“…cause that’s a hugging good.” ~ Bonnie Tyler

ZsVxpBg

So, my son grew up with a girl who lost her mama and gramma when she was a teen and she has no relationship with her dad.  I adore her completely and she’s like a daughter to me.  Actually, let me rephrase that:  she IS a daughter to me.

Anyhoot, we were supposed to have a movie night yesterday with another one of my sweeties but storms made driving dicey and we decided to postpone.  When we were messaging though, we both realized the other had a crappy day so she came over later just for a hug.  As per our custom, we ended up having a good natter for at least an hour.  I know…I know…it’s so hard to believe I can yack more than I intend too 🙄.

We are both single and have been feeling pretty lonely lately, and as we were talking we realized that we both have very strong needs for affection.  S asked me if there was something wrong with her for wanting and needing affection so badly.  I told her no because I have the exact same needs.  We were both also realizing that we’re the oddballs in our families.  There’s only 1 family member that S sees on a regular basis and she’s…well…pretty much a bitch to her (don’t get mad at me for saying that ma…it’s true …she’s not a sweetiepie like you!  And, by the way, I think I lost that tupperware you loaned me 😲).

My family is wonderful but I’m really the only touchy-feely one in the bunch…they just aren’t huge huggers but my grandma and grandpa took care of a lot of that when I was growing up.  A few years ago I finally said to ma:  “Ma…I need more hugs and more affection.  And if you aren’t willing to give it to me, I’m going to find another ma who will!”  She replied:  “Well…what the hell…even an old dog can learn new tricks.”  Ma has such a great way of putting things.  Even my son isn’t affectionate (outside of his girlfriend and chihuahua 😐).  Here are his rules for me:  I get to kiss him on top of the head for no more than 1.34 seconds, hug him for no more than 12.9 seconds, and if I touch his face because he’s just so doggone yummy to me, I get a scathing look as he jerks away as if I used a stun gun on his ass.  And believe me, this is monitored.

So, here’s what I told S:  I believe we all have an ‘affection reservoir’ © that’s different for everyone.  Mine is as deep as the fucking ocean.  The deepest part of the fucking ocean.  Just sayin’.  And…did you notice my copyright symbol?  I think that phrase could be turned into a book.  🙂

fe553f73f986c6b49f6e9811fd57d573

I’ll be honest, it takes a lot to fill the damn thing up and I know that can be hard on people I have had relationships with.  Hubby 3 (shutty) once said that he could never give me enough affection…I’d always want more.  Ya think?  Duh.  It’s not like you fill up a reservoir and that’s it.  The water evaporates and leaks out and then it needs to be filled up again.  It’s like saying why do you need to eat everyday?  You just filled up your belly yesterday.  Okey dokey.  Let’s see how that works for ya.

Maybe people who have puddles for reservoirs have a hard time understanding this.  Sometimes I have a tough time getting it myself.  I like living alone for a lot of things:  eating when I want…sleeping when I want…running around in boxers and Red Sox shirts (note to S.J. – Sorry) with strawberry stains and Edward’s fur on it…my mouth not seeing lipstick for weeks…etc.  But I miss the affection.  I get downright lonely not having that in my life.  Edward is a big cuddler…he’s the most affectionate and sweet dog I’ve ever had.  (Note:  Edward is part Rhodesian Ridgeback / part Coon Hound.  When my son and I looked up this mix, the site literally said these dogs were dumb but sweet.  That’s our Ed in a nutshell).  But Edward’s cuddles aren’t the same.  I love laying on him when I nap and having him doze by me when we’re watching another horror movie, but it ain’t enough.

My sis is the best grandma ever.  She really is.  Our grandma and grandpa (I’m referring to ma’s folks) were awesome grandparents.  They only had me, sissy, and our cousin and that was it.  So we all got a LOT of attention and never did they raise a voice to us, tell us anything negative, and not support us;  I know my sis learned to be a grandma from them.  Anyhoot, she gets her affection needs met by her grandkids.  Lots of lovies and huggies.  Ma gets her affection/social needs met by her besties (they are so adorbs…she calls them her ‘lady friends’ 🙄 ).  They go out to eat every week (and complain about the service 😐), have parties at each other’s houses, go shopping, make quilts together, etc.  It’s plenty for her.

153c405cd66c506cd5ed34c744810be7

But my reservoir is running really really low.  Like a freaking drought.  I do need more and I think it’s OK to admit that.  But for those of you who aren’t 53, thrice divorced, bi-fucking-polar, not the prettiest by any stretch of the imagination?  The pickin’s are pretty slim.  Trust me on this.  And no, I will not online date again, so you don’t have to start filling out a profile for me.  That was the biggest nightmare of my life.  In fact, I’m going to try to get in touch with Stephen King to see if he wants my experiences for a new book.  I’m just worried it might too horrifying for him to write about though.

J’s kids really really really filled this need during our 3 year relationship.  They are both so affectionate themselves and they would literally wrap their bodies around mine while we talked or watched a movie or dozed.  I could give to them what my son never let me give to him and I loved it.  So so much.  I think it’s hard for some of my family to really get that I loved them as if they were my own.  Still do.

hug-quotes-3

You know, for a long time I thought something was wrong with me in terms of wanting affection.  I needed it so much more than anyone in my fam, and I’ve had family members tell me not to hug them because it makes them uncomfortable.  When I hear things like that…or feel my son pull away so quickly…or have to ask for a hug from my ma…it makes me wonder why I’m so un-huggable.  It actually makes me feel unloveable.  J’s kids changed all of that for me.  They made me feel so good…I could give and give and give…and they would give back and give back and give back.  Truth time:  not one night has gone by since J and I broke up that I haven’t cried over the kids when I’m laying in bed at night.  Not once.

I don’t know.  Maybe I’ll find someone to fill my reservoir.  To make me feel huggable and lovable.  To help me see that what I’m missing is OK to miss.  Maybe there’s someone out there looking for a 53 year old gal with glasses and mousy brown hair who doesn’t always shave her legs and uses deodorant sporadically since there was an article that said it could cause cancer.  Until then?  Edward…you’re it.

Kristi xoxo

 

 

“The most important things are the hardest things to say.” ~ Stephen King (The Body)

close up photo of vintage typewriter
Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

So, need is a funny word.  Like ‘love’ or ‘friend’, it can mean so many different things to different people.  Go shopping (after social distancing, of course) and listen to what is being said about all of the products we are inundated with:  “Oh my God…I gotta have that!” “OOOOO…this new shampoo is supposed to be great!  I need to get it now!”  “Wow…that’s the exact shirt I’ve been needing!”

Actually, need is so different than want, yet we often forget that.  Do we really need another shampoo when we have 12 full bottles in the shower?  Do we really need a new shirt when we have 10 others we haven’t worn yet?  Hey, I’m just as guilty as anyone.  Put me on amazon, and I will order something…anything…because getting that brown box on my step with the shiny tape is just so damn exciting.

But let’s face it, we don’t need half of what we have.  And often, we don’t even want it a few days later.  It’s just something else cluttering up our house that will wind up in a donation box sooner or later.

unnamed

Clutter.  I know all about that too.  Not because of my house since it’s fastidiously clean, but because of my mind.  Clutter is such a great term to describe the emotions and thoughts that circle around it every day thanks to being bipolar (😬).  Sometimes it’s hard to sort out the clutter; it becomes so overwhelming I simply don’t know where to start.  That was me yesterday.  My clutter was strewn all over the place and I needed someone to help me sort it out.

I miss O moving to his own place (even though I’m so proud of him for being able to make this leap while still running a business in these difficult times), I’ve been working on my house to get it more ‘me’ and moving furniture around until it’s just right.  I’m doing a deep cleaning and a good cull, while also getting used to the quiet which frankly is a bit tough.  Then I have school to deal with during this pandemic…I missed my students and seeing them graduate this spring and I still don’t know what the Fall will look like in terms of my classes.

And then I have me.  Lonely old (shutty the mouthy 😳) me.  I had to run to the store yesterday and I interacted with the cashier (barely, which was probably a good thing since her face mask looked to have some kind of demon on it and she had the personality of a turnip).  I talked to ma for about 10 minutes and texted O a few times, and that was it.  I’m used to talking to 60+ students a day, my colleagues, and living with a noisy son who always had something going on.  This quiet is really a big change for me.

See, yesterday I had a need.  A real need.  I needed to vent to someone so I could process some of these feelings I have being alone.  I guess I just needed a virtual hug.  Needed it, not just wanted it, because I was also feeling a bit lonely too.

101451370_201168334258387_2841364631467851776_n

So, Edward gave me one (one of my sweet dogs who happens to be a damn good hugger).  But as much as I love his affection (while Dottie usually looks on with disgust but decided to smile for the camera since she’s a diva), I needed a real person and reached out to a ‘friend’ who said they had had a bad day too.  We messaged back and forth for a bit and I poured a lot out to him…it felt good to have someone just listen.  His responses though were quite brief such as “It’ll get better.”  Well, duh.  Of course it will.  However, it wasn’t better then, and I “needed” someone to just be there to commiserate with me, or at least validate that what I’m feeling is OK.  It’s like when I got my appendix out a few years ago (on April fools day, no less).  I got home and couldn’t bend which is something you don’t appreciate doing until you can’t.  It was horrible trying to contort myself into a chair or my bed and realized I couldn’t do it without feeling like I was going to break in half, so I needed Hubby 3 (🙄) to help.  I knew I would heal, but at the time of the pain, that wasn’t much comfort to me (although wine helped…and believe me, it was NEEDED at that time).

Anyhoot, as I was saying how sorry I was for my friend’s day, he said he just didn’t have the wherewithal to chat with me right then, so we stopped.  And the problem was that I still needed him.

Yes, I know he had a bad day too and I expressed my concern over his issues and listened to what he needed to say.  If he would have asked me to do anything for him in this situation, of course I would have (hello…I’m a freaking empath).  It’s almost like when I was a young parent:  I’d be running on 2 hours of sleep for 3 straight nights when O was sick, but if he needed something after I nodded off, I got up and did it.  He NEEDED me.  It was as simple as that.

Maybe I didn’t express how much I needed my friend’s support yesterday (even though I said “I need your support this afternoon”), but it’s very hard for me to really do that.  I feel guilty when I ‘need’ something from someone…when I ask for it.  I feel selfish for needing them to ‘give’ me their time, their energy.  I sometimes feel like if they give me an hour, I have to give them 2…I never want to be the one that takes more.

Or, maybe it was difficult for him to understand my situation yesterday, or relate to it since his is so different.  I think it’s also baffling for others to understand that when you have bipolar, a seemingly ‘little’ issue is actually a pretty big one because of our emotional constitution and constant rumination.

Hmmmmm…do we ever ask ourselves what we truly need from a partner?  Not what we want…but what we need, and what we think of as being essential to our well being.  I think about this a lot because in my Marriage and Family classes we talk extensively about mate selection…what you want, what you need, what are deal breakers, etc.  And for me, I need someone to just listen.  To be there.  To say “Hey, I understand this is a tough time…what can I do to help?”

IMG_6547
From mybestrelationship.com

I think it’s because when someone fulfills this need, it makes me feel special…like I matter to them.  I feel like they see me.  One time J and I were in an argument, and I yelled “See me!” to him.  I was so frustrated that day and needed him to actually see the real ‘me’, not the person he wanted me to be or how much he needed me to pretend I was fine. Yesterday made me realize that my needs in a relationship have changed over the years. Decades ago, I would have said I needed someone to be a good dad…good provider (since I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom), affectionate (since I’m so touchy/feely), and a great sexual partner (😲).

Compared to other times I’ve had, yesterday was a cakewalk.  But what happens when there’s something seemingly insurmountable for me to handle alone? And having bipolar makes this a very real possibility.  I know I need someone I can trust to be there for me. Will be able to understand that I’ll have issues that at times may seem silly to them, but for which I’ll require their support.  Their understanding. I need someone who will try to learn what they can about bipolar since it is a mental illness that’s difficult on relationships; anyone living with someone bipolar has to understand the dynamics of depression and mania.  And just so you don’t think I’m a selfish cow, I don’t demand that only my needs be fulfilled in a relationship, and I’m not asking for anything I’m not willing to give back. In fact, sometimes meeting my needs is pretty easy; yesterday, an ear or a hug would have sufficed.

When everything was crashing down on me a couple of years ago, some of my students who read this blog tell me they never would have known based on my demeanor in class and talking to them in the halls.  Good!  I would push aside my own crap in order to fulfill the needs these awesome young people had…and happily so.

Maybe it would be a good idea to just make sure I seek what I need:  someone to  listen, give me affection, attention, and understanding (and don’t read this part ma, but throwing in great sex would be appreciated too 😜).  But maybe these are too much for some people to handle, or too much for me to ask for in the first place.  Or maybe, just maybe, I need to learn to fulfill these in myself to a great extent.  I need to listen to myself, be good to myself, give myself the attention I deserve and the patience I often don’t allow myself to have.  And when I think about it, this might really be a great idea.  After all, I’m pretty good at helping others out…maybe it’s time to do the same for me.

Kristi xoxo