This past Friday night I got my fortune read. I was walking along South Street in Philadelphia with a close friend. We had been looking for one ever since my private practice boss mentioned she went to one after all this time had passed. I have always been skeptical of fortune tellers/psychics, as it all just seems like a ploy to make people afraid so you pay more money to cleanse yourself or whatever.
We had just had dinner and were walking off the all you can eat sushi buffet when we finally came across this psychic’s place. With trepidation we climbed the staircase to a house that requested one knocks before entering. We knocked and a woman asked for us to wait. I imagined Whoopi Goldberg circa Ghost getting dressed in a shiny ostentatious outfit in a rush that would be waiting for us when we entered with a sprinkle of zen as soon as we would open the door. An overweight woman came and opened the door. She was dressed in sweats and her house doubled as a dry cleaner as everywhere we looked there was clothing hung up on racks, even in her kitchen. The place looked like it had not been cleaned in months which for me to say is kind of a big deal. She asked that we sit in her kitchen. My friend asked if she should leave but the psychic gave her permission to stay. She then asked us what we wanted. We could do a palm reading, love fortune, aura reading, or the cards. The cards were 40 bucks. I thought, fuck it, I’ll go big.
I sat down with my friend behind me and she asked that I think of two questions during the card shuffling.
“Just two questions?” I thought. EEEK! So I thought of some things like, “will I be famous ever?”, “what will my money look like?,” “will my cancer come back?”, “Will Hollywood return?”, “Will I ever get married?”, “What will come of my relationships with my family members?”, etc. She asked me to cut the deck and I chose the middle pile.
She then told me that I had had a hard year and that things will begin to get better. Fall will be my season. Someone from my past will attempt to be in touch with me but I should move forward. In terms of love, a now person has already entered my life or will very soon and it will blossom into something. She sees a long life ahead of me and that I will have a baby. She asked me about me being married.
“Oh, I’m not married…”
I thought, shit, this woman is not for real. Dammit. I mean, its not like I was wearing a ring. She then shared with me that she sees divorce and remarriage in my future. She offered to do a cleanse for 200 dollars to reverse it. How thoughtful of her to offer.
In terms of my success, she sees a big change about to occur which will bring me lots of success. Yeah, I am about to get my license…
She asked me to ask the questions I had thought of. “Will the cancer come back?” She replied that it would but it would be a lot easier this time around. I asked about my relationships with family members and she stated that they would be tough but it’s the average sibling rivalry. One I may never connect with. I asked about Hollywood. She said, don’t go back, run away. NOTED. Hey, if the universe and loved ones are saying it, I have all the support I need in this. I was very focused on the fact she sees divorce in my future. I don’t want to get divorced. I want love to be real and life long. I know the statistics are not in my favor but that sucks! My friend went next and she got all the right news. My friend swears her being in the room was messing with my fortune. Who knows.
As we exited the house, my mind immediately was occupied. My feet started to hurt, my thoughts ate me alive, and worry washed over me. I have to get this right this time around. I can’t open my heart to anyone. I can’t trust someone right off the bat with all of me. I never wanted to hurt like that again. I know love is a gamble and in order to get what you really want in a relationship you have to be vulnerable. But, not everyone deserves to have all of me. I don’t want to be with someone like Hollywood who didn’t prioritize me or cherish me. Or Israeli Soldier who clearly did not have the capability to love after all he had been through. I don’t want to be with someone like Worth who drained me and longed to make me put my dreams on hold to make him feel less lonely. Or like my high school into college boyfriend who loved me based off of my waistline. These people had clear red flags. I ignored them. Why? I don’t know.
I need to know how to turn this fear into something more inspiring. The fear will cripple me and the negative energy Whoopi felt around me can be cleansed from me if I just build my self-esteem to accept the love I deserve and nothing less.
One of the most difficult things for me when a major relationship gets terminated is being constantly reminded of the person. It could be songs on the radio, places we would go, people I was friends with through them, the pictures that are stamped into your computer’s hard drive that you can’t muster the courage to delete, etc. For Hollywood, I had to reprogram my whole outlook. I associated the major city next to me with him. He was the only reason I ever came to the city other than one interview I went to before I met him. An entire half of the city is all Hollywood. The restaurants, museums, grocery stores, coffee shops, that amazing Indian food place on the corner, my favorite nail salon that gave me a mimosa whenever I came in and did my eyebrows flawlessly, the best shopping in the city… its frustrating.
Then there are the playlists I made for my trips every weekend to go and see him. I would get so excited and get all wound up listening to those songs. Now they come on the radio and I exclaim, “NO!” and change the channel or think back to memory I had when he got in the car and sang along.
Indeed, going to his best friend’s house to hang with his wife has become a regular thing for me. I love these people and I am still tempted to know how miserable he is. Not that I wish bad things on him or anything but in a way, a man/boy who hurts you in such a way can’t be feeling that great about it, unless he is really a horrible person. I don’t think he’s a horrible person but I have certainly had spiteful thoughts come to mind.
Then there are the good things you want to tell them about. The new job I have, passing my exam, a great conversation I had with an estranged family member… and I know I can’t speak to him. Not because there is a line written in the sand. I just hate myself right afterward when he responds 17 hours later with five words. I respond and then nothing for another 10 hours. But that’s Hollywood. I don’t know why I expect for him to change out of the relationship.
Tax season is upon us and last year Hollywood did them for me. This year I have income with qualifies as miscellaneous which threw me for a loop. No one I know knows how to do that and I knew Hollywood would. I sat head in hand and decided to go to the gym to get it off of my mind. But I was still stressed climbing at a 10% incline. Finally, a moment of weakness fell upon me and I sent him a text.
“God dammit I actually need your help with taxes this year”
“What’s wrong?” He wrote back within a few minutes. Did he actually care?
I told him what was going on and he said he would do them for me. I was shocked. Could Hollywood be turning a new leaf where he does not just think about himself? He asked for me to send pictures of the forms when I got home from the gym because he was available to do them as he was home. I raced home, sent them all, and texted him with excitement that they were ready for him.
1 hour passed. Then 4. Then 8. Then, as I was sitting on my bed watching the sun come down, it really hit me like a wave. He had not changed at all. Then the “why mes” and anger spun in my head. I thought about how stupid I was to believe he would actually try to help. He totally blew me off and he probably got sort of sense of empowerment from the whole thing. “Ha! She needs me.” I imagined him saying to himself and going out on the town drinking and having a great time.
Nearly 24 hours later I got a text. I was at the gym climbing away with left over rage imagining I was stomping all over his face with every step at the time. Moving my legs to the side I saw his usual bullshit apology.
“Hey, sorry I fell asleep and then went out for my friends birthday. I’ll look at it today”
I wanted to say multiple things:
“Go fuck yourself” was on top
“Don’t bother, I’ll ask someone else” but I really did not want to ask anyone else.
“You did not think to bother to at least let me know at ANY point?!” But then, he owes me nothing at this point.
“Oh, its totally fine, I forgot about it anyway” but lets be honest. I didn’t and was furious.
So I settled for, “Ok, thanks.”
He did my taxes and told me the information I needed to know. I said casually, “Maybe one day I’ll take you out for a drink to thank you” and hit send, immediately regretting it.
“Do you think that would be a good idea?” he said.
I raised my eye brow. What the hell was he afraid of? Me? I did nothing wrong in any of this. He fucked around with other women on casual encounters. He was a liar and a coward. He didn’t want to have sex with me.
“Why wouldn’t it be? Because you might feel sad? Ashamed? Regret? You might miss me?”
“Maybe all of those. I don’t know. I am trying to figure stuff out.”
He had only said that to me for 4 months leading up to our break up.
“Right.” I said and threw my phone back into the cubby on the treadmill. I upped my incline.
“Dick.” I thought. Then, it just really hit me that this was all one sided. Yeah sure, he did my taxes. But when it came to really caring for me in a way a boyfriend of a year should, he was incapable. He put his needs first, regardless. Maybe I can be too giving at times, but I like to give. I love to love someone enough to care.
A week later, I spoke to my brother on Gchat. He shared with me he is going to propose to his girlfriend in the future. I was excited for him and said how I hope to find someone that makes me as happy as she makes him.
“Not [Hollywood]” he said.
I didn’t know he had such opinions about the people I was involved with.
He then told me that my mother told him I contacted Hollywood for help with my taxes.
“I could have done them for you. Don’t do that again. Don’t talk to that guy anymore. He’s not good for you”
I couldn’t believe that I was the topic of conversation, but more so that people saw him as the guy to run from. Was it so apparent to everyone else but me? How did I miss all of it?
When I asked my mother why she told my brother she said, “We are all worried about you. Move forward and don’t give that creep any more attention. He’s garbage”
My throat got dry. My eyes started to burn. I felt like the girl who showed up at the costume party with everyone dressed in normal clothing. I felt like the last person to know. Even though I knew it all along.
Those reminders have power if you give them that power. The following week, I walked with his best friend’s wife on the street in his neighborhood to my favorite thrift store. I tried on outfits that made me feel good about myself. We walked past the theatre we awkwardly reunited at during our break. I sat in the office where he came after drinking with his lawyer friends and was drunk enough to show affection. I didn’t burst in flames. He had no power over me. I felt unstoppable for the first time in a long time.
Hollywood: The Crooked Lawyer
Tonight I was talking to my roommate who has been listening to me through all of the time she has known me. We were talking about the walls I have built around me since my last relationship. Its true. I built many trying to ultimately protect myself but I know I am just hurting myself the same way he hurt me for all of those months. She told me, “you need to tell your story about what he did to you, people need to know so they understand why you are acting this way.” So I guess this is how I will do it. Its easier to tell hiding behind a keyboard anyway. This will probably be shared over cocktails with his lawyer friends, laughing at the pain I experienced, just as he had shown me what one girl who went out with him wrote on her blog only 1.5 years ago. We laughed and cuddled at her expense. And we have come full circle.
I can remember laying next to my crooked lawyer right after we had sex for the first time. We broke out the ex file. I could see the tv flashing in his eyes. He told me his last relationship did not work out because he did not want to have sex with her. I thought to myself, “Well obviously she was not good in bed and I am different” and I brushed it off.
I have to admit, I was weary at first. It was not his one armedness or his tendency to interrogate me over drinks. It was not that he smoked pot and drank like a fish. It was when I opened up to him one night over wine and a meal he cooked for me. I opened up to him about some pretty painful things I was working through and he gave me a blank stare. No hugs. No consolation. He did not know how to handle me. And I felt like he thought I was too human.
Now I am about to throw some blatant generalizations about lawyers out there. These are generalizations that I have observed. Lawyers are all about fighting. I found that incredibly sexy. Lawyers are all ego. I loved how confident he appeared. Lawyers are workaholics. He put work before me 98% of the time and I got that. Lawyers are selfish and only think about themselves and what will look good. He would be this alter ego he coined as Hollywood. Sure, Hollywood was hot. He dressed sharp, was incredibly charming, and he was a social butterfly. He was also a heavy drug user, would do whatever was desirable for his company, and at all costs, his date was merely his date and was not attended to.
Lets share an excerpt from my personal journal:
I’m really losing it. I feel like nothing I do or say matters. (Hollywood) questions my every move assuming I am up to no good when I have never done anything to warrant him second guessing me. How am I a role model? I am with someone who controls me, won’t have sex with me, pulls away when I show affection, is constantly mad about what I did or said, gets drunk and says horrible things to me, and he even shoved me. Why didn’t he ask me to move in or stay temporarily? Shouldn’t a boyfriend give a shit? I feel like no one loves me really. I mean the first time (Hollywood) said it we were fighting and almost breaking up. Everything feels so wrong.
This was Hollywood in a nutshell. No affection, didn’t make time really for me (we always were with his friends on his turf when HE wanted to), would do and say things that were absolutely atrocious to me when we were out. There were times I would call him or text him being a half hour away saying I was already there so I would get a response by the time I actually arrived. When we were supposed to meet up, he suddenly would have a thing or need to make an appearance or was not near his phone. I would be standing in the cute outfit I would pray he would really see me in for his text message for his location after I had already arrived as far as he knew for 35-40 minutes.
But then, I caught him on the dating websites. He kept doing it again and again. I would see it and my throat would get suddenly dry because I would hold back the tears. When I finally mustered up the courage to ask him about it he denied doing it and blamed it on his married best friend. He then scolded me and threatened to break up with me for violating his privacy. For what its worth, I was trying to find a page I already was at (it was some sort of shopping thing) and there it was in his history. Not just a few pages. He was really looking. So, there I was as he was folding his laundry asking HIM to forgive ME for looking. He made me promise to never do it again. I didn’t for a long time.
There were nights he would leave me at his apartment to have drinks with friends. I would watch a movie, go get my nails done, whatever to pass the time. I was so excited just to see him that I did not care if I had to wait. I thought he was worth it. We would have our time together when we fell asleep holding each other. If he would let me hold him. But, there I was, alone in his apartment, having not had sex in weeks…and my mind wandered back to my roommate who stated, “I don’t know how you don’t check all the time. If I found that my boyfriend was checking people on the internet out…” So, after toying with the idea for about an hour and a half, I looked. More plenty of fish profiles and craigslist casual encounters. Immediately I started crying. There was the throat lump, hands tingling, anger consuming me. I was angry but I knew he would be angrier with me. I confronted him and again, violated his trust and he supposedly planted them there to test to see if I was snooping. He even deleted his POF account just to appease me. Again, it was me who did something wrong. And I really really believed that.
Finally, it was getting close to our one year anniversary. I was so in love with him. All his faults, his nerdiness. I really really loved this person. Not Hollywood, but the person beneath it despite all of the hurt he led me to. We hadn’t had sex in a month or so. I counted how many times we had had sex in six months and it was 7 times. We had spent around 72 days together and had sex seven fucking times. He was too tired, too hungry, too full, too drunk, too high, it was too early, too late, too stressed, too this or that. And I was inconsiderate for pushing the issue. It was my fault everything was getting worse in that department. I made the executive decision one night while he was in the shower, I was going to look one last time. I mean, despite the lack of sex in our relationship, things seemed to be getting better. But, there the bastard was. All casual encounters on craigslist and some POF profiles on the supposed account he deleted. Not one but many. And on his business trip. There were emails exchanged with pictures. This was evidence that it was real. For the first time, I knew it was really him.
So, what did I do? I picked a fight. I made it about him or something and said somewhere in there, “so if I were to go into your computer I would find nothing right? “He said yes. LIAR. But I held it in. I was not ready to end the relationship yet. I knew that if I said something, he would break up with me. So I went home Sunday night (late as always because I would wait til late Sunday night for the chance that he might be willing to have sex with me), walked through the front door, fell on the carpet in the living room and wept. Not just cried. I was heartbroken. I looked like an Italian lady wailing over a casket. I had this information and did not want to use it or confront it. But when I awoke the next morning, I got to work late because I woke up crying. I couldn’t seem to hold it together for more than a few minutes. And I help people for a living so you have to have your shit together. Finally, when I got home that night and resumed crying where I left off, I wrote him a letter. I did not know if I was going to send it or not. But I needed it to get out on paper and out of my head.
Some direct quotes from the letter:
"I asked myself, was this a trap you set for me? But then, how could someone who says he loves me go that far? I mean I was working June 29th. How could you?"
"Turns out that when you were on your business trip you decided to look for casual encounters in Pittsburgh. How could I be so stupid? When I was thinking about you, thinking how much I love you, how excited I was that you finally decided to give me the keys to your apartment"
I decided to send it. I had nothing to lose but self respect if I had any left. I knew that if I did not say anything, it would break me. So I did. He was apologetic. Soothing even. It made me almost forget how much harm had been done. I started to get optimistic. He went to therapy. He wanted us to work.
Our anniversary was here. I got him eagles tickets and told him because I was so excited to give them to him I couldn’t wait. I wrote a list of 52 reasons I know I am in love with him. I was more excited to give that to him because things were seeming to get better. I gave him the card, he read it, and then things got really quiet. He brought up going to work on Saturday and Sundays which were our only real time together as drinking with his buddies on Friday night came first. I shared my feelings that we would really struggle to maintain our relationship if he did that. And then, he turned on me. He wanted to go on a break. I threw the 52 reasons in his lap like it was one of those weapons one holds onto in a video game with a guaranteed win for whatever battle occurs. The magic sword or whatever. I went to his bedroom as I heard occasional sniffles and the pages turning. Crying crying always fucking crying over him. He eventually came to the room and asked me why I gave it to him. I did not know at the time. I just really wanted to give it to him. Even though he never deserved it. I knew that.
And, before I knew it, we were having a tearful goodbye. We would keep in touch-ish. This keep in touch-ish lasted for 4 months. He even accepted my tickets to the football game despite him not getting me anything for our anniversary. He had sex with me once in the four months. That was one week before he actually broke up with me and we were planning a weekend trip together as things were getting back on track it seemed. But, the night we were going to talk about the fate of our relationship, he made plans over it. And that was the straw that broke the camels back for me. I had my answer. Hollywood no more. The image still haunts me of the look on his face as our relationship ended. I was smoking cigarettes out of spite smelling up his living room. I was so angry I did not care what it did to me, his living room, to him. I just wanted to wipe that childish lost look off his face. I remember collecting my things from the half drawer he gave up for me. He made me leave my Jerusalem oven mitt because he “still [has] hope for us.” After all, he cited several relationships where people broke up and got back together months or years later as if it were any consolation for my broken heart. I left his house at 1 or 2 in the morning still crying. To add insult to injury, his neighbor came into the building right as I was walking out with my duffle bag dangling full at my hip. He asked me if I was okay and what was wrong. All I wanted to do was get in my car, listen to angry music, and chain smoke. In my peripheral vision I saw Hollywood was watching me pull away just as he always did when our weekends came to an end. This time, it was final and felt that way too.
I haven’t seen him since that day. Months upon months later, it surprises me that I am doing as well as I am. I passed the NCE, have a great new job that I love, making new friends, living my life the way I want to and finding myself, working out nearly everyday…Losing Hollywood was like losing a piece of myself. I’m not meaning to bash at all. This was not my intent. I feel that this crooked lawyer taught me a lot that I needed to know. I learned that I need to end a relationship when it starts to not feel right. I held on too long to the little morsels of love he seldom gave me. I learned I want to be with someone who makes me feel like the best version of myself. This whole thing made me lose a lot of self esteem. I felt I was ugly and unworthy of being admired or even having sex with. Someone once said to me, “A man should be the icing and not the cake in your life” and I think they are absolutely right. He was the cake. I gave him too much power. And as a lawyer he ate it up because I made him feel powerful. Loved. Admired. Sexy. Sought after. In demand. All of the things he needed to be the best version of himself at my own expense.
Some things I will keep to myself. There were many dark moments I don’t need to put out there. But even just getting this out has been helpful for me. I can tell I have healed quite a bit from this. I feel more and more like the old me every day. She’s not so bad and might I say, totally loveable.
TRYING TO ASSIGN A GAF SCORE
Transitions and Interludes
I’m in Florida, alone, with my grandmother. That should tell you many things about the state of my life at the present time. One might believe that in a long term relationship her partner may accompany partner on such a trip. If there is no partner or work makes it impossible, then the other may travel alone. In this case, I am not longer in a relationship. It ended in December. I’ll limit the details but it was incredibly shitty. I mean we had already really just been friends at that point due to many months of, “I really need to be sure before we make any long term decisions.”There was no “Benefits” to speak of other than the occasional hand hold or kiss on the forehead. This decision was made on our one year anniversary right after I caught him exchanging emails for casual encounters with women from craigslist. Anyway, I am not bashing. I will not hyperfocus on wrongs done. Just explaining facts that led to me being in Florida.
Another thing that should be explored is the fact I am even able to be here. I got myself a new job where I will be more respected (not counselor but therapist which is what I am and what my credentials indicate), make substantially more money, and have more vacation days. The only sucky thing is the drive but it is totally worth it. Therefore, I had a nice gap with time in between the jobs to have fun with. I figured why not get some palm trees and sunshine in my life, just as the second arctic vortex was about to descend onto my region?
I will be able to study for my NCE which is very important in my next step in my career. After I pass it, all I will need is 6 more months of supervised practice until I am able to get my license. The rest is paperwork. I am thrilled but terrified to take another huge exam. After failing my comps by less than half of a point which postponed a year of my life, it gives me severe anxiety to even think about sitting for the exam. I almost do not want to even tell anyone when I actually take it due to fear of failure. I am hoping that when I return from Florida I will take those days before my job and study until I believe I am solid and take it then. But, that may or may not be happening….so you don’t hold me to it…
I guess I will approach my life at the moment as a musician approaches an interlude. We know that with an interlude that the music will return, but enjoying a change in pace can be good and is makes the return to the theme or chorus all the more beautiful. I’m going to enjoy this break.