Anatomically Correct

I woke up after sleeping for 8 hours, thanks to melatonin. I feel like my brain is digesting information better, and for that reason perhaps I’m not remembering my dreams as well, as there’s no conscious interaction in my level 4 sleep, and no sticky scraps of indigestible information left clogging up the mossy CAF pathway when I wake up.

I woke up, texted a friend to postpone some plans, made coffee, had a cigarette (why do I still smoke) and used the bathroom, the whole time trying to preserve the integrity of this image until I got it down. I don’t know if I can trust what my mind did to the image, as there was some cognitive dissonance in it that I could feel my brain try to make sense of, and therefore mashed it all up visually as it tried to sort the elements of the image.

All I remember are being thrown 3 hotel toiletries across a counter, that was the same color as my bathroom sink counter. I believe my boyfriend was throwing them, but I may be wrong.

One (the middle one) was a small rectangular bar of soap with the ridges on top, one was an oval, and I believe one was a bottle of lotion, but I may be wrong.

I do know that they did not have the right hotel logos for the style of the bars, but my brain is struggling to make sense of the image and I can’t trust that it isn’t distorting it.

I barely remember anything from last night’s dream, but I know I had one.

It took me a second to realize what was wrong with the image. I know my hotel toiletries very, very well, and know what hotels have what styles, brands, and scents. I know which ones I’m allergic to, and which ones I enjoy. I have too many.

All of the logos were wrong. The only one I can specifically remember was that the Comfort Inn toiletry logo, I think it’s Raos or something, that maroon circle straight from Canva clipart, was on the small thick rectangle bar, which now I can’t remember which hotel it comes from, but is the same hotel that I stayed at with my Mother. I think the oval was a neutrogena bar from Homewood Suites, but the logo was yellow, not blue. The fact that I recognized the Comfort Inn logo could have been why I allowed myself to edit in my boyfriend as the one throwing the soap. We usually stay there, and as a matter of fact were supposed to be there today and for a good chunk of time after if not for this viral interruption.

I’m worried that my just now noticed difficulty to sort hotel soaps by chain and location indicates that I’ve been out of work too long. Am I losing my edge? I swore I’d never be one of those girls that quit… but here I am. How the fuck did I quit working before I quit smoking? Maybe I should quit smoking (again) before I go back to work.

My boyfriend and I are supposed to have a conversation tonight. There is something wrong with me. I should just leave. I have every reason to, but for some reason when I see my perfect exit strategy, lit up red, glowing, with an arrow pointing to an open door that clearly leads out to a free and open street, I still turn around and proceed calmly down the hallway.

He was going to try to get out of this conversation. Rather than let him, I reminded him last night. He lied to me and said that he still planned to have the conversation. I told him, calmly, that I did not believe him, and cited recent supporting evidence that created a character sketch of him as a person that would, in fact try to evade me. I let him know that I was creating a character sketch of myself, through my actions, that showed that I would not test him, and wanted him to succeed in our relationship.

He said he was sorry.

That’s it, that’s fucking it. I guess what else could he say? He was a fucking ass. He was a liar. He was condescending. He was dismissive. He was downright exploitative, taking my last good years as a potential wife for an ambitious young man and wasting them on flashy distractions simply because he’s scared to do more. Perhaps try at least saying that you won’t do it again? But I guess we both know that would be a lie, don’t we old man?

I don’t mind being used, but at least put me to good use. He is *wasting* my time, and the entire human that I am during the time he takes. And he doesn’t care, because he doesn’t view me as good enough to have a good use to be put to. Is he stupid, or does he think I am? I think it’s a devastating combination of both, but I can feel my heart sinking because hey, maybe he’s right. Maybe I am just a stupid, silly girl who thinks she might be able to get something done in the world, but really all he can do is just keep me occupied and distracted so I don’t hurt myself out there, like a small child.

My parents never treated me that way, by the way.

I used to feel that way with my ex. Not specifically the same, but that way that I was trying to do better, and he didn’t think I could do better (did he even believe in better?) and made me doubt that I deserved better. Actually, for a good part of it, I believed that I could not do better. He was wrong, I realized when we finally split. He was wrong, I believed until right fucking now.

I can feel that familiar sink of the heart, the kind that pulls down behind the third row of ribs, dragging in the collar bone, creating that unnatural arch right behind the shoulders, putting a pressure on the diaphragm that makes it harder to hold in your gut. An ambitious person still tries to hold their head up, making a squeezing curve of the neck vertebrae and they strain, not sit, on the top of the shoulders. The tension on the back of the neck makes it hard to read, and eventually as the muscles exhaust, a constant pressure on the back of the temples like someone has their hand on the back of your head, thumb under the right ear, 4 fingers wrapped around the left, gripping tight and leaning in.

This is what it feels like to be angry with a man.

I used to see a chiropractor (I miss him so much) that understood this so well that when he saw me walk in, he simply asked – “what did he do?” He told me that I was ruining my rotator cuff by physically preparing to throw a punch from my left side, while my pectorals were trying to hold me back. And all I couldn’t understand is why men always lean in on the left side.

It occurs to me that the above two paragraphs would make one hell of a breakup letter.

My boyfriend always sleeps on my left side. It’s because he damaged his left shoulder too. What did his father do to him? My back is so stiff from sleeping with him, it hurts my body and takes weeks to repair, I have truthfully never recovered fully over the last 4 years but I do manage to get back to tolerable sometimes if I keep away from him for a week or 6. I curl up to sleep on him, my cheekbone on his collarbone and it works except my collarbone curves in too much and there’s too much weight on the top of my arm and I’m twisting my rib cage right under c5 in order to alleviate the pressure on my right hip, which I dislocated early in my 20’s when I was suffering the same thing with my ex. If I roll over to try to relieve that pressure, then we “spoon” and he curves into me too circularly and I’m stuck all night with my chest caved to the point where I can’t fully inflate my lungs and diaphragm, and suffer with less oxygen and a drowning feeling all night long with his jaw putting pressure on my neck right at the artery running up right behind the ear which would and should be feeding my motor cortices and then the next morning I can barely make myself coffee without dropping everything. He’ll get up and make it for me, and in those 15 minutes which I try to stretch into as many hours as I can, more every day, I sleep, constantly being jolted by the guilt that I hadn’t already.

Men always tell me how comfortable I am to “cuddle” with, that “we” fit so well. All of them. *All* of them.

The extra pressure on the trachea from holding the head up against the weight in the chest makes it hard to breath, interferes with the epiglottis and makes it hard to swallow, even though there is a constant impulse to swallow. Mucus doesn’t drain, and infection sets in.

I’ve had so many cases of pneumonia in my childhood, my chiropractor asked me about my Father. He asked, about this and many things, but he never expected an answer, he just fixed it, sent me out, and told me to fix myself. I miss him so much.

My Mother has suffered from a thoracic collapse as well, more severe. Ask her about my Father.

And so here we are, rather than let this man hang himself on his own rope, I gently reminded him that the door was open, and if he wasn’t careful, I might be able to escape.

Am I a good person, or just a fucking idiot?

Is it possible to be both?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Anna says:

    I feel the familiar panic, a hot hand reaching into the front of my ribcage, palm against my sternum, fingers threaded through the ribs, squeezing and pulling as though trying to rip it out and expose my heart. now a second hand reaching in that delicate soft spot under the trachea and down between the collarbones, fingers sweeping and probing to try and hook an artery and fish the heart out.

    My boyfriend is coming up this weekend.

    I’d rather be with the boy… but why, and moreover, why do I have to see either?

    I think I’d rather just be alone.

  2. Anna says:

    It occurs to me, envisioning the hand wrapped against the back of of my head and neck after the last fight I had with the boy – I feel it still – it was the other hand.

    I am not angry with him.

    I love him.

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