Last night’s Untitled post was my effort to shove in my own face how deeply I’ve fallen. I wanted to have a reminder of it, this morning, because I’m usually able to do a wonderful job of minimizing those hurts and conflicts that are closest to the core of who I am.
I’m good at convincing myself I’m not really bleeding.
It’s not a femoral slash – only a paper cut.
But that’s a lie. And not even a comfortable one.
The reality is maybe in the middle. I’m bleeding out through a million paper cuts.
Bad day at work, yesterday. Troublesome customers who left me feeling totally worn out and pointless. Thoughts of the future (namely, nursing school) kept me leveled out somewhere between apathetic and calm. Got home and he wanted to eat out. Went to the place with .99 margaritas. Ate one taco and had a frozen strawberry margarita in the time it took my SO to eat an entire cheeseburger and down five margaritas. Back at home, took a shower, crawled into bed where he was already out like a light. Only 9:00pm.
Watched him sleep in between watching HGTV reruns. Smiled to myself when he started mumbling in his sleep – it’s been a while since he drank and he must have been having colorful dreams. Finally, about 10:30, I felt sleepy enough to curl up next to him, under the covers. A few minutes later he woke up and said that he needed to inject (his insulin).
I thought he already had, while I was in the shower, but he hadn’t.
He asked for a glass of water and downed it in about ten seconds. Wanted another one.
I was a little grumpy – having been on the verge of falling asleep, myself. I started to lie back down after giving him the second glass and he snapped at me that he still needed to inject. I was confused and defensive and told him that he’d just said that, but pointed out that was kinda a one-person thing and did he really need me to be awake for it?
He pointed out that I could bring him his injection stuff. I was doubly confused. He doesn’t inject in the bedroom. Not ever. He does it at his tray in the living room, because he stores all of his things in the minifridge that also doubles as a living room side-table and a snack fridge. He needs a flat surface to check his blood sugar, before he injects. And laying in bed (which he was doing) is not something that I thought was conducive to injecting himself with the pen-style insulin injector. I asked, “You mean you’re injecting in here?”
And he rolled his eyes and said, “No. I want you to bring the stuff to Wal-mart. Thought it might be nice to do it there.” And he heaved a sigh and I tried to shrink through the floor, because I’d climbed back out of bed to get him his things even as I’d asked the question.
That little throwaway comment hurt my in a visceral reaction sort of way. It was mocking and it was sarcastic, but more than that it was a small and thoughtless cruelty.
I can handle him being deliberately sadistic – I can even get off on that. I’m his and our relationship dynamic is one that is on the extremer side of the BDSM scale. Mindful cruelty, mindful taunting, mindful cutting . . . I’m okay with those things. Sometimes I crave those things, because of the release that follows (for both of us, usually).
But I have trouble composing myself when I’ve unintentionally irritated him to the point where he is being reactively mean. It feels like a complete failure, on my part, because I’m supposed to be there to make his existence better – not to make him so frustrated that he automatically responds in a way that feels meant to reduce me or hurt me.
So. I got him his things. Watched him inject, because he doesn’t like needles and doesn’t like anyone else touching him when he has to use them. I put his stuff away, after he was done. He rolled over onto his side, away from me. I got into bed and sat up against the headboard, curled in on myself, because I already knew that I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I’d let myself cry some of the hurt out. And it did hurt.
Another paper cut. Number one million and one.
But this happens, sometimes. Life isn’t perfect. Neither am I. Neither is he.
I kept my sniffling to a minimum, but he heard me blow my nose and asked (accusingly) if I was crying. I told him the truth as it came to me, because he wants me to always be honest. I said, “Yes, but it’s irrelevant. Go ahead and sleep. I’ll get over it.”
But he then pressed – still facing away and sounding half asleep. I explained that I was crying, because he’d hurt me with the mocking/sarcastic Wal-mart comment. I’d asked an honest question – one I’d felt justified in asking; he’d responded in an unthinkingly sharp way and it’d hurt my feelings. Plus, I was still sleepy and PMSing and had an overall lackluster day. I just needed some relief from that – crying worked, though it wasn’t one of my first choices (being spanked and/or being able to cum – neither of which could happen without further disturbing him/needing him).
And then he said, “Jesus Christ, toughen the fuck up, Sam.”
Another paper cut. Or maybe a scald. Or a fucking ice-pick.
I didn’t say anything. I was too shocked. I”d gone numb automatically, defensively.
He went on. “How do you expect to be a nurse? You let stupid things like that affect you.”
I want to think that I bristled at that, but really it just felt like I was sinking further into the ocean, into the darkness. I pointed out that I deal with disparaging remarks all day long at work, from strangers. I can deal with them as a nurse. From strangers. People I care about only in a professional capacity. “It’s different, because it’s you saying it. And I care about you.” It’s different, because I fucking love you so much it hurts.
But I never ever say the L word to him. Never. I don’t even say it with regards to other things, when I’m talking to him. Because he doesn’t love me back. And we both know it.
He said, “Well it shouldn’t make a difference.”
I was confused, again. How can caring about someone – loving them – not make a difference in how I respond to them? Doesn’t he want me to be driven to act in ways that please him? And isn’t caring for and about him the thing that most gives me reason to want to please him? And now he’s saying that I shouldn’t care more about his reactions than the reactions of the dozens of people that I talk to on a daily basis? What? How?
I was silent, because I couldn’t coherently answer him. And he fell back asleep within a minute and was once more snoring. And I was falling to pieces, silently. Breaking, without making so much as a sigh. Not an ice-pick. This must have been the destructive impact of an object traveling 2,500 feet a second. I was rendered blank by the chaos of it.
I don’t know, now, just exactly he meant by those words. I don’t know if he means for me not to be motivated to please him, because I care about him. I don’t know if he means for me to not show that I care about him. I don’t know what he wants from me.
When we first met, it was simpler. I didn’t start loving him until almost six months after I became his. It started out just as a strict M/s dynamic. My first, in truth. And then I realized one night that I loved him. It had happened without my intending it. And I didn’t know what to do about it, so I kept quiet. Because I knew then and I know now that he doesn’t see me quite that way. He’s said it before, in careful conversations.
Essentially, he does love me. “Like a sort of pet, or dog.”
Not in the way I wish he did. Not in a way that makes me feel anything, but failure.
I’ve loved him for four years. Day in and day out. And I’m his, totally.
But I am lost. And I do not know what he wants. And I’m afraid to ask.
Because what if he decides he doesn’t want me at all?
It’s too much. Way too much. And now I have to go to work and smile and ignore all of this, because my only other option is drowning. I must try to kick to the surface. Even if he’s not there to help me find it. I must try. Even if I don’t feel like it. Even if drowning seems like the more desirable path. Even if breathing seems ridiculous.
Objectively, these are just paper cuts. And I shouldn’t bleed out.
And who really needs ten pints of blood anyway?