This morning it was a toss-up between “relaxing” (if you could call this relaxing) and writing for therapeutic purposes or cleaning my messy room with its piles of (clean) laundry, my half un-packed bag from staying at Mark’s, and way too many bottles of supplements, each one designed to “fix” me in one way or another. And don’t forget the books: textbooks, books that people have given me, self-help books, books on spirituality, and a stack of books that belonged to my mom, which I grabbed at the last minute just before I left her house the last time I visited my stepdad. It was one of those moments of I may never see this stuff again and I want to know everything she read. I just try not to think too much about how badly I want my own place where I have a laundry room to keep my laundry and a pantry for my supplements and some bookshelves for my books. Be grateful for what I have and not upset about what I don’t have. And my room is so cozy and warm, and it’s painted a beautiful grayish shade of lavender, known as Benjamin Moore piano concerto.
School will be out in a few weeks and I’ll have a long break to finally go through my boxes and get rid of what I don’t need or use, and I cannot wait. I am so looking forward to de-cluttering. Once I do, I hope to keep it that way. I’m going to have to tell people to stop buying me things on birthdays and Christmas. No more stuff!
I’m stressed out, in case you can’t tell.
School is out in a few weeks, and I’ve registered for next semester, and all of my classes are preparing for clinic. I do not feel ready for clinic. I can’t remember what I did yesterday. I’ve been just scraping by each semester. How am I going to work with clients? And if I can’t work with clients, I can’t take care of myself, and if I can’t take care of myself, I may as well work in a grocery store forever, living in the bedroom of someone’s townhouse with no personal space of my own, racking up more and more student loan and credit card debt.
As you can see, I’m spiraling out of control. Projecting into the future. Forgetting to live in the moment. What can I do today to work towards my goal? I have class later today, so I will study for my quiz, and I will talk to my professor after class about my schedule next semester. I hadn’t planned on taking the clinic classes yet, but all the other classes I wanted were full.
I have too many other distractions going on to focus on school. I often have to pass up social opportunities which make me feel like I’m missing out on life. For the past month I’ve been spending more time with Mark, who, by the way, is possibly an ex now.
And this is where I finally get to the embarrassing part, my most uncomfortable post yet.
Friday night after work I got to Mark’s house and I’m talking to him and he’s like what did you eat for lunch. I had binged on some flavored (Gluten free! Organic and non-GMO! Healthy!) pretzels I saw in the breakroom after several weeks of not eating any carbs except what’s in vegetables and Granny Smith apples, and I had not brushed my teeth before going over there, figuring I’d brush them when I got there. The pretzels had some sort of delicious seasoning on them, and were super unhealthy but I’ve been eating like a piece of spinach every day for a month now and I’m starving so I scarfed those things down like they were my last meal, and now my breath wasn’t smelling so great, which Mark informed me as gently as he could. And it turns out, in fact, this has been an ongoing problem for the entire month we’ve been together. Bad breath. Me. I have bad breath.
I had no idea.
No one has ever told me this before.
Then I remembered. There was that one time my ex told me, but at the time I had some weird dry sinus issue that resolved itself and he claimed it went away and I believed him. At the time I bought a tongue scraper and mouthwash and flossed more, but I didn’t keep doing the tongue scraping because he said it was gone and I felt like maybe that was overkill, and they’re always talking in school about how we as a culture overdo it with cleanliness so much so that we don’t have healthy microbiomes anymore and we’re resistant to antibiotics when really we need to just get dirty sometimes and let our immune systems build resistance to the antigens in our environments.
Well. Clearly that is the worst advice I’ve ever followed since apparently I’ve been walking around with rancid breath all this time and NO ONE has told me.
So I texted everyone close to me: Do I have bad breath?
Luckily that is the response I got from most people, including sisters, best friend, co-workers, who all said no way.
But then one co-worker said she’d noticed it once when we first started working together two years ago. Then Kevin said he’d noticed it before and assumed it’s just because I eat healthy. After I replied to him with shock and horror, he tried to reassure me that my perfume overpowers it, and it’s not all the time. That does help a little, but seriously? Who wants bad breath? Some people told me that everyone has bad breath at some point. Which is true. No one wakes up with pleasant breath. You can’t drink coffee and have the breath of roses. And I have been drinking a lot of coffee lately, which doesn’t help (and is just making my anxiety worse). I do eat a lot of garlicky kale nearly every day, so that’s not going to happen anymore, I promise you that. I have taken fish oil supplements here and there but not every day, especially since one day they made my stomach hurt so bad I thought I’d have to get my gallbladder removed. So that’s definitely out now. Which means I have digestive problems, btw. Which I already knew. Which Mark suggested may be the reason for the bad breath (so the cat was out of the bag on that one too—Surprise! I have digestive problems! Isn’t that sexy?). I had some hyaluronic acid mints but they had sorbitol in them which cause bloating so those are out. I had been eating a lot of (sustainably caught) tuna, and that’s definitely out too. Sorry but I am just going to have to get my omega-3’s some other way. Flax seeds.
I brush my teeth at least three times a day and I floss each night but I use all natural products made with tea tree oil, mint, cinnamon, and clove. Mark doesn’t believe in these products and prefers what I think of as carcinogenic products like Listerine and Crest. But you better believe my ass went out and bought some Listerine, another tongue scraper (can’t find the old one), some cinnamon toothpicks, some chlorophyll (an internal cleanser, also acts as an internal deodorant), mint floss, and yes, folks, I will probably get some Crest. I’ve been using various toothpastes from Nature’s Gate to Dr. Bronner’s and honestly my teeth don’t feel as clean afterwards. Oh, and I am overdue for a teeth cleaning, so that appointment will be made Monday.
Before we met in person we asked each other what the other’s deal breakers were, and one of Mark’s was bad breath. I remembered that, and I remember thinking what an odd thing to say, of course that’s gross, and not something I have to worry about, and not something I’d think of because I’m thinking more along the lines of bipolar disorder (based on previous experience in case you’re new to this blog) or grudge holders. Never did I think I had better step up my dental hygiene because I thought mine was already better than most, along with all my other personal hygiene habits. I have more kinds of specialized soaps and lotions for all the various body parts than anyone else I know.
That happened Friday night before bed. Saturday I was supposed to meet his family. I’ve been dating this guy for a month. It seemed too soon to meet his family but I’d decided I would do it because I thought it was cool he wanted me to meet them, and what could it hurt. Meeting them would not change whether or not we stay together so why not.
But after the Bad Breath Incident I thought, How the hell am I going to meet his family? What if they think I have bad breath too? Does his mom also have OCD with germs? Because he has that (diagnosed), and that may be why he finds my breath bad, because I went to work the next day and had my co-workers smell my breath to which they said it smelled like nothing.
I did not feel confident. Or attractive. I felt like who will ever want someone with bad breath? I remembered he’d said it was a deal breaker, so the next morning I decided to gather all my things I’d left at his house and just go home. This is clearly over, and I don’t see how he’d want to be with me, he’d already said it was a deal breaker in the beginning, and what if he never thinks it’s good? What if I really have bad breath and cannot resolve it?
I spiraled out of control yesterday, thinking I may as well become a crazy cat lady now, especially what with the night sweats that I’ve also been experiencing for quite some time now, which has to be perimenopause because I don’t know why else that would happen. Except I’ll be a goat lady instead, which is perfect because that can just add to my pleasant smell.
When he woke up and saw that I’d packed all my stuff, I told him, Listen I should just go. And he was like, Okay. And that was it.
On my way home he called me: What’s going on?
I don’t see how this can work; you’d said that’s a deal breaker.
That was before I’d met you. Clearly there’s more going on.
I don’t feel attractive. I don’t know how I can meet your family. I had no idea I had this problem.
You’re trying to punish me.
I’m trying to protect myself.
Well I gave this a chance. You’ve made up your mind.
I don’t want to break up. I just think things are moving too fast.
Well you decided to leave. You made up your mind.
I’m telling you now that I haven’t.
That is the gist of it though more words were used, but then we got cut off, and I tried calling back but he didn’t answer. I left a message that I’d like to work through it but he didn’t answer. When I got home I saw that he’d unfriended me from Facebook. I talked to my sponsor who told me I overreacted and owed him an amends, that he’d made himself vulnerable and had been honest with me, and I had punished him for it, when in reality that’s what I want from a relationship: for someone to be honest and vulnerable with. I agreed and called him back and he still didn’t answer so I left a voice mail making my amends in which I admitted my wrongdoing, asked how I could make it right, voiced that I could see how he felt that it was punishment (though between you and me I did not intend that at all), that I want the kind of relationship in which we can be open and honest with each other, and I don’t want to be the kind of partner who just leaves like that, that I’d still like to meet his family.
A couple hours later he sent me a text saying, You meeting my family is not going to happen.
Did you listen to my voice mail?
I was wrong and I’m sorry. What can I do to make it up to you?
No reply for hours, and then finally: I need to think about things.
I understand. Thank you.
Maybe I should go back to CODA?
This is supposedly the right thing to do, but it feels like groveling, and I have PTSD from my ex, and how he’d hold grudges for the entire relationship, storing them for a rainy day, to spring something on me out of nowhere about how I’d done something wrong that I had no idea about. It’s enough to make me want to run, to be single forever, to get my tiny house and go live on my friend’s property.
So that’s where that is, my friends.
I don’t know if it’s just because I’m an alcoholic, but relationships feel so impossible to me at times. One of the things they tell us in AA is that we have an inability to form a true partnership with another person until we can live our lives in a more spiritual manner. My sponsor told me what I did was out of self-centered fear, which is true. For some of us, when we’ve lived our life being/feeling abandoned by everyone at some time or another, sometimes we become a rolling stone. And that is exactly what I’ve become: a rolling stone. After my ex I almost don’t care anymore.