations in GA; he was going to see if he could put in for a transfer. I wanted to try and be on my own--to explore better job opportunity since it was tough for me to find anything in MS. Plus, I could get adjusted in GA, start setting up shop until his transfer came through. At this time, he and I had yet to meet, but I felt a wonderful connection with him.

Moved to GA, attended school, my work study job turned into full time employment. Things seemed to be going along well. I continued with my writing; She and I developed a great friendship.

Things started going sour with the guy I was dating. Although we finally met up with each other, a few months later, I did discover he had second thoughts about the transfer; he and I were no longer on the same page as far as building a life together. He wasn't ready; I wasn't willing to be patient.

So he and I broke up in early 2002.

Bittersweet (that's the best way to describe her, so I will use this as her name) was always there to listen to me, to provide counsel. She and I would E-mail and instant message. Then it grew to letter writing and phone conversations.

I cannot quite pinpoint when the transition occurred. I am not quite sure she can, either. But she did mention that she liked me a lot. Later on, after getting over her initial shyness, she confided that she thought about me in a romantic way. I admit I did not picture it at first.

Plus, it had been a few years since I dabbled into that realm. I was not sure how I felt about going into it once more.

The conversations turned intense. The phone calls longer. I rediscovered the joys of phone sex. At times, I fell asleep with the phone in my hand.

I really started to like her energy. How she made me feel. I felt vibrant, on top of the world, like I could really be myself without judgment. I was not sure if it was love or being happy with being wanted, needed, appreciated, and revered. All I knew was that I became less cautious about exploring it.

She and I didn't finally meet until the fall of 2002. It was kind of funny. The person who was so bold on paper and on the phone seemed a bit shy upon meeting. That was okay; it was a big leap, traveling from NJ to GA for a meeting. I really gave her props for coming; I had been in instances where the person did not show on a meeting more than once.

But the energy between us wasn't strained. It remained the same; grew stronger. I remember cooking for her; dinner took a lot longer because I hadn't gotten used to a electric stove--I was so used to cooking with gas. She didn't seem to mind. It was chicken mixed with egg noodles.

As she was eating, I was overtaken with a desire to kiss her. I was not sure at the time whether I was going to act upon it. I waited until she expressed an urge to kiss me; when we finally did, I felt as if my body were on fire. I could hear my heart pounding out of chest. Passion took Caution's place, and I rode its' wave; she did the same.

Now, we both could have rose the next day and expressed regret. Maybe chalked it up to a one night stand. Perhaps if we had done that, we could have sat across the table and talk/joke about it.....

But she and I were similar in that we weren't one-night standers or casual fling people. I was fairly familiar with this realm; however, I was her first...on all accounts.

I didn't want to stop. I felt happier than I had been in a long time. And Bittersweet, who constantly wrote about sadness, seemed genuinely happy the way things were headed.

So we both plunged into unchartered waters...going off the waves of Love, the strength of our budding connection. The long distance wasn't a big deal to me...there was a long period of time (from 1998 until around 2002) where I had nothing but long distance relationships.

However, Life dealt me some unexpected turns. Drama going on at the poetry sites I was part of. Family drama. Cuts in job budget that led to my job being lost. I was having a hard time coping; I was not a very good mate then.

She was there for me during my crisis. My love for her grew. She remained when I felt others had turned their backs on me. I would be graduating but with no job. I did not get the guidance I needed; I could have just done unemployment in GA until I got on my feet, but since I hadn't been on that job long, I was not sure if I would get enough to sustain living. The people who kept saying "if you need something I got you" were not able to be reached. I was making plans to pack up and move on back to MS--rebuild and just try and start all over again.

However, things had gotten too deep. The long distance (NJ to GA) had gotten to be too much for Bittersweet. NJ to MS would be greater. Her dad (yes she still lived at home) wanted her to be independent. She proposed an idea that she help move me to NJ; I could stay with her and her dad until we got enough money to live in a place on our own.

I was homesick but I had fallen in love. I didn't want her to be unhappy. She had done mainly all the visiting because she knew I couldn't get away. Whenever I needed something, she provided it. I felt the least I could do was give it a try; if I didn't like it, I kept the option open of returning home.

Around the end of February 2003, I graduated.

By March 2003, I was in NJ. While I was in GA, I had eventually stopped perming my hair, mainly went with braids; however, no one had really seen what my hair looked like with no perm at all.

I took out my braids, cut what was the remainder of my perm. I ended up having a baby fro. I saw it as a shedding of old life and beginning of new life.

Bittersweet and I were fine for a while. She started working two jobs until I got a job. We ended up residing in her mom's old house. I found out quickly there was a difference between knowing someone when they visit and knowing someone once they live with you.

I found out how vastly different she and I were.

I'm more of a neat freak; cleaning and having a neat environment calms me, increases my creativity. She is a bit messy, comfortable with her disorder; she doesn't like cleaning at all because it messes up her system of finding things, makes things unfamiliar.

She liked having people around, being able to show off. I am more reserved until I get to know you, and even then, I'm not big on huge crowds.

She used avoidance as a method of solving problems. I am one who likes to talk about things to reach a solution. So our conflicts ended up getting blown out of wack, escalating to points they didn't need to.

I've had to take on responsibility since I was twelve, thirteen years old. She ran if I even mentioned her handling a bill.

Of course, that caused a bit of friction.

I was in love and adapted.

If you had to put a role for me, it would be the person who budgeted the money, did the cooking and cleaning...guess you could say housewife. Bittersweet liked to make the money without thought as to how it was being spent, have the freedom to go and do what she liked, not be bogged down by the mundane every day running of the household.

And our age difference didn't help, either, which is probably why I was a lot more patient with her than anyone else. She was six years my junior.

These were things we both should have thought of going into it. But in our minds, Love would conquer all.

Things really started spiraling...when I felt the most impact around 2006. I couldn't make heads or tails of things. One moment she was very happy, full of energy, exuberant about Life. The next, she was tittering to the point of suicide. I couldn't quite understand what was going on. I knew about my own depression (I had been diagnosed as clinically depressed in 2002), but I didn't research about the other types out there.

She started to self-abuse. Burn and cut herself. I couldn't quite understand why she was doing these things. On top of that, was I to blame for her doing all these things? What could I possibly do to help her?

I hadn't realized she had been battling depression almost all her life...that depression ran in her family. She was correctly diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I say correctly because before she had been incorrectly diagnosed as having the same type of depression I did. However, it took her being committed by her doctor, for them to see the mania as well as the depression.

Our relationship changed drastically. I no longer felt like her best friend or lover. I spent so much energy being somewhat of a caretaker. She didn't want to confess to her parents how bad her illness had gotten. I didn't want to break word to her but on the same token I was feeling burdened. However, I didn't want to abandon her during the bad times; I conditioned myself to be stronger. I conditioned myself to suffer silently. The two pieces I am placing will describe best the myriad of emotions I was going through:

Absence (Where The Hell Are You?)
My passion sleeps
but my blood boils
the anger has seen fit
to make it warm

my body aches
in more ways than one
prisoner of feverish consequences,
tormented by emotional absence

most of the time,
I pray to feel nothing
just to keep myself
from even caring

but my prayers
seem to go unanswered-
they just transform into images
that haunt a normally peaceful sleep

the person I love
is too focused on other things
to save me from the clutches
of my emotional stigmata

I see your pain
and try to respect it
you see my pain
and just walk away

I no longer have a home
for my sorrow
I'm on the streets,

begging for an ear
or someone to just hold

will you ever come back
from Life's external clutches
in time to realize
what I have already figured out

despite my physical body being ravaged

by sickness and pain
I have sense enough to know
things aren't the same

© 2006 Queen of Spades

wish that happiness were a disease
if so, I wish I could catch it
and never be cured

I wish that happiness
was as contagious
as depression

I would take the joy
and spread it
to all the world

but no matter how many people
give you snippets of joy
it only takes one person
coated with imminent sorrow
to make you drown with her

and you sink so low
that you forget
what the snippets of joy were
where they came from
who gave them to you

and you wonder
if they'll ever come back

it's funny when folks say
"let no one steal your joy"
because joy is stolen all the time

when the darkness in someone else
makes its' presence known
almost every day

I love her, but hate the sickness in her
hoping that someday, she will realize
that she's not just hindering herself
with her hesitation to get help

and maybe, just maybe,
next time her darkness knocks
I will not let it in
because I'm still entertaining
her joy 

© 2006 Queen of Spades

Around 2007 or so, it was suggested by one of the therapists that she and I take a break from our romatic relationship. Bittersweet needed to focus on getting herself back on track. She would be on track for a while and then she would relapse. I felt like the romance had fizzled out a while ago, all of the manic/depressive episodes had sapped so much out. I agreed to this because I loved her; I wanted to see her do better. I was willing to stomp out my sexual urges if it meant her getting back to the woman I fell in love with . Bittersweet was thankful I had agreed; I asked her this was only a trial separation until we got back together. She kept telling me that it was.

We stopped sleeping in the same room. Her time was mainly spent going to therapy, group sessions, hanging out with friends, and the like. I was not sure how to fully start making local friends. Most of the friends I had were her friends that she had known for years...I was stuck in the routine of old--cleaning, cooking for two (although she was rarely at the house much).

I didn't give thought to anything underhanded occurring. She and I made a deal at the beginning of our relationship:

1. To be honest with each other.
2. To let each other know if one wants to not be with the other.
3. To let each other know if we wanted to invite others into the relationship.

Well, 3 was in there when we first started our union, but after both of us agreed on monogamy, it was mainly 1 and 2.

So what led to us falling apart after almost 6 years?

A half page letter on a computer screen the Monday before Memorial Day 2008. A generic letter basically saying that it would be best for us not to continue our relationship at this point; she was moving out and that she would give time to make other living arrangements.

Yep just like that. Bittersweet, using avoidance to the end. Wasn't even woman enough to face me. I know you are thinking....she didn't violate 1 or 2.

That is where you are wrong. Our official breakup was May 2008. During a period of time when she had resumed working at the same spot I had, it slipped out in a casual conversation we were having together that she had a new love interest.

It wasn't the fact she had a love interest more so than the fact they had started their affair in February 2008. In other words, she knew she was done with me, but waited three months after her involvement with her girlfriend, who she met in "group", to give me the news. And not even tell me that she didn't love me anymore and not want to be with me. It was the lying.

It was a slap in the face because she still wanted me to be a friend to her. She still wanted me to be the lifeline when things were going wrong. I was willing to deal with the genetic bullshit if it was the truth; it hurt but I was willing to deal. But not for her to lie and have gone on when I was holding on to hope for us to work it out. That was the travesty....

It was a further slap in the face when the female Bittersweet left me for dumped her two weeks after she came clean with me about the relationship. After that breakup, Bittersweet attempted to commit suicide. Who did Bittersweet come calling? It wasn't her mom, wasn't her dad...hell, I'm sure she tried to call the chic, but she wasn't answering her phone calls....

It was me.

If I'm such a wonderful, good, kind, loving, passionate, intelligent, creative, sensitive, empathetic, strong soul who you know has been through so much emotional hell, why would you do this to me? You promised you wouldn't fuck over me like the rest; you cheated; did the same shit. How can I trust your love; how can I trust your friendship?

The bitch in me wanted to "Jazmine Sullivan" her ass and set her shit on fire.

The lady in me took the high road.

It's been a little over three years now. I still have a lot of the writings Bittersweet and I wrote together as well as a couple of compilations inspired by her. I did start to torch and throw them away, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

It's still my art, my passion, upon those pages.

From Bittersweet, I learned how deeply I could Love, how deeply I could Hurt. I read the pieces from then, and next to Private Pain, some of my most beautiful, thought out, and sensory filled work. I will arranged for those to be published; I was still dedicate the arrangement to her; it will serve as my catharsis.

I also learned that females can cause as much or twice as much hurt in a relationship. For those who think that same sex relationships are a lot easier, think again. There's no better or worse; betrayal is betrayal; pain is pain. Period.

I learned what happens when a person compromises too much for the sake of peace. After my relationship with Bittersweet, I no longer recognized myself. The essence had been sucked out of me; I was left for dead. I changed so much of who I was; the old me would have been out oh, so long ago the moment I saw that her depression and self harm episodes were more than I could handle.

I discovered how toxic certain types of depression can be; how it doesn't only affect the person but loved ones as well.

I discovered just because there's a connection, doesn't mean one should build on. Just because the two of you make good friends doesn't mean the two of you were meant to be soul mates.

I discovered it is best to get to know someone's living habits before moving in--it will save a lot of headache, but I was shown what I could tolerate and what I couldn't. Also, to double check to make sure both people are on the same page with future plans (making reference to the guy I had been seeing).

I am thankful to know of the capacity of which I can Love; I only wish the price weren't so costly. Bittersweet and I cannot go back to friendship; it is mainly of my choosing more so than hers. A lot got taken out of me; I had to ask myself if I could carry on with her without being reminded of the pain every now and again...

At this stage of the game, I cannot. Who knows if I will ever get to that stage? It may be Life's way of telling me Bittersweet has served her reason and season.


The God'ess said...

Brava, Sweetie.

ConstantStateOThought said...

This made me want to cry. You write so beautifully. I know these feelings you described in this writing, because at many points in my life, they have been my own. I've never been in a relationship with a female, but I don't think that has any bearing. Love is love, and the feelings are the same no matter the sexes of the people. The highs, the lows, the ins, the spans genders and ages. Very well done! *applause*

ConstantStateOThought said...

The parts about the depression mean something to me too. Though I've never really been "diagnosed", I've suffered with it for years.

No Labels said...

Thanks both of you. :-)

Mahoganydymond™ said...

I hate you had to go through that... This is why I think you handled it very well.. I don't know if I could have taking it even to that point... I can't handle not knowing what is going on.. If I even saw that sign of avoiding me, I would have walked away... I am glad you are still able to have love in your heart though... It is hard for some (including me)...

No Labels said...


Thee_Kween said...

So open and's a shame when people change past the novelty of love. It's a shame that the trust that is established is rarely honored once selfishness sets in. I applaud your offering. Thank you for sharing.

No Labels said...

Thanks for reading.