A Dialogue Begins


It’s a shame that, so often, it takes a tragedy to bring people back together.  When our high school classmate and good friend, Stan Moore, died last week, I called Michael as soon as I got the news.  They were very close in our younger years.

Yes, I do remember that, in July, I texted Mike that I was stepping back from whatever you call this thing we have between us.  I left the ball in his court, giving him all the time he needs to deal with his personal and business issues, telling him to call me when he thought the time was right.

Over six weeks went by without a word, but I knew I had to call him about Stan.  I think Tommy Cason and I are the only people from school who have his number.

As soon as his plane landed in Albuquerque, he called me back, but I had gone to bed, so he left a voice mail.  He also sent me a text, thanking me for letting him know about Stan and saying he was ready to talk about us.  He said he would call in a few days when he was in position to have a real conversation.

So, yesterday while I was on the road to Savannah to my writer’s workshop, he called.  We tip-toed around our personal stuff but at least came to an understanding that we wanted, needed to be in touch more often.  We both feel the need for that connection, though I think I need it more.  Hell, I’m a girl.

We continued to talk business, and he still wants me to help him with some real estate investments he’s going to make.  No, he does not want any money from me.  He has gobs more than I do.  He wants me to help with planning, logistics, and even decorating the properties he is planning to buy in Ft. Myers.

We decided that we would take baby steps in our personal lives as well as our business dealings.  I came away feeling better than I have in weeks.  It is delicious to know that he is not out there not thinking about me or worrying about me.  He was concerned about my burns and a little hurt that I didn’t call him after I set my self on fire on August 23.  (You can read about that on The Red Sweater).

So, we will see what happens.  We are both damaged goods and neither of us is 100% sure of what we want.  We just know we want to stay in touch, let any “relationship” that may come, come in its own time.

I can live with that.

© cj Schlottman

September 11, 2011

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Down A Dark Hole

Nobody knows how depressed I am, at least, I haven’t told anyone.  Today, I took my first shower since Sunday afternoon.  (Can you say major depressive disorder)?  Oh, yes, I have soaped up all the important places twice a day, but I have not been able to make myself get in the shower.  I have rinsed my hair, taken care of that, but not taking a shower for four days, is, well, a huge sign of depression.

I have teared up at work a couple of times (like now) when thinking or talking about Clint.  My emotional involvement with my dying 34 year old patient has also taken its toll.  It happens to all our nurses, eventually, but, until now, it hasn’t happened to me.  I can’t stop thinking about her.  Now she is blessedly in a coma.

I took personal leave from work today because we have been so slow, and I didn’t want to spend another day standing around like a post, looking for work.  I wanted to do what I am doing now – writing and reading.  I plan to spend most of the afternoon in bed, watching recorded TV shows.

Why publish this post on “Michael and Me?”  I’m not sure, but I think it is because, while he did not cause this, he is a part of it.  I am still stinging from his pulling back after he left.  When I wrap up everything in a package – missing Clint, hurting from Michael and mourning my patient’s passing, it’s just almost too much.  (Yes, we do begin to mourn before our loved ones die).

I don’t want to talk to anyone, not even my therapist or my shrink.  I would be happy to stay right here for days, and I probably will.  With today off, I have four days in a row to vegetate.  I want to cry when I want to, eat junk food, sleep a lot.  I logged in 11 hours last night.

This episode of depression is different from the ones in the past.  This time, I find myself down in a dark hole, but I don’t want to climb out.  I have a perverse need to wallow in it, let it beat me to a pulp.  Sick enough for you?

I have a new friend in cyberspace, and I have been giving her advice about her bipolar disorder and her emotionally abusive husband.  And look at me.  I don’t want to take my own advice.  When she reads this, though, she will understand.

Before the weekend is over, I hope to have written a couple of poems that are incubating in my head.  It seems to me that – once I write a poem about my pain – I can get passed it.

Writing has saved me before.  It will save me now.

© cj Schlottman

Addendum – I know why I didn’t post this on “The Red Sweater.”  My wonderful friends over there might try to fix me.  They are very sweet that way………

Thursday, July 28, 2011

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Grief – Reactivated

Look carefully at the photo at the top if this page.  Is the sun rising or setting?


This may be the shortest blog ever, or it may be a blog that lies dormant for a long time.

Today, I texted Michael and told him I am stepping back.  Since he was here, communication has been brief, businesslike, sterile.  I can’t do brief, businesslike and sterile.  I need more communication than that, and I was beginning to feel ignored, merely tolerated.  I have a sign in my kitchen that says,

“Never submit to the will of anyone to whom you are merely an option.”

Rosemary offered that quotation in one of our meetings, and I have unsuccessfully searched for the name of the author.

This “relationship” makes me feel like merely an option, and I hate feeling this way.  Since Michael left, I have been unsettled and distracted, easily confused and tearful.  Today, as I was thinking about what to say to him, it came to me that I feel much like I did when Clint died.  I feel as though I have suffered another great loss.  My toxic grief has been reactivated by what I perceive as rejection.  It doesn’t matter whether I have been rejected or not.  Perception is often so much stronger than fact. (I figured this out without any help from my therapist).  Maybe I should hang out a shingle.

So, where do I go from here?  I go back through the fucking steps of grief, work on myself, see Ann Carol more often, maybe even change my medicine, write more.  Shit.  This is hard, but at least I now recognize what I need to do.

The plain truth is that there will never be a man who can love me enough, not even Michael.  But I don’t think we did sufficient damage to end our friendship.

Now, I go about my life and my healing – again.  Jesus.  How any times will my grief rear it’s ugly head and throw me down a well?

© cj Schlottman

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Screwing My Head Back On – Straight

July 5, 2011

I have finally gotten away from the utter silliness that has been this blog so far.  After all this time being alone, I was needy and unrealistic about my expectations of Michael.  I still don’t understand why he failed to tell me his breakup was so recent.  That was not fair.  But, I have calmed down, looked at our situation and taken a deep breath.  I’m doing extra yoga every day.

Here’s where I am now.  Michael has been in touch several times, despite my ridiculous lack of self confidence.  We are on good terms, still waiting for time to go by to see what will happen.  I am comfortable with that.

The real revelation for me is that I’m no more ready for a permanent and exclusive relationship than is Mike.  Going five years without sex with a real man can make a girl insane.  So, I acted impulsively and stupidly.  Subject closed.  I am who I am, and I just started believing that again.

I still feel very married to Clint.  That is who I am right now – Clint’s widow – and there is nothing wrong with that.  What would be wrong is to tie myself up in one person – either Michael or anyone else.  Maybe the time will come.

I have discovered that my insane posts here on this blog are a product of the fact that Michael can’t give me what I need – not now.  It took that realization to put it all in perspective.  I may never find a man who will love me enough, the way Clint did.  The odds are against that ever happening.  I have had great love and romance, and for now I am willing to feed off of that.

It was unrealistic of me to think Mike could sweep into my life and make my pain and loneliness disappear.  And it was unfair to him.  We will see what happens.  In the meantime, I still have a dear, dear friend who has always made me happy to see his face, who makes me laugh.

© cj Schlottman

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

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I’m Out of my Mind, but Feel Free to Leave a Message

Yesterday, I heard from Michael, a text saying he had finally made it back to Houston after an unusually hard week.  He wished me a happy 4th.

Not much of a message, you might say.  For me it was huge message.  I simply must get accustomed to not talking and texting every day.  I also must stop replaying his visit in my head the thinking up ways I could have run him off.  I didn’t run him off.  He’s still there – in my life.

Still, I wonder if my house was too much of a mess for such and OCD man.  I wonder if my having confessed to him that I have major depressive disorder, which is completely under control, made him wonder if he could deal with it.  Men, even ones like Michael, who are open to discussion about just about anything, have a hard time with a woman who is depressed.  They think (Clint did) that their presence should be enough to make my brain chemicals reverse course and get normal again.

I wonder if my telling him that I have a son who is severely mentally ill made him think I would be too much trouble.  I wonder if the sight of me dancing around on the deck made him question my sanity. I wonder if he replays in his head when we were in bed and I said I wanted him to be my boyfriend and thinks I want more than he can give.

Yes, we talked all that out and supposedly put it behind us, but still I wonder.  Clearly, I haven’t put it behind me yet.  Michael is not a liar.  This I know.  If he were going to break off our friendship, he would have told me that’s what he wanted to do.

Somebody stole my self-confidence, and I wish they would bring it back.

Yesterday, my therapist said she thought a long distance relationship was just what I needed.  She agreed with me that I am not ready for a real commitment, even if I did let my sexual neediness make it look as though I am.

So, somebody, please, tell me why I think he should be any different?

As Ellen Gilchrist would say, “Crazy, Crazy.  Now showing everywhere.”

© cj schlottman

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Crazy as Shit

Written on June 30, 2011

Well.  That’s about it.  Well.  I am in a crazy place, wondering if I ran Michael off before we had a chance to see what would happen.  Be prepared for flights of ideas here and many contradictions to words I have published earlier on this blog.  I am about to run and stink for a while.  Somehow a weed-eater found its way into my skull and has scrambled my brain.

I have been cranky, really cranky, all day.  Thank God I was working and couldn’t really be paranoid and steeped in self-pity and self-doubt.  Right now, I am driven by the most insane thoughts a girl could make up.  Only I don’t know if they are made up or real.

I haven’t heard from Michael since yesterday morning when he sent me a quick text to say he was on the way from Houston to Byron, Texas.  I shot back a quick, “Be safe.”

Now I am in panic mode because I didn’t get a text this morning.  Jesus, cj, what in the name of sanity are you so upset about?  I’ll tell me what I am so upset about.  For nearly a month, Michael texted me at least twice and day and most days he called me twice.  He was the one who started the phone flirtation.  And he spoiled me rotten, got me accustomed to hearing from him often.

Those weeks were the happiest I have had since Clint died.  I was upbeat and positive and bouncy and singing at work.  I was focused and felt well-grounded.  It was a magical few weeks.  I began to feel pretty again, even with my graying hair and my stupid -fucking-eosinophilic-rash on my legs.  I was excited and horny.  I thought Mike would come over here and really want to make love to me.

Wrong.  Now, I’m not sure why he came.  Is that real, or even fair to ask?  He started a long distance flirtation with me, and when he arrived, I had to seduce him.  What’s up with that?  Maybe he just doesn’t feel the chemistry any more.  I do know that it was totally unfair for him to leave me in the dark about how fresh his wounds are.

While he was here, he told me he hated to talk on the phone, and since he spends half of  his time on the phone, I understood completely.  We decided to text more and talk less.  Reasonable?  Yes.

Thing is, he’s not calling or texting, and I don’t know what to do.  That’s not entirely true.  I know what to do – I think.  Wait.  I need to wait and see if he gets back in touch.  I’m not good a waiting.  I need to know now whether we have a chance of making it.  Uncertainty is torture for me.

But, I may be just jumping the gun.  He’s a workaholic and I know this week was to have been a particularly busy one for him.  (He could make 30 seconds to send a brief text,  just to stay in touch).  See where this is  going?  I am running in mental circles, alternately being hurt and a little annoyed with making excuses for his (non)behavior.

I am 63 years old and acting like a fool over a man.


© cj Schlottman

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Boxcars of Baggage – Just Cracking the Door

June 28, 2011

Yesterday, I fretted about Michael and “Will Penny.”  I got myself all worked up, and maybe justifiably so, about Mike comparing himself to Will.  I don’t want a man who is afraid of commitment, even if he has been hurt.  I don’t want a man who hesitates to give his heart for fear it may be broken again.  I got all paranoid, thinking he would never get in touch with me again, feeling anxious and blaming myself for fucking up what could be a good thing for both of us.  I took an Ativan twice.  I even had diarrhea, for god’s sake.  (Still do).

Jesus!  Why am I making this so much more complicated than it is?

(Light Bulb)!

Shit.  It’s because I’m “Will Penny,” too – just on a different level.  I have had two years for my heart to begin to heal, and Michael has had only six months.  My wounds are scarring over, but they will forever shape who I am.  What is wrong with me that I didn’t see, at once, that his wounds are still seeping sorrow and pain?  He, as he freely claims, is a man or honor, and it would be dishonorable to pretend to give me something he doesn’t have – may never have.

We need the next two years to find out where we land.  I am no longer afraid of what will come.  I am anxous; I’ll give you that.  I’m not scared, though.  I only want to see where this takes us.

(He texted me this morning).

© cj Schlottman

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