Ode to Noah then I wandered, of course.

Maybe my internet will work well enough to hit post. Maybe not.

Noah told me a few weeks ago that he had a lot of anxiety heading into this trip. He thought that either I would decide that I was done with him and not really come back or I would decide that I never want to be away from him again.

Let’s go with option B. I can see why he was nervous about me wanting to leave–I’m kind of an asshole like that. But let’s go with option B.

The things about Noah that please me fill a very long list.

I am pleased by the fact that he puts a lot of effort into being cheerful for my benefit even though he might instinctively default to having a resting bitch face. Instead he knows that I am severely impacted by what he tries to reflect into the world and he works hard on being cheerful for me. The longer I am away from him the more apparent it is to me that this aspect of our interactions has a massive impact on my whole life. I feel so sad right now.

Noah cares about my body. I don’t mean he thinks I’m hot and he wants to fuck me. I mean that he has put a lot of effort into learning how to cook for me so that food can taste good and not make me sick. Literally no one else has ever put the amount of effort into caring about my body that Noah has. I don’t think I have tried as hard as he has to figure out my food issues. He’s … he is so nice to me.

Noah can listen to my words and not get tripped up by my tone of voice. This is wonderful and terrible, as I mentioned before. I feel safe with Noah because I can tell him why I am having an issue and I don’t have to worry about him getting upset with me because I expressed my issue in a tone of voice that would bother someone else. He just doesn’t care.

When something bothers me, there is a very short window where I can try to say something about it before it becomes a BIG DEAL and I will start yelling. I usually handle this badly. (I handled it horribly with Sarah and she’s the grown up other than Noah I’ve had to work on this the most with. I’m still trying. At this point I feel like my failures with Sarah are the biggest and most important fuck ups of the last decade and I am trying to compile a list of “No really fix this” so I can maybe one day actually deserve the honor of her friendship. I know I am not there now.) I kind of whisper/hint that I’m having a problem. If someone doesn’t jump on it and ask for more details and try to figure out just how big of a deal this little issue actually is… I stop talking about it. I won’t talk about it again unless I hit a point of screaming and screaming and screaming such that I can’t stop without just leaving. It really sucks. I wish I was better at this. I’m better than I was but I’m still in a really shitty spot. Once I get to the point of screaming it is really hard for me to calm down. I scream like that because I feel unsafe, intimidated, and like I don’t matter. It is really hard to get out of that mindset.

I know it isn’t fun for other people that I act like an animal in a trap. Noah can catch the whisper window and say, “Wait… I think you just brought up an issue. Is this a big issue or a little issue? How much should I pay attention to this?”

You know what? I didn’t even fucking realize I did it this way until I noticed Noah’s consistent reaction. He is very good at paying attention to me and noticing, “Ahhhh. If I catch her in this window it is easy. If I wait… it gets bad.” I don’t notice those windows very well. I don’t think I am very important. I don’t think that the first whispered request for someone to please pay attention to _______ is very important because I’m not very important.

Which means I either stop dealing with someone and walk away or I scream and then they don’t want to be my friend any more. Because I’m scary. Because I’m mean.

I’m leaving triggering situations on the trip as fast as I can. I got away from the guy who called me stupid. I have no reason to pursue a relationship with your family now. It would be toxic for me. Nope, there isn’t a second chance on this. There was a very small window during which I could find out if I can get along with your family and now I know y’all ain’t safe. You think I’m stupid and your wife thinks, “He wouldn’t say that.” Ok, I’m moving on.

I had a hard time with my friend’s dad in New Hampshire. I left days before I thought I would because I just can’t deal with being nice on his turf. Not when mild requests are responded to sharply. I’m going to just leave and deal with my body and my children where I don’t need to fucking ask for your permission.

So I feel like I’m improving. I’m not always looking for conflict.

I worry most about my handling of my friend in Ithaca. I was in a bad mental place before I arrived which means I had fewer spoons to give to dealing with him. I had a hard time with aspects of the visit but he wasn’t an asshole. He wasn’t insulting. He wasn’t a problem. He just… has preferences that aren’t mine. That is hard. When I say in a small voice that I think it is a good idea to stay in and cook and you insist on going out… well I will stop arguing because I can’t keep arguing and not turn into a raging bitch. That’s on me. But when I say no more than once…

I feel really sad. I don’t know how to defend my boundaries without behaving in a way that causes people to tell me that I’m a scary bitch. I’m really tired of people ignoring my soft “no” so that I can be told I’m a scary bitch when I say I SAID NO.

There is no way for me to win here. (This friend hasn’t ever called me a bitch. I’m conflating two situations. One current and one in the past. I’m not sure I will ever get over being pulled to the front of the room during a workshop on how to have boundaries as an example of what not to be like. “You don’t have to be like the biggest bitch on the beach when you say no”. Although the friend I was staying with told me repeatedly that I was scary. So it’s kinda triggering and these two events are kinda blurring together.)

I’m not feeling like I am ok.

In Pittsburgh one of my kids said something that was fairly rude to another kid. The other mother (appropriately and civilly) rebuked my kid. I am not upset about the actions of the mother–she was fine. I feel embarrassed and ashamed that my child behaved that way. I feel like it is a demonstration that I am a failure as a parent. I haven’t taught my kids how to be polite.

Noah is good at convincing me that I am not the center of everything and other people (including my children) are probably behaving as they are for reasons of their own and not because of me.  I feel stupid that I need to be reminded of this so often and it really doesn’t stick as a lesson. Thankfully Noah keeps telling me.

Noah acts like being with me is pleasant. Not many people act like that. People tell me that they learn a lot from me. People tell me that I can be interesting or entertaining. But I wear people down. I scare them. I am disruptive and hard to get along with. Noah acts like I’m really an average level of difficult. The longer I travel the more I recognize what this means in my life. I’m tired of being just too much work for everyone.

Noah is patient with dealing with my body issues. I am frequently in overwhelming pain. He is nice to me about it. He doesn’t get impatient. He doesn’t act like I’m inconveniencing him… even when I am. When I was pregnant and so sick he acted like taking care of me was a necessary part of the deal and he wasn’t bitter.

For the whole rest of my life I am going to remember how nice Noah was about handling me when I was pregnant. I am so grateful that I never accidentally got pregnant with all of my slutting around. I have never in my life known another man who would have been as nice to me.

Noah is the only guy I’ve ever been involved with who liked that I was slutty and who didn’t try to control it. I feel completely offended by the many people I dated who thought they should be able to pimp me out when it is amusing to them. Never. Fucking. Tell. Me. I. Should. Fuck. Someone. Because. I. Said. They. Were. Cute. Who I fuck and when is under my control and your input is not welcome or wanted or appropriate.

I mean, I accept limitations better than I accept people telling me I should fuck another person. Never treat me like I am your whore to loan out. Never. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. This is an issue that makes me feel so fucking angry and degraded. How dare you think that you should have ANY input on what I do with my pussy.

My dad told me I should go fuck people. I don’t want to hear it from my friends or lovers.

Noah acts like my boundaries matter. He looks for my boundaries and he remembers them and he acts like they are important.

Noah acts like I am a person. Not a role to fulfill his needs.

I appreciate that Noah talks to me like I am smart. I think he is the man who has treated me like I am the smartest. I know a lot of smart guys. Mostly they think I’m stupid or they will give lip service to thinking I’m smart but in casual conversation it is obvious that they don’t think I’m that bright. Noah honest-to-fucking-Gawd thinks I’m smart. Noah is the only man I talk to on a regular basis who treats me like I might be an actual authority on some topics. Noah has physically watched me do research and no one else ever has. No one else has ever wanted to spend time with me when I’m not focused on them. Noah is ok with me being a complete person. Not every minute has to be focused on him.

Noah wants me to grow and change. He doesn’t want me to stay the same so that I can fulfill his bullshit adolescent fantasies forever. I’m not supposed to remain an immature 23 year old kid forever just obsessed with looking for new sex partners. It is ok with him that I change what I want and how I act. It is so very validating.

Noah encourages me to travel and have adventures. I haven’t met a man on this trip who is so encouraging of their partner. I am grateful I picked the man I picked.

To be fair, he is the one who showed up out of the blue to ask me to marry him–not the other way around. But I was going to ask him to knock me up. He was the best choice. I was so right.

I should… do something other than type.

Gosh I miss you Noah. I’m glad I get to see you in a week. I’m already fucking flipping out that I won’t see you at all in September. I’m a fucking idiot for planning a trip this long. WAAAAAAAAAAA

One thought on “Ode to Noah then I wandered, of course.

  1. K

    Just because your kid does/says something rude does not mean you have not taught them to be polite. Because you have. You know this, deep down. You cannot teach every instance of rude up front. Much of it is learn-as-you-go. Mortifying, but completely normal. When they’re 20, you can kick yourself. Until then, they’re still learning.

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