Letters to Mom 020: Relationship Rambling

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I ran my race.

I didn’t run all of it. I didn’t really try to run all of it. There were two points where I met another runner and walked with them while we talked about life and our past race experiences. I could have run more, but I don’t have this pressure or feeling that I should have run more. I did what I wanted and I’m ok with that.

I’m surprised with how recovered I feel. I know I ran more this race than I did on any of my previous races. I still did all of the obstacles. I still crossed the finish line and had my victory beer.

I’m… happy… with my race and that makes me feel sad in a way. I wrote about it at least once that I can remember. I never thought success could be painful, but it is now. I did well and so I hurt because I did well when mom isn’t here. Maybe one day I’ll grow past this point in my life where everything comes back to her death, but right now I haven’t and so this is where I am.

I did well and I can’t show mom any of the pictures. It hurts even though at the same time I have all of these positive feelings. Ox went with me. He was there when I crossed the finish line. He even gave me a half-way hug while someone else took our picture for us. He drove me to and from the race. He went to dinner with me the night before where we got subs and had ice cream from a local deli near the race location.

We had a mostly serious conversation about our relationship, and though nothing was really solved or figured out, I feel like it was important that we talked.

It’s hard to want to go back to work. I want to see my patients but I really don’t want the stress that goes with my job. I don’t want the annoying hours. Maybe part of the discontent is from being tired. Maybe I’ll be more ok with the thought of work tomorrow, but for right now, I would be ok if I didn’t have to go back. I have too many tangled emotions right now to want to be around people.

I’m glad that almost all of the obstacles felt easy and that the hardest part about the run was running uphill. I’m glad my new Vibrams performed well. I’m glad I didn’t get super sunburnt. I’m glad I went to the race.

There’s so much I want to write about but I don’t know how right now. It’s why I didn’t write yesterday or before the race.

Mom, I miss you. I know you would be so proud right now. I know you would listen to every word if we were talking. I’ve already been cornered by Mama Ox and talked about all the different obstacles and how I felt I did and was the time with my trainer worth it and all of these other questions and side tangents…

But it wasn’t you. She wasn’t who I wanted to talk to and though I knew it was a conversation that I had to have, I didn’t want to. I wanted to talk to you. I still do. I still need it to be you that I gush and ramble to. I need this to be for you right now.

The “race day” adventure started Friday evening. Ox came home after getting off from work. We packed the car up and said goodbye to his parents so we could try to out drive a storm that had the potential to hail on us.

We stopped at a gas station before getting on the interstate to fill up the car and get snacks. He helped me scrub the windows clean of bug guts since that’s a thing I have to deal with here in Nebraska. We ate pretzels and beef jerky while listening to music as we traveled. We were able to beat the storm because we’re badasses like that.

We made it to the town of Blair, home of the bears, which is where I had been able to get a hotel room. We were still about 30 minutes from the race location, but that was the closest hotel I could find. Nebraska is so spread out and a lot of the towns are small. I was sort of surprised we ended up as close as we did.

Blair is quaint. It’s bigger than Hickman, but it has a lot of mom and pop type places. The deli we went for dinner is a good example. In a way, it reminded me of Ye Old Fashion in Summerville. The food wasn’t anything crazy or out of the ordinary. I had a roast beef sub. It wasn’t anything that I couldn’t have made myself at home, but it was still good and I enjoyed eating carbs at night guilt-free, knowing that I would run them off during the race. I even indulged and had a waffle cone with cookie dough ice cream.

It had been a choice between driving to the race location so we could see where it was at and getting food since we didn’t get to Blair until 8pm. Food won out and I’m glad it did. I enjoyed sharing a nice meal with Ox. It was datey feeling, getting ice cream with him.

This was our second road trip together since he flew down to Orlando to drive with me to Nebraska when I moved. It was nice to feel like we got away together.

I wish I could ask you about sex advice, mom. I know Ox says it isn’t me, but it’s hard to feel like it isn’t. We were finally alone. Away. I’m losing weight, again. I’m doing well at work. I cover my bills. I’m domestic with doing laundry and cooking and cleaning.

I don’t know what else to do to be a better, more attractive or enticing mate.

I have been told it’s not me. I’m doing everything right. But that doesn’t change the feelings of “It is me”. This issue has followed me through all of my relationships. I have a higher sex drive than my partner and I don’t know how to change that or to come to terms with the feelings of loneliness that go with it.

Did you ever experience relationships like this, mom? How did it make you feel if you did? What happened? How did you cope?

I’m told I am sexy. I am beautiful. But I don’t feel those things, mom, and I don’t know how to change that. When I say them, when I say, “I am beautiful” it feels like a lie. That combination of words isn’t one of MY truths. I know my truths shouldn’t be based on another person’s opinion or actions or feelings. It should be based on mine, but in my head when I hear “You’re beautiful” I think, “No. I’m not. I’m just me.”

Just me…

That’s a lot of things, though. I’m “just” amazing and fantastic and compassionate and empathic and logical and emotional and structured and spontaneous and fun and funny and outgoing and reserved. I’m an INFJ and there’s so much that goes into “just me”. I don’t know why having sex less often than what my nervous system wants causes so much strife within myself.

Why does it make me question my self-worth? What does it make me wonder if there’s something I should be doing, or doing differently, or not doing? Why does it make me feel like the problem is within myself?

I don’t know if you would have any insight, but I wish I could talk to you about it. I wish I could hear your voice assuring me that Ox and I will figure it out. He’s so many things that my past relationships haven’t been. Why can’t I let this one thing go?

It made Friday night hard. I had packed a piece of lingerie with me. We were alone. We didn’t have Life breathing down our necks with obligations or responsibilities. Sexy time wasn’t in our cards for that night, though. The lingerie went unworn.

It was hard to not feel unattractive.  While we were outside smoking before going to bed I asked if there was anything I could or should be doing differently.

In the end, I asked if it was like my grief and how it can’t really be explained. Was it similar to how I wish my grief could be something like the memory orbs from Inside Out where I could let someone else hold it and say, “This. This is what I feel.”

Ox said yeah. It was like that. He could try to explain as best he could, but there wasn’t really a way to explain to someone else what it feels like to want to please your partner and not be able to.

I know we’re more than roommates or good friends, but it’s hard to feel or support that fact inside my head. It feels like a big part of the relationship is missing or withering away. We both come home from work. I do chores. He plays video games. We go to sleep. We wake up and repeat.

We ended up sleeping cuddled close together which helped keep the lonely feelings from winning. I still didn’t feel sexy or beautiful, but I didn’t feel alone.

When we woke up we checked out the breakfast bar at the hotel but decided to go to a local diner instead. It was another decent meal of nothing super facey. I had rye toast with a mushroom omelet. I even had some of the hashbrowns. We drove to the race site. Ox helped spray my back down. I wore the top he found for me. I had my new shoes. He was at the start line taking pictures and watching me raise my hand for Nebraska even though I had been giving him shit about still representing Florida.

He was there at the end, mom. He was there when I crossed the finish line covered in mud and he didn’t make me feel bad or weird for doing it. He held my bag and let me have my beer and… goddamnit, he’s awesome and I feel like shit for having such a shallow hang up.

He didn’t have to drive two hours to sit for an hour and fifteen minutes out in the sun surrounded by strangers while I ran a circle. He didn’t have to sit there and worry about me not finishing the race because I hurt myself on an obstacle he couldn’t see or twisted my ankle while running. He didn’t have to go. He didn’t have to give me a partial hug. Hell, a partial hug is more than what Zane would give me when I got home after biking to and from work so he could use my car and all that was was sweat.

Ox didn’t try to stop me from going or try to talk me out of it. He doesn’t make me feel bad for spending as much time at the gym as I do or the nights I’ve spent a majority of our “together” time at the dojo instead of being home. He goes to SCA combat practices with me even though he doesn’t fight. He wakes up at 3:45 on the mornings I work just so we can have a cigarette together before I leave even though it almost always fucks up his sleep. He lets me sleep on the couch when I feel the need to have space. He lets me write. He always says thank you when I do something. Making his lunch. Doing the laundry. The small, trivial, unnoticeable things of everyday life aren’t unnoticeable to him and he acknowledges those actions.

Through our conversations of Friday night, he told me he thinks it might be low testosterone. Having been in relationships where I’ve been told I need to be on medication to “fix” myself, I feel awful about the thought of Ox feeling like he needs to take or do something to “fix” himself.

He’s human, so I can’t say he’s perfect, but the thought that I might be making him feel pressured to do something like taking pills or medication sucks. It didn’t make me feel good when it was done to me, so I don’t want to do it to another person, intentionally or unintentionally.

He said taking supplements is something he wants to try; for me, but for him too. He said he’s noticed other things which could be related to low testosterone. I guess it’s something he’s thought about since before our conversation.

I guess there’s not much else to say in regards to this. I wish I knew your opinion, mom. I wish you could tell me if I’m making mountains out of molehills. I know sex is important, yet at the same time not, yet at the same time is… I wish it wasn’t such a big part of the race but since all of this talking happened the night before, it’s tied into it and so there’s no way I can talk about one without the other. It’s the part that’s unresolved in my head and so it’s the part I need to talk about first.

The conversations I have with Ox always bring us closer. In the end, we agreed that we’re ok. We cuddled close together, his arms wrapped around me, and slept through the night. I woke up rested even though I was in a foreign environment and usually have a hard time sleeping in a bed other than my own. I was with Ox and we were ok so it was ok.

We had a nice breakfast in a cute town. He let me have my day. We drove back to Lincoln and we went to our Mongolian Grill and he let me wear my fuzzy warrior hat inside the whole time along with my medal. He went out in public with me while I was still grimy from the race. He even looked up other events I could still sign up for this summer while we were eating.

He let me be grouchy and sad afterward when my headache from dehydration started setting in and I came down from the high of my race. He let me sleep for hours once we got home.

And today, he’s let me be whatever it is that I am. I’m not as sore as I expected to be. Physically I’m doing pretty well. Emotionally I felt frayed, though. I’ve wanted closeness and contact and I think a lot of that has more to do with the runner’s high than anything. It felt a lot like sub-drop after an intense BDSM scene.

We ended up going to the movies since they have the dream lounge chairs. I was able to sit cross-legged the whole time while we watched the new Jurassic World movie. We were close and touching the whole time. Being out of the house helped. Not being the “responsible one” was nice. I didn’t have to drive. I didn’t have to choose anything. I didn’t have to talk to anyone. All I had to do was be present and watch dinosaurs attack shit. I was able to be low energy and quiet and near him and it was nice.

We were able to stop at GNC before going home so I could have my energy drink in the morning since my stockpile was out. So not only did we get cuddle time with dinosaurs, we were also productive.

You would really like him, mom. He honestly does take really good care of me. We take good care of each other.

I want to run another race before summer ends. I want to meditate more on the sex issue because I do feel like I need to explore that more within myself. I need to figure out why it is such a big deal for me because as much as I don’t want it to be one, it is and I can’t expect others to understand it if I don’t understand it myself. I want to keep training and losing weight. I want to figure out why I have such an issue with the words sexy and beautiful. And I want to figure out what I want.

That doesn’t seem like a lot, but I know on the emotional “figuring myself out” level it’s going to be a lot of work. I guess it’s a good place to start, though.

I don’t feel as frayed anymore. I feel more ok with the thought of going to work. I have a battle plan for figuring out some of the stuff that’s bothering me.

Thanks for listening, mom. Maybe next time I’ll be able to gush about the obstacles and which ones I liked and which ones were annoying and about the two runners I met and winning my free water bottle and all of the things that went into making my third Warrior Dash the warm memory that it is.

I love you, forever and for always.

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