I returned to school confident in both my ability to hold myself up in my classes and to hold myself together inside. Nothing had gone away -- I was still physically exhausted and emotionally crippled -- but I was ready to attempt to function positively in spite of the weight upon me. Unfortunately, it would not be so easy.
Maybe I just put up an image of being stronger than I was. Although I went in with some sort of renewed energy, it was a fragile, uncertain strength. Sarah either didn't realise how internally broken I remained or was too upset herself to think clearly in her actions, and her natural tendency of playing in a sense I don't understand kept up. Ultimately the theme for several days was one of me feeling like I wasn't good enough. I wasn't trying hard enough, I wasn't caring enough, I wasn't happy enough. None of this was Sarah's idea, but in my state it was the impression I received.
She was faux-pouting almost constantly because I refused to kiss her. I was doing my best to stay alive, and she couldn't seem to get over a lack of lip contact. She was back to constantly kidding about not loving me, throwing around sad faces and such. She's always casually joked by not hugging me or running away -- indeed, one lunch hour since I returned she grabbed my glasses and ran away, and I had to find her five minutes later at the class I had next. What was discouraging before was now one little thing after another driving me further back to my depression. I was more sensitive than ever before, but Sarah was acting even less supportive because of her own emotional state and because she didn't seem to appreciate the depth of my pain, due to my outer fa�ade of having it together. Her innocent little pouts were the last thing I needed to deal with on top of the still-settling feelings after she told me about December 2.
One night I had talked with her for an hour on the phone when Mom insisted I go to bed out of consideration for my health. Sarah had been crying in my ear for a very long time, and nothing I could say did any good in helping. I finally warned her I had to hang up and go to bed, and with statements of love to an unresponsive wall of tears, I clicked the receiver. The next day, I walked up to Sarah as she got off her bus, and she tried to push past me. Her black lipstick was already making enough of a statement. I tried to hug her and understand what was wrong, and as she refused eye contact on her way to the Pit she vindictively accused me of abandoning her in her moment of need. I was shocked, as I had the impression the previous night that my talking to her was doing no good at all. Whenever I ask what's wrong, she can't tell me. When I reassure her, she tells me I'm wrong. It's hard for me to understand anyone who doesn't operate in the same terms of truth and openness as I. Whenever I hurt us, it's because I say something out loud that I could choose to keep to myself. When she hurts us, it's sometimes because she won't say those things. I had decided that my counsel was worthless, because she wouldn't even talk to me, and I had no choice but to leave, so I did so. Now she was telling me how she had cried herself to sleep for hours and it was partially my fault because I had left her alone in her room. I felt like a failure for not understanding that she simply doesn't know how to let even me in.
Friday night, while we sat in Colin's basement before leaving to enjoy the weed we'd purchased, Sarah picked up a MAXIM that Danny Conrad had been flipping through to Colin's thoughtful commentary, "I like those magazines. They're good to jerk off to."
"See, you'd never be able to find my kind of girl in one of these," Sarah said as she turned the pages and criticized the women. She found one or two she liked and ran them past me, seeking my approval. Meanwhile, I was waving manically to remind her she had me.
Later, I tried to explain that whether you're straight, gay, or bi, male or female, it's generally not considered appropriate to comment appreciatively about others in your partner's presence. Maybe I'm just being overly sensitive, but I was hurt to see her ogling the pretty girls. Colin looked at the one she liked and said, "Yeah, I'd have sex with her, would you?" and she thoughtfully responded in the affirmative. She later explained that she thought I would enjoy this. Apparently, "most guys" would.
Am I overreacting to be bugged by it? I don't know, but I do know that it was yet another thing that made me feel like I wasn't good enough. I can think of being with no one but Sarah. I can't even look at other girls. Meanwhile, she can do far more than look at options apart from myself. That's what I said to her as we sat in a parking lot trying to repair that night -- her actions have made me feel as if, as devoted to me as she is emotionally, in terms of sexuality she is not as exclusive. I felt like for her heart I was her true love, but for her body I was a convenient outlet. For me, sex has always been an irritating requirement of my body. When I met Sarah and was allowed to actually get what I was physically yearning for, it became an opportunity to express my love, but in itself it remains meaningless. It's good fun, but nothing more. To her, it seems like it's something far more important, and I've been made to feel like I'm not sufficient to satisfy that side of her. I have only her actions and words to consider, and the things she's done seem to clearly speak that I'm sexually useful but hardly everything she needs. She told me once she's not even sure if she's bi anymore, and then she spends ten minutes admiring barely clothed girls -- thinking it would turn me on, seeing her size up others. If she stood beside me and pointed into a crowd of guys at those she'd like to fuck, I wouldn't like it then, so how are pictures of women any different?
Yesterday she called me in the morning and we talked. We were trying to decide what to do and how to do it, and she explained that she had extensive laundry to do. I asked when it would be finished, and she shortly freaked out and snapped at me that she was already doing it. I floundered around in confusion until she explained in frustration that by saying she was busy with house work she didn't mean that we should delay meeting but that I should go and see her at her house right away and we would stay there until it was done. She said how sometimes I'm so much like her brother because I can't understand the most basic things, and he's someone she's repeatedly told me she hates because of how stupid he is. I once more found myself feeling entirely inadequate. She blames the incident on her attempt to get off Paxil, but I stand by my old belief that whether or not someone is particularly angry or irritable, it's those moments that reveal how they feel.
Everything since my return to school had been making me feel like I wasn't good enough for her. Everything she did, everything she said, came out on my end as saying I had to do and be better. I just didn't have the strength to do any more than I was. Today my entire body aches, as it has for a week from sheer fatigue, and where once I thought I was turning around I feel crushed and worthless once more. I've gone back to asking myself what I've been doing wrong for everything to be failing so much. She's always sad, angry, or discouraged. Why can't I do better and make her happy? It keeps coming back to my own feelings stemming from my non-existent sense of self worth.
Saturday consisted of almost nothing. I went to her house for a while before we went back to mine, but nothing ever came of the day in terms of actually occupying ourselves. The events of the night before (matching up with Speedy, Katie and Tim before enjoying ourselves in Atlantic Acres) yielded new consideration on our recently adopted titles, and Sarah used my computer to further her already considerable knowledge of the subject. In reading a few lists of guidelines and rules, she seemed to gain a renewed enthusiasm for the lifestyle, and we agreed to take it a few steps further. What little it could do was to bolster my confidence. Meanwhile, she seemed pleased to devote herself to her role and to me. I am not an inherently dominant person, but she has a strong submissive side (in fact, it's core to her character) and I am willing to provide what she needs. I have a vague fear that it will develop into a problem for me because it's so against my basic nature, but I'm fairly sure that I can keep it up for half a year. I just wouldn't want to live it forever.
She phoned today to say that neglecting to dry the last load of her family's laundry yesterday had led her into an argument that lasted until one in the morning. Her parents said she doesn't take responsibility, doesn't care for herself, and doesn't know what she wants out of life. She goes crying to me too often and never tells them what's wrong, when she can't trust me for support because I'm not blood and therefore everything I do toward her is because I want something. She angrily told them that she had started to sleep with Vaughn when she was with me, and that's why she'd been constantly sad for a month.
They yelled. They argued. Her father grabbed her wrist and told her not to cry when she did because it wasn't hard enough to hurt her. They grounded her for a day, and promised much more if she was found crying about it and talking to me on the phone.
Something inside me awoke as I heard the story, and I remembered why I'm with Sarah -- I love her. The highest level of that is that I want to make her happy and give her a better life. That's why I'm with her, because I want to use my life to make hers more bearable. I want to take care of her. My resolve strengthened, and I realised that as weak as I often feel, it's most important to care for her. It's why I'm around. I hope I'm good enough to take up the task.
This day has been spent on the phone. Most of it has been unfortunate. She is once more unhappy because that insidious "everything" feels wrong. I've struggled to find out what part of that is from my wrongdoing.
I make jokes, which she considers a minor problem. Much more significant is that I "don't believe" in her. I set back the case when I told her how unimportant I as me seems to be to her sexually. She was hurt that I thought it wasn't important to her, even though I tried to explain otherwise. What I was really saying is that she tells me how devoted she is to me, how totally she loves me, how perfect I am for her in every way, then she reflects on girls she'd like to fuck (or, for that matter, she fucks Vaughn).
I'm trying as hard as I can to trust in what we have again, and she says she's spent the last month doing everything in her power to show me how much she loves me and how true to me she is. So why do I end up feeling, over and over, like I'm not good enough for her?