Sometimes I have these moments.
They’re not all good moments. Case in point: last night I had a dream in which I was having sex. The person I was having sex with (my wife, truth be told) told me it was boring, left, and just sort of wandered off, sending me into a sneaky hate spiral.
Is this really the reason? Dream ILB wondered. Am I the problem here? Is this why all my previous relationships ended so badly?
And then I flashed back to how my previous relationships ended, and how traumatic they may have made me feel at the time. I remembered being cheated on, and working it out beforehand but never saying anything. I remembered being jettisoned, without warning, unceremoniously – just before a year in which I was going to work on my life. (If I think about it, I still don’t have a reason for that one. Part of me thinks it boils down to “I don’t have a car”.)
I was responsible for how badly my third relationship ended. I still feel guilty about it, and I wasn’t honest about how our relationship had been ending for a long time before it officially happened. The train ride home was one of the worst times in my life, and she made sure I paid for it, too.
In all these cases, my brain tells me, the repeated factor is me – I am the lowest common denominator and I am genuinely not good enough. Why? Is it because I don’t have a six-pack, or a high-paid job, or a driving license, or an intact trapezius muscle? If I work hard in a job I like, does it really matter if the thing I take most pride in is a blog that makes no money, and music with no discernible talent?
If I have to use a stick to walk and say “Oof!” when I stand up, am I even capable of having sex? On the off-chance it ever happens again, will I be able to perform? Or will it be something else to add to the sneaky hate spiral?
Dream ILB wanted to talk about all of this to his wife, who had just left because the sex was boring. When Real Life ILB woke up this morning, he also wanted to talk to his wife about this. But then he also wanted to stay in bed. He wanted some quiet time to himself, just to think, to reboot, to decompress. Maybe just be alone for a while.
In the light of the day, it all doesn’t seem so bad. The worry is still there, of course – maybe there is something genuinely toxic about me? – but, with the sun peeking through the window, it all seems a bit lessened. Easy though it is to say that “everything will be better in the morning”, there’s a certain degree of truth in that.
I can’t look in the mirror and see something I like. I can’t even do that on self-reflection, even in the most positive of moods. Part of me will always feel like things are made a little worse by having me involved. People have told me this, and who am I to disbelieve them?
But sometimes, I forget. I forget to be unhappy with myself. I forget that I am a completely unsatisfying person. It might be someone saying something, or doing something, or even something I’ve seen or read which takes me out of everything for a while and gives me the space I need to forget how I feel about myself.
And that’s all right. That’s okay. For now, that will have to do.